Unworthy

pair of brown footbed sandals

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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.

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The Almighty Reigns!

Revelation 196 [widescreen]

 

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 I do not publish supplemental materials on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading.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

Reading the Word

Revelation 19:6–10 (ESV)

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Hallowed Be Your Name

Worship

Reading the Word

Matthew 6:9–15 (ESV)

9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this passage, commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. Jesus’ words here were not meant to be simply memorized and repeated, but used as an example. We learn a great deal about prayer when we analyze Jesus’ words.

In the opening of his prayer, Jesus says, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” The word “hallowed” comes from the word “holy.” It means “to be set apart.” God is to be treated as holy. He is to be treated as set apart. He is unique and to be revered as God alone. All that we do is for his glory and for his name to be lifted up and honored, as he alone is worthy. When we follow Jesus’s example and desire for God’s name to be hallowed, we are saying that we want God’s name glorified not only in our words, but in our circumstances. Consider the words of Thomas Manton:

We need to deal with God that we may have the end, and leave the means to his own choosing; that God may be glorified in our condition, whatever it is. If he wills for us to be rich and full, that he might be glorified in our bounty; if he wills for us to be poor and low, that he may be glorified in our patience; if he will have us healthy, that he may be glorified in our labour; if he will have us sick, that he may be glorified in our pain; if he will have us live, that he may be glorified in our lives; if he will have us die, that he will be glorified in our deaths (Romans 14:8). – Thomas Manton, Works

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Zealous for Good Works

Titus 211 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Titus 2:11–14 (ESV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Yesterday, we learned that we should be a people of praise in response to what God has done for us. The center of our praise should be on the coming of Jesus into the world as our Savior. However, our praise should not be with only our lips, our lives should reflect our love and gratitude.

Titus tells us that, as a result of God’s grace, we should live differently from the world. We should live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. We should be people who are zealous for good works. So, let us take time to voice our praise with our lips, but let us not fail to praise our gracious God with our actions.

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Tell of His Salvation from Day to Day

Psalm 96_2–3 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 96:1–6 (ESV)

1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Another Christmas has come and gone. If you are like me, they seem to come and go a little faster every year. Many of us have headed back to our normal routines at work or around the home. The decorations will soon go back into storage until next year.

What will we do for another year? I believe we should adopt the mindset of the psalmist in Psalm 69. We should spend our time telling the world and rejoicing in what God has done! He has sent his Son into the world to save us. That is something to get excited about! We are rightly excited to celebrate Christmas every year, but let us not allow the excitement to fade. Let us remember each and every day what God has done and let us praise him for it.

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Refusing to Worship Jesus

shallow focus photography of religious figurines

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Reading the Word

Matthew 2:7–12 (ESV)

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This passage focuses on the worship of two different groups. The first group is represented by the wise men. They traveled from far away when they realized that Jesus, the Messiah, had been born. They brought gifts and bowed before Jesus in worship and adoration. The second group is represented by Herod. Though he said he desired to worship Jesus, he had no intentions of doing so. Herod’s only reason for wanting to know where Jesus was located was so he could have Jesus destroyed. Herod would not worship Jesus.

When we hear the news of Jesus, each of us must make a decision on what we will do with that news. There are really only two responses. Some will bow down and worship him as Lord and Savior. Others will refuse to do so and seek to deny Jesus. Each Christmas, we are confronted with a holiday that points the whole world to Jesus. What will we do with him?

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We Saw His Star

scenic view of night sky with stars

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Reading the Word

Matthew 2:1–2 (ESV)

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

We read here of wise men from the east who traveled to Jerusalem to find Jesus. The word translated as “wise men” is from the word “magi” and points to the likelihood that these men were astrologers. This explains why they noticed a star that pointed them to Jesus’ birth. Popular tradition speaks of three kings who went to see Jesus, but there is no mention of these men being kings. It is true that there were three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), but Scripture does not tell us how many magi there were.

The central point we must not miss in this passage is that God was working to draw all people to himself. Jesus came not only to save the Jewish people, but all people. Even at his birth, the nations went to Jesus to give gifts and to worship. This truth is a central focus of Matthews Gospel that ends with Jesus telling his followers to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. The gospel is for everyone who will worship Jesus: you, me, our neighbors, our co-workers, etc. Let us go and tell the world of the Savior who has come!

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God Has Visited His People

clouds

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Reading the Word

Luke 1:68–71 (ESV)

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;

Understanding and Applying the Word

When John the Baptist was born, Zechariah praised God. Luke 1:68-71 are the opening words that Zechariah spoke. The focus of his praise was on God keeping his promises and saving his people. The Lord was fulfilling his promise of a Messiah from the line of David to bring salvation.

Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and Zechariah recognized that the wait was over. Jesus came into the world to redeem all of mankind from sin and death by giving his life as a sacrifice. The Messiah laid down his life for his people so that they could live. We too should pause this Christmas season to remember our Redeemer and offer praise to him.

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Give Thanks Always and For Everything

thank you heart text

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Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I will be traveling over the next few days with my family for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result, I will not be posting extra commentary, but I will continue to post suggested Scripture readings for each day. Regular posts will resume on December 2. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Ephesians 5:15–21 (ESV)

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

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With Thankfulness in Your Hearts

Colossians 316 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I will be traveling over the next few days with my family for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result, I will not be posting extra commentary, but I will continue to post suggested Scripture readings for each day. Regular posts will resume on December 2. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Colossians 3:15–17 (ESV)

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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