Move On: 2

‘Anyone who starts ploughing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s Kingdom!’ Luke 9:62

If you’re wise, you’ll do four things:

(1) Focus on the road ahead. By looking in the rear-view mirror instead of what’s up ahead, you end up in the gutter or over the cliff. Focus on the fact you’ve survived the past, and learned from it. God has kept you around for a reason; find it and pour your life into it.

(2) Stop looking for easy answers. Visit any bookshop and you’ll find shelves lined with titles promising ten easy steps to money, five trouble-free keys to success, or twelve simple strategies for health, wealth and fulfilment in life. Nah, doesn’t work that way. Life is hard, and deep inside we know all those simplistic approaches don’t cut it. But the fact your life is difficult doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path. An old country preacher pointed out, ‘If you don’t come face to face with the devil sometimes, you must be going in the same direction he is.’

(3) Stay on your path—not everybody will go with you. Some of your closest friends will never change, and they won’t like it if you do. Your decision to change doesn’t mean they’ll do the same. Nevertheless, you must be committed to growing and moving to the next level in life.

(4) Believe in your abilities—God does! When someone tells you you’ll never amount to anything, smile and keep going. God alone knows your potential because of the gifts He’s given you. If you’re willing to trust Him and work hard, He’ll help you fulfil your calling. In the final analysis, godly fruit is an argument your enemies and critics can’t disprove.

SoulFood: Rom 15–16, Matt 14:1–12, Ps 145:1–13, Pr 4:20–22

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Romans 15–16 ()

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15:1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

  “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
    and sing to your name.”

10 And again it is said,

  “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

  “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again Isaiah says,

  “The root of Jesse will come,
    even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
  in him will the Gentiles hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

  “Those who have never been told of him will see,
    and those who have never heard will understand.”

22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11 Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.

23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Matthew 14:1–12 ()

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14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

Psalm 145:1–13 ()

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A Song of Praise. Of David.

145:1   I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
  Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever.
  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.
  One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
  On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
  They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
  They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
  The LORD is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
  The LORD is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10   All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
11   They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
12   to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
  [The LORD is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.]

Proverbs 4:20–22 ()

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20   My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21   Let them not escape from your sight;
    keep them within your heart.
22   For they are life to those who find them,
    and healing to all their flesh.

Fri 12 February, 2021


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