Flashback: Clean Hands

Originally posted on January 28, 2018.

I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. Thanks for reading and, if you have not already, be sure to subscribe so you can follow along every day.

pexels-photo-296282.jpegReading the Word

Psalm 18:20–27 (ESV)

20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26 with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27 For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

Flashback: The Lord Is My Rock

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Originally posted on January 26, 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:1–6 (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. 4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Oh, the joy of having a refuge in every time of need. That is what God is to his people. We can call on him at all times knowing that he hears and is there. We know that our cries reach his ears and that he is able to come to our rescue. This is why David could praise God and say that he loved him (verse 1).

If you are hurting or afraid, call out to God. He is a rock and a stronghold and you will find refuge in him. Then praise his name for his goodness towards us. He is a great God and deserving of our love.

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

Flashback: The Lord Lives

Psalm 1846 [widescreen]

Originally posted on January 31, 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:46–50 (ESV)

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— 47 the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48 who rescued me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from the man of violence. 49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. 50 Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In celebration of victory over his enemies, David gives praise to God. Why? Because he recognizes that it is God who has granted him success. The proper response of David, and all believers, is to glorify and praise God for all things. As David, we should praise him among the nations. We should make his name known for his greatness. He is the God who gives richly to his people. He is the God who provides and who saves. And we should especially tell the world of the salvation we have through Jesus Christ, the One who saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life.

We have much to praise God for. May we lift up his name and tell the world of his greatness!

**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!

Flashback: Jesus Is Coming Again

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Originally posted on November 22, 2017.

Reading the Word

Revelation 1:4–8 (ESV)

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Understanding the Word

John writes his letter to the seven churches in Asia, which we will learn more about shortly. He greets them with a Trinitarian formula making mention of the Father (the one who is and was and is to come), the Spirit (the seven spirits who are before his throne), and the Son (Jesus Christ the faithful witness).

John tells us that Jesus, who saves from sin, is going to return and all people will see him.

Applying the Word

Jesus is coming again! How should that make us feel? For some it should be an encouragement. It means that serving Christ is not in vain. Some days the difficulty of being a follower of Jesus can wear a person down, but do not give up. Jesus is coming again soon and you will see him!

For others, the thought of Jesus coming again serves as a warning. What are you spending your time and resources on? Will you be ashamed or embarrassed when he returns? You too will see him.

Let us prepare for the Lord’s return by submitting ourselves to his will today.

**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!

Flashback: The Lord Is Patient

2 Peter 39 [widescreen]

Originally posted on October 27, 2017.

Reading the Word

2 Peter 3:8–10 (ESV)

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Understanding the Word

Many unbelievers scoff at the idea that Jesus Christ will return as he promised. They point out the fact that it has been a long time now and there is still no Jesus!

Peter points out that what may seem like a long time to us is just a moment for the eternal God. He has not forgotten us nor will he fail to fulfill his promises to us. In fact, the reason for his delay is because he is a gracious God. He wants all to come to repentance.

Applying the Word

One day Jesus will return to this world. What if you knew it would happen tomorrow? How would it change the way you live today? How would you live if you knew you would be standing in the presence of the all-knowing Judge in just a few moments? Would it make a difference?

The Bible tells us that Jesus will return and that he will come like a thief in the night. This means he will come unexpectedly. He will come unannounced. We need to be ready for it at all times because one day all will stand before him and give an account. Take time now to call out to the gracious God who has given you time to repent and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation. He has delayed his return just for that purpose.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. You can subscribe using the links on the right. You can also share this post on your social networks using the buttons below. Thank you for reading!

Flashback: God Is Light

1 John 15 [widescreen]

This post originally appeared on October 31, 2017.

Reading the Word

1 John 1:5–10 (ESV)

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Understanding the Word

In the previous verses, John spoke of bringing people into fellowship with God through the proclamation of the gospel. In these verses, he begins to talk about what true fellowship with God looks like.

John tells us first that God is light. By this he speaks of God’s purity and holiness. If we are in fellowship with the one who is light, then it is impossible to continue to walk in darkness. Darkness is here used to speak of sin. You simply cannot have fellowship with the light if you live your life in darkness. The two do not go together.

Applying the Word

The book of 1 John gives us a series of tests to help us determine if we really belong to God or not (1 John 5:13). This first test asks if we are still living in the same sinful way we did before we heard the gospel message. If we are still living in sin, we do not have a relationship with God. If we say we do, we are lying to ourselves and others.

It is important to understand that John is not saying that true believers will not sin. He is clear that we will (1 John 1:9). Thankfully, we have a God who is forgiving when we confess our sins. However, a life unchanged and characterized by sinfulness is a life that has no fellowship with the God who is light. May we acknowledge our sin and turn to the one who is able to save us and give us new life.

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

Give to Him Glorious Praise

Psalm 662 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 66:1–5 (ESV)

1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; 2 sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! 3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 4 All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah5 Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 66 calls for all people to praise God for who He is and for what He has done. His name is glorious and He has displayed His great power for all to see. In the context of this psalm, God displayed His power when He brought the people out of Egypt and led them across the sea on dry ground (Psalm 66:6). He then delivered the people into the Promised Land that was overflowing with abundance (Psalm 66:12).

We too are called to marvel at who God is and to praise His wondrous deeds. We can give praise and thanks for His daily provision in our lives, for how He has brought us through specific trials, or for the promises that He has made to us for the future. These are all great things. But let us not forget our great deliverance. Psalm 66 looks back to the deliverance of the people from bondage in Egypt. We must continually look back to the cross and our deliverance from bondage to sin. Christ died to set us free and to deliver us into eternal life in a new heaven and new earth. Let us praise the name of our great God and remember His awesome deeds!

**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 God of Harvest

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 65:9–13 (ESV)

9 You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. 10 You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. 11 You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. 12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, 13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read these verses we get a picture of God’s generosity. We read of how God waters the earth to provide for an abundant grain harvest and so that the fields yield the growth necessary to provide for the flocks that graze in them. God is pictured as the generous provider.

Verses 9-13 can be taken alone to show how God provides for our daily needs, but there is something greater to be found in these verses. In the opening of Psalm 65, we read of how God has provided for our spiritual needs by making atonement for our sins. Now, at the end of this psalm, we see an concrete example of how God provides for our physical needs. He is the God who meets our every need and we are reminded every time we sit down to eat. Let us remember to give thanks to him for His provision, especially His provision of our Savior.

**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 Hope of All the Ends of the Earth

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Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com

 

Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word, a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading for the day. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 65:5–8 (ESV)

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; 6 the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; 7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, 8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

Praise Is Due to You, O God

Giving Arrows Title

Reading the Word

Psalm 65:1–4 (ESV)

1 Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. 2 O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. 3 When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. 4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Praise is due to you, O God.” What great words. This is how Psalm 65 begins. It then goes on to tell us why God is due praise. He hears prayer. He forgives sin. He brings us near to dwell with Him. And he shows us goodness in His house. What a great God!

It truly is amazing to think of the goodness and love of God towards us. Scripture and our hearts tell us that we are sinners, but God, who is holy, shows His grace to us by making forgiveness available through the cross at Calvary. Not only does God forgive us, but he welcomes us into His presence, not as servants, but as children! Amazing! Then He shows us goodness by His loving care for us. He truly is deserving of our praise. Let us lift our hearts and voices to Him. He is the 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!