Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

2 Corinthians 57 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

2 Corinthians 5:6–10 (ESV)

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Paul tells us that “while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” What exactly does he mean? First, to be at home in the body speaks of living our lives in this world. Until we die or Jesus Christ returns, we are away from our Lord and must live in this fallen world. This brings us to his second point. While we live in this fallen world, we must live by faith and not by sight. This does not mean, as some suppose, that we live according to wishful thinking and in contrast to obvious truth. Faith is not just hoping something hard enough that it becomes reality. Faith is believing in the promises of God even though they have not yet been fulfilled. The Lord has promised that one day we will be with him, so we live our lives knowing this is true.

If you are reading this, you are living in this world and still awaiting the fulfillment of the promises of God. During our time in this world, we will face many joys and trials, but we do so always knowing what the future holds for all who belong to Christ. We live out our days knowing what the word of God says and knowing that God’s word will be fulfilled. We walk by faith and not by sight.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

His Grace Is Sufficient

2 Corinthians 129 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

2 Corinthians 12:7–10 (ESV)

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We must never forget that God’s greatest desire for his people is that they would be more like Christ. We may desire a life of ease, comfort, financial success, health, and many other things, but sometimes the best thing for our spiritual growth is struggle. Paul struggled with a “thorn in his flesh” and pleaded with the Lord to take it away, but God did not. Instead, God reminded Paul that his grace was sufficient and that Paul needed to trust in the Lord. This was to keep Paul from becoming conceited in his special role as God’s apostle (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7).

What struggle are you facing that you have asked the Lord to take away, but he has not? Are you ready to accept that whatever you are facing may be for your benefit? It is not wrong to ask the Lord to remove our struggles, but we must do it while at the same time trusting him even if he does not and trusting that he will give us all we need. It is in times of difficulty that we learn how small and weak we really are and how great and gracious our God is. Let us turn to him knowing that his grace is sufficient for our every need.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Oh, How I Love Your Law!

man wearing black crew neck shirt reading book

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:97–104 (ESV)

97 Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.

99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.

100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.

101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.

102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.

103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 119 is the longest of the psalms. In fact, it is the longest chapter in the entire Bible, going on for 176 verses. Many do not realize that this psalm is an acrostic. The 176 verses are divided up into twenty-two stanzas with each stanza made up of eight lines. The eight lines of each stanza begin with successive letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Many English translations put headings at the beginning of each stanza to try to point this out, but our English translations lose the acrostic pattern.

Another thing that many readers miss is that Psalm 119 is focused entirely on the word of God. In every line of the psalm, God’s word is described using different synonyms. And the overarching message of the longest chapter of the Bible is that God’s word is wonderful. It brings life and wisdom and understanding. It is through the word of God that we know God and the salvation he gives. The word of God is to be cherished, which is why the psalmist proclaims, “Oh, how I love your law!” It truly is “sweeter than honey.” Let us pray that God would help us love his word as we should.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

The Lord Reigns!

Crayon Crown Header Subheader

Reading the Word

Psalm 99:1–9 (ESV)

1 The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2 The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!

6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.

8 O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Exalt the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Lord reigns! This psalm is a call to worship for the people of Israel, but it is also a call for us today. God is the holy and sovereign one over all the earth. For many this brings great comfort. For others, this brings great fear. Those who belong to the Lord, are comforted because he is a loving and gracious God who cares for his people. Those who have rejected the Lord must fear because they stand before God as the righteous Judge who condemns sin and the sinner.

The Lord our God is holy and worthy of worship. Let us lift our voices in praise and live our lives to glorify him, the one who is exalted over all the earth!

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Blessed Is the One

Psalm 11–2 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 1:1–6 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Believe in the Lord Jesus

Acts 1630–31 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Acts 16:25–31 (ESV)

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

When the jailer asked what he must to to be saved, Paul and Silas told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” That is the message of the gospel.

The Bible teaches us that we are all sinners before our holy God, our Creator. We have rebelled and disobeyed. As a result, we are rightfully condemned and there is nothing that we can do on or own to make things right with God. We have nothing to offer. However, God has done something for us. He has given his Son, Jesus Christ, who came willingly into the world to die for sinners. If we will repent of our sins and trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death, we will be forgiven. That is the gospel and the central theme of the entire Bible. Will you believe in Jesus Christ and be saved?

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Unworthy

pair of brown footbed sandals

Photo by Pedro Sandrini on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Mark 1:4–8 (ESV)

4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

John the Baptist drew a crowd. With his strange attire and diet and along with his message of repentance, it is no wonder that many were interested in seeing him. But John knew that his ministry was not about him. His purpose was to point to someone greater. John was there to point the people to Jesus Christ, the one who could save them.

John told the people, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.” That is the role of each and every follower of Jesus. We are merely servants of the Mighty One. Our words and our actions should not be about drawing attention to ourselves, but pointing others to Jesus, the one who saves. We are unworthy, but he is of infinite worth and deserving of all of our worship.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

That You May Do His Will

Hebrews 1320–21 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Hebrews 13:20–21 (ESV)

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Understanding and Applying the Word

How will we live for the Lord? How can we prepare ourselves to face the day-to-day difficulties of living in a world that continues to reject Jesus Christ and his people while continuing to proclaim the Good News of a risen Savior for all who will repent and turn to him? Our verses today tell us how we can do it.

God has called us to live for him and to fulfill his will in this world. However, he had not left us to do these things in our own power. If it were fully up to us, we would have not possibility of accomplishing anything. No, as we read here, it is God who equips us with everything good that we might do his will. He both calls us and equips us. Let us not look to serve the Lord in our own strength, but let us call out to him for all we need. Then let us trust him to equip us as we go forth in him name with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Seek First the Kingdom

Matthew 633b [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Matthew 6:25–34 (ESV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus instructed his followers to not be anxious about life. He pointed out that God cared for and provided for the flowers of the field and the birds, so he would surely provide for his people. What, exactly, was Jesus getting at?

The key t understanding Jesus’ point comes near the end when Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.” With these words, Jesus told his disciples that their decisions and choices should always be made with the aim to do what is right in God’s eyes. It may be costly at times to do the right thing, but Christ’s followers can rest assured knowing that their Father provides for their every need according to his plans and purposes. Therefore, we can seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness by always choosing what pleases God in every circumstance.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

The Lord Is My Rock

Psalm 182 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:1–3 (ESV)

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Lord is our rock. He is our strength. He is our fortress. He is our refuge. Whatever trouble may come to us, whatever difficulties we face, we can find our salvation and hope in the Lord. With our God, there is safety and security because he is the all-powerful and all-knowing One who loves his people. He will never let us down.

When David wrote the words of Psalm 18, his enemies were other men who sought his life. We do not need to have the same type of enemies to find comfort from this psalm. Just as David trusted that God would take care of him, we can trust that the Lord will take care of us also, even if our troubles are different. Are you ill? Are you facing financial insecurity? Are you facing persecution for being a follower of Christ? Whatever you are dealing with, know that the Lord is our rock. He will always be there and his protection is better than any other.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.