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Isaiah 39:1-41:16 New Living Translation (NLT)

Envoys from Babylon

39 Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered. Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?”

Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”

“What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah.

“They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.”

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. ‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’”

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”

Comfort for God’s People

40 “Comfort, comfort my people,”
    says your God.
“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone
    and her sins are pardoned.
Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over
    for all her sins.”

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness
    for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland
    for our God!
Fill in the valleys,
    and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves,
    and smooth out the rough places.
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
    The Lord has spoken!”[a]

A voice said, “Shout!”
    I asked, “What should I shout?”

“Shout that people are like the grass.
    Their beauty fades as quickly
    as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade
    beneath the breath of the Lord.
    And so it is with people.
The grass withers and the flowers fade,
    but the word of our God stands forever.”

O Zion, messenger of good news,
    shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.[b]
    Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
    “Your God is coming!”
10 Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
    He will rule with a powerful arm.
    See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
    He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
    He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

The Lord Has No Equal

12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
    Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth
    or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?[c]
    Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
    Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right
    or show him the path of justice?

15 No, for all the nations of the world
    are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more
    than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
    as though it were a grain of sand.
16 All the wood in Lebanon’s forests
    and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough
    to make a burnt offering worthy of our God.
17 The nations of the world are worth nothing to him.
    In his eyes they count for less than nothing—
    mere emptiness and froth.

18 To whom can you compare God?
    What image can you find to resemble him?
19 Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold,
    overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
20 Or if people are too poor for that,
    they might at least choose wood that won’t decay
and a skilled craftsman
    to carve an image that won’t fall down!

21 Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand?
    Are you deaf to the words of God—
the words he gave before the world began?
    Are you so ignorant?
22 God sits above the circle of the earth.
    The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!
He spreads out the heavens like a curtain
    and makes his tent from them.
23 He judges the great people of the world
    and brings them all to nothing.
24 They hardly get started, barely taking root,
    when he blows on them and they wither.
    The wind carries them off like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?
    Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

26 Look up into the heavens.
    Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
    calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
    not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
    O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

God’s Help for Israel

41 “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea.
    Bring your strongest arguments.
Come now and speak.
    The court is ready for your case.

“Who has stirred up this king from the east,
    rightly calling him to God’s service?
Who gives this man victory over many nations
    and permits him to trample their kings underfoot?
With his sword, he reduces armies to dust.
    With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
He chases them away and goes on safely,
    though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
Who has done such mighty deeds,
    summoning each new generation from the beginning of time?
It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last.
    I alone am he.”

The lands beyond the sea watch in fear.
    Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
The idol makers encourage one another,
    saying to each other, “Be strong!”
The carver encourages the goldsmith,
    and the molder helps at the anvil.
    “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.”
Carefully they join the parts together,
    then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.

“But as for you, Israel my servant,
    Jacob my chosen one,
    descended from Abraham my friend,
I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
    saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
    and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there,
    confused and humiliated.
Anyone who opposes you will die
    and come to nothing.
12 You will look in vain
    for those who tried to conquer you.
Those who attack you
    will come to nothing.
13 For I hold you by your right hand—
    I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
    ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob,
    don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you.
I am the Lord, your Redeemer.
    I am the Holy One of Israel.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument
    with many sharp teeth.
You will tear your enemies apart,
    making chaff of mountains.
16 You will toss them into the air,
    and the wind will blow them all away;
    a whirlwind will scatter them.
Then you will rejoice in the Lord.
    You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. 40:3-5 Greek version reads He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, / “Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! / Clear a road for our God! / Fill in the valleys, / and level the mountains and hills. / And then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, / and all people will see the salvation sent from God. / The Lord has spoken!” Compare Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4-6.
  2. 40:9 Or O messenger of good news, shout to Zion from the mountaintops! Shout it louder to Jerusalem.
  3. 40:13 Greek version reads Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Compare Rom 11:34; 1 Cor 2:16.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Ephesians 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Spiritual Blessings

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,[c] for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own[d] by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[e] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[f] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[g]

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1 The most ancient manuscripts do not include in Ephesus.
  2. 1:6 Greek to us in the beloved.
  3. 1:11 Or we have become God’s inheritance.
  4. 1:13 Or he put his seal on you.
  5. 1:15 Some manuscripts read your faithfulness to the Lord Jesus and to God’s people everywhere.
  6. 1:17 Or to give you the Spirit of wisdom.
  7. 1:18 Or called, and the rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his holy people.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Psalm 66 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 66

For the choir director: A song. A psalm.

Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
    Sing about the glory of his name!
    Tell the world how glorious he is.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
    Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.
Everything on earth will worship you;
    they will sing your praises,
    shouting your name in glorious songs.” Interlude

Come and see what our God has done,
    what awesome miracles he performs for people!
He made a dry path through the Red Sea,[a]
    and his people went across on foot.
    There we rejoiced in him.
For by his great power he rules forever.
    He watches every movement of the nations;
    let no rebel rise in defiance. Interlude

Let the whole world bless our God
    and loudly sing his praises.
Our lives are in his hands,
    and he keeps our feet from stumbling.
10 You have tested us, O God;
    you have purified us like silver.
11 You captured us in your net
    and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.
12 Then you put a leader over us.[b]
    We went through fire and flood,
    but you brought us to a place of great abundance.

13 Now I come to your Temple with burnt offerings
    to fulfill the vows I made to you—
14 yes, the sacred vows that I made
    when I was in deep trouble.
15 That is why I am sacrificing burnt offerings to you—
    the best of my rams as a pleasing aroma,
    and a sacrifice of bulls and male goats. Interlude

16 Come and listen, all you who fear God,
    and I will tell you what he did for me.
17 For I cried out to him for help,
    praising him as I spoke.
18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.
19 But God did listen!
    He paid attention to my prayer.
20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
    or withdraw his unfailing love from me.

Footnotes:

  1. 66:6 Hebrew the sea.
  2. 66:12 Or You made people ride over our heads.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 23:25-28 New Living Translation (NLT)

25 So give your father and mother joy!
    May she who gave you birth be happy.

26 O my son, give me your heart.
    May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
27 A prostitute is a dangerous trap;
    a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
28 She hides and waits like a robber,
    eager to make more men unfaithful.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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