Saturday, December 24, 2011
Psalm 53 To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath. A Maskil of David.
1) The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
there is none who does good.
2) God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
3) They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
4) Have those who work evil no knowledge,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon God?
5) There they are, in great terror,
where there is no terror!
For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you;
you put them to shame, for God has rejected them.
6) Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
Friday, December 23, 2011
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25) For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26) For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27) But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God."
"I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16) For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." 17) And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18) For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19) And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20) And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21) But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22) For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!" 23) And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
You have heard today the story from the Gospel of St. Luke of how it came to pass that our Lord Christ was born and then also the message of the angel, who announced who the boy was who was born. Now we shall go on and take up the message of the angel. So for today you have heard only that the child was born and that he is the Lord and Savior. Thus we spoke of the story, how it unfolded, and who the persons in it were. This article is so high that even today it is believed by only a few. Nevertheless, God has preserved it even through those who have not believed it. For at all times in the monasteries and universities there have been disputations and lectures which dealt with the fact that Christ the Lord, born of Mary, is true man and God. But it went no further than saying and hearing it. But this belief is held by the devil too and the Turks and all the godless among Christians, and is the kind of belief which everybody believes that it is true but would not die for it, as Eck and many others show today. If they had as much from Christ and the teaching of the gospel as from the devil, they would also think as much of Christ. The Turk too admits that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that Mary was an immaculate virgin, and that Christ was more than a man; but the Word of God, as it is given in the gospel, he denies, and yet I fear that the Turk believes more of this article than does the pope. Therefore it is a high article to believe that this infant, born of Mary, is true God; for nobody’s reason can ever accept the fact that he who created heaven and earth and is adored by angels was born of a virgin. That is the article. Nobody believes it except he who also knows this faith, namely, that this child is the Lord and Savior.
But for whom was he born and whose Lord and Savior is he? The angels declare that he was born Lord and Savior. The Turks, the pope, and the scholars say the same thing, but only to the extent that it brings in money and honor. But that anyone could say, “to you is born,” as the angel says, this is the faith which we must preach about. But we cannot preach about it as we would like to do. Indeed, who could ever grasp [the full meaning of] these words of the evangelist: “a Savior, who is the Lord,” and, “to you”! I know well enough how to talk about it and what to believe about it, just as others do. So there are many who have this belief and do it, just as others do. So there are many who have this belief and do not doubt this first belief that Christ is the Lord, the Savior, and the virgin’s Son. This I too have never doubted. But if these words are planted no higher than my thoughts, then they have no firm roots. We are certain that this was proclaimed by the angel, but the firm faith does not follow. For the reason does not understand both sides of this faith, first that Christ is a man, but also the Savior and Lord or King. This needs to be revealed from heaven. One who really has the first faith also has the other.
Who, then, are those to whom this joyful news is to be proclaimed? Those who are faint-hearted and feel the burden of their sins, like the shepherds, to whom the angels proclaim the message, letting the great lords in Jerusalem, who do not accept it, go on sleeping. Beyond the first faith there must be the second faith, that Christ is not only the virgin’s Son, but also the Lord of angels and the Savior of men. The words anyone can understand, antisacramentarians, fanatics, sectarians, and Turks; but they do not proceed from the heart they come only from hearing and go no farther than hearing. This is not faith, however, but only a memory of what has been heard, that one knows that he has heard it. Nobody ventures upon it, so as to stake goods, life, and honor upon it. And yet we must preach it for the sake of those who are in the multitude to whom the angel preached.
This is our theology, which we preach in order that we may understand what the angel wants. Mary bore the child, took it to her breast and nursed it, and the Father in heaven has his Son, lying in the manger and the mother’s lap. Why did God do all this? Why does Mary guard the child as a mother should? And reason answers: in order that we may make an idol of her, that honor may be paid to the mother. Mary becomes all this without her knowledge and consent, and all the songs and glory and honor are addressed to the mother. And yet the text does not sound forth the honor of the mother, for the angel says, “I bring to you good news of great joy; for to you is born this day the Savior” [Luke 2:10-11]. I am to accept the child and his birth and forget the mother, as far as this is possible, although her part cannot be forgotten, for where there is a birth there must also be a mother. Nevertheless, we dare not put our faith in the mother but only in the fact that the child was born. And the angel desired that we should see nothing but the child which is born, just as the angels themselves, as though they were blind, saw nothing but the child born of the virgin, and desired that all created things should be as nothing compared with this child, that we should see nothing, be it harps, gold, goods, honor, power, and the like which we would prefer before their message. For if I received even the costliest and the best in the world, it still does not have the name of Savior. And if the Turk were ten times stronger than he is, he could not for one moment save me from my infirmity, to say nothing of the peril of death, and even less from the smallest sin or from death itself. In my sin, my death, I must take leave of all created things. No, sun, moon, stars, all creatures, physicians, emperors, kings, wise men and potentates cannot help me. When I die I shall see nothing but black darkness, and yet that light, “To you is born this day the Savior” [Luke 2:11], remains in my eyes and fills all heaven and earth. The Savior will help me when all have forsaken me. And when the heavens and the stars and all creatures stare at me with horrible mien, I see nothing in heaven and earth but this child. So great should that light which declares that he is my Savior become in my eyes that I can say: Mary, you did not bear this child for yourself alone. The child is not yours; you did not bring him forth for yourself, but for me, even though you are his mother, even though you held him in your arms and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and picked him up and laid him down. But I have a greater honor than your honor as his mother. For your honor pertains to your motherhood of the body of the child, but my honor is this, that you have my treasure, so that I know none, neither men nor angels, who can help me except this child whom you, O Mary, hold in your arms. If a man could put out of his mind all that he is and has except this child, and if for him everything—money, goods, power, or honor—fades into darkness and he despises everything on earth compared with this child, so that heaven with its stars and earth with all its power and all its treasures becomes nothing to him, that man would have the true gain and fruit of this message of the angel. And for us the time must come when suddenly all will be darkness and we shall know nothing but this message of the angel: “I bring to you good news of great joy; for to you is born this day the Savior” [Luke 2:10-11].
This, then, is the faith we preach, of which the Turks and the pope and all the sectarians know nothing. The fanatics do, it is true, snatch to themselves the words of the angels, but how earnest they are is plain to see. For they receive the Word only as a piece of paper, as the cup and corporal receive the body and blood of Christ. The paper does no more than contain something and pass it on to others, but yet it remains paper. Thus you copy something from one paper on another paper; from my tongue the Word sounds in your ear, but it does not go to the heart. So they receive this greatest of treasures to their great harm and still think they are Christians, just as though the paper were to say: I certainly have in me the written words, “to you is born this day the Savior”; therefore I shall be saved. But then the fire comes and burns up the paper.
Therefore this is the chief article, which separates us from all the heathen, that you, O man, may not only learn that Christ, born of the virgin, is the Lord and Savior, but also accept the fact that he is your Lord and Savior, that you may be able to boast in your hear: I hear the Word that sounds from heaven and says: This child who is born of the virgin is not only his mother’s son. I have more than the mother’s estate; he is more mine than Mary’s, for he was born for me, for the angel said, “To you” is born the Savior. Then ought you to say, Amen, I thank thee, dear Lord.
But then reason says: Who knows? I believe that Christ, born of the virgin, is the Lord and Savior and he may perhaps help Peter and Paul, but for me, a sinner, he was not born. But even if you believed that much, it would still not be enough, unless there were added to it the faith that he was born for you. For he was not born merely in order that I should honor the mother, that she should be praised because he was born of the virgin mother. This honor belongs to none except her and it is not to be despised, for the angel said, “Blessed are you among women!” [Luke 1:28]. But it must not be too highly esteemed lest one deny what is written here: “To you is born this day the Savior.” He was not merely concerned to be born of a virgin; it was infinitely more than that. It was this, as she herself sings in the Magnificat: “He has helped his servant Israel” [Luke 1:54]; not that he was born of me and my virginity but born for you and for your benefit, not only for my honor.
Take yourself in hand, examine yourself and see whether you are a Christian! If you can sing: The Son, who is proclaimed to be a Lord and Savior, is my Savior; and if you can confirm the message of the angel and say yes to it and believe it in your heart, then your heart will be filled with such assurance and joy and confidence, and you will not worry much about even the costliest and best that this world has to offer. For when I can speak to the virgin from the bottom of my heart and say: O Mary, noble, tender virgin, you have borne a child; this I want more than robes and guldens, yea, more than my body and life; then you are closer to the treasure than everything else in heaven and earth, as Ps. 73 [:25] says, “There is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee.” You see how a person rejoices when he receives a robe or ten guldens. But how many are there who shout and jump for joy when they hear the message of the angel: “To you is born this day the Savior?” Indeed, the majority look upon it as a sermon that must be preached, and when they have heard it, consider it a trifling thing, and go away just as they were before. This shows that we have neither the first nor the second faith. We do not believe that the virgin mother bore a son and that he is the Lord and Savior unless, added to this, I believe the second thing, namely, that he is my Savior and Lord. When I can say: This I accept as my own, because the angel meant it for me, then, if I believe it in my heart, I shall not fail to love the mother Mary, and even more then child, and especially the Father. For, if it is true that the child was born of the virgin and is mine, then I have no angry God and I must know the feel that there is nothing but laughter and joy in the heart of the Father and no sadness in my heart. For, if what the angel says is true, that he is our Lord and Savior, what can sin do against us? “If God is for us, who is against us?” [Rom. 8:31]. Greater words than these I cannot speak, nor all the angels and even the Holy Spirit, as is sufficiently testified by the beautiful and devout songs that have been made about it. I do not trust myself to express it. I most gladly hear you sing and speak of it, but as long as no joy is there, so long is faith still weak or even nonexistent, and you still do not believe the angel.
You can see what our papists and Junkers, who have chosen innumerable saviors, have felt about this faith. Indeed, the papists still want to retain the mass, the invocation of saints, and their invented works by which we are to be saved. This is as much as to say, I do not believe in the Savior and Lord whom Mary bore; and yet they sing the words of the angel, hold their triple masses [at Christmas] and play their organs. They speak the words with their tongues but their heart has another savior. And the same is true in the monasteries: if you want to be saved, remember to keep the rule and regulations of Francis and you will have a gracious God! And at the Diet of Augsburg they decided to stick to this. In the name of all of the devils, let them stick there! It has been said sufficiently that this Savior lies in the manger. But if there is any other thing that saves me, then I rightly call it my savior. If the sun, moon, and stars save, I can call them saviors. If St. Bartholomew or St Anthony or a pilgrimage to St. James or good works save, then they surely are my savior. If St. Francis, then he is my savior. But then what is left of the honor of the child who was born this day, whom the angel calls Lord and Savior, and who wants to keep his name, which is Savior and Christ the Lord. If I set up any savior except this child, no matter who or what it is or is called, then he is not the Savior. But the text says that he is the Savior. And if this is true—and it is the truth—then let everything else go.
One who hears the message of the angel and believes it will be filled with fear, like the shepherds. True, it is too high for me to believe that I should come into this treasure without any merit on my part. And yet, so it must be. In the papacy this message was not preached in the pulpit, and I am afraid that it will disappear again. It was the other message that the devil initiated and has allowed to remain in the papacy. All their hymns are to this effect. Among the Turks the devil has completely wiped it out. Therefore, remember it, sing it, and learn it, while there is still time! I fear that the time will come when we shall not be allowed to hear, believe, and sing this message in public, and the time has already come when it is no longer understood; though Satan does not allow it to be spoken with the mouth, as the papists do. But when it comes to declaring that he is born for you and to singing:
In dulci jubilo
Now sing with hearts aglow!
Our delight and pleasure
Lies in praesepio
Like sunshine is our treasure
Matris in gremio
Alpha est et O!
—this he is unwilling to allow.
What we have said, then, has been about that second faith, which is not only to believe in Mary’s Son, but rather that he who lies in the virgin’s lap is our Savior, that you accept this and give thanks to God, who so loved you that he gave you a Savior who is yours. And for a sign he sent the angel from heaven to proclaim him, in order that nothing else should be preached except that this child is the Savior and far better than heaven and earth. Him, therefore, we should acknowledge and accept; confess him as our Savior in every need, call upon him, and never doubt that he will save us from all misfortune. Amen.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Isaiah 1:2) Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
"Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
3) The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand."
4) Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
5) Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
6) From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.
7) Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
8) And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.
9) If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.
10) Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11) "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
12) "When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13) Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14) Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15) When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16) Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17) learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
18) "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19) If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20) but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Psalm 148:1)Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2) Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
3) Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4) Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5) Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
6) And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
7) Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8) fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
9) Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10) Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
11) Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12) Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
13) Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14) He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 42 To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.
1) As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2) My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3) My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
"Where is your God?"
4) These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
5) Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
6) and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7) Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8) By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9) I say to God, my rock:
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?"
10) As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
"Where is your God?"
Monday, December 19, 2011
Psalm 63 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1) O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2) So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3) Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4) So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5) My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6) when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7) for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8) My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9) But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10) they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11) But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
Friday, December 16, 2011
"Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8) Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9) Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10) So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ "
Psalm 41 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1) Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
2) the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3) The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.
4) As for me, I said, "O Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you!"
5) My enemies say of me in malice,
"When will he die, and his name perish?"
6) And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
7) All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.
8) They say, "A deadly thing is poured out on him;
he will not rise again from where he lies."
9) Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10) But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11) By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12) But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
13) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
49) And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?" 50) And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51) And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
52) And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43) And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44) She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45) And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!"
46) But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." 47) And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48) And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."
49) While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more." 50) But Jesus on hearing this answered him, "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well." 51) And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52) And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, "Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping."
53) And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54) But taking her by the hand he called, saying, "Child, arise." 55) And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56) And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
"I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him. 14) And he charged him to tell no one, but "go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them." 15) But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16) But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Psalm 66 To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm.
1) Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2) sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3) Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
4) All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name." Selah
5) Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6) He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7) who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8) Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9) who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10) For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11) You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12) you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
13) I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
14) that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15) I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
16) Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17) I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
18) If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19) But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20) Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
Friday, December 9, 2011
Joel 2:1) Blow a trumpet in Zion;
sound an alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,
2) a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful people;
their like has never been before,
nor will be again after them
through the years of all generations.
3) Fire devours before them,
and behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
but behind them a desolate wilderness,
and nothing escapes them.
4) Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
and like war horses they run.
5) As with the rumbling of chariots,
they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire
devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army
drawn up for battle.
6) Before them peoples are in anguish;
all faces grow pale.
7) Like warriors they charge;
like soldiers they scale the wall.
They march each on his way;
they do not swerve from their paths.
8) They do not jostle one another;
each marches in his path;
they burst through the weapons
and are not halted.
9) They leap upon the city,
they run upon the walls,
they climb up into the houses,
they enter through the windows like a thief.
10) The earth quakes before them;
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
11) The Lord utters his voice
before his army,
for his camp is exceedingly great;
he who executes his word is powerful.
For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome;
who can endure it?
Psalm 79 A Psalm of Asaph.
1) O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2) They have given the bodies of your servants
to the birds of the heavens for food,
the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth.
3) They have poured out their blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there was no one to bury them.
4) We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
mocked and derided by those around us.
5) How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
6) Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call upon your name!
7) For they have devoured Jacob
and laid waste his habitation.
8) Do not remember against us our former iniquities;
let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
9) Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us, and atone for our sins,
for your name’s sake!
10) Why should the nations say,
"Where is their God?"
Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our eyes!
11) Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
12) Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors
the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
13) But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
14) "Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"15) When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16) And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17) And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18) And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19) But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20) And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 21) And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Psalm 40) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1) I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2) He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3) He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4) Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5) You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
6) In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7) Then I said, "Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8) I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."
9) I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10) I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11) As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12) For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
13) Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14) Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15) Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, "Aha, Aha!"
16) But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the Lord!"
17) As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Psalm 39:1) To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence."
2) I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse.
3) My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
4) "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
5) Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6) Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7) "And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
8) Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9) I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.
10) Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11) When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
12) "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.
13) Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!"
Luke 1:5) In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6) And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7) But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 8) Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9) according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10) And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11) And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12) And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13) But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14) And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15) for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16) And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17) and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." 18) And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." 19) And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20) And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time." 21) And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22) And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23) And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24) After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25) "Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."
Psalm 141 A Psalm of David.
1) O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
2) Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
3) Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
4) Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!
5) Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.
Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
6) When their judges are thrown over the cliff,
then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
7) As when one plows and breaks up the earth,
so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
8) But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
9) Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
and from the snares of evildoers!
10) Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by safely.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Mark 1:1) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2) As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
"Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3) the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’ "
4) John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5) And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6) Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7) And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8) I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Psalm 132 A Song of Ascents.
1) Remember, O Lord, in David’s favor,
all the hardships he endured,
2) how he swore to the Lord
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3) "I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
4) I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5) until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob."
6) Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7) "Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool!"
8) Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
9) Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.
10) For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
11) The Lord swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back:
"One of the sons of your body
I will set on your throne.
12) If your sons keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
shall sit on your throne."
13) For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
14) "This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15) I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16) Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.
17) There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
18) His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but on him his crown will shine."
Thursday, December 1, 2011
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2) it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
3) Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4) Say to those who have an anxious heart,
"Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you."
5) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6) then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7) the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8) And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
9) No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10) And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.