bookmark_borderFeb 24, 2020

Psalm 26 (CSB)

Psalm 26

PRAYER FOR VINDICATION

Of David.

Vindicate me, Lord, 

because I have lived with integrity

and have trusted in the Lord without wavering. 

Test me, Lord, and try me; 

examine my heart and mind.

For your faithful love guides me, 

and I live by your truth.

I do not sit with the worthless 

or associate with hypocrites.

I hate a crowd of evildoers, 

and I do not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence 

and go around your altar, Lord, 

raising my voice in thanksgiving 

and telling about your wondrous works.

Lord, I love the house where you dwell, 

the place where your glory resides.

Do not destroy me along with sinners, 

or my life along with men of bloodshed

10 in whose hands are evil schemes 

and whose right hands are filled with bribes.

11 But I live with integrity; 

redeem me and be gracious to me.

12 My foot stands on level ground; 

I will bless the Lord in the assemblies.

Proverbs 5:15–19 (CSB)

ENJOY MARRIAGE

15 Drink water from your own cistern, 

water flowing from your own well.

16 Should your springs flow in the streets, 

streams in the public squares?

17 They should be for you alone 

and not for you to share with strangers.

18 Let your fountain be blessed, 

and take pleasure in the wife of your youth.

19 A loving deer, a graceful doe—

let her breasts always satisfy you;

be lost in her love forever.

Matthew 24:36–25:30 (CSB)

NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY OR HOUR

36 “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son—except the Father alone. 37 As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 38 For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. 39 They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. This is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding grain with a hand mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. 44 This is why you are also to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

FAITHFUL SERVICE TO CHRIST

45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and starts to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 that servant’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS

25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they didn’t take oil with them; but the wise ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps. When the groom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 

“In the middle of the night there was a shout: ‘Here’s the groom! Come out to meet him.’ 

“Then all the virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ 

“The wise ones answered, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell oil, and buy some for yourselves.’ 

10 “When they had gone to buy some, the groom arrived, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut. 11 Later the rest of the virgins also came and said, ‘Master, master, open up for us!’ 

12 “He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you!’ 

13 “Therefore be alert, because you don’t know either the day or the hour.

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately 16 the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. 17 In the same way the man with two earned two more. 18 But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. 

19 “After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ 

21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’

22 “The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’ 

23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ 

24 “The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 

26 “His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, 27 then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned. 

28 “ ‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 30 And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

bookmark_borderFeb 21, 2020

Proverbs 5:13–14 (CSB)

13 I didn’t obey my teachers 

or listen closely to my instructors.

14 I am on the verge of complete ruin 

before the entire community.”

Matthew 23:37–24:35 (CSB)

JESUS’S LAMENTING OVER JERUSALEM

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’!”,

DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE PREDICTED

24 As Jesus left and was going out of the temple, his disciples came up and called his attention to its buildings. He replied to them, “Do you see all these things? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down.” 

SIGNS OF THE END OF THE AGE

While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 

Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of labor pains.

PERSECUTIONS PREDICTED

“Then they will hand you over to be persecuted, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10 Then many will fall away, betray one another, and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

THE GREAT TRIBULATION

15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand), 16 “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 A man on the housetop must not come down to get things out of his house, 18 and a man in the field must not go back to get his coat. 19 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 20 Pray that your escape may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For at that time there will be great distress,, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again. 22 Unless those days were cut short, no one would be saved. But those days will be cut short because of the elect.

23 “If anyone tells you then, ‘See, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Over here!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Take note: I have told you in advance. 26 So if they tell you, ‘See, he’s in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; or, ‘See, he’s in the storerooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.

THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. 

THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE

32 “Learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, recognize that he is near—at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

bookmark_borderFeb 20, 2020

Psalm 25 (CSB)

Psalm 25

DEPENDENCE ON THE LORD

Of David.

Lord, I appeal to you.,

My God, I trust in you. 

Do not let me be disgraced;

do not let my enemies gloat over me.

No one who waits for you 

will be disgraced;

those who act treacherously without cause

will be disgraced.

Make your ways known to me, Lord; 

teach me your paths.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, 

for you are the God of my salvation;

I wait for you all day long.

Remember, Lord, your compassion 

and your faithful love,

for they have existed from antiquity.,

Do not remember the sins of my youth 

or my acts of rebellion;

in keeping with your faithful love, remember me

because of your goodness, Lord. 

The Lord is good and upright; 

therefore he shows sinners the way.

He leads the humble in what is right 

and teaches them his way.

10 All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth 

to those who keep his covenant and decrees.

11 Lord, for the sake of your name, 

forgive my iniquity, for it is immense.

12 Who is this person who fears the Lord? 

He will show him the way he should choose.

13 He will live a good life, 

and his descendants will inherit the land.,

14 The secret counsel of the Lord

is for those who fear him,

and he reveals his covenant to them.

15 My eyes are always on the Lord, 

for he will pull my feet out of the net.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, 

for I am alone and afflicted.

17 The distresses of my heart increase;,

bring me out of my sufferings.

18 Consider my affliction and trouble, 

and forgive all my sins.

19 Consider my enemies; they are numerous, 

and they hate me violently.

20 Guard me and rescue me; 

do not let me be put to shame,

for I take refuge in you.

21 May integrity and what is right 

watch over me,

for I wait for you.

22 God, redeem Israel, from all its distresses.

Proverbs 5:9–12 (CSB)

Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others 

and your years to someone cruel;

10 strangers will drain your resources, 

and your hard-earned pay will end up in a foreigner’s house.

11 At the end of your life, you will lament 

when your physical body has been consumed,

12 and you will say, “How I hated discipline, 

and how my heart despised correction.

Matthew 22:23–23:36 (CSB)

THE SADDUCEES AND THE RESURRECTION

23 That same day some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up to him and questioned him: 24 “Teacher, Moses said, if a man dies, having no children, his brother is to marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother., 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second also, and the third, and so on to all seven. 27 Last of all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.” 

29 Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 31 Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God: 32 I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?, He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 

33 And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. 

THE PRIMARY COMMANDS

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 

37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.,38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself., 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

THE QUESTION ABOUT THE CHRIST

41 While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” 

They replied, “David’s.”

43 He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’: 

44 The Lord declared to my Lord,

‘Sit at my right hand

until I put your enemies under your feet’?,,

45 “If David calls him ‘Lord,’ how then can he be his son?” 46 No one was able to answer him at all, and from that day no one dared to question him anymore. 

RELIGIOUS HYPOCRITES DENOUNCED

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels., They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues,greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people. 

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters. Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 You are not to be called instructors either, because you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.,

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are! 

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the temple, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the temple is bound by his oath.’ 17 Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 Also, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.’ 19 Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?20 Therefore, the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. 21 The one who takes an oath by the temple takes an oath by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by him who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but gulp down a camel! 

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside of it may also become clean. 

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors’ sins!

33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell?, 34 This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all these things will come on this generation.

bookmark_borderFeb 19, 2020

Psalm 24 (CSB)

Psalm 24

THE KING OF GLORY

A psalm of David.

The earth and everything in it, 

the world and its inhabitants,

belong to the Lord; 

for he laid its foundation on the seas 

and established it on the rivers.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? 

Who may stand in his holy place?

The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, 

who has not appealed to what is false,

and who has not sworn deceitfully.

He will receive blessing from the Lord, 

and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Such is the generation of those who inquire of him, 

who seek the face of the God of Jacob.,

Selah

Lift up your heads, you gates! 

Rise up, ancient doors!

Then the King of glory will come in.

Who is this King of glory? 

The Lord, strong and mighty, 

the Lord, mighty in battle. 

Lift up your heads, you gates! 

Rise up, ancient doors!

Then the King of glory will come in.

10 Who is he, this King of glory? 

The Lord of Armies, 

he is the King of glory.

Selah

Proverbs 5:1–8 (CSB)

AVOID SEDUCTION

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; 

listen closely to my understanding

so that you may maintain discretion 

and your lips safeguard knowledge.

Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey 

and her words are smoother than oil,

in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood 

and as sharp as a double-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death; 

her steps head straight for Sheol.

She doesn’t consider the path of life; 

she doesn’t know that her ways are unstable.

So now, sons, listen to me, 

and don’t turn away from the words from my mouth.

Keep your way far from her. 

Don’t go near the door of her house.

Matthew 21:33–22:22 (CSB)

THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD OWNER

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 34 When the time came to harvest fruit, he sent his servants to the farmers to collect his fruit. 35 The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again, he sent other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 

38 “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?” 

41 “He will completely destroy those terrible men,” they told him, “and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his fruit at the harvest.” 

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: 

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.

This is what the Lord has done

and it is wonderful in our eyes?,

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit. 44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew he was speaking about them. 46 Although they were looking for a way to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because the people regarded him as a prophet. 

THE PARABLE OF THE WEDDING BANQUET

22 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. Again, he sent out other servants and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: See, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged, and he sent out his troops, killed those murderers, and burned down their city. 

“Then he told his servants, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go then to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ 10 So those servants went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. 11 When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

GOD AND CAESAR

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap him by what he said., 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You don’t care what anyone thinks nor do you show partiality., 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 

18 Perceiving their malicious intent, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” They brought him a denarius. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them. 

21 “Caesar’s,” they said to him. 

Then he said to them, “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

bookmark_borderFeb 18, 2020

Psalm 23 (CSB)

Psalm 23

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; 

I have what I need.

He lets me lie down in green pastures; 

he leads me beside quiet waters.

He renews my life; 

he leads me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even when I go through the darkest valley, 

I fear no danger,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me 

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me 

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

as long as I live.,

Proverbs 4:25–27 (CSB)

25 Let your eyes look forward; 

fix your gaze straight ahead.

26 Carefully consider the path for your feet, 

and all your ways will be established.

27 Don’t turn to the right or to the left; 

keep your feet away from evil.

Matthew 21:18–32 (CSB)

THE BARREN FIG TREE

18 Early in the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, he went up to it and found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” At once the fig tree withered. 

20 When the disciples saw it, they were amazed and said, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” 

21 Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” 

THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHALLENGED

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?” 

24 Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did John’s baptism come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” 

They discussed it among themselves, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we’re afraid of the crowd, because everyone considers John to be a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” 

And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. 

THE PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go work in the vineyard today.’

29 “He answered, ‘I don’t want to,’ but later he changed his mind and went. 30 Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he answered, but he didn’t go. 31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” 

They said, “The first.”

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.

bookmark_borderFeb 14, 2020

Psalm 22 (CSB)

Psalm 22

FROM SUFFERING TO PRAISE

For the choir director: according to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? 

Why are you so far from my deliverance

and from my words of groaning?

My God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, 

by night, yet I have no rest.

But you are holy, 

enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Our fathers trusted in you; 

they trusted, and you rescued them.

They cried to you and were set free; 

they trusted in you and were not disgraced.

But I am a worm and not a man, 

scorned by mankind and despised by people.

Everyone who sees me mocks me; 

they sneer and shake their heads:

“He relies on the Lord; 

let him save him;

let the Lord rescue him, 

since he takes pleasure in him.”

It was you who brought me out of the womb, 

making me secure at my mother’s breast.

10 I was given over to you at birth; 

you have been my God from my mother’s womb.

11 Don’t be far from me, because distress is near 

and there’s no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me; 

strong ones of Bashan encircle me.

13 They open their mouths against me—

lions, mauling and roaring.

14 I am poured out like water, 

and all my bones are disjointed;

my heart is like wax,

melting within me.

15 My strength is dried up like baked clay; 

my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.

You put me into the dust of death.

16 For dogs have surrounded me; 

a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;

they pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones; 

people look and stare at me.

18 They divided my garments among themselves, 

and they cast lots for my clothing.

19 But you, Lord, don’t be far away. 

My strength, come quickly to help me.

20 Rescue my life from the sword, 

my only life from the power of these dogs.

21 Save me from the lion’s mouth, 

from the horns of wild oxen.

You answered me!

22 I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; 

I will praise you in the assembly.

23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! 

All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!

All you descendants of Israel, revere him!

24 For he has not despised or abhorred 

the torment of the oppressed.

He did not hide his face from him

but listened when he cried to him for help.

25 I will give praise in the great assembly 

because of you;

I will fulfill my vows

before those who fear you.,

26 The humble will eat and be satisfied; 

those who seek the Lord will praise him. 

May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth will remember 

and turn to the Lord. 

All the families of the nations

will bow down before you,

28 for kingship belongs to the Lord; 

he rules the nations.

29 All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; 

all those who go down to the dust

will kneel before him—

even the one who cannot preserve his life.

30 Their descendants will serve him; 

the next generation will be told about the Lord.

31 They will come and declare his righteousness; 

to a people yet to be born

they will declare what he has done.

Proverbs 4:23–24 (CSB)

23 Guard your heart above all else, 

for it is the source of life.

24 Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, 

and don’t let your lips talk deviously.

Matthew 20:29–21:17 (CSB)

TWO BLIND MEN HEALED

29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd demanded that they keep quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 

32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 

33 “Lord,” they said to him, “open our eyes.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed him. 

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

21 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them at once.” 

This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: 

Tell Daughter Zion,

“See, your King is coming to you,

gentle, and mounted on a donkey,

and on a colt,

the foal of a donkey.”,

The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. They brought the donkey and its colt; then they laid their clothes on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted: 

Hosanna to the Son of David! 

Blessed is he who comes in the name

of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven! 

10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” 

CLEANSING THE TEMPLE

12 Jesus went into the temple, and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”,

CHILDREN PRAISE JESUS

14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders that he did and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” 

Jesus replied, “Yes, have you never read: 

You have prepared praise

from the mouths of infants and nursing babies?”

17 Then he left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

bookmark_borderFeb 13, 2020

Proverbs 4:18–22 (CSB)

18 The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, 

shining brighter and brighter until midday.

19 But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; 

they don’t know what makes them stumble.

THE STRAIGHT PATH

20 My son, pay attention to my words; 

listen closely to my sayings.

21 Don’t lose sight of them; 

keep them within your heart.

22 For they are life to those who find them, 

and health to one’s whole body.

Matthew 19:16–20:28 (CSB)

THE RICH YOUNG RULER

16 Just then someone came up and asked him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?” 

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” he said to him. “There is only one who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he asked him. 

Jesus answered: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; 19 honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.,

20 “I have kept all these,” the young man told him. “What do I still lack?” 

21 “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 

22 When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. 

POSSESSIONS AND THE KINGDOM

23 Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” 

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Then Peter responded to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you. So what will there be for us?” 

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD WORKERS

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the workers on one denarius, he sent them into his vineyard for the day. When he went out about nine in the morning, he saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He said to them, ‘You also go into my vineyard, and I’ll give you whatever is right.’ So off they went. About noon and about three, he went out again and did the same thing. Then about five he went and found others standing around and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day doing nothing?’ 

“ ‘Because no one hired us,’ they said to him. 

“ ‘You also go into my vineyard,’ he told them. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and give them their pay, starting with the last and ending with the first.’ 

“When those who were hired about five came, they each received one denarius. 10 So when the first ones came, they assumed they would get more, but they also received a denarius each. 11 When they received it, they began to complain to the landowner: 12 ‘These last men put in one hour, and you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day’s work and the burning heat.’

13 “He replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius? 14 Take what’s yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what is mine? Are you jealous because I’m generous?’,

16 “So the last will be first, and the first last.”,

THE THIRD PREDICTION OF HIS DEATH

17 While going up to Jerusalem, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside privately and said to them on the way, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death. 19 They will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified, and on the third day he will be raised.”

SUFFERING AND SERVICE

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached him with her sons. She knelt down to ask him for something. 21 “What do you want?” he asked her. 

“Promise,” she said to him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left, in your kingdom.”

22 Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”,

“We are able,” they said to him.

23 He told them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right and left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

24 When the ten disciples heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

bookmark_borderFeb 12, 2020

Psalm 21 (CSB)

Psalm 21

THE KING’S VICTORY

For the choir director. A psalm of David.

Lord, the king finds joy in your strength. 

How greatly he rejoices in your victory!

You have given him his heart’s desire 

and have not denied the request of his lips.

Selah

For you meet him with rich blessings; 

you place a crown of pure gold on his head.

He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—

length of days forever and ever.

His glory is great through your victory; 

you confer majesty and splendor on him.

You give him blessings forever; 

you cheer him with joy in your presence.

For the king relies on the Lord; 

through the faithful love of the Most High

he is not shaken.

Your hand will capture all your enemies; 

your right hand will seize those who hate you.

You will make them burn 

like a fiery furnace when you appear;

the Lord will engulf them in his wrath, 

and fire will devour them.

10 You will wipe their progeny from the earth 

and their offspring from the human race.,

11 Though they intend to harm you 

and devise a wicked plan, they will not prevail.

12 Instead, you will put them to flight 

when you ready your bowstrings to shoot at them.

13 Be exalted, Lord, in your strength; 

we will sing and praise your might.

Proverbs 4:14–17 (CSB)

14 Keep off the path of the wicked; 

don’t proceed on the way of evil ones.

15 Avoid it; don’t travel on it. 

Turn away from it, and pass it by.

16 For they can’t sleep 

unless they have done what is evil;

they are robbed of sleep

unless they make someone stumble.

17 They eat the bread of wickedness 

and drink the wine of violence.

Matthew 18:21–19:15 (CSB)

THE PARABLE OF THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT

21 Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 

22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.

23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him. 25 Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.

26 “At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan. 

28 “That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii., He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’ 

29 “At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. 31 When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. 32 Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”

THE QUESTION OF DIVORCE

19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees approached him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?” 

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that he who created them in the beginning made them male and female,, and he also said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?, So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 

“Why then,” they asked him, “did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?” 

He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts, but it was not like that from the beginning. I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”,

10 His disciples said to him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry.” 

11 He responded, “Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept it should accept it.” 

BLESSING THE CHILDREN

13 Then children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”, 15 After placing his hands on them, he went on from there.

bookmark_borderFeb 11, 2020

Psalm 20 (CSB)

Psalm 20

DELIVERANCE IN BATTLE

For the choir director. A psalm of David.

May the Lord answer you in a day of trouble; 

may the name of Jacob’s God protect you.

May he send you help from the sanctuary 

and sustain you from Zion.

May he remember all your offerings 

and accept your burnt offering.

Selah

May he give you what your heart desires 

and fulfill your whole purpose.

Let us shout for joy at your victory 

and lift the banner in the name of our God.

May the Lord fulfill all your requests. 

Now I know that the Lord gives victory to his anointed; 

he will answer him from his holy heaven

with mighty victories from his right hand.

Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses, 

but we take pride in the name of the Lord our God. 

They collapse and fall, 

but we rise and stand firm.

Lord, give victory to the king! 

May he answer us on the day that we call.

Proverbs 4:10–13 (CSB)

TWO WAYS OF LIFE

10 Listen, my son. Accept my words, 

and you will live many years.

11 I am teaching you the way of wisdom; 

I am guiding you on straight paths.

12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered; 

when you run, you will not stumble.

13 Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. 

Guard it, for it is your life.

Matthew 18:1–20 (CSB)

WHO IS THE GREATEST?

18 At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child and had him stand among them. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me. 

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses will inevitably come, but woe to that person by whom the offense comes. If your hand or your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire.,

THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SHEEP

10 “See to it that you don’t despise one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of my Father in heaven., 12 What do you think? If someone has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go and search for the stray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over that sheep more than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish. 

RESTORING A BROTHER

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established., 17 If he doesn’t pay attention to them, tell the church., If he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”

bookmark_borderFeb 10, 2020

Proverbs 4:7–9 (CSB)

Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom. 

And whatever else you get, get understanding.

Cherish her, and she will exalt you; 

if you embrace her, she will honor you.

She will place a garland of favor on your head; 

she will give you a crown of beauty.”

Matthew 17:14–27 (CSB)

THE POWER OF JESUS OVER A DEMON

14 When they reached the crowd, a man approached and knelt down before him. 15 “Lord,” he said, “have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.” 

17 Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and from that moment the boy was healed. 

19 Then the disciples approached Jesus privately and said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 

20 “Because of your little faith,” he told them. “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”,

THE SECOND PREDICTION OF HIS DEATH

22 As they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised up.” And they were deeply distressed. 

PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX

24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” 

25 “Yes,” he said. 

When he went into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tariffs or taxes? From their sons or from strangers?”,

26 “From strangers,” he said. 

“Then the sons are free,” Jesus told him. 27 “But, so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and take the first fish that you catch. When you open its mouth you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for me and you.”