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A sense of humor

Pastoral Messages | August 9, 2018

When my two grown kids surprised me with a visit home last weekend, we got in a game of tennis. It was a blast. Depending on which of the four of us you ask about the game, however, four different perspectives will emerge. Mom’s shots were awesome. Or not. Jacob jumped like a monkey to reach balls he shouldn’t have reached. Not sure about that. Rachel’s forehand was super consistent. Really? Dad almost died running for a corner shot. Wrong! Same game with four different perspectives. No one angle delivers the singular truth. Added together, however, an accurate picture starts to come into focus.

This is how I understand scripture. It’s God’s Word given to us in multi-dimensional fashion, full of internal contradictions and individual perspectives, but all pointing towards a powerful and life-giving truth. When I log onto church websites and read their page on beliefs, and see words like “without error,” “infallible,” “no contradictions” and “Bible” in the same sentence, I cringe. Actually, I feel sorry for people who hope this biblical outlook will bring them security. These are people seeking absolute clarity and certainty where it cannot be found – in literalism. They’re treating scripture as if it’s a frozen body of ancient and mummified knowledge rather than a fresh word for every new day.

Those who fixate on the literal and factual accuracy of every verse within the Bible may be able to see themselves as true Bible-based believers over against less faithful brothers and sisters in the Christian world. But such devotion to biblical fundamentalism quickly acquires a punitive character. Other interpretations of scripture that embrace mystery, ambiguity, and uncertainty are viewed as blasphemous.

When literalists or inerrantists – that would be those who can’t see the truth of God poking through scripture’s inconsistencies – get challenged for their fanaticism, they often turn humorless. Who wants to try and justify the Bible’s embrace of slavery, or the execution of anyone who works on the Sabbath, or the idea that women who give birth to girls instead of boys are more unclean?

Amos Oz, the prominent Israeli writer and author of the book, How to Cure a Fanatic, believes he has the perfect remedy for fanaticism. “A sense of humor is a great cure … Humor contains the ability to laugh at ourselves … the capacity to realize that no matter how righteous you are … there is a certain side of life that is always a bit funny.”

Only when we acquire a sense of humor for how little we know and understand God, can the real power of scripture come alive. It’s the inconsistencies and disparities of the Bible that give its authors their authenticity. Their different life experiences and outlooks lend a fuller shape to the truth.

About that Marty tennis match? I did run fast enough on that corner shot to pull a hamstring muscle and almost fall flat on my face. But don’t share that admission with the rest of my family. They might laugh at my honesty.

-Peter W. Marty, senior pastor

5 Comments on “A sense of humor”

  • Jana Baltimore

    August 13, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Love the phrase “a fresh word for every new day”! Your message really helps me to better understand what happens when I hear others push a specific translation. And the humor piece…yes, I agree, it always helps in difficult/ touchy situations.

  • Teresa Woodworth

    August 10, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Your perspective on Christianity and Christian life is why I love St. Paul and the people who call it home. Thank you for leading us!

  • Kathie Heaps

    August 9, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    It is truly refreshing to belong to a village of believers that CAN see the forest while standing in the trees. This article puts to words what I have always believed. Thanks Peter.

  • Connie King

    August 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I’ve just learned more about how to look at the Bible in this brief article than in all my years in church and all the reading I’ve done. Thank you for an honest insight.

  • David DeWit

    August 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    As one brought up as a “literalist,” I have come to think of the Bible as divinely-inspired only in the sense that God has seen to it, as the “canon” has been established over the centuries, that the lessons He wants us to learn have all made it in there. We need to look for the lessons rather than wasting time trying to demonstrate that the Bible is 100% historically accurate and and that every word is authoritative for faith and life.

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Acts 16:9-15

9A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”10When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis;12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days.13And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

First Convert in Europe

14A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.15And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Psalm 67

1God be gracious to us and bless us,

And cause His face to shine upon us—

Selah.

2That Your way may be known on the earth,

Your salvation among all nations.

3Let the peoples praise You, O God;

Let all the peoples praise You.

4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;

For You will judge the peoples with uprightness

And guide the nations on the earth.

Selah.

5Let the peoples praise You, O God;

Let all the peoples praise You.

6The earth has yielded its produce;

God, our God, blesses us.

7God blesses us,

That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

Revelation 21:10-22:5

The New Jerusalem

10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,11having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.12It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.13There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.14And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.16The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.17And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.18The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.19The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;20the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.23And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.25In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;26and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;27and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The River and the Tree of Life

1Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,2in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.3There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;4they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.5And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

John 14:23-29

23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

25“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.27“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.28“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.29“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.

Acts 16:16-34

16It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.17Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”18She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.

19But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities,20and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews,21and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”

Paul and Silas Imprisoned

22The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods.23When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;24and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;26and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.27When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.28But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,30and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Jailer Converted

31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.34And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

Psalm 97

1The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;

Let the many islands be glad.

2Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

3Fire goes before Him

And burns up His adversaries round about.

4His lightnings lit up the world;

The earth saw and trembled.

5The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the LORD,

At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

6The heavens declare His righteousness,

And all the peoples have seen His glory.

7Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images,

Who boast themselves of idols;

Worship Him, all you gods.

8Zion heard this and was glad,

And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced

Because of Your judgments, O LORD.

9For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth;

You are exalted far above all gods.

10Hate evil, you who love the LORD,

Who preserves the souls of His godly ones;

He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

11Light is sown like seed for the righteous

And gladness for the upright in heart.

12Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones,

And give thanks to His holy name.

Revelation 22:12-21

12“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.13“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.15Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

16“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

20He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

John 17:20-26

20“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Their Future Glory

22“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;23I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.24“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

25“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me;26and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Acts 2:1-21

The Day of Pentecost

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.7They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?8“And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?9“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,11Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”12And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”13But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Peter’s Sermon

14But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.15“For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;16but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,

‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALLMANKIND;

AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,

AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,

AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

18EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,

I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT

And they shall prophesy.

19‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE

AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,

BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.

20‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS

AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD,

BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.

21‘AND IT SHALL BE THATEVERYONE WHOCALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

Psalm 104:24-35

24O LORD, how many are Your works!

In wisdom You have made them all;

The earth is full of Your possessions.

25There is the sea, great and broad,

In which are swarms without number,

Animals both small and great.

26There the ships move along,

And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.

27They all wait for You

To give them their food in due season.

28You give to them, they gather it up;

You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.

29You hide Your face, they are dismayed;

You take away their spirit, they expire

And return to their dust.

30You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;

And You renew the face of the ground.

31Let the glory of the LORD endure forever;

Let the LORD be glad in His works;

32He looks at the earth, and it trembles;

He touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;

As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.

35Let sinners be consumed from the earth

And let the wicked be no more.

Bless the LORD, O my soul.

Praise the LORD!

Romans 8:14-17

14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

John 14:8-17

8Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”9Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?10“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.11“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.12“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.13“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Role of the Spirit

16“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;17that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

Proverbs 8:1-31

1Does not wisdom call,

And understanding lift up her voice?

2On top of the heights beside the way,

Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

3Beside the gates, at the opening to the city,

At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:

4“To you, O men, I call,

And my voice is to the sons of men.

5“O naive ones, understand prudence;

And, O fools, understand wisdom.

6“Listen, for I will speak noble things;

And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.

7“For my mouth will utter truth;

And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8“All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;

There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.

9“They are all straightforward to him who understands,

And right to those who find knowledge.

10“Take my instruction and not silver,

And knowledge rather than choicest gold.

11“For wisdom is better than jewels;

And all desirable things cannot compare with her.

12“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,

And I find knowledge and discretion.

13“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;

Pride and arrogance and the evil way

And the perverted mouth, I hate.

14“Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;

I am understanding, power is mine.

15“By me kings reign,

And rulers decree justice.

16“By me princes rule, and nobles,

All who judge rightly.

17“I love those who love me;

And those who diligently seek me will find me.

18“Riches and honor are with me,

Enduring wealth and righteousness.

19“My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,

And my yield better than choicest silver.

20“I walk in the way of righteousness,

In the midst of the paths of justice,

21To endow those who love me with wealth,

That I may fill their treasuries.

22“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,

Before His works of old.

23“From everlasting I was established,

From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.

24“When there were no depths I was brought forth,

When there were no springs abounding with water.

25“Before the mountains were settled,

Before the hills I was brought forth;

26While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,

Nor the first dust of the world.

27“When He established the heavens, I was there,

When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,

28When He made firm the skies above,

When the springs of the deep became fixed,

29When He set for the sea its boundary

So that the water would not transgress His command,

When He marked out the foundations of the earth;

30Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;

And I was daily His delight,

Rejoicing always before Him,

31Rejoicing in the world, His earth,

And having my delight in the sons of men.

Psalm 8

1O LORD, our Lord,

How majestic is Your name in all the earth,

Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!

2From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength

Because of Your adversaries,

To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

3When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

4What is man that You take thought of him,

And the son of man that You care for him?

5Yet You have made him a little lower than God,

And You crown him with glory and majesty!

6You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet,

7All sheep and oxen,

And also the beasts of the field,

8The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,

Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

9O LORD, our Lord,

How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

Romans 5:1-5

Results of Justification

1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

John 16:12-15

12“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.14“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.15“All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Foretold

Isaiah 65:1-9

1“I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me;

I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me.

I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’

To a nation which did not call on My name.

2“I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,

Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,

3A people who continually provoke Me to My face,

Offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks;

4Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places;

Who eat swine’s flesh,

And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots.

5“Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me,

For I am holier than you!’

These are smoke in My nostrils,

A fire that burns all the day.

6“Behold, it is written before Me,

I will not keep silent, but I will repay;

I will even repay into their bosom,

7Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together,” says the LORD.

“Because they have burned incense on the mountains

And scorned Me on the hills,

Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”

8Thus says the LORD,

“As the new wine is found in the cluster,

And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,’

So I will act on behalf of My servants

In order not to destroy all of them.

9“I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,

And an heir of My mountains from Judah;

Even My chosen ones shall inherit it,

And My servants will dwell there.

Psalm 22:19-28

19But You, O LORD, be not far off;

O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

20Deliver my soul from the sword,

My only life from the power of the dog.

21Save me from the lion’s mouth;

From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22I will tell of Your name to my brethren;

In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

23You who fear the LORD, praise Him;

All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,

And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;

Nor has He hidden His face from him;

But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

25From You comes my praise in the great assembly;

I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;

Those who seek Him will praise the LORD.

Let your heart live forever!

27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,

And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

28For the kingdom is the LORDS

And He rules over the nations.

Galatians 3:23-29

23But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.24Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Luke 8:26-39

26Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.27And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.28Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.”29For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.30And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him.31They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.

32Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.33And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country.35The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.36Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.37And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.38But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying,39“Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

Miracles of Healing

1 Kings 65:1-9

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Galatians 5:13-25

13For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”15But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Luke 9:51-62

51When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;52and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.53But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.54When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”55But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;56for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they went on to another village.

Exacting Discipleship

57As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”58And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”59And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”60But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”61Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”62But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Isaiah 66:10-14

10“Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her;

Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her,

11That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts,

That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom.”

12For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,

And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;

And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.

13“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;

And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”

14Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad,

And your bones will flourish like the new grass;

And the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants,

But He will be indignant toward His enemies.

Psalm 66:1-9

1Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;

2Sing the glory of His name;

Make His praise glorious.

3Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!

Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You.

4“All the earth will worship You,

And will sing praises to You;

They will sing praises to Your name.”

Selah.

5Come and see the works of God,

Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men.

6He turned the sea into dry land;

They passed through the river on foot;

There let us rejoice in Him!

7He rules by His might forever;

His eyes keep watch on the nations;

Let not the rebellious exalt themselves.

Selah.

8Bless our God, O peoples,

And sound His praise abroad,

9Who keeps us in life

And does not allow our feet to slip.

Galatians 6:1-16

Bear One Another’s Burdens

1Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.2Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.3For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.5For each one will bear his own load.

6The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.9Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

11See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.12Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.13For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.14But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.15For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.16And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Luke 10:1-20

The Seventy Sent Out

1Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.2And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.3“Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.4“Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way.5“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’6“If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.7“Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.8“Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you;9and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’10“But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say,11‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’12“I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.

13“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.14“But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.15“And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!

16“The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

The Happy Results

17The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”18And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.19“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.20“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Deuteronomy 30:9-14

9“Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers;10if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.

11“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.12“It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’13“Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’14“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

Choose Life

Psalm 25:1-10

1To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

2O my God, in You I trust,

Do not let me be ashamed;

Do not let my enemies exult over me.

3Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;

Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

4Make me know Your ways, O LORD;

Teach me Your paths.

5Lead me in Your truth and teach me,

For You are the God of my salvation;

For You I wait all the day.

6Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,

For they have been from of old.

7Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

According to Your lovingkindness remember me,

For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

8Good and upright is the LORD;

Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.

9He leads the humble in justice,

And He teaches the humble His way.

10All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth

To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

Colossians 1:1-14

Thankfulness for Spiritual Attainments

1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

3We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel6which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;7just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,8and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

9For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

The Incomparable Christ

13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 10:25-37

25And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”26And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”27And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”28And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”29But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Good Samaritan

30Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.31“And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.32“Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,34and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35“On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’36“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?37And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Martha and Mary

Genesis 18:1-10

Birth of Isaac Promised

1Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.2When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth,3and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.4“Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree;5and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.”6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.”7Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it.8He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.

9Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”10He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.

Psalm 15

1O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?

Who may dwell on Your holy hill?

2He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,

And speaks truth in his heart.

3He does not slander with his tongue,

Nor does evil to his neighbor,

Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

4In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,

But who honors those who fear the LORD;

He swears to his own hurt and does not change;

5He does not put out his money at interest,

Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things will never be shaken.

Colossians 1:15-28

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.19For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

21And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—23if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.25Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,26that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,27to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.28We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

Luke 10:38-42

38Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.39She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.40But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”41But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Genesis 18:20-32

20And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.21“I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

22Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD.23Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?24“Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?25“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”26So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.”27And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes.28“Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”29He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.”30Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”31And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.”32Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.”

Psalm 138

1I will give You thanks with all my heart;

I will sing praises to You before the gods.

2I will bow down toward Your holy temple

And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;

For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

3On the day I called, You answered me;

You made me bold with strength in my soul.

4All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD,

When they have heard the words of Your mouth.

5And they will sing of the ways of the LORD,

For great is the glory of the LORD.

6For though the LORD is exalted,

Yet He regards the lowly,

But the haughty He knows from afar.

7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;

You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,

And Your right hand will save me.

8The LORD will accomplish what concerns me;

Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;

Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Colossians 2:6-19

6Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,7having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.9For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,10and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;11and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.15When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

16Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—17things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.18Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,19and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

Luke 11:1-13

Instruction about Prayer

1It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”2And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

3‘Give us each day our daily bread.

4‘And forgive us our sins,

For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

And lead us not into temptation.’”

5Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;6for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;7and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.8“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

9“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.10“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.11“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Pharisees’ Blasphemy

Ecclesiastes 1:2-14

2“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,

“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

3What advantage does man have in all his work

Which he does under the sun?

4A generation goes and a generation comes,

But the earth remains forever.

5Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;

And hastening to its place it rises there again.

6Blowing toward the south,

Then turning toward the north,

The wind continues swirling along;

And on its circular courses the wind returns.

7All the rivers flow into the sea,

Yet the sea is not full.

To the place where the rivers flow,

There they flow again.

8All things are wearisome;

Man is not able to tell it.

The eye is not satisfied with seeing,

Nor is the ear filled with hearing.

9That which has been is that which will be,

And that which has been done is that which will be done.

So there is nothing new under the sun.

10Is there anything of which one might say,

“See this, it is new”?

Already it has existed for ages

Which were before us.

11There is no remembrance of earlier things;

And also of the later things which will occur,

There will be for them no remembrance

Among those who will come later still.

The Futility of Wisdom

12I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.13And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.14I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.

Psalm 49:1-12

1Hear this, all peoples;

Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,

2Both low and high,

Rich and poor together.

3My mouth will speak wisdom,

And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.

4I will incline my ear to a proverb;

I will express my riddle on the harp.

5Why should I fear in days of adversity,

When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me,

6Even those who trust in their wealth

And boast in the abundance of their riches?

7No man can by any means redeem his brother

Or give to God a ransom for him—

8For the redemption of his soul is costly,

And he should cease trying forever—

9That he should live on eternally,

That he should not undergo decay.

10For he sees that even wise men die;

The stupid and the senseless alike perish

And leave their wealth to others.

11Their inner thought is that their houses are forever

And their dwelling places to all generations;

They have called their lands after their own names.

12But man in his pomp will not endure;

He is like the beasts that perish.

Colossians 3:1-11

Put On the New Self

1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—11a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Luke 12:13-21

13Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”14But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”15Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”16And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive.17“And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’18“Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.19‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’21“So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Genesis 15:1-6

Abram Promised a Son

1After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying,

“Do not fear, Abram,

I am a shield to you;

Your reward shall be very great.”

2Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”3And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”4Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”5And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”6Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Psalm 33:12-22

12Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,

The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

13The LORD looks from heaven;

He sees all the sons of men;

14From His dwelling place He looks out

On all the inhabitants of the earth,

15He who fashions the hearts of them all,

He who understands all their works.

16The king is not saved by a mighty army;

A warrior is not delivered by great strength.

17A horse is a false hope for victory;

Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

18Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,

On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

19To deliver their soul from death

And to keep them alive in famine.

20Our soul waits for the LORD;

He is our help and our shield.

21For our heart rejoices in Him,

Because we trust in His holy name.

22Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,

According as we have hoped in You.

Hebrews 11:1-16

The Triumphs of Faith

1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.2For by it the men of old gained approval.

3By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.4By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.6And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.7By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

8By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.9By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;10for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.11By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.12Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendantsAS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.

13All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.15And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Luke 12:32-40

32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

33“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.34“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Be in Readiness

35“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.36“Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.37“Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.38“Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

39“But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.40“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”

Jeremiah 23:23-29

23“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD,

“And not a God far off?

24“Can a man hide himself in hiding places

So I do not see him?” declares the LORD.

“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.

25“I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’26“How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,27who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?28“The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the LORD.29“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?

Psalm 82

1God takes His stand in His own congregation;

He judges in the midst of the rulers.

2How long will you judge unjustly

And show partiality to the wicked?

Selah.

3Vindicate the weak and fatherless;

Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.

4Rescue the weak and needy;

Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

5They do not know nor do they understand;

They walk about in darkness;

All the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6I said, “You are gods,

And all of you are sons of the Most High.

7“Nevertheless you will die like men

And fall like any one of the princes.”

8Arise, O God, judge the earth!

For it is You who possesses all the nations.

Hebrews 11:29-12:2

29By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.31By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

32And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,33who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.35Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;36and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated38(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

39And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,40because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

Jesus, the Example

1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Luke 12:49-56

49“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!50“But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!51“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;52for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.53“They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out.55“And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way.56“You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?

Isaiah 58:9-14

9“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you remove the yoke from your midst,

The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,

10And if you give yourself to the hungry

And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

Then your light will rise in darkness

And your gloom will become like midday.

11“And the LORD will continually guide you,

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

And give strength to your bones;

And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

12“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;

You will raise up the age-old foundations;

And you will be called the repairer of the breach,

The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

Keeping the Sabbath

13“If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot

From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,

And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable,

And honor it, desisting from your own ways,

From seeking your own pleasure

And speaking your own word,

14Then you will take delight in the LORD,

And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;

And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,

For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Psalm 103:1-8

1Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

2Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And forget none of His benefits;

3Who pardons all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases;

4Who redeems your life from the pit,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

5Who satisfies your years with good things,

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

6The LORD performs righteous deeds

And judgments for all who are oppressed.

7He made known His ways to Moses,

His acts to the sons of Israel.

8The LORD is compassionate and gracious,

Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

Hebrews 12:18-29

18For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,19and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.20For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.”21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

The Unshaken Kingdom

25See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.26And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.”27This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.28Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;29for our God is a consuming fire.

Luke 14:1-14

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

1It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.2And there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy.3And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”4But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away.5And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?”6And they could make no reply to this.

Parable of the Guests

7And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them,8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him,9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.10“But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.11“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.13“But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”