reminder

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Principles for Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:1) Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." 2) But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3) The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4) For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5) Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6) Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7) I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
8) To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9) But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10) To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11) (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
12) To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13) If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14) For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15) But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16) For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flee Sexual Immorality

1 Corinthians 6:12) "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. 13) "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14) And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16) Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." 17) But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18) Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20) for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Stand Firm

2 Thessalonians 2:13) But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14) To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15) So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
16) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17) comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Peter Reports to the Church

Acts 11:1) Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2) So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3) "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them." 4) But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5) "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6) Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7) And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8) But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9) But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10) This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11) And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12) And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13) And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14) he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15) As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16) And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?" 18) When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."

Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer

Philippians 4:2) I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3) Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4) Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5) Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9) What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Samson and Delilah


Judges 16:1) Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2) The Gazites were told, "Samson has come here." And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, "Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him." 3) But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
4) After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5) And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver." 6) So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you."
7) Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 8) Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9) Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
10) Then Delilah said to Samson, "Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound." 11) And he said to her, "If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 12) So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
13) Then Delilah said to Samson, "Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man." 14) So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
15) And she said to him, "How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies." 16) And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17) And he told her all his heart, and said to her, "A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man."
18) When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up again, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19) She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20) And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21) And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22) But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost

Acts 2:14) But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15) For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16) But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:


17) “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,

that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

and your old men shall dream dreams;

18) even on my male servants and female servants

in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

19) And I will show wonders in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below,

blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;

20) the sun shall be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood,

before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

21) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22) “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23) this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24) God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25) For David says concerning him,

“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me,

for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;

26) therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;

my flesh also will dwell in hope.

27) For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,

or let your Holy One see corruption.

28) You have made known to me the paths of life;

you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29) “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30) Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31) he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32) This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33) Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34) For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

35) until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’

36) Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37) Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38) And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39) For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40) And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41) So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Warning Against False Teachers

1 Timothy 1:3) As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4) nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5) The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6) Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7) desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
8) Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9) understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10) the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11) in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Elijah Taken to Heaven

2 Kings 2:1) Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2) And Elijah said to Elisha, "Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3) And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?" And he said, "Yes, I know it; keep quiet."
4) Elijah said to him, "Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho. 5) The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?" And he answered, "Yes, I know it; keep quiet."
6) Then Elijah said to him, "Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on. 7) Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8) Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.
9) When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." 10) And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." 11) And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12) And Elisha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw him no more.
Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13) And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14) Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

The Angel and the Little Scroll

Revelations 10:1) Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2) He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3) and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4) And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down." 5) And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6) and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7) but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
8) Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, "Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." 9) So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, "Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey." 10) And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11) And I was told, "You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings."

The Sign of the Fleece

Judges 06:36) Then Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37) behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said." 38) And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39) Then Gideon said to God, "Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew." 40) And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Coming of the Lord

1 Thessalonians 4:13) But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14) For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15) For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16) For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18) Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Samson Defeats the Philistines

Judges 15:1) After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, "I will go in to my wife in the chamber." But her father would not allow him to go in. 2) And her father said, "I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead." 3) And Samson said to them, "This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm." 4) So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5) And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards. 6) Then the Philistines said, "Who has done this?" And they said, "Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion." And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7) And Samson said to them, "If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit." 8) And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9) Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. 10) And the men of Judah said, "Why have you come up against us?" They said, "We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us." 11) Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, "Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?" And he said to them, "As they did to me, so have I done to them." 12) And they said to him, "We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines." And Samson said to them, "Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves." 13) They said to him, "No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you." So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
14) When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15) And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 16) And Samson said,

"With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
have I struck down a thousand men."

17) As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi. 18) And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, "You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" 19) And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. 20) And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Put On the New Self

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4) When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5) Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6) On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7) In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11) Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12) Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13) bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14) And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15) And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17) And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation

Romans 11:25) Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26) And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
1
"The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob";
27) "and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins."

28) As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29) For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30) For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31) so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32) For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
33) Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34) "For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?"
35) "Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?"

36) For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

What Does the Lord Require?

Micah 6:6) "With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7) Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
8) He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Parable of the Ten Minas

Luke 19:11) As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12) He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13) Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14) But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15) When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16) The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17) And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18) And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19) And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20) Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21) for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22) He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23) Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24) And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25) And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26) ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27) But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’ "

The Founder of Salvation

Hebrews 2:5) For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6) It has been testified somewhere,

"What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7) You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8) putting everything in subjection under his feet."

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9) But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10) For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11) For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12) saying,

"I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."
13) And again,
"I will put my trust in him."
And again,
"Behold, I and the children God has given me."

14) Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15) and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16) For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17) Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18) For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

The Call of Gideon

Judges 6:11) Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12) And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor." 13) And Gideon said to him, "Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian." 14) And the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?" 15) And he said to him, "Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house." 16) And the Lord said to him, "But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man." 17) And he said to him, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18) Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you." And he said, "I will stay till you return."
19) So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20) And the angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them." And he did so. 21) Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22) Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face." 23) But the Lord said to him, "Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die." 24) Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
25) That night the Lord said to him, "Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it 26) and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down." 27) So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.

To the Church in Ephesus

Revelations 2:1) "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2) " ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3) I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4) But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5) Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6) Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Messenger of the Lord

Malachi 2:17) You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, "How have we wearied him?" By saying, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them." Or by asking, "Where is the God of justice?"
Malachi 3:1) "Behold, I send my messenger, and ihe will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2) But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3) He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. 4) Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
5) "Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Rahab Hides the Spies

Joshua 2:1) And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. 2) And it was told to the king of Jericho, "Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land." 3) Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land." 4) But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, "True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5) And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them." 6) But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. 7) So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.
8) Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof 9 and said to the men, "I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10) For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11) And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 12) Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign 13) that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death." 14) And the men said to her, "Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."
15) Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. 16) And she said to them, "Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way." 17) The men said to her, "We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18) Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19) Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. 20) But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear." 21) And she said, "According to your words, so be it." Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22) They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing.23) Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. 24) And they said to Joshua, "Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us."

The Lord Calls Samuel

1 Samuel 3:1) Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
2) At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3) The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.
4) Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, "Here I am!" 5) and ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down.
6) And the Lord called again, "Samuel!" and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." 7) Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8) And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9) Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’ " So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10) And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant hears." 11) Then the Lord said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12) On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13) And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14) Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."
15) Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16) But Eli called Samuel and said, "Samuel, my son." And he said, "Here I am." 17) And Eli said, "What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you." 18) So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, "It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him."
19) And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20) And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21) And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Psalm 118:1) Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2) Let Israel say,
"His steadfast love endures forever."
3) Let the house of Aaron say,
"His steadfast love endures forever."
4) Let those who fear the Lord say,
"His steadfast love endures forever."
5) Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
6) The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7) The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8) It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
9) It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
10) All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
11) They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
12) They surrounded me like bees;
they went out like a fire among thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
13) I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.
14) The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
15) Glad songs of salvation
are in the tents of the righteous:
"The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
16) the right hand of the Lord exalts,
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!"
17) I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18) The Lord has disciplined me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19) Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20) This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21) I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22) The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23) This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24) This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25) Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27) The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!
28) You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
29) Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example

1 Thessalonians 1:2) We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3) remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4) For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5) because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7) so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8) For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9) For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had0 among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10) and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Chronicles 13:5) So David assembled all Israel from the Nile of Egypt to Lebo-hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6) And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord who sits enthroned above the cherubim. 7) And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio were driving the cart. 8) And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.
9) And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. 10) And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God. 11) And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. 12) And David was afraid of God that day, and he said, "How can I bring the ark of God home to me?" 13) So David did not take the ark home into the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 14) And the ark of God remained with the household of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he had.

Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me

Psalm 81 To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.
1) Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
2) Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3) Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our feast day.
4) For it is a statute for Israel,
a rule of the God of Jacob.
5) He made it a decree in Joseph
when he went out over the land of Egypt.
I hear a language I had not known:
6) "I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7) In distress you called, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8) Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9) There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10) I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11) "But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12) So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13) Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14) I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
15) Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
16) But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jesus Knows What Is in Man

John 02:23) Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24) But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25) and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Arise, O God, Defend Your Cause

Psalm 74) A Maskil of Asaph.
1) O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2) Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old,
which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage!
Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
3) Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
4) Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
they set up their own signs for signs.
5) They were like those who swing axes
in a forest of trees.
6) And all its carved wood
they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
7) They set your sanctuary on fire;
they profaned the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it down to the ground.
8) They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9) We do not see our signs;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is none among us who knows how long.
10) How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11) Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them!
12) Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13) You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.
14) You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15) You split open springs and brooks;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16) Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
17) You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.
18) Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
and a foolish people reviles your name.
19) Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
20) Have regard for the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21) Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
22) Arise, O God, defend your cause;
remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!
23) Do not forget the clamor of your foes,

the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!

The Lord’s Faithfulness Endures Forever

Psalm 117:1) Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
2) For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Psalm 22) To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.
1) My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2) O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3) Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4) In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5) To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6) But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7) All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8) "He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!"
9) Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10) On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11) Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12) Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13) they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14) I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15) my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16) For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17) I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18) they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19) But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20) Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21) Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22) I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23) You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24) For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
25) From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26) The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!
27) All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28) For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29) All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30) Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31) they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Psalm 136:1) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2) Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3) Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
4) to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5) to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6) to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7) to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8) the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9) the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
10) to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
11) and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
12) with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
13) to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
14) and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
15) but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
16) to him who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
17) to him who struck down great kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
18) and killed mighty kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
19) Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
20) and Og, king of Bashan,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
21) and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
22) a heritage to Israel his servant,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
23) It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24) and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25) he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
26) Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Simon the Magician Believes

Acts 8:9) But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10) They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the power of God that is called Great." 11) And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12) But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13) Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
14) Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15) who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16) for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17) Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18) Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19) saying, "Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." 20) But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21) You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22) Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23) For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." 24) And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."
25) Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good

Psalm 106:1) Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2) Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord,
or declare all his praise?
3) Blessed are they who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times!
4) Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;
help me when you save them,
5) that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory with your inheritance.
6) Both we and our fathers have sinned;
we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
7) Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wondrous works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
8) Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
that he might make known his mighty power.
9) He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,
and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
10) So he saved them from the hand of the foe
and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
11) And the waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them was left.
12) Then they believed his words;
they sang his praise.
13) But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
14) But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
and put God to the test in the desert;
15) he gave them what they asked,
but sent a wasting disease among them.
16) When men in the camp were jealous of Moses
and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,
17) the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
and covered the company of Abiram.
18) Fire also broke out in their company;
the flame burned up the wicked.
19) They made a calf in Horeb
and worshiped a metal image.
20) They exchanged the glory of God
for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21) They forgot God, their Savior,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22) wondrous works in the land of Ham,
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23) Therefore he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him,
to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
24) Then they despised the pleasant land,
having no faith in his promise.
25) They murmured in their tents,
and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
26) Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27) and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
scattering them among the lands.
28) Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29) they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
30) Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was stayed.
31) And that was counted to him as righteousness
from generation to generation forever.
32) They angered him at the waters of Meribah,
and it went ill with Moses on their account,
33) for they made his spirit bitter,
and he spoke rashly with his lips.
34) They did not destroy the peoples,
as the Lord commanded them,
35) but they mixed with the nations
and learned to do as they did.
36) They served their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37) They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to the demons;
38) they poured out innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was polluted with blood.
39) Thus they became unclean by their acts,
and played the whore in their deeds.
40) Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he abhorred his heritage;
41) he gave them into the hand of the nations,
so that those who hated them ruled over them.
42) Their enemies oppressed them,
and they were brought into subjection under their power.
43) Many times he delivered them,
but they were rebellious in their purposes
and were brought low through their iniquity.
44) Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
when he heard their cry.
45) For their sake he remembered his covenant,
and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
46) He caused them to be pitied
by all those who held them captive.
47) Save us, O Lord our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
48) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, "Amen!"
Praise the Lord!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Warning Against Idolatry

1 Corinthians10:1) For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2) and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3) and all ate the same spiritual food, 4) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5) Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6) Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7) Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." 8) We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9) We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10) nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11) Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12) Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
14) Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15) I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16) The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17) Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18) Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19) What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20) No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21) You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22) Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?