Thursday, March 4, 2021
Eighteenth Day of Great Lent
 But Israel is saved by the LORD
with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
to all eternity.
 For thus says the LORD,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it a chaos,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
 I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
`Seek me in chaos.’
I the LORD speak the truth,
I declare what is right.
 “Assemble yourselves and come,
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
 Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.
 “Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
 By myself I have sworn,
from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
`To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear.’
 “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed,
all who were incensed against him.
 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall triumph and glory.”
 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man,
 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
 may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.
 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
 with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love,
 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call,
 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.
 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
 Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth?
 He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America