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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Love the LORD

Psalm 116:1) I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
2) Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3) The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
4) Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!"
5) Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.
6) The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
7) Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
8) For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
9) I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
10) I believed, even when I spoke, "I am greatly afflicted";
11) I said in my alarm, "All mankind are liars."
12) What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?
13) I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
14) I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15) Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16) O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.
17) I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
18) I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
19) in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Children of God

1 John 2:28) And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29) If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

1 John 3:1) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2) Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3) And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

4) Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; jsin is lawlessness. 5) You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6) No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7) Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9) No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10) By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

God Is My Strength and Portion Forever

Psalm 73 A Psalm of Asaph.
1) Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2) But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3) For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4) For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5) They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6) Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7) Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8) They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9) They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10) Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11) And they say, "How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?"
12) Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13) All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14) For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15) If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
16) But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17) until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
18) Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19) How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20) Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
21) When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22) I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
23) Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24) You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25) Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26) My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27) For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28) But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Temptation of Jesus

4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2) And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3) And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4) But he answered, "It is written, "

‘Man shall not live by bread alone,  
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ "
5) Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6) and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

 " ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
"Again it is written,
" ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ "
7) Jesus said to him,
‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ "
8) Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9) And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 10) Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and lhim only shall you serve.’ ”

11) Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.


The Lord’s Covenant with David

2 Samuel 7:1) Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2) the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent." 3) And Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you."
4) But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 5) "Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6) I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7) In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?" ’ 8) Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9) And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10) And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11) from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12) When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13) He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14) I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15) but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16) And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ " 17) In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

The Call of Abram

Genesis12:1) Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2) And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3) I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
4) So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5) And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6) Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7) Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8) From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9) And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

Vision of the Son of Man

Revelations 1:9) I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11) saying, "Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."
12) Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13) and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14) The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15) his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16) In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18) and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19) Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20) As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Paul Goes to Jerusalem

Acts 21:1) And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2) And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3) When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4) And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5) When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6) and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.
7) When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. 8) On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9) He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10) While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11) And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ " 12) When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13) Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14) And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, "Let the will of the Lord be done."
15) After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16) And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Righteousness Through Faith in Christ

Philippians 3:1) Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. 2) Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3) For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4) though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5) circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6) as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7) But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10) that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11) that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

O Lord My God, You Are Very Great

Psalm 104:1) Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
2) covering yourself with light as with a garment,
stretching out the heavens like a tent.
3) He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;
he makes the clouds his chariot;
he rides on the wings of the wind;
4) he makes his messengers winds,
his ministers a flaming fire.
5) He set the earth on its foundations,
so that it should never be moved.
6) You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7) At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
8) The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
9) You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
10) You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
11) they give drink to every beast of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12) Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
they sing among the branches.
13) From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14) You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
15) and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
16) The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17) In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has her home in the fir trees.
18) The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
19) He made the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows its time for setting.
20 You make darkness, and it is night,
when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21) The young lions roar for their prey,
seeking their food from God.
22) When the sun rises, they steal away
and lie down in their dens.
23) Man goes out to his work
and to his labor until the evening.
24) O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25) Here is the sea, great and wide,
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
26) There go the ships,
and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.
27) These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
28) When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29) When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
30) When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
31) May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32) who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33) I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34) May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35) Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Help Me, O Lord My God

Psalm 109) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1) Be not silent, O God of my praise!
2) For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
3) They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
4) In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
5) So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.
6) Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7) When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin!
8) May his days be few;
may another take his office!
9) May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow!
10) May his children wander about and beg,
seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
11) May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
12) Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
nor any to pity his fatherless children!
13) May his posterity be cut off;
may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
14) May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
15) Let them be before the Lord continually,
that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!
16) For he did not remember to show kindness,
but pursued the poor and needy
and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
17) He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
18) He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
may it soak into his body like water,
like oil into his bones!
19) May it be like a garment that he wraps around him,
like a belt that he puts on every day!
20) May this be the reward of my accusers from the Lord,
of those who speak evil against my life!
21) But you, O God my Lord,
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
22) For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is stricken within me.
23) I am gone like a shadow at evening;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24) My knees are weak through fasting;
my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
25) I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they wag their heads.
26) Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!
27) Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it!
28) Let them curse, but you will bless!
They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!
29) May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!
30) With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31) For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,
to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 2:1) For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2) But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3) For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4) but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5) For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6) Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7) But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8) So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9) For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10) You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11) For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
13) And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14) For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15) who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16) by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

Marks of the True Christian

Romans 12:9) Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10) Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11) Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12) Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13) Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15) Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16) Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17) Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."20) To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Save Me, O God

Psalm 69) To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David.
1) Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2) I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
3) I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
4) More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
5 O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
6) Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
7) For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
8) I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.
9) For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10) When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
11) When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12) I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
13) But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14) Deliver me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
15) Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.
16) Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17) Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18) Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!
19) You know my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to you.
20) Reproaches have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none,
and for comforters, but I found none.
21) They gave me poison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
22) Let their own table before them become a snare;
and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
23) Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
24) Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25) May their camp be a desolation;
let no one dwell in their tents.
26) For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
27) Add to them punishment upon punishment;
may they have no acquittal from you.
28) Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
29) But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
30) I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31) This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32) When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33) For the Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
34) Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
35) For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
36) the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Confirm Your Calling and Election

2 Peter 1:3) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4) by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5) For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6) and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7) and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8) For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9) For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10) Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11) For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12) Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13) I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14) since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15) And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom

Genesis 18:22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23) Then Abraham drew near and said, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24) Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25) Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" 26) And the Lord said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake."
27) Abraham answered and said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28) Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there." 29) Again he spoke to him and said, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it." 30) Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there." 31) He said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it." 32) Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it." 33) And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

Forsake Me Not When My Strength Is Spent

Psalm 71:1) In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
2) In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
3) Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
4) Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
5) For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
6) Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.
7) I have been as a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
8) My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day.
9) Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent.
10) For my enemies speak concerning me;
those who watch for my life consult together
11) and say, "God has forsaken him;
pursue and seize him,
for there is none to deliver him."
12) O God, be not far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
13) May my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
with scorn and disgrace may they be covered
who seek my hurt.
14) But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.
15) My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
16) With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
17) O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
18) So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.
19) Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
20) You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
21) You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
22) I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23) My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
24) And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed
who sought to do me hurt.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Light of the Gospel

2 Corinthians 4:1) Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2) But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5) For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6) For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

1 Thessalonians 3:6) But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7) for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8) For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9) For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10) as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
11) Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12) and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13) so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

To Your Name Give Glory

Psalm 115:1) Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
2) Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?"
3) Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
4) Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
5) They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
6) They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
7) They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.
8) Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.
9) O Israel, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.
10) O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.
11) You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.
12) The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron;
13) he will bless those who fear the LORD, both the small and the great.
14) May the LORD give you increase, you and your children!
15) May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth!
16) The heavens are the LORD's heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.
17) The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence.
18) But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Messages of the Three Angels

6) Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7) And he said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."
8) Another angel, a second, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality."
9) And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10) he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11) And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name."
12) Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
13) And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"

The Sin of Partiality

James 2:1) My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2) For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3) and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," 4) have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5) Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6) But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7) Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
8) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. 9) But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10) For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11) For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12) So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13) For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith Without Works Is Dead

James 2:14) What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15) If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16) and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17) So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18) But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19) You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20) Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22) You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23) and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God. 24) You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25) And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26) For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

God Rescues Lot

Genesis 19:1) The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2) and said, "My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way." They said, "No; we will spend the night in the town square." 3) But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
4) But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5) And they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them." 6) Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7) and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8) Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof." 9) But they said, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them." Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10) But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11) And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.
12) Then the men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. 13) For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it." 14) So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, "Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
15) As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city." 16) But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17) And as they brought them out, one said, "Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away." 18) And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my lords. 19) Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20) Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!" 21) He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22) Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

O God, Do Not Keep Silence

Psalm 83) A Song. A Psalm of Asaph.
1) O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2) For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
3) They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
4) They say, "Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!"
5) For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
6) the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
7) Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8) Asshur also has joined them;
they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah
9) Do to them as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10) who were destroyed at En-dor,
who became dung for the ground.
11) Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12) who said, "Let us take possession for ourselves
of the pastures of God."
13) O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind.
14) As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15) so may you pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane!
16) Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O Lord.
17) Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace,
18) that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

Genesis 41:1) After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, 2) and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. 3) And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4) And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. 5) And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. 6) And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. 7) And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8) So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.
9) Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, "I remember my offenses today. 10) When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, 11) we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. 12) A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. 13) And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged."
14) Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15) And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it." 16) Joseph answered Pharaoh, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer." 17) Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile. 18) Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. 19) Seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20) And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows, 21) but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22) I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good. 23) Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24) and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me."
25) Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26) The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. 27) The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. 28) It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29) There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30) but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, 31) and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. 32) And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. 33) Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34) Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35) And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36) That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine."

Ananias and Sapphira

Acts 5:1) But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2) and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3) But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4) While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God." 5) When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6) The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7) After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8) And Peter said to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much." And she said, "Yes, for so much." 9) But Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10) Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11) And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

Confirm Your Calling and Election

2 Peter 3:1) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4) by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5) For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6) and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7) and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8) For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9) For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10) Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11) For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12) Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13) I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14) since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15) And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Christ Our Advocate

1 John 2:1) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2) He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3) And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4) Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5) but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6) whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The Righteous Will Never Be Moved

Psalm 112:1) Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
2) His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3) Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4) Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5) It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
6) For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
7) He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
8) His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
9) He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.
10) The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!

Monday, February 13, 2012


3 John 1:1) The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2) Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3) For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Support and Opposition

5) Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6) who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7) For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8) Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.
9) I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10) So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.
11) Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.
12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

Final Greetings

13) I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14) I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
15) Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

David’s Mighty Men

2 Samuel 23:8) These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.
9) And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. 10) He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.
11) And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. 12) But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory.
13) And three of the thirty chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14) David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15) And David said longingly, "Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!" 16) Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord 17) and said, "Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.
18) Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three. 19) He was the most renowned of the thirty and became their commander, but he did not attain to the three.
20) And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. 21) And he struck down an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 22) These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and won a name beside the three mighty men. 23) He was renowned among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard.
24) Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25) Shammah of Harod, Elika of Harod, 26) Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, 27) Abiezer of Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28) Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai of Netophah, 29) Heleb the son of Baanah of Netophah, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the people of Benjamin, 30) Benaiah of Pirathon, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, 31) Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth of Bahurim, 32) Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33) Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, 34) Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai of Maacah, Eliam the son of Ahithophel of Gilo, 35) Hezro of Carmel, Paarai the Arbite, 36) Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37) Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, 38) Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 39) Uriah the Hittite: thirty-seven in all.

Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders

Acts 20:17) Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18) And when they came to him, he said to them:
"You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19) serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20) how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21) testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22) And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23) except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24) But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25) And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26) Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27) for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28) Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29) I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30) and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31) Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32) And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33) I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34) You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35) In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ "
36) And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37) And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38) being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

I Will Sing of the Steadfast Love of the Lord

Psalm 89) A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
1) I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
2) For I said, "Steadfast love will be built up forever;
in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness."
3) You have said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
4) ‘I will establish your offspring forever,
and build your throne for all generations.’ " Selah
5) Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
6) For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
7) a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
and awesome above all who are around him?
8) O Lord God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O Lord,
with your faithfulness all around you?
9) You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
10) You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11) The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
12) The north and the south, you have created them;
Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
13) You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand, high your right hand.
14) Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15) Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
16) who exult in your name all the day
and in your righteousness are exalted.
17) For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favor our horn is exalted.
18) For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19) Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said:
"I have granted help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20) I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
21) so that my hand shall be established with him;
my arm also shall strengthen him.
22) The enemy shall not outwit him;
the wicked shall not humble him.
23) I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
24) My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
25) I will set his hand on the sea
and his right hand on the rivers.
26) He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
27) And I will make him the firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
28) My steadfast love I will keep for him forever,
and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29) I will establish his offspring forever
and his throne as the days of the heavens.
30) If his children forsake my law
and do not walk according to my rules,
31) if they violate my statutes
and do not keep my commandments,
32) then I will punish their transgression with the rod
and their iniquity with stripes,
33) but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
or be false to my faithfulness.
34) I will not violate my covenant
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35) Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36) His offspring shall endure forever,
his throne as long as the sun before me.
37) Like the moon it shall be established forever,
a faithful witness in the skies." Selah
38) But now you have cast off and rejected;
you are full of wrath against your anointed.
39) You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
you have defiled his crown in the dust.
40) You have breached all his walls;
you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
41) All who pass by plunder him;
he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42) You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
you have made all his enemies rejoice.
43) You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
and you have not made him stand in battle.
44) You have made his splendor to cease
and cast his throne to the ground.
45) You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him with shame. Selah
46) How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47) Remember how short my time is!
For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
48) What man can live and never see death?
Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
49)Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
50)Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked,
and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations,
51) with which your enemies mock, O Lord,
with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed.
52) Blessed be the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.