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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Judgment on Wicked Counselors

Ezekiel 11:01) The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. And behold, at the entrance of the gateway there were twenty-five men. And I saw among them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. 2) And he said to me, "Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel in this city; 3) who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses. This city is the cauldron, and we are the meat.’ 4) Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man."
5) And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, "Say, Thus says the Lord: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind. 6) You have multiplied your slain in this city and have filled its streets with the slain. 7) Therefore thus says the Lord God: Your slain whom you have laid in the midst of it, they are the meat, and this city is the cauldron, but you shall be brought out of the midst of it. 8) You have feared the sword, and I will bring the sword upon you, declares the Lord God. 9) And I will bring you out of the midst of it, and give you into the hands of foreigners, and execute judgments upon you. 10) You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 11) This city shall not be your cauldron, nor shall you be the meat in the midst of it. I will judge you at the border of Israel, 12) and you shall know that I am the Lord. For you have not walked in my statutes, nor obeyed my rules, but have acted according to the rules of the nations that are around you."
13) And it came to pass, while I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then I fell down on my face and cried out with a loud voice and said, "Ah, Lord God! Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?"

Israel’s New Heart and Spirit

Ezekiel 11:14) And the word of the Lord came to me: 15) "Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.’ 16) Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ 17) Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18) And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19) And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20) that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21) But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God."
22) Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them. 23) And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. 24) And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen went up from me. 25) And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?

Job 28:1) “Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold that they refine.
2) Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore.
3) Man puts an end to darkness
and searches out to the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4)He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
5) As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
6) Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and it has dust of gold.
7) “That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
8) The proud beasts have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.
9) “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
and overturns mountains by the roots.
10) He cuts out channels in the rocks,
and his eye sees every precious thing.
11) He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12) “But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13) Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
14) The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15) It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16) It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
17) Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18) No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19) The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20) “From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
21) It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
22) Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
23) “God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
24) For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25) When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
26) when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27) then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
28) And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ ”

Monday, May 28, 2012

President Reagan's Memorial Day speech 1986

Remarks at a Memorial Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia

May 26, 1986
Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It's a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It's a day to be with the family and remember.
I was thinking this morning that across the country children and their parents will be going to the town parade and the young ones will sit on the sidewalks and wave their flags as the band goes by. Later, maybe, they'll have a cookout or a day at the beach. And that's good, because today is a day to be with the family and to remember.
Arlington, this place of so many memories, is a fitting place for some remembering. So many wonderful men and women rest here, men and women who led colorful, vivid, and passionate lives. There are the greats of the military: Bull Halsey and the Admirals Leahy, father and son; Black Jack Pershing; and the GI's general, Omar Bradley. Great men all, military men. But there are others here known for other things.
Here in Arlington rests a sharecropper's son who became a hero to a lonely people. Joe Louis came from nowhere, but he knew how to fight. And he galvanized a nation in the days after Pearl Harbor when he put on the uniform of his country and said, ``I know we'll win because we're on God's side.'' Audie Murphy is here, Audie Murphy of the wild, wild courage. For what else would you call it when a man bounds to the top of a disabled tank, stops an enemy advance, saves lives, and rallies his men, and all of it singlehandedly. When he radioed for artillery support and was asked how close the enemy was to his position, he said, "Wait a minute and I'll let you speak to them.'' [Laughter]
Michael Smith is here, and Dick Scobee, both of the space shuttle Challenger. Their courage wasn't wild, but thoughtful, the mature and measured courage of career professionals who took prudent risks for great reward -- in their case, to advance the sum total of knowledge in the world. They're only the latest to rest here; they join other great explorers with names like Grissom and Chaffee.
Oliver Wendell Holmes is here, the great jurist and fighter for the right. A poet searching for an image of true majesty could not rest until he seized on "Holmes dissenting in a sordid age.'' Young Holmes served in the Civil War. He might have been thinking of the crosses and stars of Arlington when he wrote: "At the grave of a hero we end, not with sorrow at the inevitable loss, but with the contagion of his courage; and with a kind of desperate joy we go back to the fight.''
All of these men were different, but they shared this in common: They loved America very much. There was nothing they wouldn't do for her. And they loved with the sureness of the young. It's hard not to think of the young in a place like this, for it's the young who do the fighting and dying when a peace fails and a war begins. Not far from here is the statue of the three servicemen -- the three fighting boys of Vietnam. It, too, has majesty and more. Perhaps you've seen it -- three rough boys walking together, looking ahead with a steady gaze. There's something wounded about them, a kind of resigned toughness. But there's an unexpected tenderness, too. At first you don't really notice, but then you see it. The three are touching each other, as if they're supporting each other, helping each other on.
I know that many veterans of Vietnam will gather today, some of them perhaps by the wall. And they're still helping each other on. They were quite a group, the boys of Vietnam -- boys who fought a terrible and vicious war without enough support from home, boys who were dodging bullets while we debated the efficacy of the battle. It was often our poor who fought in that war; it was the unpampered boys of the working class who picked up the rifles and went on the march. They learned not to rely on us; they learned to rely on each other. And they were special in another way: They chose to be faithful. They chose to reject the fashionable skepticism of their time. They chose to believe and answer the call of duty. They had the wild, wild courage of youth. They seized certainty from the heart of an ambivalent age; they stood for something.
And we owe them something, those boys. We owe them first a promise: That just as they did not forget their missing comrades, neither, ever, will we. And there are other promises. We must always remember that peace is a fragile thing that needs constant vigilance. We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong.
That, of course, is the lesson of this century, a lesson learned in the Sudetenland, in Poland, in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, in Cambodia. If we really care about peace, we must stay strong. If we really care about peace, we must, through our strength, demonstrate our unwillingness to accept an ending of the peace. We must be strong enough to create peace where it does not exist and strong enough to protect it where it does. That's the lesson of this century and, I think, of this day. And that's all I wanted to say. The rest of my contribution is to leave this great place to its peace, a peace it has earned.
Thank all of you, and God bless you, and have a day full of memories.

Note: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. at the Memorial Amphitheater. Prior to his remarks, he placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

Acts 16:1) Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2) He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3) Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4) As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5) So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

The Macedonian Call

Acts 16:6) And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7) And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8) So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9) And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10) And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

The Conversion of Lydia

Acts 16:11) So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12) and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13) And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14) One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15) And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.

Paul and Silas in Prison

Acts 16:16) As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17) She followed Paul and us, crying out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." 18) And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.
19) But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20) And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, "These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21) They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice." 22) The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23) And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24) Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer Converted

Acts 16:25) About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26) and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27) When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28) But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." 29) And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30) Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31) And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." 32) And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33) And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34) Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
35) But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, "Let those men go." 36) And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, "The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace." 37) But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out." 38) The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39) So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40) So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

The Song of Moses

Exodus 15:1) Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
"I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2) The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3) The Lord is a man of war;
the Lord is his name.
4) "Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea,
and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
5) The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.
6) Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,
your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
7) In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
8) At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9) The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10) You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11) "Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12) You stretched out your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
13) "You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14) The peoples have heard; they tremble;
pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15) Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16) Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,
till your people, O Lord, pass by,
till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
17) You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
18) The Lord will reign forever and ever."
19) For when the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them, but the people of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst of the sea. 20) Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. 21) And Miriam sang to them:
"Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea."

Bitter Water Made Sweet

Exodus 15:22) Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23) When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24) And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" 25) And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26) saying, "If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer."
27) Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Idolatry Forbidden

Deuteronomy 4:15) "Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16) beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17) the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18) the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19) And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20) But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. 21) Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance. 22) For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. 23) Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you. 24) For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
25) "When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26) I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27) And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28) And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29) But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30) When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. 31) For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

I and the Father Are One

John 10:22) At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23) and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24) So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25) Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26) but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30) I and the Father are one."
31) The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32) Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?" 33) The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God." 34) Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35) If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken - 36) do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37) If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." 39) Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40) He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41) And many came to him. And they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true." 42) And many believed in him there.

The God-Given Task

Ecclesiastes 3:9) What gain has the worker from his toil? 10) I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11) He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12) I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13) also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
14) I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15) That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

The Lord Redeems Israel

Isaiah 44:21) Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22)I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.
23)Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.
24)Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25)who frustrates the signs of liars
and makes fools of diviners,
who turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,
26) who confirms the word of his servant
and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;
27) who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
I will dry up your rivers’;
28) who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ”

Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord

Habakkuk 3:17) Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18) eyet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19) God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

Proverbs 16:9

A City Set on a Hill

Matthew 5:14) "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15) Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Elijah Flees Jezebel

1 Kings 19:1) Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2) Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow." 3) Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
4) But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers." 5) And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, "Arise and eat." 6) And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7) And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, "Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you." 8) And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

The Lord Speaks to Elijah

1 Kings 19:9) There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10) He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." 11) And he said, "Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12) And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13) And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 14) He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." 15) And the Lord said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16) And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17) And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18) Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him."

The Call of Elisha

1 Kings 19:19) So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20) And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" 21) And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

1 Corinthians 5:1) It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2) And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3) For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4) When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5) you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7) Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8) Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9) I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10) not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11) But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13) God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

Abraham Justified by Faith

Romans 4:1) What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3) For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." 4) Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5) And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6) just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7) "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8) blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."

9) Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10) How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11) He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12) and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Paul and Barnabas at Iconium

Acts 14:1) Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2) But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3) So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4) But the people of the city were divided; isome sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5) When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6) they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7) and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

Acts 14:8) Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9) He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10) said in a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And he sprang up and began walking. 11) And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" 12) Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13) And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14) But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15) "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16) In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17) Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness." 18) Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul Stoned at Lystra

Acts 14:19) But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20) But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21) When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22) strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23) And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria

Acts 14:24) Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25) And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26) and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27) And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28) And they remained no little time with the disciples.

Personal Instructions

2 timothy 4:9) Do your best to come to me soon. 10) For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11) Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12) Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13) When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14) Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15) Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16) At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17) But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Revelations 21:1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
5) And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6) And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7) The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8) But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

The New Jerusalem

Revelations 21:9) Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10) And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11) having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12) It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13) on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15) And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16) The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17) He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18) The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19) The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20) the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21) And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22) And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23) And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24) By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25) and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26) They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27) But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The Hatred of the World

John 15:18) "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19) If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20) Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21) But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22) If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23) Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24) If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25) But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
26) "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27) And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
John 16:1) "I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2) They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3) And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4) But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

John 16:04b)"I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5) But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8) And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9) concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10) concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11) concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12) "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13) When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14) He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15) All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Your Sorrow Will Turn into Joy

John 16:16) "A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me." 17) So some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?" 18) So they were saying, "What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about." 19) Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20) Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21) When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22) So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23) In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24) Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

I Have Overcome the World

John 16:25) "I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26) In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27) for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28) I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father."
29) His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30) Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God." 31) Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? 32) Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Warning Concerning Antichrists

1 John 2:18) Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20) But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21) I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22) Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23) No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24) Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25) And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
26) I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27) But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paul in Ephesus

Acts 19:1) And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2) And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3) And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John’s baptism." 4) And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." 5) On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6) And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7) There were about twelve men in all.
8) And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9) But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10) This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

The Sons of Sceva

Acts 19:11) And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12) so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13) Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." 14) Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15) But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" 16) And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17) And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18) Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19) And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20) So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

A Riot at Ephesus

Acts 19:21) Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." 22) And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23) About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24) For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25) These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26) And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27) And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship."
28) When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29) So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. 30) But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31) And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32) Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33) Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34) But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
35) And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, "Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? 36) Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37) For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38) If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39) But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40) For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion." 41) And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Visit of the Wise Men

Matthew 2:1) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2) saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3) When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4) and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5) They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

7) Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8) And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9) After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10) When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11) And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12) And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

The Flight to Egypt

Matthew 2:13) Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." 14) And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15) and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Herod Kills the Children

Matthew 2:16) Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17) Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18) “A voice was heard in Ramah,

weeping and loud lamentation,

Rachel weeping for her children;

she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth

Matthew 2:19) But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20) saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead." 21) And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22) But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23) And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

God’s Righteous Judgment

Romans 2:1) Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2) We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3) Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4) Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5) But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6) He will render to each one according to his works: 7) to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8) but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9) There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10) but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11) For God shows no partiality.

God’s Judgment and the Law

Romans 2:12) For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13) For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14) For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15) They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 17) But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18) and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19) and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20) an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21) you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22) You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23) You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24) For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."
25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26) So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27) Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28) For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29) But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Birth of Moses

Exodus 2:1) Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2) The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3) When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. 4) And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. 5) Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. 6) When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews’ children." 7) Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, "Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" 8) And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, "Go." So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9) And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10) When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, "Because," she said, "I drew him out of the water."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Report from Jerusalem

Nehemiah 1:1) The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, 2) that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. 3) And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

Nehemiah’s Prayer

Nehemiah 1:4) As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5) And I said, "O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6) let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7) We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8) Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9) but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10) They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11) O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man."
Now I was cupbearer to the king.

Nehemiah Sent to Judah

Nehemiah 2:1) In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2) And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid. 3) I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" 4) Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5) And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it." 6) And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), "How long will you be gone, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. 7) And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, 8) and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy." And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.