Welcome to our 2019 Read the Bible in a Year

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Monday 23 September: Jeremiah 16 & 17, 2 Timothy 4

Jeremiah 16 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jeremiah Forbidden to Marry

16 The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Do not get married or have children in this place. For this is what the Lord says about the children born here in this city and about their mothers and fathers: They will die from terrible diseases. No one will mourn for them or bury them, and they will lie scattered on the ground like manure. They will die from war and famine, and their bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.”

Judah’s Coming Punishment

This is what the Lord says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves in sorrow or shave their heads in sadness. No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even at the death of a mother or father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them.

“And do not go to their feasts and parties. Do not eat and drink with them at all.For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: In your own lifetime, before your very eyes, I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in this land. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard.

10 “When you tell the people all these things, they will ask, ‘Why has the Lorddecreed such terrible things against us? What have we done to deserve such treatment? What is our sin against the Lord our God?’

11 “Then you will give them the Lord’s reply: ‘It is because your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me and did not obey my word. 12 And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land and send you into a foreign land where you and your ancestors have never been. There you can worship idols day and night—and I will grant you no favors!’

Hope despite the Disaster

14 “But the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 15 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors.

16 “But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them,” says the Lord. “I am sending for hunters who will hunt them down in the mountains, hills, and caves. 17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 18 I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and have filled my territory with their evil deeds.”

Jeremiah’s Prayer of Confidence

19 Lord, you are my strength and fortress,
    my refuge in the day of trouble!
Nations from around the world
    will come to you and say,
“Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage,
    for they worshiped worthless idols.
20 Can people make their own gods?
    These are not real gods at all!”



21 The Lord says,
“Now I will show them my power;
    now I will show them my might.
At last they will know and understand
    that I am the Lord.

 

Jeremiah 17 New Living Translation (NLT)

Judah’s Sin and Punishment

17 “The sin of Judah
    is inscribed with an iron chisel—
engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts
    and on the corners of their altars.
Even their children go to worship
    at their pagan altars and Asherah poles,
beneath every green tree
    and on every high hill.
So I will hand over my holy mountain—
    along with all your wealth and treasures
    and your pagan shrines—
as plunder to your enemies,
    for sin runs rampant in your land.
The wonderful possession I have reserved for you
    will slip from your hands.
I will tell your enemies to take you
    as captives to a foreign land.
For my anger blazes like a fire
    that will burn forever.”



Wisdom from the Lord

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.



“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.



“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
    and desperately wicked.
    Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
    and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
    according to what their actions deserve.”



Jeremiah’s Trust in the Lord

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid,
    so are those who get their wealth by unjust means.
At midlife they will lose their riches;
    in the end, they will become poor old fools.
12 But we worship at your throne—
    eternal, high, and glorious!
13 Lord, the hope of Israel,
    all who turn away from you will be disgraced.
They will be buried in the dust of the earth,
    for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.



14 Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
    if you save me, I will be truly saved.
    My praises are for you alone!
15 People scoff at me and say,
“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?
    Why don’t your predictions come true?”



16 Lord, I have not abandoned my job
    as a shepherd for your people.
I have not urged you to send disaster.
    You have heard everything I’ve said.
17 Lord, don’t terrorize me!
    You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.
18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,
    but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.
Bring a day of terror on them.
    Yes, bring double destruction upon them!



Observing the Sabbath

19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates.20 Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. 21 This is what the Lord says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline.

24 “‘But if you obey me, says the Lord, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 25 then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. 26 And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothillsa]">[a] and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord’s Temple.

27 “‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”

 

2 Timothy 4 New Living Translation (NLT)

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

Paul’s Final Words

Timothy, please come as soon as you can. 10 Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.a]">[a]

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done. 15 Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said.

16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.b]">[b] 18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

Paul’s Final Greetings

19 Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and those living in the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed at Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick at Miletus.

21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus sends you greetings, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters.c]">[c]

22 May the Lord be with your spirit. And may his grace be with all of you.

Tuesday 24 September: Jeremiah 18, 19 & 20, Titus 1, Psalms 112

Jeremiah 18 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Potter and the Clay

18 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, 10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.

11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”

12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”

13 So this is what the Lord says:

“Has anyone ever heard of such a thing,
    even among the pagan nations?
My virgin daughter Israel
    has done something terrible!
14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon?
    Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry?
15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me;
    they burn incense to worthless idols.
They have stumbled off the ancient highways
    and walk in muddy paths.
16 Therefore, their land will become desolate,
    a monument to their stupidity.
All who pass by will be astonished
    and will shake their heads in amazement.
17 I will scatter my people before their enemies
    as the east wind scatters dust.
And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them
    and refuse to notice their distress.”



A Plot against Jeremiah

18 Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.”

19 Lord, hear me and help me!
    Listen to what my enemies are saying.
20 Should they repay evil for good?
    They have dug a pit to kill me,
though I pleaded for them
    and tried to protect them from your anger.
21 So let their children starve!
    Let them die by the sword!
Let their wives become childless widows.
    Let their old men die in a plague,
    and let their young men be killed in battle!
22 Let screaming be heard from their homes
    as warriors come suddenly upon them.
For they have dug a pit for me
    and have hidden traps along my path.
23 Lord, you know all about their murderous plots against me.
    Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins.
Let them die before you.
    Deal with them in your anger.

 

Jeremiah 19 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jeremiah’s Shattered Jar

19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a clay jar. Then ask some of the leaders of the people and of the priests to follow you. Go out through the Gate of Broken Pots to the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and give them this message. Say to them, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will bring a terrible disaster on this place, and the ears of those who hear about it will ring!

“‘For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of wickedness. The people burn incense to foreign gods—idols never before acknowledged by this generation, by their ancestors, or by the kings of Judah. And they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! So beware, for the time is coming, says the Lord, when this garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

“‘For I will upset the careful plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will allow the people to be slaughtered by invading armies, and I will leave their dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals. I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will gasp at the destruction they see there. I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.’

10 “As these men watch you, Jeremiah, smash the jar you brought. 11 Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: As this jar lies shattered, so I will shatter the people of Judah and Jerusalem beyond all hope of repair. They will bury the bodies here in Topheth, the garbage dump, until there is no more room for them. 12 This is what I will do to this place and its people, says the Lord. I will cause this city to become defiled like Topheth. 13 Yes, all the houses in Jerusalem, including the palace of Judah’s kings, will become like Topheth—all the houses where you burned incense on the rooftops to your star gods, and where liquid offerings were poured out to your idols.’”

14 Then Jeremiah returned from Topheth, the garbage dump where he had delivered this message, and he stopped in front of the Temple of the Lord. He said to the people there, 15 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will bring disaster upon this city and its surrounding towns as I promised, because you have stubbornly refused to listen to me.’”

 

Jeremiah 20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jeremiah and Pashhur

20 Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the Lord, heard what Jeremiah was prophesying. So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the Lord’s Temple.

The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, “Pashhur, the Lord has changed your name. From now on you are to be called ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror.’a]">[a] For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

Lord, you misled me,
    and I allowed myself to be misled.
You are stronger than I am,
    and you overpowered me.
Now I am mocked every day;
    everyone laughs at me.
When I speak, the words burst out.
    “Violence and destruction!” I shout.
So these messages from the Lord
    have made me a household joke.
But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
    or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
    It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
    I can’t do it!
10 I have heard the many rumors about me.
    They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.”
They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.”
    Even my old friends are watching me,
    waiting for a fatal slip.
“He will trap himself,” they say,
    “and then we will get our revenge on him.”



11 But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.
    Before him my persecutors will stumble.
    They cannot defeat me.
They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.
    Their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you test those who are righteous,
    and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
    for I have committed my cause to you.
13 Sing to the Lord!
    Praise the Lord!
For though I was poor and needy,
    he rescued me from my oppressors.



14 Yet I curse the day I was born!
    May no one celebrate the day of my birth.
15 I curse the messenger who told my father,
    “Good news—you have a son!”
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old
    that the Lord overthrew without mercy.
Terrify him all day long with battle shouts,
17     because he did not kill me at birth.
Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb,
    that her body had been my grave!
18 Why was I ever born?
    My entire life has been filled
    with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

 

Titus 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith toa]">[a] those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share.

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

Titus’s Work in Crete

I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife,b]">[b] and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. A church leaderc]">[c] is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker,d]">[d] violent, or dishonest with money.

Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.

10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation.11 They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. 12 Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.”e]">[e] 13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth.

15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.

 

Psalm 112 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 112a]">[a]

Praise the Lord!



How joyful are those who fear the Lord
    and delight in obeying his commands.
Their children will be successful everywhere;
    an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
They themselves will be wealthy,
    and their good deeds will last forever.
Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
    They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Good comes to those who lend money generously
    and conduct their business fairly.
Such people will not be overcome by evil.
    Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news;
    they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
They are confident and fearless
    and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
    They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
    They will grind their teeth in anger;
    they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

Wednesday 25 September: Jeremiah 35 & 36, Titus 2 & 3

Jeremiah 35 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Faithful Recabites

35 This is the message the Lord gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the Lord’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.”

So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper.

I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadaba]">[a] son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. 11 But when King Nebuchadnezzarb]">[b] of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrianc]">[c] armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.”

12 Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. 14 The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. 15 Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’

17 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’”

18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 19 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”

 

Jeremiah 36 New Living Translation (NLT)

Baruch Reads the Lord’s Messages

36 During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah,a]">[a] the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.”

So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the Lord had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll. Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I am a prisoner here and unable to go to the Temple.So you go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from the Lord that I have had you write on this scroll. Read them so the people who are there from all over Judah will hear them. Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the Lord has threatened them with his terrible anger.”

Baruch did as Jeremiah told him and read these messages from the Lord to the people at the Temple. He did this on a day of sacred fasting held in late autumn,b]">[b] during the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah. People from all over Judah had come to Jerusalem to attend the services at the Temple on that day.10 Baruch read Jeremiah’s words on the scroll to all the people. He stood in front of the Temple room of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the secretary. This room was just off the upper courtyard of the Temple, near the New Gate entrance.

11 When Micaiah son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan heard the messages from the Lord, 12 he went down to the secretary’s room in the palace where the administrative officials were meeting. Elishama the secretary was there, along with Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 When Micaiah told them about the messages Baruch was reading to the people, 14 the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, grandson of Shelemiah and great-grandson of Cushi, to ask Baruch to come and read the messages to them, too. So Baruch took the scroll and went to them. 15 “Sit down and read the scroll to us,” the officials said, and Baruch did as they requested.

16 When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. 17 “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?”

18 So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.”

19 “You and Jeremiah should both hide,” the officials told Baruch. “Don’t tell anyone where you are!” 20 Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened.

King Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll

21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. 22 It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm.23 Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. 24 Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. 25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen.

26 Then the king commanded his son Jerahmeel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. But the Lord had hidden them.

Jeremiah Rewrites the Scroll

27 After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the Lord gave Jeremiah another message. He said, 28 “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned.29 Then say to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals. 30 Now this is what the Lord says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: He will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to lie unburied—exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Jerusalem and Judah all the disasters I promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.’”

32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more!

 

Titus 2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Promote Right Teaching

As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.a]">[a] Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,b]">[b] to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.

Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back 10 or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.

 

Titus 3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Do What Is Good

Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.a]">[a] He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.



This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigreesb]">[b] or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10 If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11 For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.

Paul’s Final Remarks and Greetings

12 I am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to stay there for the winter. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.

15 Everybody here sends greetings. Please give my greetings to the believers—all who love us.

May God’s grace be with you all.

Thursday 26 September: Jeremiah 13 & 22, Luke 1:1-25, Psalms 113

Jeremiah 13 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jeremiah’s Linen Loincloth

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it on, but do not wash it.” So I bought the loincloth as the Lord directed me, and I put it on.

Then the Lord gave me another message: “Take the linen loincloth you are wearing, and go to the Euphrates River.a]">[a] Hide it there in a hole in the rocks.” So I went and hid it by the Euphrates as the Lord had instructed me.

A long time afterward the Lord said to me, “Go back to the Euphrates and get the loincloth I told you to hide there.” So I went to the Euphrates and dug it out of the hole where I had hidden it. But now it was rotting and falling apart. The loincloth was good for nothing.

Then I received this message from the Lord: “This is what the Lord says: This shows how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people refuse to listen to me. They stubbornly follow their own desires and worship other gods. Therefore, they will become like this loincloth—good for nothing! 11 As a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me, says the Lord. They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me.

12 “So tell them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: May all your jars be filled with wine.’ And they will reply, ‘Of course! Jars are made to be filled with wine!’

13 “Then tell them, ‘No, this is what the Lord means: I will fill everyone in this land with drunkenness—from the king sitting on David’s throne to the priests and the prophets, right down to the common people of Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them against each other, even parents against children, says the Lord. I will not let my pity or mercy or compassion keep me from destroying them.’”

A Warning against Pride

15 Listen and pay attention!
    Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
    before it is too late.
Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you,
    causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains.
For then, when you look for light,
    you will find only terrible darkness and gloom.
17 And if you still refuse to listen,
    I will weep alone because of your pride.
My eyes will overflow with tears,
    because the Lord’s flock will be led away into exile.



18 Say to the king and his mother,
“Come down from your thrones
    and sit in the dust,
for your glorious crowns
    will soon be snatched from your heads.”
19 The towns of the Negev will close their gates,
    and no one will be able to open them.
The people of Judah will be taken away as captives.
    All will be carried into exile.



20 Open up your eyes and see
    the armies marching down from the north!
Where is your flock—
    your beautiful flock—
    that he gave you to care for?
21 What will you say when the Lord takes the allies you have cultivated
    and appoints them as your rulers?
Pangs of anguish will grip you,
    like those of a woman in labor!
22 You may ask yourself,
“Why is all this happening to me?”
    It is because of your many sins!
That is why you have been stripped
    and raped by invading armies.
23 Can an Ethiopianb]">[b] change the color of his skin?
    Can a leopard take away its spots?
Neither can you start doing good,
    for you have always done evil.



24 “I will scatter you like chaff
    that is blown away by the desert winds.
25 This is your allotment,
    the portion I have assigned to you,”
    says the Lord,
“for you have forgotten me,
    putting your trust in false gods.
26 I myself will strip you
    and expose you to shame.
27 I have seen your adultery and lust,
    and your disgusting idol worship out in the fields and on the hills.
What sorrow awaits you, Jerusalem!
    How long before you are pure?”

 

Jeremiah 22 New Living Translation (NLT)

A Message for Judah’s Kings

22 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you king of Judah, sitting on David’s throne. Let your attendants and your people listen, too. This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! If you obey me, there will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. The king will ride through the palace gates in chariots and on horses, with his parade of attendants and subjects. But if you refuse to pay attention to this warning, I swear by my own name, says the Lord, that this palace will become a pile of rubble.’”

A Message about the Palace

Now this is what the Lord says concerning Judah’s royal palace:

“I love you as much as fruitful Gilead
    and the green forests of Lebanon.
But I will turn you into a desert,
    with no one living within your walls.
I will call for wreckers,
    who will bring out their tools to dismantle you.
They will tear out all your fine cedar beams
    and throw them on the fire.



“People from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, ‘Why did the Lord destroy such a great city?’ And the answer will be, ‘Because they violated their covenant with the Lord their God by worshiping other gods.’”

A Message about Jehoahaz

10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss.
    Instead, weep for the captive king being led away!
    For he will never return to see his native land again.



11 For this is what the Lord says about Jehoahaz,a]">[a] who succeeded his father, King Josiah, and was taken away as a captive: “He will never return. 12 He will die in a distant land and will never again see his own country.”

A Message about Jehoiakim

13 And the Lord says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim,b]">[b]
    who builds his palace with forced labor.c]">[c]
He builds injustice into its walls,
    for he makes his neighbors work for nothing.
    He does not pay them for their labor.
14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace
    with huge rooms and many windows.
I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar
    and paint it a lovely red.’
15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king!
    Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink.
But he was just and right in all his dealings.
    That is why God blessed him.
16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy,
    and everything went well for him.
Isn’t that what it means to know me?”
    says the Lord.
17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty!
    You murder the innocent,
    oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.”



18 Therefore, this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim, son of King Josiah:

“The people will not mourn for him, crying to one another,
    ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!’
His subjects will not mourn for him, crying,
    ‘Alas, our master is dead! Alas, his splendor is gone!’
19 He will be buried like a dead donkey—
    dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates!
20 Weep for your allies in Lebanon.
    Shout for them in Bashan.
Search for them in the regions east of the river.d]">[d]
    See, they are all destroyed.
    Not one is left to help you.
21 I warned you when you were prosperous,
    but you replied, ‘Don’t bother me.’
You have been that way since childhood—
    you simply will not obey me!
22 And now the wind will blow away your allies.
    All your friends will be taken away as captives.
    Surely then you will see your wickedness and be ashamed.
23 It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace
    paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon,
but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish—
    anguish like that of a woman in labor.



A Message for Jehoiachin

24 “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “I will abandon you, Jehoiachine]">[e] son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off. 25 I will hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you so desperately fear—to King Nebuchadnezzarf]">[f] of Babylon and the mighty Babyloniang]">[g] army. 26 I will expel you and your mother from this land, and you will die in a foreign country, not in your native land. 27 You will never again return to the land you yearn for.

28 “Why is this man Jehoiachin like a discarded, broken jar?
    Why are he and his children to be exiled to a foreign land?
29 O earth, earth, earth!
    Listen to this message from the Lord!
30 This is what the Lord says:
‘Let the record show that this man Jehoiachin was childless.
    He is a failure,
for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David
    to rule over Judah.’

 

Luke 1:1-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

Introduction

Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples.a]">[a] Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.

One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.

11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.b]">[b] 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,c]">[c] and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”

19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. 22 When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary.

23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home.24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”

 

Psalm 113 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 113

Praise the Lord!



Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord.
    Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
    now and forever.
Everywhere—from east to west—
    praise the name of the Lord.
For the Lord is high above the nations;
    his glory is higher than the heavens.



Who can be compared with the Lord our God,
    who is enthroned on high?
He stoops to look down
    on heaven and on earth.
He lifts the poor from the dust
    and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
    even the princes of his own people!
He gives the childless woman a family,
    making her a happy mother.



Praise the Lord!

Friday 27 September: Jeremiah 23 & 24, Luke 1:26-38

Jeremiah 23 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Righteous Descendant

23 “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.

Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!

“For the time is coming,”
    says the Lord,
“when I will raise up a righteous descendanta]">[a]
    from King David’s line.
He will be a King who rules with wisdom.
    He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
And this will be his name:
    ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’b]">[b]
In that day Judah will be saved,
    and Israel will live in safety.



“In that day,” says the Lord, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

Judgment on False Prophets

My heart is broken because of the false prophets,
    and my bones tremble.
I stagger like a drunkard,
    like someone overcome by wine,
because of the holy words
    the Lord has spoken against them.
10 For the land is full of adultery,
    and it lies under a curse.
The land itself is in mourning—
    its wilderness pastures are dried up.
For they all do evil
    and abuse what power they have.



11 “Even the priests and prophets
    are ungodly, wicked men.
I have seen their despicable acts
    right here in my own Temple,”
    says the Lord.
12 “Therefore, the paths they take
    will become slippery.
They will be chased through the dark,
    and there they will fall.
For I will bring disaster upon them
    at the time fixed for their punishment.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!



13 “I saw that the prophets of Samaria were terribly evil,
    for they prophesied in the name of Baal
    and led my people of Israel into sin.
14 But now I see that the prophets of Jerusalem are even worse!
    They commit adultery and love dishonesty.
They encourage those who are doing evil
    so that no one turns away from their sins.
These prophets are as wicked
    as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once were.”



15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets:

“I will feed them with bitterness
    and give them poison to drink.
For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets
    that wickedness has filled this land.”



16 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people:

“Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you,
    filling you with futile hopes.
They are making up everything they say.
    They do not speak for the Lord!
17 They keep saying to those who despise my word,
    ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’
And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires,
    they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’



18 “Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence
    to hear what he is really saying?
    Has even one of them cared enough to listen?
19 Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm,
    a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not diminish
    until it has finished all he has planned.
In the days to come
    you will understand all this very clearly.



21 “I have not sent these prophets,
    yet they run around claiming to speak for me.
I have given them no message,
    yet they go on prophesying.
22 If they had stood before me and listened to me,
    they would have spoken my words,
and they would have turned my people
    from their evil ways and deeds.
23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord.
    “No, I am far away at the same time.
24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?
    Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”
    says the Lord.



25 “I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. 26 How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 27 By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal.

28 “Let these false prophets tell their dreams,
    but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word.
    There is a difference between straw and grain!
29 Does not my word burn like fire?”
    says the Lord.
“Is it not like a mighty hammer
    that smashes a rock to pieces?



30 “Therefore,” says the Lord, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. 31 I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the Lord!’ 32 I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!

False Prophecies and False Prophets

33 “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the Lord burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden!c]">[c] The Lord says he will abandon you!’

34 “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the Lord,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 35 You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 36 But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the Lord.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

37 “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 38 But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the Lord!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the Lord,” even though I warned you not to use it, 39 I will forget you completely.d]">[d] I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”

 

Jeremiah 24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Good and Bad Figs

24 After King Nebuchadnezzara]">[a] of Babylon exiled Jehoiachinb]">[b] son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the officials of Judah and all the craftsmen and artisans, the Lord gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with bad figs that were too rotten to eat.

Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

I replied, “Figs, some very good and some very bad, too rotten to eat.”

Then the Lord gave me this message: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians.c]">[c] I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.

“But the bad figs,” the Lord said, “represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. 10 And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors.”

 

Luke 1:26-38 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings,a]">[a] favored woman! The Lord is with you!b]">[b]

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israelc]">[c] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.d]">[d]

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Saturday 28 September: 2 Kings 22 & 23, Luke 1:39-56, Psalms 114

2 Kings 22 New Living Translation (NLT)

Josiah Rules in Judah

22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to the Temple of the Lord. He told him, “Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the Lord’s Temple. Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple. They will need to hire carpenters, builders, and masons. Also have them buy the timber and the finished stone needed to repair the Temple. But don’t require the construction supervisors to keep account of the money they receive, for they are honest and trustworthy men.”

Hilkiah Discovers God’s Law

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.

Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” 10 Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.

11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13 “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”

14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quartera]">[a] of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.

15 She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this cityb]">[b] and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. 17 For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.’

18 “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 19 You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 20 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”

So they took her message back to the king.

 

2 Kings 23 New Living Translation (NLT)

Josiah’s Religious Reforms

23 Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.

Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve ata]">[a] the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests.

10 Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fireb]">[b] as an offering to Molech. 11 He removed from the entrance of the Lord’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court.c]">[c] The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.

12 Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. He smashed them to bitsd]">[d] and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech,e]">[e] the vile god of the Ammonites. 14 He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them.

15 The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. 16 Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the Lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.)

Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of Godf]">[f] who had predicted these things. 17 “What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked.

And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!”

18 Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.

19 Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the Lordg]">[g] very angry. 20 He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

21 King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.

24 Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols,h]">[h] and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord’s Temple. 25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.

26 Even so, the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. 27 For the Lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.”

28 The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.

29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him,i]">[i] but King Necoj]">[j] killed him when they met at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

Jehoahaz Rules in Judah

31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.

33 Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath to prevent him from rulingk]">[k] in Jerusalem. He also demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of goldl]">[l] as tribute.

Jehoiakim Rules in Judah

34 Pharaoh Neco then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in place of his father, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he died.

35 In order to get the silver and gold demanded as tribute by Pharaoh Neco, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah, requiring them to pay in proportion to their wealth.

36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.

 

Luke 1:39-56 New Living Translation (NLT)

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

46 Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47     How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
    and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and his children forever.”



56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

 

Psalm 114 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 114

When the Israelites escaped from Egypt—
    when the family of Jacob left that foreign land—
the land of Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    and Israel became his kingdom.



The Red Seaa]">[a] saw them coming and hurried out of their way!
    The water of the Jordan River turned away.
The mountains skipped like rams,
    the hills like lambs!
What’s wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way?
    What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away?
Why, mountains, did you skip like rams?
    Why, hills, like lambs?



Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob.
He turned the rock into a pool of water;
    yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.

Sunday 29 September: 2 Chronicles 36:1-8, Luke 1:57-80

2 Chronicles 36:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jehoahaz Rules in Judah

36 Then the people of the land took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king in Jerusalem.

Jehoahaza]">[a] was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months.

Then he was deposed by the king of Egypt, who demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of goldb]">[b] as tribute.

Jehoiakim Rules in Judah

The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner.

Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured it, and he bound Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon.Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the treasures from the Temple of the Lord, and he placed them in his palacec]">[c] in Babylon.

The rest of the events in Jehoiakim’s reign, including all the evil things he did and everything found against him, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Then his son Jehoiachin became the next king.

 

Luke 1:57-80 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:

68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 He has sent us a mighty Saviora]">[a]
    from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised
    through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
    and from all who hate us.
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
    by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
    to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
    so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
    for as long as we live.



76 “And you, my little son,
    will be called the prophet of the Most High,
    because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
    through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
    the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,b]">[b]
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    and to guide us to the path of peace.”



80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

Monday 30 September: Daniel 1 & 2, Luke 2:1-21, Psalms 115

Daniel 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s Court

During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah,a]">[a] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babyloniab]">[b] and placed them in the treasure-house of his god.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.c]">[c] The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:

Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego.



But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”

11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.

18 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

21 Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.d]">[d]

 

Daniel 2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

One night during the second year of his reign,a]">[a] Nebuchadnezzar had such disturbing dreams that he couldn’t sleep. He called in his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers,b]">[b] and he demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed. As they stood before the king, he said, “I have had a dream that deeply troubles me, and I must know what it means.”

Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic,c]">[c] “Long live the king! Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”

But the king said to the astrologers, “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble! But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honors. Just tell me the dream and what it means!”

They said again, “Please, Your Majesty. Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”

The king replied, “I know what you are doing! You’re stalling for time because you know I am serious when I say, ‘If you don’t tell me the dream, you are doomed.’ So you have conspired to tell me lies, hoping I will change my mind. But tell me the dream, and then I’ll know that you can tell me what it means.”

10 The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! 11 The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.”

12 The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed. 13 And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.

14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion. 15 He asked Arioch, “Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” So Arioch told him all that had happened.16 Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant.

17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. 18 He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. 19 That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said, 

“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
    for he has all wisdom and power.
21 He controls the course of world events;
    he removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the scholars.
22 He reveals deep and mysterious things
    and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
    though he is surrounded by light.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
    for you have given me wisdom and strength.
You have told me what we asked of you
    and revealed to us what the king demanded.”



Daniel Interprets the Dream

24 Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.”

25 Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king and said, “I have found one of the captives from Judah who will tell the king the meaning of his dream!”

26 The king said to Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar), “Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?”

27 Daniel replied, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.

29 “While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen. 30 And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart.

31 “In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight. 32 The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, 33 its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. 34 As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain,d]">[d] but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits. 35 The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.

36 “That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. 37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 38 He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.

39 “But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world. 40 Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. 41 The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. 42 But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. 43 This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.

44 “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. 45 That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.”

Nebuchadnezzar Rewards Daniel

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.”

48 Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men. 49 At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king’s court.

 

Luke 2:1-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”



15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple

21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.

 

Psalm 115 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 115

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
    but to your name goes all the glory
    for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
Why let the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens,
    and he does as he wishes.
Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,
    shaped by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak,
    and eyes but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear,
    and noses but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel,
    and feet but cannot walk,
    and throats but cannot make a sound.
And those who make idols are just like them,
    as are all who trust in them.



O Israel, trust the Lord!
    He is your helper and your shield.
10 O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the Lord!
    He is your helper and your shield.
11 All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord!
    He is your helper and your shield.



12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us.
    He will bless the people of Israel
    and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord,
    both great and lowly.



14 May the Lord richly bless
    both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
16 The heavens belong to the Lord,
    but he has given the earth to all humanity.
17 The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord,
    for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
18 But we can praise the Lord
    both now and forever!



Praise the Lord!

Tuesday 01 October: Daniel 3 & 4, Luke 2:22-40

Daniel 3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Gold Statue

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet widea]">[a]and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. So all these officialsb]">[b] came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments,c]">[c] bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

So at the sound of the musical instruments,d]">[d] all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

But some of the astrologerse]">[e] went to the king and informed on the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in,14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments.f]">[f] But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

The Blazing Furnace

19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.

24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”

“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.

25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a godg]">[g]!”

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

 

Daniel 4 New Living Translation (NLT)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream about a Tree

a]">[a]King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:

“Peace and prosperity to you!



“I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.



How great are his signs,
    how powerful his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever,
    his rule through all generations.



b]">[b]“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed. So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon, so they could tell me what my dream meant. When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers,c]">[c] and fortune-tellers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant. At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. (He was named Belteshazzar after my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)



“I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve. Now tell me what my dream means.



10 “‘While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. 11 The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 12 It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.



13 “‘Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger,d]">[d] a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 The messenger shouted,



“Cut down the tree and lop off its branches!
    Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit!
Chase the wild animals from its shade
    and the birds from its branches.
15 But leave the stump and the roots in the ground,
    bound with a band of iron and bronze
    and surrounded by tender grass.
Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven,
    and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field.
16 For seven periods of time,
    let him have the mind of a wild animal
    instead of the mind of a human.
17 For this has been decreed by the messengerse]">[e];
    it is commanded by the holy ones,
so that everyone may know
    that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.
He gives them to anyone he chooses—
    even to the lowliest of people.”



18 “‘Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’



Daniel Explains the Dream

19 “Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’

“Belteshazzar replied, ‘I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! 20 The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 21 It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22 That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.



23 “‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.”



24 “‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. 25 You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses. 26 But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules.



27 “‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’



The Dream’s Fulfillment

28 “But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. 30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’



31 “While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. 32 You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’



33 “That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.



Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.



His rule is everlasting,
    and his kingdom is eternal.
35 All the people of the earth
    are nothing compared to him.
He does as he pleases
    among the angels of heaven
    and among the people of the earth.
No one can stop him or say to him,
    ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’



36 “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.



37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”

 

Luke 2:22-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.”a]">[a] 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”b]">[b]

The Prophecy of Simeon

25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
    as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
    and he is the glory of your people Israel!”



33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

The Prophecy of Anna

36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.c]">[c] She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

Wednesday 02 October: Daniel 5 & 6, Luke 2:41-52, Proverbs 23

Daniel 5 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Writing on the Wall

Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor,a]">[a] Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him.

The king shouted for the enchanters, astrologers,b]">[b] and fortune-tellers to be brought before him. He said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me what it means will be dressed in purple robes of royal honor and will have a gold chain placed around his neck. He will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom!”

But when all the king’s wise men had come in, none of them could read the writing or tell him what it meant. So the king grew even more alarmed, and his face turned pale. His nobles, too, were shaken.

10 But when the queen mother heard what was happening, she hurried to the banquet hall. She said to Belshazzar, “Long live the king! Don’t be so pale and frightened. 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, this man was found to have insight, understanding, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, the king—your predecessor King Nebuchadnezzar—made him chief over all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers of Babylon. 12 This man Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, has exceptional ability and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”

Daniel Explains the Writing

13 So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king asked him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles brought from Judah by my predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar?14 I have heard that you have the spirit of the gods within you and that you are filled with insight, understanding, and wisdom. 15 My wise men and enchanters have tried to read the words on the wall and tell me their meaning, but they cannot do it. 16 I am told that you can give interpretations and solve difficult problems. If you can read these words and tell me their meaning, you will be clothed in purple robes of royal honor, and you will have a gold chain placed around your neck. You will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Daniel answered the king, “Keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means. 18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave sovereignty, majesty, glory, and honor to your predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar. 19 He made him so great that people of all races and nations and languages trembled before him in fear. He killed those he wanted to kill and spared those he wanted to spare. He honored those he wanted to honor and disgraced those he wanted to disgrace. 20 But when his heart and mind were puffed up with arrogance, he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven from human society. He was given the mind of a wild animal, and he lived among the wild donkeys. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone he desires to rule over them.

22 “You are his successor,c]">[c] O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself. 23 For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! 24 So God has sent this hand to write this message.

25 “This is the message that was written: Mene, mene, tekel, and Parsin. 26 This is what these words mean:

Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end.
27 Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up.
28 Parsind]">[d] means ‘divided’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”



29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was dressed in purple robes, a gold chain was hung around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, the Babyloniane]">[e] king, was killed.f]">[f]

31 g]">[g]And Darius the Mede took over the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.

 

Daniel 6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

a]">[a]Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.

Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”

So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” So King Darius signed the law.

10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12 So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?”

“Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.”

13 Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.”

14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.

15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”

16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.

19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den.20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.

24 Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.

25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:

“Peace and prosperity to you!



26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.



For he is the living God,
    and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
    and his rule will never end.
27 He rescues and saves his people;
    he performs miraculous signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”



28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.b]">[b]

 

Luke 2:41-52 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Speaks with the Teachers

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.

45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”

49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”a]">[a] 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.

51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.

52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

 

Proverbs 23 New Living Translation (NLT)

23 While dining with a ruler,
    pay attention to what is put before you.
If you are a big eater,
    put a knife to your throat;
don’t desire all the delicacies,
    for he might be trying to trick you.



Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
    Be wise enough to know when to quit.
In the blink of an eye wealth disappears,
    for it will sprout wings
    and fly away like an eagle.



Don’t eat with people who are stingy;
    don’t desire their delicacies.
They are always thinking about how much it costs.a]">[a]
    “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.
You will throw up what little you’ve eaten,
    and your compliments will be wasted.



Don’t waste your breath on fools,
    for they will despise the wisest advice.



10 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers;
    don’t take the land of defenseless orphans.
11 For their Redeemerb]">[b] is strong;
    he himself will bring their charges against you.



12 Commit yourself to instruction;
    listen carefully to words of knowledge.



13 Don’t fail to discipline your children.
    The rod of punishment won’t kill them.
14 Physical discipline
    may well save them from death.c]">[c]



15 My child,d]">[d] if your heart is wise,
    my own heart will rejoice!
16 Everything in me will celebrate
    when you speak what is right.



17 Don’t envy sinners,
    but always continue to fear the Lord.
18 You will be rewarded for this;
    your hope will not be disappointed.



19 My child, listen and be wise:
    Keep your heart on the right course.
20 Do not carouse with drunkards
    or feast with gluttons,
21 for they are on their way to poverty,
    and too much sleep clothes them in rags.



22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,
    and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
23 Get the truth and never sell it;
    also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
24 The father of godly children has cause for joy.
    What a pleasure to have children who are wise.e]">[e]
25 So give your father and mother joy!
    May she who gave you birth be happy.



26 O my son, give me your heart.
    May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
27 A prostitute is a dangerous trap;
    a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
28 She hides and waits like a robber,
    eager to make more men unfaithful.



29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow?
    Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining?
    Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns,
    trying out new drinks.
31 Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is,
    how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.
32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake;
    it stings like a viper.
33 You will see hallucinations,
    and you will say crazy things.
34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea,
    clinging to a swaying mast.
35 And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it.
    I didn’t even know it when they beat me up.
When will I wake up
    so I can look for another drink?”

Thursday 03 October: Daniel 7 & 8, Luke 3

Daniel 7 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daniel’s Vision of Four Beasts

Earlier, during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon,a]">[a] Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream, and this is what he saw.

In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction. Then four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others.

The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind.

Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!”

Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast.

Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns.

As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.

I watched as thrones were put in place
    and the Ancient Oneb]">[b] sat down to judge.
His clothing was as white as snow,
    his hair like purest wool.
He sat on a fiery throne
    with wheels of blazing fire,
10 and a river of fire was pouring out,
    flowing from his presence.
Millions of angels ministered to him;
    many millions stood to attend him.
Then the court began its session,
    and the books were opened.



11 I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire.12 The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer.c]">[c]

13 As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of mand]">[d] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.

The Vision Is Explained

15 I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me. 16 So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: 17 “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. 18 But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.”

19 Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, the one so different from the others and so terrifying. It had devoured and crushed its victims with iron teeth and bronze claws, trampling their remains beneath its feet. 20 I also asked about the ten horns on the fourth beast’s head and the little horn that came up afterward and destroyed three of the other horns. This horn had seemed greater than the others, and it had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against God’s holy people and was defeating them, 22 until the Ancient One—the Most High—came and judged in favor of his holy people. Then the time arrived for the holy people to take over the kingdom.

23 Then he said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. 24 Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. 25 He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.

26 “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. 27 Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.”

28 That was the end of the vision. I, Daniel, was terrified by my thoughts and my face was pale with fear, but I kept these things to myself.

 

Daniel 8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and Goat

a]">[a]During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me. In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa, in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River.b]">[b]

As I looked up, I saw a ram with two long horns standing beside the river.c]">[c] One of the horns was longer than the other, even though it had grown later than the other one. The ram butted everything out of his way to the west, to the north, and to the south, and no one could stand against him or help his victims. He did as he pleased and became very great.

While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes, headed toward the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the river, rushing at him in a rage. The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power.

The goat became very powerful. But at the height of his power, his large horn was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four prominent horns pointing in the four directions of the earth. Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel. 10 Its power reached to the heavens, where it attacked the heavenly army, throwing some of the heavenly beings and some of the stars to the ground and trampling them. 11 It even challenged the Commander of heaven’s army by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple. 12 The army of heaven was restrained from responding to this rebellion. So the daily sacrifice was halted, and truth was overthrown. The horn succeeded in everything it did.d]">[d]

13 Then I heard two holy ones talking to each other. One of them asked, “How long will the events of this vision last? How long will the rebellion that causes desecration stop the daily sacrifices? How long will the Temple and heaven’s army be trampled on?”

14 The other replied, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again.”

Gabriel Explains the Vision

15 As I, Daniel, was trying to understand the meaning of this vision, someone who looked like a man stood in front of me. 16 And I heard a human voice calling out from the Ulai River, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of his vision.”

17 As Gabriel approached the place where I was standing, I became so terrified that I fell with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision relate to the time of the end.”

18 While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet.

19 Then he said, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time. 20 The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece,e]">[e] and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire. 22 The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first.

23 “At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. 25 He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power.

26 “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and morningsf]">[f] is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.”

27 Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.

 

Luke 3 New Living Translation (NLT)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was rulera]">[a] over Galilee; his brother Philip was rulerb]">[b] over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
    Clear the road for him!
The valleys will be filled,
    and the mountains and hills made level.
The curves will be straightened,
    and the rough places made smooth.
And then all people will see
    the salvation sent from God.’”c]">[c]



When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

10 The crowds asked, “What should we do?”

11 John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”

13 He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.”

14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers.

John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”

15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you withd]">[d] water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.e]">[e] 17 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” 18 John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.

19 John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee,f]">[f] for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. 20 So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others.

The Baptism of Jesus

21 One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.g]">[g]

The Ancestors of Jesus

23 Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry.

Jesus was known as the son of Joseph.
Joseph was the son of Heli.
24 Heli was the son of Matthat.
Matthat was the son of Levi.
Levi was the son of Melki.
Melki was the son of Jannai.
Jannai was the son of Joseph.
25 Joseph was the son of Mattathias.
Mattathias was the son of Amos.
Amos was the son of Nahum.
Nahum was the son of Esli.
Esli was the son of Naggai.
26 Naggai was the son of Maath.
Maath was the son of Mattathias.
Mattathias was the son of Semein.
Semein was the son of Josech.
Josech was the son of Joda.
27 Joda was the son of Joanan.
Joanan was the son of Rhesa.
Rhesa was the son of Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel.
Shealtiel was the son of Neri.
28 Neri was the son of Melki.
Melki was the son of Addi.
Addi was the son of Cosam.
Cosam was the son of Elmadam.
Elmadam was the son of Er.
29 Er was the son of Joshua.
Joshua was the son of Eliezer.
Eliezer was the son of Jorim.
Jorim was the son of Matthat.
Matthat was the son of Levi.
30 Levi was the son of Simeon.
Simeon was the son of Judah.
Judah was the son of Joseph.
Joseph was the son of Jonam.
Jonam was the son of Eliakim.
31 Eliakim was the son of Melea.
Melea was the son of Menna.
Menna was the son of Mattatha.
Mattatha was the son of Nathan.
Nathan was the son of David.
32 David was the son of Jesse.
Jesse was the son of Obed.
Obed was the son of Boaz.
Boaz was the son of Salmon.h]">[h]
Salmon was the son of Nahshon.
33 Nahshon was the son of Amminadab.
Amminadab was the son of Admin.
Admin was the son of Arni.i]">[i]
Arni was the son of Hezron.
Hezron was the son of Perez.
Perez was the son of Judah.
34 Judah was the son of Jacob.
Jacob was the son of Isaac.
Isaac was the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the son of Terah.
Terah was the son of Nahor.
35 Nahor was the son of Serug.
Serug was the son of Reu.
Reu was the son of Peleg.
Peleg was the son of Eber.
Eber was the son of Shelah.
36 Shelah was the son of Cainan.
Cainan was the son of Arphaxad.
Arphaxad was the son of Shem.
Shem was the son of Noah.
Noah was the son of Lamech.
37 Lamech was the son of Methuselah.
Methuselah was the son of Enoch.
Enoch was the son of Jared.
Jared was the son of Mahalalel.
Mahalalel was the son of Kenan.
38 Kenan was the son of Enosh.j]">[j]
Enosh was the son of Seth.
Seth was the son of Adam.
Adam was the son of God.

Friday 04 October: Daniel 9 & 10, Luke 4:1-15, Psalms 116

Daniel 9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daniel’s Prayer for His People

It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians.a]">[a] During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.b]">[b] So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.

I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:

“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.



“Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. Lord, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. 10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to your voice.

“So now the solemn curses and judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured down on us because of our sin. 12 You have kept your word and done to us and our rulers exactly as you warned. Never has there been such a disaster as happened in Jerusalem. 13 Every curse written against us in the Law of Moses has come true. Yet we have refused to seek mercy from the Lord our God by turning from our sins and recognizing his truth.14 Therefore, the Lord has brought upon us the disaster he prepared. The Lordour God was right to do all of these things, for we did not obey him.



15 “O Lord our God, you brought lasting honor to your name by rescuing your people from Egypt in a great display of power. But we have sinned and are full of wickedness. 16 In view of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn your furious anger away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. All the neighboring nations mock Jerusalem and your people because of our sins and the sins of our ancestors.



17 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.



18 “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.



19 “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”



Gabriel’s Message about the Anointed One

20 I went on praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people, pleading with the Lord my God for Jerusalem, his holy mountain. 21 As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. 23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.

24 “A period of seventy sets of sevenc]">[c] has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.d]">[d] 25 Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of sevene]">[e] will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed Onef]">[f]—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses,g]">[g] despite the perilous times.

26 “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven,h]">[h] the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. 27 The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven,i]">[i] but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds,j]">[j] he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration,k]">[k] until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.”

 

Daniel 10 New Living Translation (NLT)

Daniel’s Vision of a Messenger

10 In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia,a]">[a] Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship.

When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.

On April 23,b]">[b] as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.

Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground.

10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.

12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit princec]">[c] of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels,d]">[d] came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.e]">[e] 14 Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”

15 While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. 16 Then the one who looked like a manf]">[f] touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak.17 How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.”

18 Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. 19 “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!”

As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”

20 He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greeceg]">[g] will come. 21 Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince.h]">[h]

 

Luke 4:1-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,a]">[a] where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’b]">[b]

Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’c]">[c]



Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.
11 And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’d]">[d]



12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’e]">[e]

13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

 

Psalm 116 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 116

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the gravea]">[a] overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
    So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
    for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence
    as I live here on earth!
10 I believed in you, so I said,
    “I am deeply troubled, Lord.”
11 In my anxiety I cried out to you,
    “These people are all liars!”
12 What can I offer the Lord
    for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
14 I will keep my promises to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.



15 The Lord cares deeply
    when his loved ones die.
16 Lord, I am your servant;
    yes, I am your servant, born into your household;
    you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people—
19 in the house of the Lord
    in the heart of Jerusalem.



Praise the Lord!


 

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