Monday, September 28, 2020

September 28 Reading through the Bible

 


ISAIAH 54:1-57:14

EPHESIANS 6:1-24

PSALM 70:1-5

PROVERBS 24:8

ISAIAH 54:1-57:14

" Sing, O childless woman! Break forth into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, even though you never gave birth to a child. For the woman who could bear no children now has more than all the other women," says the LORD. 2 " Enlarge your house; build an addition; spread out your home! 3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will take over other nations and live in their cities. 4 " Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, 5 for your Creator will be your husband. The LORD Almighty is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. 6 For the LORD has called you back from your grief--as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband," says your God. 7 " For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. 8 In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer. 9 " Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth and destroy its life, so now I swear that I will never again pour out my anger on you. 10 For the mountains may depart and the hills disappear, but even then I will remain loyal to you. My covenant of blessing will never be broken," says the LORD, who has mercy on you. 11 " O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you on a foundation of sapphires and make the walls of your houses from precious jewels. 12 I will make your towers of sparkling rubies and your gates and walls of shining gems. 13 I will teach all your citizens, and their prosperity will be great. 14 You will live under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away; you will live in peace. Terror will not come near. 15 If any nation comes to fight you, it will not be because I sent them to punish you. Your enemies will always be defeated because I am on your side. 16 I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy. 17 But in that coming day, no weapon turned against you will succeed. And everyone who tells lies in court will be brought to justice. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!55:1 " IS anyone thirsty? Come and drink--even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk--it's all free! 2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul! 3 " Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David. 4 He displayed my power by being my witness and a leader among the nations. 5 You also will command the nations, and they will come running to obey, because I, the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious." 6 Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. 7 Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 " My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. " And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 10 " The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. 12 You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! 13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honor to the LORD's name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.56:1 " BE just and fair to all," says the LORD. " Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you. 2 Blessed are those who are careful to do this. Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest by refusing to work. And blessed are those who keep themselves from doing wrong. 3 " And my blessings are for Gentiles, too, when they commit themselves to the LORD. Do not let them think that I consider them second-class citizens. And my blessings are also for the eunuchs. They are as much mine as anyone else. 4 For I say this to the eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy, who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me: 5 I will give them--in my house, within my walls--a memorial and a name far greater than the honor they would have received by having sons and daughters. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! 6 " I will also bless the Gentiles who commit themselves to the LORD and serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who have accepted his covenant. 7 I will bring them also to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. 8 For the Sovereign LORD, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says: I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel." 9 Come, wild animals of the field! Come, wild animals of the forest! Come and devour my people! 10 For the leaders of my people--the LORD's watchmen, his shepherds--are blind to every danger. They are like silent watchdogs that give no warning when danger comes. They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming. 11 And they are as greedy as dogs, never satisfied. They are stupid shepherds, all following their own path, all of them intent on personal gain. 12 " Come," they say. " We will get some wine and have a party. Let's all get drunk. Let this go on and on, and tomorrow will be even better."57:1 THE righteous pass away; the godly often die before their time. And no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. 2 For the godly who die will rest in peace. 3 " But you--come here, you witches' children, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes! 4 Whom do you mock, making faces and sticking out your tongues? You children of sinners and liars! 5 You worship your idols with great passion beneath every green tree. You slaughter your children as human sacrifices down in the valleys, under overhanging rocks. 6 Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys. You worship them with drink offerings and grain offerings. They, not I, are your inheritance. Does all this make me happy? 7 You have committed adultery on the mountaintops by worshiping idols there, and so you have been unfaithful to me. 8 Behind closed doors, you have set up your idols and worship them instead of me. This is adultery, for you are loving these idols instead of loving me. You have climbed right into bed with these detestable gods. 9 You have given olive oil and perfume to Molech as your gift. You have traveled far, even into the world of the dead, to find new gods to love. 10 You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up. You strengthened yourself and went on. 11 Why were you more afraid of them than of me? How is it that you don't even remember me or think about me? Is it because I have not corrected you that you have no fear of me? 12 " Now I will expose your so-called good deeds that you consider so righteous. None of them will benefit or save you. 13 Let's see if your idols can do anything for you when you cry to them for help. They are so helpless that a breath of wind can knock them down! But whoever trusts in me will possess the land and inherit my holy mountain. 14 I will say, ` Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.' "

EPHESIANS 6:1-24

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 " Honor your father and mother." This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. 3 And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, " you will live a long life, full of blessing." 4 And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord. 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. 9 And in the same way, you masters must treat your slaves right. Don't threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.10 A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. 11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. 13 Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere. 19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words as I boldly explain God's secret plan that the Good News is for the Gentiles, too. 20 I am in chains now for preaching this message as God's ambassador. But pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.21 Tychicus, a much loved brother and faithful helper in the Lord's work, will tell you all about how I am getting along. 22 I am sending him to you for just this purpose. He will let you know how we are, and he will encourage you. 23 May God give you peace, dear brothers and sisters,* and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 May God's grace be upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

PSALM 70:1-5

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to bring us to the LORD's remembrance.

1 Please, God, rescue me!

Come quickly, LORD, and help me.

2 May those who try to destroy me

be humiliated and put to shame.

May those who take delight in my trouble

be turned back in disgrace.

3 Let them be horrified by their shame,

for they said, " Aha! We've got him now!"

4 But may all who search for you

be filled with joy and gladness.

May those who love your salvation

repeatedly shout, " God is great!"

5 But I am poor and needy;

please hurry to my aid, O God.

You are my helper and my savior;

O LORD, do not delay!

PROVERBS 24:8

A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

September 27 Reading through the Bible



 ISAIAH 51:1-53:12

EPHESIANS 5:1-33

PSALM 69:19-36

PROVERBS 24:7

ISAIAH 51:1-53:12

" Listen to me [the LORD], all who hope for deliverance--all who seek the LORD! Consider the quarry from which you were mined, the rock from which you were cut! 2 Yes, think about your ancestors Abraham and Sarah, from whom you came. Abraham was alone when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation." 3 The LORD will comfort Israel again and make her deserts blossom. Her barren wilderness will become as beautiful as Eden--the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found there. Lovely songs of thanksgiving will fill the air. 4 " Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations. 5 My mercy and justice are coming soon. Your salvation is on the way. I will rule the nations. They will wait for me and long for my power. 6 Look up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth beneath. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end! 7 " Listen to me, you who know right from wrong and cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people's scorn or their slanderous talk. 8 For the moth will destroy them as it destroys clothing. The worm will eat away at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation." 9 Wake up, LORD! Robe yourself with strength! Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile. 10 Are you not the same today, the one who dried up the sea, making a path of escape when you saved your people? 11 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return to Jerusalem, singing songs of everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be overcome with joy and gladness. 12 " I, even I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? 13 Yet you have forgotten the LORD, your Creator, the one who put the stars in the sky and established the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppression? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies from morning till night? 14 Soon all you captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate! 15 For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the LORD Almighty. 16 And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely within my hand. I set all the stars in space and established the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, ` You are mine!' " 17 Wake up, wake up, O Jerusalem! You have drunk enough from the cup of the LORD's fury. You have drunk the cup of terror, tipping out its last drops. 18 Not one of your children is left alive to help you or tell you what to do. 19 These two things have been your lot: desolation and destruction, famine and war. And who is left to sympathize? Who is left to comfort you? 20 For your children have fainted and lie in the streets, helpless as antelopes caught in a net. The LORD has poured out his fury; God has rebuked them. 21 But now listen to this, you afflicted ones, who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine. 22 This is what the Sovereign LORD, your God and Defender, says: " See, I am taking the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury. It is gone at last! 23 But I will put that cup into the hands of those who tormented you. I will give it to those who trampled you into the dust and walked on your backs."52:1 WAKE up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourselves with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will no longer enter your gates. 2 Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Remove the slave bands from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For this is what the LORD says: " When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without paying for you." 4 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: " Long ago my people went to live as resident foreigners in Egypt. Now they have been oppressed without cause by Assyria. 5 And now, what is this?" asks the LORD. " Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is being blasphemed all day long. 6 But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that it is I who speaks to them." 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! 8 The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the LORD bringing his people home to Jerusalem. 9 Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song, for the LORD has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD will demonstrate his holy power before the eyes of all the nations. The ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. 11 Go now, leave your bonds and slavery. Put Babylon behind you, with everything it represents, for it is unclean to you. You are the LORD's holy people. Purify yourselves, you who carry home the vessels of the LORD. 12 You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you, and the God of Israel will protect you from behind. 13 See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. 14 Many were amazed when they saw him--beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know he was a person. 15 And he will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard about.53:1 WHO has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal his saving power? 2 My servant grew up in the LORD's presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! 5 But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! 6 All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. 7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins--that he was suffering their punishment? 9 He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave. 10 But it was the LORD's good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD's plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12 I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.

EPHESIANS 5:1-33

Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him. 3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world. 6 Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him. 7 Don't participate in the things these people do. 8 For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. 14 And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, " Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." 15 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. 17 Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. 19 Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.25 And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. 29 No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. 30 And we are his body. 31 As the Scriptures say, " A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

PSALM 69:19-36

You [LORD] know the insults I endure--

the humiliation and disgrace.

You have seen all my enemies

and know what they have said.

20 Their insults have broken my heart,

and I am in despair.

If only one person would show some pity;

if only one would turn and comfort me.

21 But instead, they give me poison for food;

they offer me sour wine to satisfy my thirst.

22 Let the bountiful table set before them become a snare,

and let their security become a trap.

23 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,

and let their bodies grow weaker and weaker.

24 Pour out your fury on them;

consume them with your burning anger.

25 May their homes become desolate

and their tents be deserted.

26 To those you have punished, they add insult to injury;

they scoff at the pain of those you have hurt.

27 Pile their sins up high,

and don't let them go free.

28 Erase their names from the Book of Life;

don't let them be counted among the righteous.

29 I am suffering and in pain.

Rescue me, O God, by your saving power.

30 Then I will praise God's name with singing,

and I will honor him with thanksgiving.

31 For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing an ox

or presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.

32 The humble will see their God at work and be glad.

Let all who seek God's help live in joy.

33 For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones;

he does not despise his people who are oppressed.

34 Praise him, O heaven and earth,

the seas and all that move in them.

35 For God will save Jerusalem

and rebuild the towns of Judah.

His people will live there

and take possession of the land.

36 The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land,

and those who love him will live there in safety.

PROVERBS 24:7

Wisdom is too much for a fool. When the leaders gather, the fool has nothing to say.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

September 26 Reading through the Bible

 


EPHESIANS 4:17-32

PSALM 69:1-18

PROVERBS 24:5-6

ISAIAH 48:12-50:11

" Listen to me, O family of Jacob, Israel my chosen one! I alone am God, the First and the Last. 13 It was my hand that laid the foundations of the earth. The palm of my right hand spread out the heavens above. I spoke, and they came into being. 14 " Have any of your idols ever told you this? Come, all of you, and listen: ` The LORD has chosen Cyrus as his ally. He will use him to put an end to the empire of Babylon, destroying the Babylonian armies.' 15 I have said it: I am calling Cyrus! I will send him on this errand and will help him succeed. 16 Come closer and listen. I have always told you plainly what would happen so you would have no trouble understanding." And now the Sovereign LORD and his Spirit have sent me with this message: 17 " The LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow. 18 Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves. 19 Then you would have become as numerous as the sands along the seashore--too many to count! There would have been no need for your destruction." 20 Yet even now, be free from your captivity! Leave Babylon and the Babylonians, singing as you go! Shout to the ends of the earth that the LORD has redeemed his servants, the people of Israel. 21 They were not thirsty when he led them through the desert. He divided the rock, and water gushed out for them to drink. 22 " But there is no peace for the wicked," says the LORD.49:1 LISTEN to me, all of you in far-off lands! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. 2 He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver. 3 He said to me, " You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory." 4 I replied, " But my work all seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all. Yet I leave it all in the LORD's hand; I will trust God for my reward." 5 And now the LORD speaks--he who formed me in my mother's womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring his people of Israel back to him. The LORD has honored me, and my God has given me strength. 6 He says, " You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." 7 The LORD, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by a nation, to the one who is the servant of rulers: " Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will bow low because the LORD has chosen you. He, the faithful LORD, the Holy One of Israel, chooses you."8 This is what the LORD says: " At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation, I will help you. I will give you as a token and pledge to Israel. This will prove that I will reestablish the land of Israel and reassign it to its own people again. 9 Through you I am saying to the prisoners of darkness, ` Come out! I am giving you your freedom!' They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. 10 They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun and scorching desert winds will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them beside cool waters. 11 And I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys. 12 See, my people will return from far away, from lands to the north and west, and from as far south as Egypt." 13 Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their sorrow. 14 Yet Jerusalem says, " The LORD has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us."15 " Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! 16 See, I have written your name on my hand. Ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem's walls in ruins. 17 Soon your descendants will come back, and all who are trying to destroy you will go away. 18 Look and see, for all your children will come back to you. As surely as I live," says the LORD, " they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display. 19 " Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land will soon be crowded with your people. Your enemies who enslaved you will be far away. 20 The generations born in exile will return and say, ` We need more room! It's crowded here!' 21 Then you will think to yourself, ` Who has given me all these descendants? For most of my children were killed, and the rest were carried away into exile. I was left here all alone. Who bore these children? Who raised them for me?' " 22 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: " See, I will give a signal to the godless nations. They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms; they will bring your daughters on their shoulders. 23 Kings and queens will serve you. They will care for all your needs. They will bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Those who wait for me will never be put to shame." 24 Who can snatch the plunder of war from the hands of a warrior? Who can demand that a tyrant let his captives go? 25 But the LORD says, " The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved. For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children. 26 I will feed your enemies with their own flesh. They will be drunk with rivers of their own blood. All the world will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel."50:1 THE LORD asks, " Did I sell you as slaves to my creditors? Is that why you are not here? Is your mother gone because I divorced her and sent her away? No, you went away as captives because of your sins. And your mother, too, was taken because of your sins. 2 Was I too weak to save you? Is that why the house is silent and empty when I come home? Is it because I have no power to rescue? No, that is not the reason! For I can speak to the sea and make it dry! I can turn rivers into deserts covered with dying fish. 3 I am the one who sends darkness out across the skies, bringing it to a state of mourning." 4 The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. 5 The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I do not rebel or turn away. 6 I give my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pull out my beard. I do not hide from shame, for they mock me and spit in my face.7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph. 8 He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to oppose me now? Where are my enemies? Let them appear! 9 See, the Sovereign LORD is on my side! Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like old clothes that have been eaten by moths! 10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God. 11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon lie down in great torment.

EPHESIANS 4:17-32

With the Lord's authority let me [Paul] say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed. 20 But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, 22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness--righteous, holy, and true. 25 So put away all falsehood and " tell your neighbor the truth" because we belong to each other. 26 And " don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. 28 If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.30 And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

PSALM 69:1-18

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune " Lilies."

1 Save me, O God,

for the floodwaters are up to my neck.

2 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;

I can't find a foothold to stand on.

I am in deep water,

and the floods overwhelm me.

3 I am exhausted from crying for help;

my throat is parched and dry.

My eyes are swollen with weeping,

waiting for my God to help me.

4 Those who hate me without cause

are more numerous than the hairs on my head.

These enemies who seek to destroy me

are doing so without cause.

They attack me with lies,

demanding that I give back what I didn't steal.

5 O God, you know how foolish I am;

my sins cannot be hidden from you.

6 Don't let those who trust in you stumble because of me,

O Sovereign LORD Almighty.

Don't let me cause them to be humiliated,

O God of Israel.

7 For I am mocked and shamed for your sake;

humiliation is written all over my face.

8 Even my own brothers pretend they don't know me;

they treat me like a stranger.

9 Passion for your house burns within me,

so those who insult you are also insulting me.

10 When I weep and fast before the LORD,

they scoff at me.

11 When I dress in sackcloth to show sorrow,

they make fun of me.

12 I am the favorite topic of town gossip,

and all the drunkards sing about me.

13 But I keep right on praying to you, LORD,

hoping this is the time you will show me favor.

In your unfailing love, O God,

answer my prayer with your sure salvation.

14 Pull me out of the mud;

don't let me sink any deeper!

Rescue me from those who hate me,

and pull me from these deep waters.

15 Don't let the floods overwhelm me,

or the deep waters swallow me,

or the pit of death devour me.

16 Answer my prayers, O LORD,

for your unfailing love is wonderful.

Turn and take care of me,

for your mercy is so plentiful.

17 Don't hide from your servant;

answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!

18 Come and rescue me;

free me from all my enemies.

PROVERBS 24:5-6

A wise man is mightier than a strong man,> and a man of knowledge is more powerful than a strong man. So don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many counselors.