Wednesday, August 20, 2014
God has a Plan for our Lives
20 August 2014
Opening Prayer/Worship Hymn: Now the Day is Over
1. Now the day is over, Night is drawing nigh, Shadows of the evening Steal across the sky.
2. Now the darkness gathers, Stars begin to peep, Birds, and beasts and flowers Soon will be asleep.
3. Jesus, give the weary Calm and sweet repose; With Thy tenderest blessing May mine eyelids close.
4. Grant to little children Visions bright of Thee; Guard the sailors tossing On the deep, blue sea.
5. Comfort those who suffer, Watching late in pain; Those who plan some evil From their sin restrain.
6. Through the long night watches May Thine angels spread Their white wings above me, Watching round my bed.
7. When the morning wakens, Then may I arise Pure, and fresh, and sinless In Thy holy eyes.
8. Glory to the Father, Glory to the Son, And to Thee, blest Spirit, While all ages run.
Theme: God Our Maker Topic: God has a Plan for our Lives
Reading: Genesis 45:1-15
1Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. 3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. 4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ 12“You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.” 14Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.
Just like Joseph, we all have God-given dreams: to be successful, get well, earn a degree, get married, get out of debt, resolve issues in a relationship, break an addiction, and so on. However, at some point between the dream and when it becomes reality, we may encounter setbacks; situations that may cause us to think that the dream will not come true. The truth is that, as far as our expectations have been promised and blessed by God, they will surely come to pass. Joseph passed through several ordeals and near-death experiences before his dream became reality. One interesting fact is that he never doubted that God will fulfill His promise to him. Whatever you are believing God for, trust that He who has a plan for all His children will make your dreams come true in His time. Simply keep believing and never, never quit!
1. How do we know that God has a plan for our lives?
10This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Romans 11:1-2A, 29-32
1I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. 29for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
1 Peter 2:4-10.
4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2. What are the lessons for us in Matthew 15:21-28 regarding trusting that God will make our dreams come true?
21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
3. What are some of the challenges to believing and accepting God’s plan for our lives? How do we overcome these challenges?
2 Chronicles 20:2-6, 9-17, 20-23
2Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 3Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. 5Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 9‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ 10“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 13All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord. 14Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. 15He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ ” 20Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 22As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set mbushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
1How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
2It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.
3It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
God has a plan for each of us. As we trust Him with our dreams and cares, He will make His promises a reality in our lives.
Closing Prayer (Collect for Tenth Sunday after Pentecost)
Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and sent into our hearts the Spirit of your Son.
Give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that all people may know the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.