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Isaiah 45; Isaiah 46; 1 Thessalonians 3

1 The Lord says this to Cyrus, His anointed, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him, to unloose the loins of kings, to open the doors before him and the gates will not be shut: 2 "I will go before you and level the uneven places; I will shatter the bronze doors and cut the iron bars in two. 3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches from secret places, so that you may know that I, the Lord, the God of Israel call you by your name. 4 I call you by your name, because of Jacob My servant and Israel My chosen one. I give a name to you, though you do not know Me. 5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. I will strengthen you, though you do not know Me, 6 so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is no one but Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things. 8 "Heavens, sprinkle from above, and let the skies shower righteousness. Let the earth open up that salvation sprout and righteousness spring up with it. I, the Lord, have created it. 9 "Woe to the one who argues with his Maker- one clay pot among many. Does clay say to the one forming it: What are you making? Or does your work [say]: He has no hands? 10 How absurd is the one who says to [his] father: What are you fathering? or to [his] mother: What are you giving birth to?" 11 This is what the Lord, the Holy One of Israel and its Maker, says: "Ask Me what is to happen to My sons, and instruct Me about the work of My hands. 12 I made the earth, and created man on it. It was My hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. 13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and will level all roads for him. He will rebuild My city, and set My exiles free, not for a price or a bribe," says the Lord of Hosts. 14 This is what the Lord says: The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush and the Sabeans, men of stature, will come over to you and will be yours; they will follow you, they will come over in chains; and bow down to you. They will confess to you: God is indeed with you, and there is no other; there is no other God. 15 Yes, You are a God who hides Himself, God of Israel, Savior. 16 All of them are put to shame, even humiliated; the makers of idols go in humiliation together. 17 Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will not be put to shame or humiliated for all eternity. 18 For this is what the Lord says- God is the Creator of the heavens. He formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it to be empty, [but] formed it to be inhabited- "I am the Lord, and there is no other. 19 I have not spoken in secret, somewhere in a land of darkness. I did not say to the descendants of Jacob: Seek Me in a wasteland. I, the Lord, speak truthfully; I say what is right. 20 "Come, gather together, and draw near, you fugitives of the nations. Those who carry their wooden idols, and pray to a god who cannot save, have no knowledge. 21 Speak up and present [your case]- yes, let them take counsel together. Who predicted this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, the Lord? There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except Me. 22 Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 It will be said to Me: Only in the Lord is righteousness and strength." All who are incensed against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. 25 All the descendants of Israel will be justified and find glory through the Lord.
1 Bel crouches; Nebo cowers. Their idols are consigned to beasts and cattle. The [images] you carry are loaded, as a burden for the weary [animal]. 2 The gods cower; they crouch together; they are not able to rescue the burden, but they themselves go into captivity. 3 "Listen to Me, house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been sustained from the womb, carried along since birth. 4 I will be the same until [your] old age, and I will bear [you] up when you turn gray. I have made [you], and I will carry [you]; I will bear and save [you]. 5 "Who will you compare Me or make Me equal to? Who will you measure Me with, so that we should be like each other? 6 Those who pour out their bags of gold and weigh out silver on scales- they hire a goldsmith and he makes it into a god. Then they kneel and bow down to it. 7 They lift it to their shoulder and bear it along; they set it in its place, and there it stands; it does not budge from its place. They cry out to it but it doesn't answer; it saves no one from his trouble. 8 "Remember this and be brave; take it to heart, you transgressors! 9 Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; [I am]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. God, and no one is like Me. 10 I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will. 11 I call a bird of prey from the east, a man for My purpose from a far country. Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about. I have planned it; I will also do it. 12 Listen to me, you hardhearted, far removed from justice: 13 I am bringing My justice near; it is not far away, and My salvation will not delay. I will put salvation in Zion, My splendor in Israel.
1 Therefore, when we could no longer stand it, we thought it was better to be left alone in Athens. 2 And we sent Timothy, our brother and God's co-worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 so that no one will be shaken by these persecutions. For you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we told you previously that we were going to suffer persecution, and as you know, it happened. 5 For this reason, when I could no longer stand it, I also sent to find out about your faith, fearing that the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be for nothing. 6 But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love, and that you always have good memories of us, wanting to see us, as we also want to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we were encouraged about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience because of you before our God, 10 as we pray earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.
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