Do Not Fear the Future

Matthew 628–29 [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.

Parallel Text: Luke 12:22-32

Understanding and Applying the Word

God will take care of you. Do you believe that? If so, how does it change how you live? Do you spend a great deal of your time and efforts worrying about the future and figuring our how you will get by? Or, is serving the Lord right now with your entire life your top priority? If we are overly concerned about managing our future, we will not have time to serve the Lord.

We can trust that God will take care of us. Look at how he takes care of the rest of his creation, like the birds and the lilies. He gives them what they need. If God cares so much for them, how much more will he care for his people? We do not have to worry. Instead, we can concentrate our time and energy into serving Christ today and glorifying God in our lives.

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Deliver Me, O Lord

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Reading the Word

Psalm 140:1–13 (ESV)

1 Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men;
preserve me from violent men,
2 who plan evil things in their heart
and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah

4 Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
preserve me from violent men,
who have planned to trip up my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah

6 I say to the LORD, You are my God;
give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
7 O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah

9 As for the head of those who surround me,
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall upon them!
Let them be cast into fire,
into miry pits, no more to rise!
11 Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and will execute justice for the needy.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is attributed to David. In these verses, he calls out to God to save him from the wicked and evil men who want to destroy him. David knows that it is God who gives him strength for battle and protects him in the fight. In the second half of the psalm (vv. 9-13), David calls on the Lord to judge those who are evil.

Life in this world will include its share of troubles. Many of the troubles will be the result of conflict with other people. Some of the conflict may be our own fault. Perhaps we said something we should not have. A simple apology may go a long way to make things better. However, there will be times when another (others) desire our harm for no good reason. They attack because we belong to God or because our lives bear witness to truth that contradicts their choices in life.

When we face such evil, we can be encouraged because we are not the first. In fact, Jesus himself faced such opposition (John 15:18). We can also find comfort in knowing that God is in control. He provides strength and protection to his people. He does not leave us alone, but goes into battle with us. And we know that he will ultimately judge all evil and purge it from the world. We can trust in him and give thanks even in the face of difficulty.

**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.

Like a Child

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Reading the Word

Psalm 131:1–3 (ESV)

1 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3 O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist voices his trust in the Lord. Some things are too great to be grasped. We are limited in our understanding. When we try to figure these things out or make sense of them, we can become discouraged or frustrated. The psalmist, instead, trusts in God as a young child trusts in his mother for protection, care, and provision.

We can trust God. He is a God of faithfulness and always keeps his promises. His word tells us that he works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). We may not always understand how God is working or what his plans are, but we can trust him. We can take comfort in knowing that he is in control and we do not have to figure all of these things out. We can simply quiet our soul in trust and security as we rest in the arms of 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!

More than Watchmen for the Morning

Psalm 1306 [widescreen]

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

Reading the Word

Psalm 130:1–8 (ESV)

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
2 O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

Unless the Lord Builds the House

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Reading the Word

Psalm 127:1–5 (ESV)

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate

Understanding and Applying the Word

What are you counting on for success? If you are counting on your own efforts and abilities, you labor in vain. It is God alone who gives blessing and success. This is a difficult truth for many of us to accept because we want to take credit for the good things in our lives. But a proper understanding of who God is will lead us to praise and thanksgiving for all he has done for us.

The second half of this psalm stresses that even our children are a blessing from the Lord. They are a blessing to parents and they too are in the hands of the sovereign God. This is a great comfort to parents because we can trust the One who is over all as our children grow, mature, and begin to live independently as adults. It is God who builds the house and protects the city. Let us not be anxious while trusting in ourselves, but let us rest in his loving care.

**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 Lord Surrounds His People

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Reading the Word

Psalm 125:1–5 (ESV)

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,

so the Lord surrounds his people,

from this time forth and forevermore.

For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest

on the land allotted to the righteous,

lest the righteous stretch out

their hands to do wrong.

Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,

and to those who are upright in their hearts!

But those who turn aside to their crooked ways

the Lord will lead away with evildoers!

Peace be upon Israel!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Before the days of airplanes and missiles, the best way to fortify against any enemy attack was to build a fortress in the mountains. The mountains would make defense much easier. This psalm tells us that, just as the mountains are a protection, the Lord surrounds his people to give them security.

The Lord offers a sure defense to the righteous because one day all will stand before him in judgment. At that time, the wicked and the righteous will be separated and the wicked will be led away. Scripture tells us that those who belong to the Lord will dwell in his presence for eternity and that there will be no more sin or wickedness (cf. Revelation 21:1-8). We can trust in the Lord and his ways because in him we know our future is secure.

**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!

I Lift Up My Eyes

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. If you have not already done so, please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day.

Reading the Word

Psalm 123 (ESV)

1 “To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

2 Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.

3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.

4 Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.”

I Lift My Eyes to the Hills

I am out of town and working from my phone. Please excuse any strange formatting that may result.

Reading the Word

Psalm 121 (ESV)

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses, the psalmist declares his steadfast faith in God as his salvation. It is God who keeps Israel and God never sleeps.

It is a wonderful thing to find security in the all-knowing, ever-present God who never sleeps. He is always aware of our circumstances and he is always capable of doing whatever he wills. We can trust him every day.

We can also trust him to fulfill his salvation in our lives through Jesus Christ. God has promised not only forgiveness of sin, but complete deliverance in a new creation. As we wait for that day, we echo the words of the Psalm, “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and Earth.”

**Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day.

Longing for Your Salvation

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:121–128 (ESV)

121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. 122 Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. 123 My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. 124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. 125 I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! 126 It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken. 127 Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. 128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist declares that his “eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.” He desires that God will come and judge the world with righteousness and justice. The psalmist is facing oppression from those who do not know the Lord or follow the Lord’s word. So, it is time for God to act and save his people.

In every age, the people of God have faced rejection and persecution on some level. Some face mocking and loss of family and friend relationships. Others may face public shaming or ostracism from the community. And some face harsh consequences including imprisonment or death. It is not easy to live out the word of God in our lives. For some, it is extremely difficult.

However, for the believer, we place our hope in the salvation that God has promised to those who trust in him. The Bible tells us that if we trust in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ for our sins against God we will be saved. Through Christ, our sins are paid for. And for those who trust in the Lord, we receive the promise of an eternity with God in a new heaven and new earth where sin has received its final judgment and is no more. So, we too long for the salvation that God has promised and wait for him to act.

**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!

My Hiding Place

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:113–120 (ESV) 113 I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. 115 Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. 116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! 117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! 118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain. 119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies. 120 My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The double-minded, evildoers, and wicked disregard the commands of God. However, those who fear God and his judgments seek to live according to God’s word. In so doing, they find hope and a place of refuge.There are ultimately two ways to live our lives. We can live according to the way we decide or we can live according to what God has said in his word. These options are the same as they have been since the garden of Eden in Genesis 3. There, the first man and woman decided to live their own way and disobey God. Mankind has been in rebellion against God ever since.The world will tell you that it is best and most fulfilling to follow your own path. God’s word tells us that this way is actually the path to destruction, not fulfillment. It is only through God’s word, his instruction to us, that we find hope. It is those who trust in God’s salvation through Jesus Christ that look forward to eternal life. What are you looking for to fulfill you? Turn to God’s word. It is the only place you will find what you seek.**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!