Worship Changes Everything

A psalm of Asaph.

1Surely God is good to Israel,

to those who are pure in heart.

2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;

I had nearly lost my foothold.

3For I envied the arrogant

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4They have no struggles;

their bodies are healthy and strong.

5They are free from the burdens common to man;

they are not plagued by human ills.

6Therefore pride is their necklace;

they clothe themselves with violence.

7From their callous hearts comes iniquity;

the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

8They scoff, and speak with malice;

in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

9Their mouths lay claim to heaven,

and their tongues take possession of the earth.

10Therefore their people turn to them

and drink up waters in abundance.

11They say, “How can God know?

Does the Most High have knowledge?”

12This is what the wicked are like—

always carefree, they increase in wealth.

13Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;

in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

14All day long I have been plagued;

I have been punished every morning.

15If I had said, “I will speak thus,”

I would have betrayed your children.

16When I tried to understand all this,

it was oppressive to me

17till I entered the sanctuary of God;

then I understood their final destiny.

18Surely you place them on slippery ground;

you cast them down to ruin.

19How suddenly are they destroyed,

completely swept away by terrors!

20As a dream when one awakes,

so when you arise, O Lord,

you will despise them as fantasies.

21When my heart was grieved

and my spirit embittered,

22I was senseless and ignorant;

I was a brute beast before you.

23Yet I am always with you;

you hold me by my right hand.

24You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will take me into glory.

25Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

27Those who are far from you will perish;

you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28But as for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;

I will tell of all your deeds.

Make Yourself Useful

3Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Everyday Resolutions

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

A Joyful Union

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

The Perfect Union

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

Who’s Your Carrier?

46Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;

their idols are borne by beasts of burden.

The images that are carried about are burdensome,

a burden for the weary.

2They stoop and bow down together;

unable to rescue the burden,

they themselves go off into captivity.

3“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,

all you who remain of the house of Israel,

you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,

and have carried since your birth.

4Even to your old age and gray hairs

I am he, I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

5“To whom will you compare me or count me equal?

To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?

6Some pour out gold from their bags

and weigh out silver on the scales;

they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,

and they bow down and worship it.

7They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;

they set it up in its place, and there it stands.

From that spot it cannot move.

Though one cries out to it, it does not answer;

it cannot save him from his troubles.

8“Remember this, fix it in mind,

take it to heart, you rebels.

9Remember the former things, those of long ago;

I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me.

10I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say: My purpose will stand,

and I will do all that I please.

11From the east I summon a bird of prey;

from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.

What I have said, that will I bring about;

what I have planned, that will I do.

12Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,

you who are far from righteousness.

13I am bringing my righteousness near,

it is not far away;

and my salvation will not be delayed.

I will grant salvation to Zion,

my splendor to Israel.

A Call to Action

5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud

but gives grace to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Feed My Sheep

5To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.