Know God’s Will

‘You saw me before I was born.’ Psalm 139:16 NLT

The psalmist wrote: ‘You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.’ (Psalm 139:16–17 NLT) If you want to know God’s will for your life, pray this prayer: ‘Lord, You knew me completely before I was born, and You shaped me and destined me for a purpose. Give me a clear vision of all You want to do in and through my life. I really need to understand what the “hope of my calling” (Ephesians 4:4 NLT) is, and “the exceeding greatness of His power” (Ephesians 1:19 NKJ) to enable me to fulfil Your purpose (see 2 Corinthians 9:14). Show me the gifts You have put in me, and how I can develop and use them for Your glory (see Romans 12:6). Help me to think big and pray with boldness (see Ephesians 3:20). I want to be open and available for whatever You have for me, and not miss Your blessings by being unprepared to receive them. Help me not to hold on to things or relationships that are not of You. I want to do Your will with my whole heart (see Psalm 40:8). Only You know what and who is right for me. Help me to hear Your voice, and give me the grace and courage to follow Your leading when I am afraid (see John 10:4). May the desires of Your heart become the desires of my heart. Enlarge my capacity to believe that You can take what I have and multiply it beyond what I can imagine. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.’

SoulFood: Isa 53–57, Luke 3:21–38, Ps 84, Pro 2:16–19

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Isaiah 53–57 ()

( diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
  Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
  and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
  because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.
  “Seek the LORD while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
  let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
  let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
  For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10   “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
  making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11   so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
  but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12   “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
  the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13   Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
  and it shall make a name for the LORD,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

56:1   Thus says the LORD:
  “Keep justice, and do righteousness,
  for soon my salvation will come,
    and my righteousness be revealed.
  Blessed is the man who does this,
    and the son of man who holds it fast,
  who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
    and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
  Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
    “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
  and let not the eunuch say,
    “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
  For thus says the LORD:
  “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
  I will give in my house and within my walls
    a monument and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
  I will give them an everlasting name
    that shall not be cut off.
  “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
    and to be his servants,
  everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
    and holds fast my covenant—
  these I will bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
  their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
  for my house shall be called a house of prayer
    for all peoples.”
  The Lord GOD,
    who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
  “I will gather yet others to him
    besides those already gathered.”

  All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
    all you beasts in the forest.
10   His watchmen are blind;
    they are all without knowledge;
  they are all silent dogs;
    they cannot bark,
  dreaming, lying down,
    loving to slumber.
11   The dogs have a mighty appetite;
    they never have enough.
  But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
    they have all turned to their own way,
    each to his own gain, one and all.
12   “Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
    let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
  and tomorrow will be like this day,
    great beyond measure.”

57:1   The righteous man perishes,
    and no one lays it to heart;
  devout men are taken away,
    while no one understands.
  For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
    he enters into peace;
  they rest in their beds
    who walk in their uprightness.
  But you, draw near,
    sons of the sorceress,
    offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.
  Whom are you mocking?
    Against whom do you open your mouth wide
    and stick out your tongue?
  Are you not children of transgression,
    the offspring of deceit,
  you who burn with lust among the oaks,
    under every green tree,
  who slaughter your children in the valleys,
    under the clefts of the rocks?
  Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
    they, they, are your lot;
  to them you have poured out a drink offering,
    you have brought a grain offering.
    Shall I relent for these things?
  On a high and lofty mountain
    you have set your bed,
    and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
  Behind the door and the doorpost
    you have set up your memorial;
  for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
    you have gone up to it,
    you have made it wide;
  and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
    you have loved their bed,
    you have looked on nakedness.
  You journeyed to the king with oil
    and multiplied your perfumes;
  you sent your envoys far off,
    and sent down even to Sheol.
10   You were wearied with the length of your way,
    but you did not say, “It is hopeless”;
  you found new life for your strength,
    and so you were not faint.
11   Whom did you dread and fear,
    so that you lied,
  and did not remember me,
    did not lay it to heart?
  Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,
    and you do not fear me?
12   I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
    but they will not profit you.
13   When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
    The wind will carry them all off,
    a breath will take them away.
  But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
    and shall inherit my holy mountain.

14   And it shall be said,
  “Build up, build up, prepare the way,
    remove every obstruction from my people's way.”
15   For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
    who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
  “I dwell in the high and holy place,
    and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
  to revive the spirit of the lowly,
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16   For I will not contend forever,
    nor will I always be angry;
  for the spirit would grow faint before me,
    and the breath of life that I made.
17   Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
    I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
    but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18   I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
    I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19     creating the fruit of the lips.
  Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD,
    “and I will heal him.
20   But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
    for it cannot be quiet,
    and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21   There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Luke 3:21–38 ()

()

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Psalm 84 ()

()

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

84:1   How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O LORD of hosts!
  My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the LORD;
  my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.
  Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
  at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my King and my God.
  Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah
  Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
  As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
  They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!
10   For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11   For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
    the LORD bestows favor and honor.
  No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12   O LORD of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Proverbs 2:16–19 ()

()

16   So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
    from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17   who forsakes the companion of her youth
    and forgets the covenant of her God;
18   for her house sinks down to death,
    and her paths to the departed;
19   none who go to her come back,
    nor do they regain the paths of life.

Thu 17 January, 2019


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