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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9) He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10) "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11) The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12) I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13) But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Daniel's Terrifying Vision of a Man

Daniel 10:1) In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision. 2) In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 3) I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. 4) On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris) 5) I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6) His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. 7) And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. 8) So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. 9) Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. 10) And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11) And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you." And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12) Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13) The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14) and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come." 15) When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. 16) And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, "O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. 17) How can my lord's servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me." 18) Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19) And he said, "O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage." And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me." 20) Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. 21) But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.

How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song?

Psalm 137:1) By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2) On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3) For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" 4) How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land? 5) If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 6) Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 7) Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, "Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!" 8) O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! 9) Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

An Oracle Concerning Egypt

Isaiah 19:1) An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. 2) And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom; 3) and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers; 4) and I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord GOD of hosts. 5) And the waters of the sea will be dried up, and the river will be dry and parched, 6) and its canals will become foul, and the branches of Egypt's Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away. 7) There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched, will be driven away, and will be no more. 8) The fishermen will mourn and lament, all who cast a hook in the Nile; and they will languish who spread nets on the water. 9) The workers in combed flax will be in despair, and the weavers of white cotton. 10) Those who are the pillars of the land will be crushed, and all who work for pay will be grieved. 11) The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings"? 12) Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you that they might know what the LORD of hosts has purposed against Egypt. 13) The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are deluded; those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have made Egypt stagger. 14) The LORD has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. 15) And there will be nothing for Egypt that head or tail, palm branch or reed, may do.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Luke 15:1) Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2) And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3) So he told them this parable: 4) "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5) And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6) And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'7) Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

Matthew 16:21) From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22) And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." 23) But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." 24) Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27) For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28) Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Narrow Door

Luke 13:22) He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23) And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, 24) "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25) When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26) Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27) But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28) In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29) And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30) And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."

A Sinful Woman Forgiven

Luke 7:36) One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37) And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38) and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39) Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." 40) And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher." 41) "A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42) When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" 43) Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." 44) Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45) You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46) You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47) Therefore I tell you, her sins, iwhich are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48) And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49) Then those who were at table with him began to say among8 themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" 50) And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Blessed Are the Forgiven

Psalm 32:1) Blessed is the one whose
transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2) Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts
no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3) For when I kept silent, my bones
wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4) For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5) I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6) Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you
at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of
great waters, they shall not reach him.
7) You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from
trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9) Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
10) Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast
love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11) Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit

Psalm 31:1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
2) Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
3) For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
4) you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5) Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6) I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
7) I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
8) and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
9) Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
10) For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
11) Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
12) I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
13) For I hear the whispering of many--terror on every side!--as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14) But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."
15) My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16) Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
17) O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.
18) Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
19) Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
20) In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21) Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.
22) I had said in my alarm, [fn] "I am cut off from your sight." But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
23) Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24) Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Messengers from John the Baptist

Matthew 11:1) When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.  2) Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3) and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4) And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5) the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers  are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6) And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”  7) As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8) What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10) This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

11) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12) From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13) For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14) and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  16) “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,

17) “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

18) For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19) The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

The Day of the Lord

Isaiah 2:6) For you have rejected your people,
the house of Jacob,
because they are full of things from the east
and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,
and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.
7) Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
8) Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
9) So man is humbled,
and each one is brought low—
do not forgive them!
10) Enter into the rock
and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty.
11) The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
12) For the Lord of hosts has a day
against all that is proud and lofty,
against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
13) against all the cedars of Lebanon,
lofty and lifted up;
and against all the oaks of Bashan;
14) against all the lofty mountains,
and against all the uplifted hills;
15) against every high tower,
and against every fortified wall;
16) against all the ships of Tarshish,
and against all the beautiful craft.
17) And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
18) And the idols shall utterly pass away.
19) And people shall enter the caves of the rocks
and the holes of the ground,
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.
20) In that day mankind will cast away
their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
which they made for themselves to worship,
to the moles and to the bats,
21) to enter the caverns of the rocks
and the clefts of the cliffs,
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.
22) Stop regarding man
in whose nostrils is breath,
for of what account is he?

The Mountain of the Lord

Isaiah 2:1) The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2) It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
3) and many peoples shall come, and say:
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths."
For out of Zion shall go the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4) He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
5) O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.

In the Shadow of Your Wings

Psalm 17:1) Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2) From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!
3) You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4) With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5) My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
6) I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
7) Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
8) Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9) from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
10) They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11) They have now surrounded our steps;
they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12) He is like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.
13) Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14) from men by your hand, O Lord,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
You fill their womb with treasure;
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants.
15) As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

A Prayer of David.

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

A Psalm for giving thanks.
Psalm 100:1) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2) Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3) Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4) Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5) For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

Matthew 16:13) Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14) And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16) Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17) And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18) And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20) Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Please Note this "Rock" (or Foundation) that Jesus will build his church is not Peter himself, but, his declaration “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The Lord Has Drawn His Sword

Ezekiel 21:1) The word of the Lord came to me: 2) "Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries. Prophesy against the land of Israel 3) and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. 4) Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. 5) And all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again. 6) "As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. 7) And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming, and it will be fulfilled,’" declares the Lord God. 8) And the word of the Lord came to me: 9 "Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:
"A sword, a sword is sharpened
and also polished,
10 sharpened for slaughter,
polished to flash like lightning!
(Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.) 11) So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. 12) Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. 13) For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?" declares the Lord God. 14) "As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times, the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15) that their hearts may melt, and many stumble. At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up for slaughter. 16) Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. 17) I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the Lord have spoken." 18) The word of the Lord came to me again: 19) "As for you, son of man, mark two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come. Both of them shall come from the same land. And make a signpost; make it at the head of the way to a city. 20) Mark a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified. 21) For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults the teraphim; he looks at the liver. 22) Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build siege towers. 23) But to them it will seem like a false divination. They have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, that they may be taken. 24) "Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand. 25) And you, O profane wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, 26) thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. 27) A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him. 28) "And you, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach; say, A sword, a sword is drawn for the slaughter. It is polished to consume and to flash like lightning— 29) while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, whose day has come, the time of their final punishment. 30) Return it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 31) And I will pour out my indignation upon you; I will blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver you into the hands of brutish men, skillful to destroy. 32) You shall be fuel for the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. You shall be no more remembered, for I the Lord have spoken."

Your Name, O Lord, Endures Forever

Psalm 135:1) Praise the Lord!
Praise the name of the Lord,
give praise, O servants of the Lord,
2) who stand in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God!
3) Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
4) For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel as his own possession.
5) For I know that the Lord is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
6) Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
7) He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
8) He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
both of man and of beast;
9) who in your midst, O Egypt,
sent signs and wonders
against Pharaoh and all his servants;
10) who struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings,
11) Sihon, king of the Amorites,
and Og, king of Bashan,
and all the kingdoms of Canaan,
12) and gave their land as a heritage,
a heritage to his people Israel.
13) Your name, O Lord, endures forever,
your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages.
14) For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.
15) The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
16) They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
17) they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18) Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them!
19) O house of Israel, bless the Lord!
O house of Aaron, bless the Lord!
20) O house of Levi, bless the Lord!
You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord!
21) Blessed be the Lord from Zion,
he who dwells in Jerusalem!
Praise the Lord!

Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

John 4:1) Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2) (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3) he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4) And he had to pass through Samaria. 5) So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6) Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7) A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." 8) (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." 11) The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12) Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock." 13) Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14) but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 15) The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water." 16) Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17) The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18) for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true." 19) The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." 21) Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22) You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23) But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." 25) The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." 26) Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." 27) Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you seek?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" 28) So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29) "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" 30) They went out of the town and were coming to him. 31) Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." 32) But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." 33) So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" 34) Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35) Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36) Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37) For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38) I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor." 39) Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." 40) So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41) And many more believed because of his word. 42) They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." 43) After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44) (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Great Commandment

Mark 12:28) And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" 29) Jesus answered, "The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30) And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31) The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." 32) And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33) And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34) And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

A Question About Fasting

Mark 2:18) Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" 19) And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20) The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21) No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22) And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins."

The Righteous are as Bold as a Lion

Glorious Things of You Are Spoken

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song.

Psalm 87:1) On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
2) the Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
3) Glorious things of you are spoken,
O city of God. Selah
4) Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush —
"This one was born there," they say.
5) And of Zion it shall be said,
"This one and that one were born in her";
for the Most High himself will establish her.
6) The Lord records as he registers the peoples,
"This one was born there." Selah
7) Singers and dancers alike say,
"All my springs are in you."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Temptation of Jesus

Luke 4:1) And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2) for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3) The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." 4) And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’" 5) And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6) and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7) If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." 8) And Jesus answered him, "It is written, "‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’" 9) And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10) for it is written, "‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 11) and "‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’" 12) And Jesus answered him, "It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’" 13) And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

The Righteous Reign of the Branch

Isaiah 11:1) There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2) And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3) And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4) but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5) Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6) The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7) The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8) The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
9) They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

10) In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. 11) In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

12) He will raise a signal for the nations
and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.
13) The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14) But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,
and together they shall plunder the people of the east.
They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites shall obey them.
15) And the Lord will utterly destroy
the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
and will wave his hand over the River
with his scorching breath,
and strike it into seven channels,
and he will lead people across in sandals.
16) And there will be a highway from Assyria
for the remnant that remains of his people,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from the land of Egypt.

Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed

Ezekiel 5:1) "And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it as a barber's razor and pass it over your head and your beard. Then take balances for weighing and divide the hair. 2) A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. And a third part you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city. And a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. 3) And you shall take from these a small number and bind them in the skirts of your robe. 4) And of these again you shall take some and cast them into the midst of the fire and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will come out into all the house of Israel. 5) "Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6) And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. 7) Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, 8) therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. 9) And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. 10) Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. 11) Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. 12) A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them. 13) "Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. 14) Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. 15) You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the Lord; I have spoken— 16) when I send against you the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply of bread. 17) I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the Lord; I have spoken."

My Help Comes from the Lord

A Song of Ascents.
Psalm 121:1) I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2) My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3) He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4) Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5) The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6) The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7) The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8) The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

Hebrews 7:1) For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2) and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3) He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. 4) See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 5) And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, [1] though these also are descended from Abraham. 6) But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7) It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8) In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9) One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10) for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Make Your Face Shine upon Us

Psalm 67:1) May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2) that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3) Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
4) Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5) Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
6) The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
7) God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our Eyes Look to the Lord Our God

A Song of Ascents.
Psalm 123:1) To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2) Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.
3) Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4) Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

Psalm 51:1) Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3) For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4) Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6) Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8) Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9) Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10) Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11) Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12) Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13) Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14) Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15) O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16) For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18) Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19) then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

God Will Judge with Equity

To the choirmaster: A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

Psalm 75:1) We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.
2) “At the set time that I appoint
I will judge with equity.
3) When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah4) I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
5) do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with haughty neck.’”
6) For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7) but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
8) For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.
9) But I will declare it forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10) All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Put Not Your Trust in Princes

Psalm 146:1) Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2) I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3) Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4) When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5) Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6) who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7) who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8) the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9) The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10) The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Great Are the LORD's Works

Psalm 111:1) Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2) Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3) Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4) He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5) He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6) He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7) The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8) they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9) He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!