Preparing our Hearts to Worship
In an effort to help you prepare for the January 21, 2018, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on God’s Story of Salvation, I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “Can Anything Good Come From This?” The main Scriptures for the day are Genesis 37; 39; 41-48; 50.
(Pick and choose from the many resources and options, which I have tried to make available for your devotional life.)
From the Scriptures
Please read through Chapter 3 of “The Story” this week. This is a lightly edited selection of Scriptures from Genesis 37-50 that seeks to maintain the broad story line of the Scriptures.
You can watch The Story’s first chapter, or read or listen to the passages here.
(You can read or listen to all of these passages in a variety of translations at Bible.is.)
From the Creeds and Confessions
Belgic Confession Article 13
We believe that this good God,
after creating all things,
did not abandon them to chance or fortune
but leads and governs them
according to his holy will,
in such a way that nothing happens in this world
without God’s orderly arrangement.
Yet God is not the author of,
and cannot be charged with,
the sin that occurs.
For God’s power and goodness
are so great and incomprehensible
that God arranges and does his works very well and justly
even when the devils and the wicked act unjustly.
We do not wish to inquire
with undue curiosity
into what God does that surpasses human understanding
and is beyond our ability to comprehend.
But in all humility and reverence
we adore the just judgments of God,
which are hidden from us,
being content to be Christ’s disciples,
so as to learn only what God shows us in the Word,
without going beyond those limits.
This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort
since it teaches us
that nothing can happen to us by chance
but only by the arrangement of our gracious
who watches over us with fatherly care,
sustaining all creatures under his lordship,
so that not one of the hairs on our heads
(for they are all numbered)
nor even a little bird
can fall to the ground
without the will of our Father.20
In this thought we rest,
knowing that God holds in check
the devils and all our enemies,
who cannot hurt us
without divine permission and will.
For that reason we reject
the damnable error of the Epicureans,
who say that God does not get involved in anything
and leaves everything to chance.
Heidelberg Catechism Q27
Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
A. The almighty and ever present power of God1
by which God upholds, as with his hand,
and all creatures,2
and so rules them that
leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and lean years,
food and drink,
health and sickness,
prosperity and poverty—3
all things, in fact,
come to us
not by chance4
but by his fatherly hand.5
1 Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-28
2 Heb. 1:3
3 Jer. 5:24; Acts 14:15-17/a>; John 9:3; Prov. 22:2
4 Prov. 16:33
5 Matt. 10:2
Heidelberg Catechism Q28
Q. How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us?
A. We can be patient when things go against us,1
thankful when things go well,2
and for the future we can have
good confidence in our faithful God and Father
that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.3
For all creatures are so completely in God’s hand
that without his will
they can neither move nor be moved.4
1 Job 1:21-22; James 1:3
2 Deut. 8:10; 1 Thess. 5:18
3 Ps. 55:22; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:38-39
4 Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov. 21:1; Acts 17:24-28
From the songs, hymns and spiritual songs of the Church
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander): Lyrics, Video
Sovereign (Chris Tomlin): Lyrics and Video
For Thoughtful Reflection, Prayer, or further Study
Read and reflect on this devotional from Our Daily Bread.
The Sermon will be available online on January 21, 2018 at 12:30 pm.
Disclaimer: Reference to a particular article or website does not constitute endorsement or agreement with everything in that article or on that website.