Successful Living

‘Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honour. Give all your worries and cares to God.’ 1 Peter 5:6–7 NLT

Somebody pointed this out: ‘The trouble with success is that the formula is the same as the one for a nervous breakdown.’ The Bible gives us the real formula for successful living. It encompasses three areas: authority, attitude, and assurance. ‘Accept the authority of the elders… humble yourselves under the mighty power of God… Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.’ (1 Peter 5:5–7 NLT)

Let’s look at each of the three areas:

(1) Submit yourself to those who are wise. Listen to their counsel, become accountable, accept reproof, take suggestions, respect experience, and follow a worthy example. Only when you can take advice will you be qualified to give it. Only when you respect and submit to leadership will you be qualified to lead others.

(2) Humble yourself. In Scripture the ‘hand’ of God symbolises two things: His discipline and His deliverance. When you humble yourself before Him, you’re accepting His discipline as being for your good. You’re also acknowledging His willingness to answer your cry for help and deliver you by whatever means He chooses.

(3) Throw yourself on God’s mercy and care. Trouble and disappointment will surely come, and when they do you need to throw yourself on the Lord. The situation may be too big for you, but it’s never too big for Him. Does that mean there’s no place for planning, goal-setting, and hard work? No, it just means you’re willing to do things God’s way, which is always best.

SoulFood: Job 35–37, Matt 26:26–35, Ps 6, Pro 8:32–33

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

Job 35–37 ()

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35:1 And Elihu answered and said:

  “Do you think this to be just?
    Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’
  that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
    How am I better off than if I had sinned?’
  I will answer you
    and your friends with you.
  Look at the heavens, and see;
    and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.
  If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
    And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
  If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
    Or what does he receive from your hand?
  Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
    and your righteousness a son of man.
  “Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
    they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.
10   But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
    who gives songs in the night,
11   who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
    and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
12   There they cry out, but he does not answer,
    because of the pride of evil men.
13   Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
    nor does the Almighty regard it.
14   How much less when you say that you do not see him,
    that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!
15   And now, because his anger does not punish,
    and he does not take much note of transgression,
16   Job opens his mouth in empty talk;
    he multiplies words without knowledge.”

36:1 And Elihu continued, and said:

  “Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
    for I have yet something to say on God's behalf.
  I will get my knowledge from afar
    and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
  For truly my words are not false;
    one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.
  “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
    he is mighty in strength of understanding.
  He does not keep the wicked alive,
    but gives the afflicted their right.
  He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
    but with kings on the throne
    he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
  And if they are bound in chains
    and caught in the cords of affliction,
  then he declares to them their work
    and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
10   He opens their ears to instruction
    and commands that they return from iniquity.
11   If they listen and serve him,
    they complete their days in prosperity,
    and their years in pleasantness.
12   But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
    and die without knowledge.
13   “The godless in heart cherish anger;
    they do not cry for help when he binds them.
14   They die in youth,
    and their life ends among the cult prostitutes.
15   He delivers the afflicted by their affliction
    and opens their ear by adversity.
16   He also allured you out of distress
    into a broad place where there was no cramping,
    and what was set on your table was full of fatness.
17   “But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;
    judgment and justice seize you.
18   Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing,
    and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.
19   Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress,
    or all the force of your strength?
20   Do not long for the night,
    when peoples vanish in their place.
21   Take care; do not turn to iniquity,
    for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
22   Behold, God is exalted in his power;
    who is a teacher like him?
23   Who has prescribed for him his way,
    or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?
24   “Remember to extol his work,
    of which men have sung.
25   All mankind has looked on it;
    man beholds it from afar.
26   Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
    the number of his years is unsearchable.
27   For he draws up the drops of water;
    they distill his mist in rain,
28   which the skies pour down
    and drop on mankind abundantly.
29   Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
    the thunderings of his pavilion?
30   Behold, he scatters his lightning about him
    and covers the roots of the sea.
31   For by these he judges peoples;
    he gives food in abundance.
32   He covers his hands with the lightning
    and commands it to strike the mark.
33   Its crashing declares his presence;
    the cattle also declare that he rises.

37:1   “At this also my heart trembles
    and leaps out of its place.
  Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
    and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
  Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
    and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
  After it his voice roars;
    he thunders with his majestic voice,
    and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
  God thunders wondrously with his voice;
    he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
  For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
    likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
  He seals up the hand of every man,
    that all men whom he made may know it.
  Then the beasts go into their lairs,
    and remain in their dens.
  From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
    and cold from the scattering winds.
10   By the breath of God ice is given,
    and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11   He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
    the clouds scatter his lightning.
12   They turn around and around by his guidance,
    to accomplish all that he commands them
    on the face of the habitable world.
13   Whether for correction or for his land
    or for love, he causes it to happen.
14   “Hear this, O Job;
    stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15   Do you know how God lays his command upon them
    and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16   Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
    the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
17   you whose garments are hot
    when the earth is still because of the south wind?
18   Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
    hard as a cast metal mirror?
19   Teach us what we shall say to him;
    we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
20   Shall it be told him that I would speak?
    Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?
21   “And now no one looks on the light
    when it is bright in the skies,
    when the wind has passed and cleared them.
22   Out of the north comes golden splendor;
    God is clothed with awesome majesty.
23   The Almighty—we cannot find him;
    he is great in power;
    justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
24   Therefore men fear him;
    he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”

Matthew 26:26–35 ()

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26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Psalm 6 ()

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To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

6:1   O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath.
  Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
    heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
  My soul also is greatly troubled.
    But you, O LORD—how long?
  Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
    save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
  For in death there is no remembrance of you;
    in Sheol who will give you praise?
  I am weary with my moaning;
    every night I flood my bed with tears;
    I drench my couch with my weeping.
  My eye wastes away because of grief;
    it grows weak because of all my foes.
  Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
    for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
  The LORD has heard my plea;
    the LORD accepts my prayer.
10   All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
    they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

Proverbs 8:32–33 ()

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32   “And now, O sons, listen to me:
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33   Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.

Mon 30 March, 2020


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