bookmark_borderMar 31, 2020

Psalm 43 (CSB)

Psalm 43

Vindicate me, God, and champion my cause 

against an unfaithful nation;

rescue me from the deceitful and unjust person.

For you are the God of my refuge. 

Why have you rejected me?

Why must I go about in sorrow

because of the enemy’s oppression?

Send your light and your truth; let them lead me. 

Let them bring me to your holy mountain,

to your dwelling place.

Then I will come to the altar of God, 

to God, my greatest joy.

I will praise you with the lyre,

God, my God.

Why, my soul, are you so dejected? 

Why are you in such turmoil?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,

my Savior and my God.

Mark 11:15–12:37 (CSB)

CLEANSING THE TEMPLE

15 They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. 17 He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!”,

18 The chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to kill him. For they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was astonished by his teaching. 

19 Whenever evening came, they would go out of the city. 

THE BARREN FIG TREE IS WITHERED

20 Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 

22 Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.24 Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received, it and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”

THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHALLENGED

27 They came again to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came 28 and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do these things?” 

29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; then answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin? Answer me.” 

31 They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ ”—they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was truly a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” 

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

THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD OWNER

12 He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them. But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner, of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this Scripture:

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.

11 This came about from the Lord

and is wonderful in our eyes?”

12 They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away. 

GOD AND CAESAR

13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Jesus to trap him in his words. 14 When they came, they said to him, “Teacher, we know you are truthful and don’t care what anyone thinks, nor do you show partiality but teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” 

15 But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius, to look at.” 16 They brought a coin. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them. 

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Jesus told them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him. 

THE SADDUCEES AND THE RESURRECTION

18 Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and questioned him: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife behind but no child, that man should take the wife and raise up offspring for his brother., 20 There were seven brothers. The first married a woman, and dying, left no offspring. 21 The second also took her, and he died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 None of the seven left offspring. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be, since the seven had married her?” 

24 Jesus spoke to them, “Isn’t this the reason why you’re mistaken: you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised—haven’t you read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God said to him: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?, 27 He is not the God of the dead but of the living. You are badly mistaken.” 

THE PRIMARY COMMANDS

28 One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?” 

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.,, 31 The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself., There is no other command greater than these.” 

32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, teacher. You have correctly said that he is one, and there is no one else except him. 33 And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 

34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to question him any longer. 

THE QUESTION ABOUT THE CHRIST

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he asked, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David?36 David himself says by the Holy Spirit:

The Lord declared to my Lord,

‘Sit at my right hand

until I put your enemies under your feet.’,

37 David himself calls him ‘Lord’; how then can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

bookmark_borderMar 27, 2020

Psalm 42 (CSB)

BOOK II

(Psalms 42–72)

Psalm 42

LONGING FOR GOD

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. 

As a deer longs for flowing streams, 

so I long for you, God.

I thirst for God, the living God. 

When can I come and appear before God?

My tears have been my food day and night, 

while all day long people say to me,

“Where is your God?”

I remember this as I pour out my heart: 

how I walked with many,

leading the festive procession to the house of God,

with joyful and thankful shouts.

Why, my soul, are you so dejected? 

Why are you in such turmoil?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,

my Savior and my God.

I am deeply depressed; 

therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan

and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; 

all your breakers and your billows have swept over me.

The Lord will send his faithful love by day; 

his song will be with me in the night—

a prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God, my rock, 

“Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I go about in sorrow

because of the enemy’s oppression?”

10 My adversaries taunt me, 

as if crushing my bones,

while all day long they say to me,

“Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you so dejected? 

Why are you in such turmoil?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,

my Savior and my God.

Mark 10:46–11:14 (CSB)

A BLIND MAN HEALED

46 They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!” 

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” 

So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” 50 He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. 

51 Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?” 

Rabboni,”, the blind man said to him, “I want to see.” 

52 Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road. 

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

11 When they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here right away.’ ” 

So they went and found a colt outside in the street, tied by a door. They untied it, and some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They answered them just as Jesus had said; so they let them go. 

They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and he sat on it. Many people spread their clothes on the road, and others spread leafy branches cut from the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted: 

Hosanna!

Blessed is he who comes

in the name of the Lord!,

10 Blessed is the coming kingdom 

of our father David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven! 

11 He went into Jerusalem and into the temple. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. 

THE BARREN FIG TREE IS CURSED

12 The next day when they went out from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his disciples heard it.

bookmark_borderMar 26, 2020

Psalm 41 (CSB)

Psalm 41

VICTORY IN SPITE OF BETRAYAL

For the choir director. A psalm of David.

Happy is one who is considerate of the poor; 

the Lord will save him in a day of adversity. 

The Lord will keep him and preserve him; 

he will be blessed in the land.

You will not give him over to the desire of his enemies.

The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed; 

you will heal him on the bed where he lies.

I said, “Lord, be gracious to me; 

heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

My enemies speak maliciously about me: 

“When will he die and be forgotten?”

When one of them comes to visit, he speaks deceitfully; 

he stores up evil in his heart;

he goes out and talks.

All who hate me whisper together about me; 

they plan to harm me.

“Something awful has overwhelmed him, 

and he won’t rise again from where he lies!”

Even my friend in whom I trusted, 

one who ate my bread,

has raised his heel against me.

10 But you, Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up; 

then I will repay them.

11 By this I know that you delight in me: 

my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.

12 You supported me because of my integrity 

and set me in your presence forever.

13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, 

from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen and amen.

Proverbs 8:12–16 (CSB)

12 I, wisdom, share a home with shrewdness 

and have knowledge and discretion.

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil. 

I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct,

and perverse speech.

14 I possess good advice and sound wisdom; 

I have understanding and strength.

15 It is by me that kings reign 

and rulers enact just law;

16 by me, princes lead, 

as do nobles and all righteous judges.

Mark 10:13–45 (CSB)

BLESSING THE CHILDREN

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive, the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them. 

THE RICH YOUNG RULER

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud;honor your father and mother.”,

20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.” 

21 Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. 

POSSESSIONS AND THE KINGDOM

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 

26 They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 

27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.” 

28 Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

THE THIRD PREDICTION OF HIS DEATH

32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. 33 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.”

SUFFERING AND SERVICE

35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.” 

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them. 

37 They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.” 

38 Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We are able,” they told him. 

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with.40 But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 

41 When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”,

bookmark_borderMar 25, 2020

Proverbs 8:8–11 (CSB)

All the words from my mouth are righteous; 

none of them are deceptive or perverse.

All of them are clear to the perceptive, 

and right to those who discover knowledge.

10 Accept my instruction instead of silver, 

and knowledge rather than pure gold.

11 For wisdom is better than jewels, 

and nothing desirable can equal it.

Mark 9:38–10:12 (CSB)

IN HIS NAME

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.” 

39 “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me. 40 For whoever is not against us is for us. 41 And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ—truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.

WARNINGS FROM JESUS

42 “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 thrown into the sea. 

43 “And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire., 45 And if your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For everyone will be salted with fire.,, 50 Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” 

THE QUESTION OF DIVORCE

10 He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again. 

Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 

He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?” 

They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.” 

But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female., For this reason a man will leave his father and motherand 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.”

10 When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

bookmark_borderMar 24, 2020

Psalm 40 (CSB)

Psalm 40

THANKSGIVING AND A CRY FOR HELP

For the choir director. A psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the Lord, 

and he turned to me and heard my cry for help.

He brought me up from a desolate pit, 

out of the muddy clay,

and set my feet on a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth, 

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and they will trust in the Lord. 

How happy is anyone 

who has put his trust in the Lord

and has not turned to the proud

or to those who run after lies!

Lord my God, you have done many things—

your wondrous works and your plans for us;

none can compare with you.

If I were to report and speak of them,

they are more than can be told.

You do not delight in sacrifice and offering; 

you open my ears to listen.

You do not ask for a whole burnt offering or a sin offering.

Then I said, “See, I have come; 

in the scroll it is written about me.

I delight to do your will, my God, 

and your instruction is deep within me.”

I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; 

see, I do not keep my mouth closed—

as you know, Lord. 

10 I did not hide your righteousness in my heart; 

I spoke about your faithfulness and salvation;

I did not conceal your constant love and truth

from the great assembly.

11 Lord, you do not withhold your compassion from me. 

Your constant love and truth will always guard me.

12 For troubles without number have surrounded me; 

my iniquities have overtaken me; I am unable to see.

They are more than the hairs of my head,

and my courage leaves me.

13 Lord, be pleased to rescue me; 

hurry to help me, Lord. 

14 Let those who intend to take my life 

be disgraced and confounded.

Let those who wish me harm

be turned back and humiliated.

15 Let those who say to me, “Aha, aha!” 

be appalled because of their shame.

16 Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; 

let those who love your salvation continually say,

“The Lord is great!” 

17 I am oppressed and needy; 

may the Lord think of me.

You are my helper and my deliverer;

my God, do not delay.

Proverbs 8:5–7 (CSB)

Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; 

develop common sense, you who are foolish.

Listen, for I speak of noble things, 

and what my lips say is right.

For my mouth tells the truth, 

and wickedness is detestable to my lips.

Mark 9:2–37 (CSB)

THE TRANSFIGURATION

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transfigured in front of them, and his clothes became dazzling—extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here. Let us set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—because he did not know what to say, since they were terrified. 

A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him!” 

Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept this word to themselves, questioning what “rising from the dead” meant. 

11 Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 

12 “Elijah does come first and restores all things,” he replied. “Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did whatever they pleased to him, just as it is written about him.” 

THE POWER OF FAITH OVER A DEMON

14 When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes disputing with them. 15 When the whole crowd saw him, they were amazed and ran to greet him. 16 He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?” 

17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.” 

19 He replied to them, “You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20 So they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into convulsions. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father. 

“From childhood,” he said. 22 “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 

23 Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” 

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: Come out of him and never enter him again.” 

26 Then it came out, shrieking and throwing him into terrible convulsions. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. 

28 After he had gone into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 

29 And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”,

THE SECOND PREDICTION OF HIS DEATH

30 Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it. 31 For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.” 32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him. 

WHO IS THE GREATEST?

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”34 But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”36 He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.”

bookmark_borderMar 23, 2020

Psalm 39 (CSB)

Psalm 39

THE FLEETING NATURE OF LIFE

For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

I said, “I will guard my ways 

so that I may not sin with my tongue;

I will guard my mouth with a muzzle

as long as the wicked are in my presence.”

I was speechless and quiet; 

I kept silent, even from speaking good,

and my pain intensified.

My heart grew hot within me; 

as I mused, a fire burned.

I spoke with my tongue:

“Lord, make me aware of my end 

and the number of my days

so that I will know how short-lived I am.

In fact, you have made my days just inches long, 

and my life span is as nothing to you.

Yes, every human being stands as only a vapor.

Selah

Yes, a person goes about like a mere shadow. 

Indeed, they rush around in vain,

gathering possessions

without knowing who will get them.

“Now, Lord, what do I wait for? 

My hope is in you.

Rescue me from all my transgressions; 

do not make me the taunt of fools.

I am speechless; I do not open my mouth 

because of what you have done.

10 Remove your torment from me. 

Because of the force of your hand I am finished.

11 You discipline a person with punishment for iniquity, 

consuming like a moth what is precious to him;

yes, every human being is only a vapor.

Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord, 

and listen to my cry for help;

do not be silent at my tears.

For I am here with you as an alien,

a temporary resident like all my ancestors.

13 Turn your angry gaze from me 

so that I may be cheered up

before I die and am gone.”

Proverbs 8:1–4 (CSB)

WISDOM’S APPEAL

Doesn’t wisdom call out? 

Doesn’t understanding make her voice heard?

At the heights overlooking the road, 

at the crossroads, she takes her stand.

Beside the gates leading into the city, 

at the main entrance, she cries out:

“People, I call out to you; 

my cry is to the children of Adam.

Mark 8:22–9:1 (CSB)

HEALING A BLIND MAN

22 They came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village. Spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 

24 He looked up and said, “I see people—they look like trees walking.” 

25 Again Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes. The man looked intently and his sight was restored and he saw everything clearly. 26 Then he sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”,

PETER’S CONFESSION OF THE MESSIAH

27 Jesus went out with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the road he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 

28 They answered him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.” 

29 “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” 

Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” 30 And he strictly warned them to tell no one about him. 

HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION PREDICTED

31 Then he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and rise after three days. 32 He spoke openly about this. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.” 

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS

34 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. 36 For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? 37 What can anyone give in exchange for his life? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Then he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.”

bookmark_borderMar 20, 2020

Mark 8:1–21 (CSB)

FEEDING FOUR THOUSAND

In those days there was again a large crowd, and they had nothing to eat. He called the disciples and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they’ve already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a long distance.” 

His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread here in this desolate place to feed these people?” 

“How many loaves do you have?” he asked them. 

“Seven,” they said. He commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves, he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. So they served them to the crowd. They also had a few small fish, and after he had blessed them, he said these were to be served as well. They ate and were satisfied. Then they collected seven large baskets of leftover pieces. About four thousand were there. He dismissed them. 10 And he immediately got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. 

THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND HEROD

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, demanding of him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 Sighing deeply in his spirit, he said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat, and went to the other side. 

14 The disciples had forgotten to take bread and had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then he gave them strict orders: “Watch out! Beware of the leaven, of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 They were discussing among themselves that they did not have any bread. 17 Aware of this, he said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact you have no bread? Don’t you understand or comprehend? Do you have hardened hearts? 18 Do you have eyes and not see; do you have ears and not hear?, And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of leftovers did you collect?” 

“Twelve,” they told him.

20 “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did you collect?” 

“Seven,” they said.

21 And he said to them, “Don’t you understand yet?”

bookmark_borderMar 19, 2020

Psalm 38 (CSB)

Psalm 38

PRAYER OF A SUFFERING SINNER

A psalm of David to bring remembrance.

Lord, do not punish me in your anger 

or discipline me in your wrath.

For your arrows have sunk into me, 

and your hand has pressed down on me.

There is no soundness in my body 

because of your indignation;

there is no health in my bones

because of my sin.

For my iniquities have flooded over my head; 

they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.

My wounds are foul and festering 

because of my foolishness.

I am bent over and brought very low; 

all day long I go around in mourning.

For my insides are full of burning pain, 

and there is no soundness in my body.

I am faint and severely crushed; 

I groan because of the anguish of my heart.

Lord, my every desire is in front of you; 

my sighing is not hidden from you.

10 My heart races, my strength leaves me, 

and even the light of my eyes has faded.,

11 My loved ones and friends stand back from my affliction, 

and my relatives stand at a distance.

12 Those who intend to kill me set traps, 

and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me;

they plot treachery all day long.

13 I am like a deaf person; I do not hear. 

I am like a speechless person

who does not open his mouth.

14 I am like a man who does not hear 

and has no arguments in his mouth.

15 For I put my hope in you, Lord; 

you will answer me, my Lord, my God.

16 For I said, “Don’t let them rejoice over me—

those who are arrogant toward me when I stumble.”

17 For I am about to fall, 

and my pain is constantly with me.

18 So I confess my iniquity; 

I am anxious because of my sin.

19 But my enemies are vigorous and powerful; 

many hate me for no reason.

20 Those who repay evil for good 

attack me for pursuing good.

21 Lord, do not abandon me; 

my God, do not be far from me.

22 Hurry to help me, 

my Lord, my salvation.

Mark 7:14–37 (CSB)

14 Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 

17 When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean,). 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.” 

A GENTILE MOTHER’S FAITH

24 He got up and departed from there to the region of Tyre., He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but he could not escape notice. 25 Instead, immediately after hearing about him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Gentile,, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she was asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

28 But she replied to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 

29 Then he told her, “Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone. 

JESUS DOES EVERYTHING WELL

31 Again, leaving the region of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking and begged Jesus to lay his hand on him. 33 So he took him away from the crowd in private. After putting his fingers in the man’s ears and spitting, he touched his tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”). 35 Immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. 36 He ordered them to tell no one, but the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed it. 

37 They were extremely astonished and said, “He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

bookmark_borderMar 18, 2020

Psalm 37 (CSB)

Psalm 37

INSTRUCTION IN WISDOM

Of David.

Do not be agitated by evildoers; 

do not envy those who do wrong.

For they wither quickly like grass 

and wilt like tender green plants.

Trust in the Lord and do what is good; 

dwell in the land and live securely.,

Take delight in the Lord, 

and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit your way to the Lord; 

trust in him, and he will act,

making your righteousness shine like the dawn, 

your justice like the noonday.

Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for him; 

do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,

by the person who carries out evil plans.

Refrain from anger and give up your rage; 

do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.

For evildoers will be destroyed, 

but those who put their hope in the Lord

will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked person will be no more; 

though you look for him, he will not be there.

11 But the humble will inherit the land 

and will enjoy abundant prosperity.

12 The wicked person schemes against the righteous 

and gnashes his teeth at him.

13 The Lord laughs at him 

because he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow 

to bring down the poor and needy

and to slaughter those whose way is upright.

15 Their swords will enter their own hearts, 

and their bows will be broken.

16 The little that the righteous person has is better 

than the abundance of many wicked people.

17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, 

but the Lord supports the righteous. 

18 The Lord watches over the blameless all their days, 

and their inheritance will last forever.

19 They will not be disgraced in times of adversity; 

they will be satisfied in days of hunger.

20 But the wicked will perish; 

the Lord’s enemies, like the glory of the pastures, 

will fade away—

they will fade away like smoke.

21 The wicked person borrows and does not repay, 

but the righteous one is gracious and giving.

22 Those who are blessed by the Lord will inherit the land, 

but those cursed by him will be destroyed.

23 A person’s steps are established by the Lord, 

and he takes pleasure in his way.

24 Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, 

because the Lord supports him with his hand. 

25 I have been young and now I am old, 

yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned

or his children begging for bread.

26 He is always generous, always lending, 

and his children are a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil, do what is good, 

and settle permanently.

28 For the Lord loves justice 

and will not abandon his faithful ones.

They are kept safe forever,

but the children of the wicked will be destroyed.

29 The righteous will inherit the land 

and dwell in it permanently.

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; 

his tongue speaks what is just.

31 The instruction of his God is in his heart; 

his steps do not falter.

32 The wicked one lies in wait for the righteous 

and intends to kill him;

33 the Lord will not leave him 

in the power of the wicked one

or allow him to be condemned when he is judged.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, 

and he will exalt you to inherit the land.

You will watch when the wicked are destroyed.

35 I have seen a wicked, violent person 

well-rooted, like a flourishing native tree.

36 Then I passed by and noticed he was gone; 

I searched for him, but he could not be found.

37 Watch the blameless and observe the upright, 

for the person of peace will have a future.,

38 But transgressors will all be eliminated; 

the future of the wicked will be destroyed.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord, 

their refuge in a time of distress.

40 The Lord helps and delivers them; 

he will deliver them from the wicked and will save them

because they take refuge in him.

Mark 6:30–7:13 (CSB)

FEEDING OF THE FIVE THOUSAND

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 

32 So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place, 33 but many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they ran on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 

34 When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things. 

35 When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. 36 Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.” 

37 “You give them something to eat,” he responded. 

They said to him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”

38 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” 

When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 Everyone ate and was satisfied. 43 They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men. 

WALKING ON THE WATER

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray. 47 Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. 49 When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, 52 because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened. 

MIRACULOUS HEALINGS

53 When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret and anchored there. 

54 As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized him. 55 They hurried throughout that region and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed. 

THE TRADITIONS OF THE ELDERS

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.,So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?” 

He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me.

They worship me in vain,

teaching as doctrines human commands.,

Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.” He also said to them, “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition! 10 For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother;, and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death., 11 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’ ” (that is, an offering devoted to God), 12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

bookmark_borderMar 17, 2020

Proverbs 7:6–27 (CSB)

A STORY OF SEDUCTION

At the window of my house 

I looked through my lattice.

I saw among the inexperienced, 

I noticed among the youths,

a young man lacking sense.

Crossing the street near her corner, 

he strolled down the road to her house

at twilight, in the evening, 

in the dark of the night.

10 A woman came to meet him 

dressed like a prostitute,

having a hidden agenda.

11 She is loud and defiant; 

her feet do not stay at home.

12 Now in the street, now in the squares, 

she lurks at every corner.

13 She grabs him and kisses him; 

she brazenly says to him,

14 “I’ve made fellowship offerings; 

today I’ve fulfilled my vows.

15 So I came out to meet you, 

to search for you, and I’ve found you.

16 I’ve spread coverings on my bed—

richly colored linen from Egypt.

17 I’ve perfumed my bed 

with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

18 Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. 

Let’s feast on each other’s love!

19 My husband isn’t home; 

he went on a long journey.

20 He took a bag of silver with him 

and will come home at the time of the full moon.”

21 She seduces him with her persistent pleading; 

she lures with her flattering talk.

22 He follows her impulsively 

like an ox going to the slaughter,

like a deer bounding toward a trap

23 until an arrow pierces its liver, 

like a bird darting into a snare—

he doesn’t know it will cost him his life.

24 Now, sons, listen to me, 

and pay attention to the words from my mouth.

25 Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; 

don’t stray onto her paths.

26 For she has brought many down to death; 

her victims are countless.

27 Her house is the road to Sheol, 

descending to the chambers of death.

Mark 6:1–29 (CSB)

REJECTION AT NAZARETH

He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him. 

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.” He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching. 

COMMISSIONING THE TWELVE

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt. 10 He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. 11 If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. 

JOHN THE BAPTIST BEHEADED

14 King Herod heard about it, because Jesus’s name had become well known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that’s why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He’s Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet, like one of the prophets from long ago.” 

16 When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!” 

17 For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very perplexed,, and yet he liked to listen to him. 

21 An opportune time came on his birthday, when Herod gave a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 He promised her with an oath: “Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 

24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” 

“John the Baptist’s head,” she said.

25 At once she hurried to the king and said, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a platter immediately.” 26 Although the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her. 27 The king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring John’s head. So he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard about it, they came and removed his corpse and placed it in a tomb.