Responding to God’s Grace

The Healing of Ten Lepers

The Healing of Ten Lepers (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Luke 17:11–19 (ESV)

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

This passage tells us of ten lepers whom Jesus healed. The passage does not focus so much on the healing as it does the reaction to the healing. As Jesus was traveling, ten lepers stood at a distance and called out to him for mercy. This would have been quite normal since lepers were not supposed to get close to others. Jesus sent them to the priests, which was part of the Law. The priests had the responsibility of examining the lepers and pronouncing them clean. All ten went to the priests and were cleansed of their disease as they went.

Only one of the healed men returned. He returned to praise God and to thank Jesus for what he had done. The surprising thing is that this one was not a Jew, but a Samaritan. The other nine had simply gone away. This fits what we have seen in other places in Luke. Outsiders often responded to Jesus in great faith, while many Jews, especially the religious leaders, rejected him.

There are multiple things to learn from this account. The leper returned praising God and thanking Jesus. He recognized that God was at work through Jesus. Also, there should be gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s grace in our lives. And lastly, the gospel is for all people. Over and over again, it is the outsider that responds in worship and faith while those we would expect to follow Jesus actually turn away. It is often those we least expect who respond to the gospel.

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Praise the Lord on Christmas Day

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Reading the Word

Psalm 146:1–10 (ESV)
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm focuses our thoughts and actions towards praise. God is a great and merciful God who reigns over all. He is worthy of our praise.

As you celebrate Christmas today, take special time to give thanks and praise to God for the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ. It is his birth that we celebrate and it is through him that we find salvation and peace. Merry Christmas!

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

I Will Sing a New Song

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Reading the Word

Psalm 144:9–15 (ESV)

9 I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
10 who gives victory to kings,
who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
11 Rescue me and deliver me
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

12 May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace;
13 may our granaries be full,
providing all kinds of produce;
may our sheep bring forth thousands
and ten thousands in our fields;
14 may our cattle be heavy with young,
suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;
may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David give thanks to God for give him victory. In response to all tat God has done, David worships in song and proclaims that God is a God of great blessing to his people.

As God’s people, we too have much to be thankful for. We especially have reason to praise God for the salvation we have in Christ. It is Jesus who came into this world to bring victory to his people over the power of sin and death. And it is through Jesus that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). Let us also take up a song on our lips as we sing praises to our great God for all he has done for us.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

The Lord’s Purpose for Me

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Reading the Word

Psalm 138:1–8 (ESV)

1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.

4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read these last several psalms, we find the central theme of praise. In Psalm 138, we once again find this theme and a focus on God’s steadfast love and faithfulness as the reason for our praise. It is God who answers prayer and it is God who is a helper in times of trouble (vv. 3, 7).

The psalmist concludes this psalm by saying, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” This is a wonderful statement of confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. God has a purpose for his people, not just collectively, but individually. Whatever we may face in life, we can find hope and a reason for thanksgiving because the Lord has a purpose and will fulfill it. And we know that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). So, let us learn to give thanks knowing that our God is great and he is faithful.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

His Love Endures Forever

Psalm 1361 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 136:1–9 (ESV)
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

Understanding and Applying the Word

It does not take long to understand the central theme of this psalm. Every line ends with the refrain “for his steadfast love endures forever.” God’s steadfast love is the reason that we should give thanks to him.

In verses verses 4-9, the theme of God’s steadfast love continues and is shown in his creative acts. He made the heavens and the earth. He made the stars and the sun and the moon. It is God who created a world that could sustain life. And it is God who created us and gave us the gift of life. What a wonderful God who shows us his love in so many ways. His love truly does endure forever!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Thanksgiving

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Reading the Word

Psalm 118:10–18 (ESV)

10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, 16 the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. 18 The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 118 is a psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance. In the verses for today, we read that the enemy had surrounded the psalmist. He repeats this fact three times in verses 10-12, while finishing with the statement that “They surrounded me like bees.” With these words, we get a sense of the frightening situation. However, with the help of the Lord, the enemy was “cut off.” Victory and deliverance was secured. As a result, the righteous sing glad songs of salvation.

Thanksgiving always begins with the individual. In verses 17-18, the psalmist recounts the deeds of the Lord to him. He remembers how God has granted him salvation and not given him over to death. When we as believers gather to worship and give thanks, we begin by thinking of our own salvation and join in thanksgiving with the people of God who have experienced the same. Let us sing glad songs of salvation as we remember our personal salvation and the salvation of all of those who belong to the Lord.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

In the Congregation

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Reading the Word

Psalm 111:1–10 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 2 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. 3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 111 is a call to praise. It is a call for the congregation of the people of God to give thanks for all he has done and it recounts some of those things.

Our praise is always in response to who God is and what he has done. When we gather as the people of God, we worship together and our worship should be focused on these two things. As we think of what he has done, we focus primarily on God’s grace through the giving of his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and on the promise of eternal life for all who will trust in Jesus’ work on the cross. However, let us not forget to recount the specific ways God has worked in our lives. Let us speak of his goodness and generosity to the congregation of God’s people so that we may join in thanksgiving and praise. We serve a great God!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

He Stands at the Right Hand of the Needy

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Reading the Word

Psalm 109:30–31 (ESV)

30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. 31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm ends with words of confidence from David as he joins in praise to the Lord. David believes that God will be with him even though David’s enemy has falsely accused him. Peter quotes from verse 8 of this psalm when there is a need to replace Judas as one of the Twelve in Acts 1:20. In the betrayal of David in this psalm we see similarities to the betrayal of Jesus at the hands of Judas. And as David calls for punishment on his accuser, we see judgement fall on Judas (cf. Acts 1:18).

As we reflect on this psalm and David’s life, as well as the life of Jesus, we see the Father standing with his own. This does not mean that God always removes the trial or difficulties, but he stands at the right hand to guide, comfort, and strengthen. We can have confidence that we are never left alone to face our circumstances. The Lord is with us and he is for us.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Storms of Life

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Reading the Word

Psalm 107:23–32 (ESV)

23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; 24 they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. 25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; 27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm calls for different groups to give thanks to God. In the verses for today, we read of those who have found themselves caught in the raging storms upon the sea. When their lives seemed to be at the end they cried out to God for help and he saved them.

It is often in the darkest times of our lives that we call out to God. In times of trouble, even those who are not concerned about God or the Bible will often pray and ask for God to save them from their troubles. In his grace, God often gives us the deliverance that we desire. However, how often do we stop to give thanks to God for such grace towards us? Often, as soon as the danger has passed, so has our focus on God. Let us not forget the things that God has done for us, but let us praise him in thanksgiving and tell of his goodness to everyone.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Fools, Sin, and Thanksgiving

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Reading the Word

Psalm 107:17–22 (ESV)

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; 18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. 19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. 21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The third group that God has delivered are described as “fools through their sinful ways”. Though they were foolish in their sin, when they cried out to God he delivered them. The right response is to praise God in thanksgiving.

When we consider our own lives, it is an amazing thing that God, who is holy, would save any of us. We are sinful. Scripture says that we have all fallen short and rightfully deserve condemnation and death for our sin. Yet, when we call out to God, he responds in grace and love. He gives us salvation through the atoning sacrifice of his Son, who died as a payment for our sins. God gives foolish sinners eternal life. If you have not done so, call out to him today. He will save. And then let us offer our thanksgiving!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!