bookmark_borderApr 30, 2020

Proverbs 11:11–14 (CSB)

11 A city is built up by the blessing of the upright, 

but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked. 

12 Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, 

but a person with understanding keeps silent. 

13 A gossip goes around revealing a secret, 

but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence. 

14 Without guidance, a people will fall, 

but with many counselors there is deliverance.

Luke 8:4–18 (CSB)

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER

As a large crowd was gathering, and people were coming to Jesus from every town, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky devoured it. Other seed fell on the rock; when it grew up, it withered away, since it lacked moisture. Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns grew up with it and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground; when it grew up, it produced fruit: a hundred times what was sown.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”

WHY JESUS USED PARABLES

Then his disciples asked him, “What does this parable mean?” 10 So he said, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that 

Looking they may not see,

and hearing they may not understand.,

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER EXPLAINED

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and fall away in a time of testing. 14 As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. 15 But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, produce fruit. 

USING YOUR LIGHT

16 “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light. 17 For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and brought to light. 18 Therefore take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”

bookmark_borderApr 29, 2020

Psalm 57 (CSB)

Psalm 57

PRAISE FOR GOD’S PROTECTION

For the choir director: “Do Not Destroy.” A Miktam of David. When he fled before Saul into the cave. 

Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me, 

for I take refuge in you. 

I will seek refuge in the shadow of your wings 

until danger passes. 

I call to God Most High, 

to God who fulfills his purpose for me.,

He reaches down from heaven and saves me, 

challenging the one who tramples me. 

Selah

God sends his faithful love and truth. 

I am surrounded by lions; 

I lie down among devouring lions—

people whose teeth are spears and arrows, 

whose tongues are sharp swords. 

God, be exalted above the heavens; 

let your glory be over the whole earth. 

They prepared a net for my steps; 

I was despondent. 

They dug a pit ahead of me, 

but they fell into it! 

Selah

My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident. 

I will sing; I will sing praises. 

Wake up, my soul! 

Wake up, harp and lyre! 

I will wake up the dawn. 

I will praise you, Lord, among the peoples; 

I will sing praises to you among the nations. 

10 For your faithful love is as high as the heavens; 

your faithfulness reaches the clouds. 

11 God, be exalted above the heavens; 

let your glory be over the whole earth.

Proverbs 11:8–10 (CSB)

The righteous one is rescued from trouble; 

in his place, the wicked one goes in. 

With his mouth the ungodly destroys his neighbor, 

but through knowledge the righteous are rescued. 

10 When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices; 

when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.

Luke 7:18–8:3 (CSB)

IN PRAISE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

18 Then John’s disciples told him about all these things. So John summoned two of his disciples 19 and sent them to the Lord, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 

20 When the men reached him, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask you, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ ” 

21 At that time Jesus healed many people of diseases, afflictions, and evil spirits, and he granted sight to many blind people. 22 He replied to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, 23 and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me.” 

24 After John’s messengers left, he began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? See, those who are splendidly dressed and live in luxury are in royal palaces. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written: 

See, I am sending my messenger

ahead of you;

he will prepare your way before you.,

28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John, but the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 

29 (And when all the people, including the tax collectors, heard this, they acknowledged God’s way of righteousness, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. 30 But since the Pharisees and experts in the law had not been baptized by him, they rejected the plan of God for themselves.) 

AN UNRESPONSIVE GENERATION

31 “To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to each other: 

We played the flute for you, 

but you didn’t dance; 

we sang a lament, 

but you didn’t weep! 

33 For John the Baptist did not come eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” 

MUCH FORGIVENESS, MUCH LOVE

36 Then one of the Pharisees invited him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume 38 and stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to wash his feet with her tears. She wiped his feet with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with the perfume. 

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if he were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—she’s a sinner!” 

40 Jesus replied to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” 

He said, “Say it, teacher.” 

41 “A creditor had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii,, and the other fifty. 42 Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?” 

43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.” 

“You have judged correctly,” he told him. 44 Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears, has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. 46 You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. 47 Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 Those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 

50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

MANY WOMEN SUPPORT CHRIST’S WORK

Afterward he was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary, called Magdalene (seven demons had come out of her); Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Susanna; and many others who were supporting them from their possessions.

bookmark_borderApr 28, 2020

Psalm 56 (CSB)

Psalm 56

A CALL FOR GOD’S PROTECTION

For the choir director: according to “A Silent Dove Far Away.” A Miktam of David. When the Philistines seized him in Gath. 

Be gracious to me, God, for a man is trampling me; 

he fights and oppresses me all day long. 

My adversaries trample me all day, 

for many arrogantly fight against me.,

When I am afraid, 

I will trust in you. 

In God, whose word I praise, 

in God I trust; I will not be afraid. 

What can mere mortals do to me? 

They twist my words all day long; 

all their thoughts against me are evil. 

They stir up strife, they lurk; 

they watch my steps 

while they wait to take my life. 

Will they escape in spite of such sin? 

God, bring down the nations in wrath. 

You yourself have recorded my wanderings. 

Put my tears in your bottle. 

Are they not in your book? 

Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. 

This I know: God is for me. 

10 In God, whose word I praise, 

in the Lord, whose word I praise, 

11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. 

What can mere humans do to me? 

12 I am obligated by vows to you, God; 

I will make my thank offerings to you. 

13 For you rescued me from death, 

even my feet from stumbling, 

to walk before God in the light of life.

Proverbs 11:4–7 (CSB)

Wealth is not profitable on a day of wrath, 

but righteousness rescues from death. 

The righteousness of the blameless clears his path, 

but the wicked person will fall because of his wickedness. 

The righteousness of the upright rescues them, 

but the treacherous are trapped by their own desires. 

When the wicked person dies, 

his expectation comes to nothing, 

and hope placed in wealth, vanishes.

Luke 6:43–7:17 (CSB)

A TREE AND ITS FRUIT

43 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit., 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. 

THE TWO FOUNDATIONS

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great.”

A CENTURION’S FAITH

When he had concluded saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. A centurion’s servant, who was highly valued by him, was sick and about to die. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, requesting him to come and save the life of his servant. When they reached Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy for you to grant this, because he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue.” 

Jesus went with them, and when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, since I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. That is why I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed., For I too am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel.” 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant in good health. 

A WIDOW’S SON RAISED TO LIFE

11 Afterward he was on his way to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd were traveling with him. 12 Just as he neared the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was also with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said, “Don’t weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And he said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!”

15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Then fear came over everyone, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people.” 17 This report about him went throughout Judea and all the vicinity.

bookmark_borderApr 27, 2020

Proverbs 11:1–3 (CSB)

Dishonest scales are detestable to the Lord, 

but an accurate weight is his delight. 

When arrogance comes, disgrace follows, 

but with humility comes wisdom. 

The integrity of the upright guides them, 

but the perversity of the treacherous destroys them.

Luke 6:24–42 (CSB)

WOE TO THE SELF-SATISFIED

24 But woe to you who are rich, 

for you have received your comfort. 

25 Woe to you who are now full, 

for you will be hungry. 

Woe to you who are now laughing, 

for you will mourn and weep. 

26 Woe to you

when all people speak well of you, 

for this is the way their ancestors 

used to treat the false prophets.

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

27 “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

DO NOT JUDGE

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

39 He also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41 “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the beam of wood in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the splinter in your brother’s eye.

bookmark_borderApr 24, 2020

Psalm 55 (CSB)

BETRAYAL BY A FRIEND

For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David.

1 God, listen to my prayer

and do not hide from my plea for help.

2 Pay attention to me and answer me.

I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint,

3 because of the enemy’s words,

because of the pressure of the wicked.

For they bring down disaster on me

and harass me in anger.

4 My heart shudders within me;

terrors of death sweep over me.

5 Fear and trembling grip me;

horror has overwhelmed me.

6 I said, “If only I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and find rest.

7 How far away I would flee;

I would stay in the wilderness.

Selah

8 I would hurry to my shelter

from the raging wind and the storm.”

9 Lord, confuse and confound their speech,,

for I see violence and strife in the city;

10 day and night they make the rounds on its walls.

Crime and trouble are within it;

11 destruction is inside it;

oppression and deceit never leave its marketplace.

12 Now it is not an enemy who insults me—

otherwise I could bear it;

it is not a foe who rises up against me—

otherwise I could hide from him.

13 But it is you, a man who is my peer,

my companion and good friend!

14 We used to have close fellowship;

we walked with the crowd into the house of God.

15 Let death take them by surprise;

let them go down to Sheol alive,

because evil is in their homes and within them.

16 But I call to God,

and the Lord will save me.

17 I complain and groan morning, noon, and night,

and he hears my voice.

18 Though many are against me,

he will redeem me from my battle unharmed.

19 God, the one enthroned from long ago,

will hear and will humiliate them

Selah

because they do not change

and do not fear God.

20 My friend acts violently

against those at peace with him;

he violates his covenant.

21 His buttery words are smooth,

but war is in his heart.

His words are softer than oil,

but they are drawn swords.

22 Cast your burden on the Lord,

and he will sustain you;

he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

23 God, you will bring them down

to the Pit of destruction;

men of bloodshed and treachery

will not live out half their days.

But I will trust in you.

Proverbs 10:29-32 (CSB)

29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold for the honorable,

but destruction awaits the malicious.

30 The righteous will never be shaken,

but the wicked will not remain on the earth.

31 The mouth of the righteous produces wisdom,

but a perverse tongue will be cut out.

32 The lips of the righteous know what is appropriate,

but the mouth of the wicked, only what is perverse.

Luke 6:12-23 (CSB)

THE TWELVE APOSTLES

12 During those days he went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. 13 When daylight came, he summoned his disciples, and he chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

TEACHING AND HEALING

17 After coming down with them, he stood on a level place with a large crowd of his disciples and a great number of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those tormented by unclean spirits were made well. 19 The whole crowd was trying to touch him, because power was coming out from him and healing them all.

THE BEATITUDES

20 Then looking up at his disciples, he said:

Blessed are you who are poor,

because the kingdom of God is yours.

21 Blessed are you who are now hungry,

because you will be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now,

because you will laugh.

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,

when they exclude you, insult you,

and slander your name as evil

because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. Take note—your reward is great in heaven, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the prophets.

bookmark_borderApr 23, 2020

Psalm 54 (CSB)

PRAYER FOR DELIVERANCE

For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David. When the Ziphites went and said to Saul, “Is David not hiding among us?”

1 God, save me by your name,

and vindicate me by your might!

2 God, hear my prayer;

listen to the words from my mouth.

3 For strangers rise up against me,

and violent men intend to kill me.

They do not let God guide them.,

Selah

4 God is my helper;

the Lord is the sustainer of my life.,

5 He will repay my adversaries for their evil.

Because of your faithfulness, annihilate them.

6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you.

I will praise your name, Lord,

because it is good.

7 For he has rescued me from every trouble,

and my eye has looked down on my enemies.

Proverbs 10:26-28 (CSB)

26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,

so the slacker is to the one who sends him on an errand.

27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life,,

but the years of the wicked are cut short.

28 The hope of the righteous is joy,

but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Luk 5:33-6:11 (CSB)

A QUESTION ABOUT FASTING

33 Then they said to him, “John’s disciples fast often and say prayers, and those of the Pharisees do the same, but yours eat and drink.”

34 Jesus said to them, “You can’t make the wedding guests fast while the groom is with them, can you? 35 But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them—then they will fast in those days.”

36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. Otherwise, not only will he tear the new, but also the piece from the new garment will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, it will spill, and the skins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one, after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”

LORD OF THE SABBATH

6 On a Sabbath, he passed through the grainfields. His disciples were picking heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

3 Jesus answered them, “Haven’t you read what David and those who were with him did when he was hungry—4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat? He even gave some to those who were with him.” 5 Then he told them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

6 On another Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. A man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The scribes and Pharisees were watching him closely, to see if he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a charge against him. 8 But he knew their thoughts and told the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand here.” So he got up and stood there. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you: Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 After looking around at them all, he told him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his hand was restored. 11 They, however, were filled with rage and started discussing with one another what they might do to Jesus.

bookmark_borderApr 22, 2020

Psalm 53 (CSB)

A PORTRAIT OF SINNERS

For the choir director: on Mahalath. A Maskil of David.

1 The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.”

They are corrupt, and they do vile deeds.

There is no one who does good.

2 God looks down from heaven on the human race

to see if there is one who is wise,

one who seeks God.

3 All have turned away;

all alike have become corrupt.

There is no one who does good,

not even one.

4 Will evildoers never understand?

They consume my people as they consume bread;

they do not call on God.

5 Then they will be filled with dread—

dread like no other—

because God will scatter

the bones of those who besiege you.

You will put them to shame,

for God has rejected them.

6 Oh, that Israel’s deliverance would come from Zion!

When God restores the fortunes of his people,

let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Proverbs 10:22-25 (CSB)

22 The Lord’s blessing enriches,

and he adds no painful effort to it.,

23 As shameful conduct is pleasure for a fool,

so wisdom is for a person of understanding.

24 What the wicked dreads will come to him,

but what the righteous desire will be given to them.

25 When the whirlwind passes,

the wicked are no more,

but the righteous are secure forever.

Luke 5:1-32 (CSB)

THE FIRST DISCIPLES

5 As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, he was standing by Lake Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then he sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.”

6 When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’s knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” 9 For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners.

“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people.” 11 Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed him.

A MAN CLEANSED

12 While he was in one of the towns, a man was there who had leprosy all over him. He saw Jesus, fell facedown, and begged him: “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13 Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean,” and immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Then he ordered him to tell no one: “But go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses commanded for your cleansing as a testimony to them.”

15 But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.

THE SON OF MAN FORGIVES AND HEALS

17 On one of those days while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and also from Jerusalem. And the Lord’s power to heal was in him. 18 Just then some men came, carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and set him down before him. 19 Since they could not find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the roof tiles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus.

20 Seeing their faith he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to think to themselves: “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 But perceiving their thoughts, Jesus replied to them, “Why are you thinking this in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he told the paralyzed man, “I tell you: Get up, take your stretcher, and go home.”

25 Immediately he got up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. 26 Then everyone was astounded, and they were giving glory to God. And they were filled with awe and said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

THE CALL OF LEVI

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him.

29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus replied to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

bookmark_borderApr 21, 2020

Psalm 52

GOD JUDGES THE PROUD

For the choir director. A Maskil of David. When Doeg the Edomite went and reported to Saul, telling him, “David went to Ahimelech’s house.”

1 Why boast about evil, you hero!

God’s faithful love is constant.

2 Like a sharpened razor,

your tongue devises destruction,

working treachery.

3 You love evil instead of good,

lying instead of speaking truthfully.

Selah

4 You love any words that destroy,

you treacherous tongue!

5 This is why God will bring you down forever.

He will take you, ripping you out of your tent;

he will uproot you from the land of the living.

Selah

6 The righteous will see and fear,

and they will derisively say about that hero,,

7 “Here is the man

who would not make God his refuge,

but trusted in the abundance of his riches,

taking refuge in his destructive behavior.”

8 But I am like a flourishing olive tree

in the house of God;

I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever.

9 I will praise you forever for what you have done.

In the presence of your faithful people,

I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.

Proverbs 10:15-21 (CSB)

15 The wealth of the rich is his fortified city;

the poverty of the poor is their destruction.

16 The reward of the righteous is life;

the wages of the wicked is punishment.

17 The one who follows instruction is on the path to life,

but the one who rejects correction goes astray.

18 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,

and whoever spreads slander is a fool.

19 When there are many words, sin is unavoidable,

but the one who controls his lips is prudent.

20 The tongue of the righteous is pure silver;

the heart of the wicked is of little value.

21 The lips of the righteous feed many,

but fools die for lack of sense.

Luke 3:23-4:44 (CSB)

THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST

23 As he began his ministry, Jesus was about thirty years old and was thought to be the

son of Joseph, son of Heli,

24 son of Matthat, son of Levi,

son of Melchi, son of Jannai,

son of Joseph, 25 son of Mattathias,

son of Amos, son of Nahum,

son of Esli, son of Naggai,

26 son of Maath, son of Mattathias,

son of Semein, son of Josech,

son of Joda, 27 son of Joanan,

son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel,

son of Shealtiel, son of Neri,

28 son of Melchi, son of Addi,

son of Cosam, son of Elmadam,

son of Er, 29 son of Joshua,

son of Eliezer, son of Jorim,

son of Matthat, son of Levi,

30 son of Simeon, son of Judah,

son of Joseph, son of Jonam,

son of Eliakim, 31 son of Melea,

son of Menna, son of Mattatha,

son of Nathan, son of David,

32 son of Jesse, son of Obed,

son of Boaz, son of Salmon,

son of Nahshon, 33 son of Amminadab,

son of Ram, son of Hezron,

son of Perez, son of Judah,

34 son of Jacob, son of Isaac,

son of Abraham, son of Terah,

son of Nahor, 35 son of Serug,

son of Reu, son of Peleg,

son of Eber, son of Shelah,

36 son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad,

son of Shem, son of Noah,

son of Lamech, 37 son of Methuselah,

son of Enoch, son of Jared,

son of Mahalalel, son of Cainan,

38 son of Enos, son of Seth,

son of Adam, son of God.

THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS

4 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4 But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.”,,

5 So he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 The devil said to him, “I will give you their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. 7 If you, then, will worship me, all will be yours.”

8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

9 So he took him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

He will give his angels orders concerning you,

to protect you,, 11 and

they will support you with their hands,

so that you will not strike

your foot against a stone.”,

12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said: Do not test the Lord your God.”,

13 After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

MINISTRY IN GALILEE

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread throughout the entire vicinity. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, being praised by everyone.

REJECTION AT NAZARETH

16 He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me

to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to set free the oppressed,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.,

20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”

22 They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

23 Then he said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Doctor, heal yourself. What we’ve heard that took place in Capernaum, do here in your hometown also.’ ”

24 He also said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them except a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had leprosy, and yet not one of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. 29 They got up, drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl him over the cliff. 30 But he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.

DRIVING OUT AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT

31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. 32 They were astonished at his teaching because his message had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean demonic spirit who cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Leave us alone! What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

35 But Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be silent and come out of him!” And throwing him down before them, the demon came out of him without hurting him at all.

36 Amazement came over them all, and they were saying to one another, “What is this message? For he commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!” 37 And news about him began to go out to every place in the vicinity.

HEALINGS AT CAPERNAUM

38 After he left the synagogue, he entered Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39 So he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and began to serve them.

40 When the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to him. As he laid his hands on each one of them, he healed them. 41 Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

42 When it was day, he went out and made his way to a deserted place. But the crowds were searching for him. They came to him and tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “It is necessary for me to proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.,

bookmark_borderApr 20, 2020

Psalm 51 (CSB)

Psalm 51

A PRAYER FOR RESTORATION

For the choir director. A psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him after he had gone to Bathsheba. 

Be gracious to me, God, 

according to your faithful love; 

according to your abundant compassion, 

blot out my rebellion. 

Completely wash away my guilt 

and cleanse me from my sin. 

For I am conscious of my rebellion, 

and my sin is always before me. 

Against you—you alone—I have sinned 

and done this evil in your sight. 

So you are right when you pass sentence; 

you are blameless when you judge. 

Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; 

I was sinful when my mother conceived me. 

Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, 

and you teach me wisdom deep within. 

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; 

wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 

Let me hear joy and gladness; 

let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 

Turn your face away from my sins 

and blot out all my guilt. 

10 God, create a clean heart for me 

and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

11 Do not banish me from your presence 

or take your Holy Spirit from me. 

12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me, 

and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. 

13 Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, 

and sinners will return to you. 

14 Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God—

God of my salvation—

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 

15 Lord, open my lips, 

and my mouth will declare your praise. 

16 You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; 

you are not pleased with a burnt offering. 

17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. 

You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God. 

18 In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; 

build the walls of Jerusalem. 

19 Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices, 

whole burnt offerings; 

then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Proverbs 10:5–14 (CSB)

The son who gathers during summer is prudent; 

the son who sleeps during harvest is disgraceful. 

Blessings are on the head of the righteous, 

but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. 

The remembrance of the righteous is a blessing, 

but the name of the wicked will rot.

A wise heart accepts commands, 

but foolish lips will be destroyed. 

The one who lives with integrity lives securely, 

but whoever perverts his ways will be found out. 

10 A sly wink of the eye causes grief, 

and foolish lips will be destroyed. 

11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, 

but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. 

12 Hatred stirs up conflicts, 

but love covers all offenses. 

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, 

but a rod is for the back of the one who lacks sense. 

14 The wise store up knowledge, 

but the mouth of the fool hastens destruction.

Luke 1:67–3:22 (CSB)

ZECHARIAH’S PROPHECY

67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 

68 Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, 

because he has visited 

and provided redemption for his people. 

69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us 

in the house of his servant David, 

70 just as he spoke by the mouth 

of his holy prophets in ancient times; 

71 salvation from our enemies 

and from the hand of those who hate us. 

72 He has dealt mercifully with our fathers 

and remembered his holy covenant—

73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham. 

He has given us the privilege, 

74 since we have been rescued 

from the hand of our enemies, 

to serve him without fear 

75 in holiness and righteousness 

in his presence all our days. 

76 And you, child, will be called 

a prophet of the Most High, 

for you will go before the Lord 

to prepare his ways, 

77 to give his people knowledge of salvation 

through the forgiveness of their sins. 

78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion, 

the dawn from on high will visit us 

79 to shine on those who live in darkness 

and the shadow of death, 

to guide our feet into the way of peace. 

80 The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel. 

THE BIRTH OF JESUS

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. 

Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 

THE SHEPHERDS AND THE ANGELS

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” 

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, 

and peace on earth to people he favors!,,

15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 

16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told. 

THE CIRCUMCISION AND PRESENTATION OF JESUS

21 When the eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus—the name given by the angel before he was conceived. 22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every firstborn male will bededicated to the Lord,24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,). 

SIMEON’S PROPHETIC PRAISE

25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him up in his arms, praised God, and said, 

29 Now, Master, 

you can dismiss your servant in peace, 

as you promised. 

30 For my eyes have seen your salvation. 

31 You have prepared it 

in the presence of all peoples—

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and glory to your people Israel. 

33 His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed—35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” 

ANNA’S TESTIMONY

36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,, 37 and was a widow for eighty-four years. She did not leave the temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.,

THE FAMILY’S RETURN TO NAZARETH

39 When they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was on him. 

IN HIS FATHER’S HOUSE

41 Every year his parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival. 43 After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming he was in the traveling party, they went a day’s journey. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days, they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked them. “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 

IN FAVOR WITH GOD AND WITH PEOPLE

51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people. 

THE MESSIAH’S HERALD

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, God’s word came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: 

A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

Prepare the way for the Lord;

make his paths straight!

Every valley will be filled,

and every mountain and hill will be made low;

the crooked will become straight,

the rough ways smooth,

and everyone will see the salvation of God.,

He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 

10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 

11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” 

12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 

13 He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 

14 Some soldiers also questioned him, “What should we do?” 

He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” 

15 Now the people were waiting expectantly, and all of them were questioning in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing shovel is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.” 18 Then, along with many other exhortations, he proclaimed good news to the people. 19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to everything else—he locked up John in prison. 

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

21 When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As he was praying, heaven opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.”

bookmark_borderApr 15, 2020

Psalm 50 (CSB)

Psalm 50

GOD AS JUDGE

A psalm of Asaph. 

The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks; 

he summons the earth 

from the rising of the sun to its setting. 

From Zion, the perfection of beauty, 

God appears in radiance.,

Our God is coming; he will not be silent! 

Devouring fire precedes him, 

and a storm rages around him. 

On high, he summons heaven and earth 

in order to judge his people: 

“Gather my faithful ones to me, 

those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” 

The heavens proclaim his righteousness, 

for God is the Judge. 

Selah

“Listen, my people, and I will speak; 

I will testify against you, Israel. 

I am God, your God. 

I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices 

or for your burnt offerings, 

which are continually before me. 

I will not take a bull from your household 

or male goats from your pens, 

10 for every animal of the forest is mine, 

the cattle on a thousand hills. 

11 I know every bird of the mountains, 

and the creatures of the field are mine. 

12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, 

for the world and everything in it is mine. 

13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls 

or drink the blood of goats? 

14 Sacrifice a thank offering to God, 

and pay your vows to the Most High. 

15 Call on me in a day of trouble; 

I will rescue you, and you will honor me.” 

16 But God says to the wicked: 

“What right do you have to recite my statutes 

and to take my covenant on your lips? 

17 You hate instruction 

and fling my words behind you. 

18 When you see a thief, 

you make friends with him, 

and you associate with adulterers. 

19 You unleash your mouth for evil 

and harness your tongue for deceit. 

20 You sit, maligning your brother, 

slandering your mother’s son. 

21 You have done these things, and I kept silent; 

you thought I was just like you. 

But I will rebuke you 

and lay out the case before you.,

22 “Understand this, you who forget God, 

or I will tear you apart, 

and there will be no one to rescue you. 

23 Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors me, 

and whoever orders his conduct, 

I will show him the salvation of God.”

Proverbs 10:1–4 (CSB)

A COLLECTION OF SOLOMON’S PROVERBS

10 Solomon’s proverbs: 

A wise son brings joy to his father, 

but a foolish son, heartache to his mother. 

Ill-gotten gains do not profit anyone, 

but righteousness rescues from death. 

The Lord will not let the righteous go hungry, 

but he denies the wicked what they crave. 

Idle hands make one poor, 

but diligent hands bring riches.

Luke 1:39–66 (CSB)

MARY’S VISIT TO ELIZABETH

39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry: “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed! 43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!” 

MARY’S PRAISE

46 And Mary said: 

My soul praises the greatness of the Lord, 

47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 

48 because he has looked with favor 

on the humble condition of his servant. 

Surely, from now on all generations 

will call me blessed, 

49 because the Mighty One 

has done great things for me, 

and his name is holy. 

50 His mercy is from generation to generation 

on those who fear him. 

51 He has done a mighty deed with his arm; 

he has scattered the proud 

because of the thoughts of their hearts; 

52 he has toppled the mighty from their thrones 

and exalted the lowly. 

53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things 

and sent the rich away empty. 

54 He has helped his servant Israel, 

remembering his mercy 

55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, 

just as he spoke to our ancestors. 

56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home. 

THE BIRTH AND NAMING OF JOHN

57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son. 58 Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her his great mercy, and they rejoiced with her. 

59 When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day, they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But his mother responded, “No. He will be called John.” 

61 Then they said to her, “None of your relatives has that name.” 62 So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote: “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard about him took it to heart, saying, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the Lord’s hand was with him.