Friday, October 31, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 31, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 31, 2014: Today our passages are Lamentations 4:1–5:22; Hebrews 2:1-18; Psalm 103:1-22; and Proverbs 26:23 . The readings are from The Mess...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 30, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 30, 2014: Today our passages are Lamentations 2:20–3:66; Hebrews 1:1-14; Psalm 102:1-28; and Proverbs 26:21-22 . The readings are from The M...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, November 2, 2014

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Psalms (Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37), Old Testament (Joshua 3.7-17), the Letters (1 Thessalonians 2:9-13), and the Gospels (Matthew 23:1-12). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town.
He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry live, and they establish a town to live in;
they sow fields, and plant vineyards, and get a fruitful yield.

Joshua 3:7-17

The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”

When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.

Matthew 23:1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 29, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 29, 2014: Today our passages are Lamentations 1:1–2:19; Philemon 1-25; Psalm 101:1-8; and Proverbs 26:20 . The readings are from The Message ...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 29, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 29, 2014: Today our passages are Lamentations 1:1–2:19; Philemon 1-25; Psalm 101:1-8; and Proverbs 26:20 . The readings are from The Message ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 28, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 28, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 51:54–52:34; Titus 3:1-15; Psalm 100:1-5; and Proverbs 26:18-19 . The readings are from The Messag...

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 27, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 27, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 51:1-53; Titus 2:1-15; Psalm 99:1-9; and Proverbs 26:17 . The readings are from The Message by E...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 26, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 26, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 49:23–50:46; Titus 1:1-6; Psalm 97:1–98:9; and Proverbs 26:13-16 . The readings are from The Messa...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 25, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 25, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 48:1–49:22; 2 Timothy 4:1-22; Psalm 95:1–96:13; and Proverbs 26:9-12 . The readings are from The ...

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 24, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 24, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 44:24–47:7; 2 Timothy 2:22–3:17; Psalm 94:1-23; and Proverbs 26:6-8 . The readings are from The ...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 23, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 23, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 42:1–44:23; 2 Timothy 2:1-21; Psalm 92:1–93:5; and Proverbs 26:3-5 . The readings are from The M...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, October 26, 2014

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Psalms (Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17), Old Testament (Deuteronomy 34:1-12), the Letters (1 Thessalonians 2:1-8), and the Gospels (Matthew 22:34-46). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”

For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.

You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning;

in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

Turn, O Lord! How long? Have compassion on your servants!

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.

Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands— O prosper the work of our hands!

Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses. Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others,

though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

Matthew 22:34-46

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 22, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 22, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 39:1–41:18; 2 Timothy 1:1-18; Psalm 90:1–91:16; and Proverbs 26:1-2 . The readings are from The ...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 21, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 21, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 37:1–38:28; 1 Timothy 6:1-21; Psalm 89:38-52; and Proverbs 25:28 . The readings are from The Mes...

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 20, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 20, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 35:1–36:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-25; Psalm 89:14-37; and Proverbs 25:25-27 . The readings are from The M...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 19, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 19, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 33:1–34:22; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; Psalm 89:1-13; and Proverbs 25:23-24 . The readings are from The M...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 18, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 18, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 31:27–32:44; 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Psalm 88:1-18; and Proverbs 25:20-22 . The readings are from The M...

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 17, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 17, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 30:1–31:26; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Psalm 87:1-7; and Proverbs 25:18-19 . The readings are from The Mes...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 16, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 16, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 28:1–29:32; 1 Timothy 1:1-20; Psalm 86:1-17; and Proverbs 25:17 . The readings are from The Messa...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 15, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 15, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 26:1–27:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18; Psalm 85:1-13; and Proverbs 25:16 . The readings are from The ...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, October 19, 2014

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Psalms (Psalm 99), Old Testament (Exodus 33:12-23), the Letters (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10), and the Gospels (Matthew 22:15-22). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

Psalm 99

The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!

The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he!

Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

Extol the Lord our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them.

He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.

O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.

Extol the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy.

Exodus 33:12-23

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.” The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake.

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Matthew 22:15-22

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 14, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 14, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 23:21–25:38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; Psalm 84:1-12; and Proverbs 25:15 . The readings are from The ...

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 13, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 13, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 22:1–23:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; Psalm 83:1-18; and Proverbs 25:11-14 . The readings are from Th...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 12, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 12, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 19:1–21:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-28; Psalm 82:1-8; and Proverbs 25:8-10 . The readings are from The ...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 11, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 11, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 16:16–18:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:1–5:3; Psalm 81:1-16; and Proverbs 25:6-7 . The readings are from T...

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 10, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 10, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 14:11–16:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:10–3:13; Psalm 80:1-19; and Proverbs 25:1-5 . The readings are from ...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bible Readings for October 9, 2014


Today our passages are Jeremiah 12:1–14:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:1–2:9; Psalm 79:1-13; and Proverbs 24:30-34. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.


Jeremiah 12-14:10 (The Message)

Jeremiah 12

What Makes You Think You Can Race Against Horses?
 1-4 You are right, O God, and you set things right. I can't argue with that. But I do have some questions:
Why do bad people have it so good?
   Why do con artists make it big?
You planted them and they put down roots.
   They flourished and produced fruit.
They talk as if they're old friends with you,
   but they couldn't care less about you.
Meanwhile, you know me inside and out.
   You don't let me get by with a thing!
Make them pay for the way they live,
   pay with their lives, like sheep marked for slaughter.
How long do we have to put up with this—
   the country depressed, the farms in ruin—
And all because of wickedness, these wicked lives?
   Even animals and birds are dying off
Because they'll have nothing to do with God
   and think God has nothing to do with them.
 5-6"So, Jeremiah, if you're worn out in this footrace with men,
   what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm,
   what's going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?
Those closest to you, your own brothers and cousins,
   are working against you.
They're out to get you. They'll stop at nothing.
   Don't trust them, especially when they're smiling.

 7-11"I will abandon the House of Israel,
   walk away from my beloved people.
I will turn over those I most love
   to those who are her enemies.
She's been, this one I held dear,
   like a snarling lion in the jungle,
Growling and baring her teeth at me—
   and I can't take it anymore.
Has this one I hold dear become a preening peacock?
   But isn't she under attack by vultures?
Then invite all the hungry animals at large,
   invite them in for a free meal!
Foreign, scavenging shepherds
   will loot and trample my fields,
Turn my beautiful, well-cared-for fields
   into vacant lots of tin cans and thistles.
They leave them littered with junk—
   a ruined land, a land in lament.
The whole countryside is a wasteland,
   and no one will really care.

 12-13"The barbarians will invade,
   swarm over hills and plains.
The judgment sword of God will take its toll
   from one end of the land to the other.
   Nothing living will be safe.
They will plant wheat and reap weeds.
   Nothing they do will work out.
They will look at their meager crops and wring their hands.
   All this the result of God's fierce anger!"

 14-17God's Message: "Regarding all the bad neighbors who abused the land I gave to Israel as their inheritance: I'm going to pluck them out of their lands, and then pluck Judah out from among them. Once I've pulled the bad neighbors out, I will relent and take them tenderly to my heart and put them back where they belong, put each of them back in their home country, on their family farms. Then if they will get serious about living my way and pray to me as well as they taught my people to pray to that god Baal, everything will go well for them. But if they won't listen, then I'll pull them out of their land by the roots and cart them off to the dump. Total destruction!" God's Decree.

Jeremiah 13

People Who Do Only What They Want to Do
 1-2 God told me, "Go and buy yourself some linen shorts. Put them on and keep them on. Don't even take them off to wash them." So I bought the shorts as God directed and put them on. 3-5Then God told me, "Take the shorts that you bought and go straight to Perath and hide them there in a crack in the rock." So I did what God told me and hid them at Perath.  6-7Next, after quite a long time, God told me, "Go back to Perath and get the linen shorts I told you to hide there." So I went back to Perath and dug them out of the place where I had hidden them. The shorts by then had rotted and were worthless.
 8-11God explained, "This is the way I am going to ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem—a wicked bunch of people who won't obey me, who do only what they want to do, who chase after all kinds of no-gods and worship them. They're going to turn out as rotten as these old shorts. Just as shorts clothe and protect, so I kept the whole family of Israel under my care"—God's Decree—"so that everyone could see they were my people, a people I could show off to the world and be proud of. But they refused to do a thing I said.
 12"And then tell them this, 'God's Message, personal from the God of Israel: Every wine jug should be full of wine.'
   "And they'll say, 'Of course. We know that. Every wine jug should be full of wine!'
 13-14"Then you'll say, 'This is what God says: Watch closely. I'm going to fill every person who lives in this country—the kings who rule from David's throne, the priests, the prophets, the citizens of Jerusalem—with wine that will make them drunk. And then I'll smash them, smash the wine-filled jugs—old and young alike. Nothing will stop me. Not an ounce of pity or mercy or compassion will slow me down. Every last drunken jug of them will be smashed!'"
The Light You Always Took for Granted
 15-17Then I said, Listen. Listen carefully: Don't stay stuck in your ways!
   It's God's Message we're dealing with here.
Let your lives glow bright before God
   before he turns out the lights,
Before you trip and fall
   on the dark mountain paths.
The light you always took for granted will go out
   and the world will turn black.
If you people won't listen,
   I'll go off by myself and weep over you,
Weep because of your stubborn arrogance,
   bitter, bitter tears,
Rivers of tears from my eyes,
   because God's sheep will end up in exile.
 18-19Tell the king and the queen-mother,
   "Come down off your high horses.
Your dazzling crowns
   will tumble off your heads."
The villages in the Negev will be surrounded,
   everyone trapped,
And Judah dragged off to exile,
   the whole country dragged to oblivion.

 20-22Look, look, Jerusalem!
   Look at the enemies coming out of the north!
What will become of your flocks of people,
   the beautiful flocks in your care?
How are you going to feel when the people
   you've played up to, looked up to all these years
Now look down on you? You didn't expect this?
   Surprise! The pain of a woman having a baby!
Do I hear you saying,
   "What's going on here? Why me?"
The answer's simple: You're guilty,
   hugely guilty.
Your guilt has your life endangered,
   your guilt has you writhing in pain.

 23Can an African change skin?
   Can a leopard get rid of its spots?
So what are the odds on you doing good,
   you who are so long-practiced in evil?

 24-27"I'll blow these people away—
   like wind-blown leaves.
You have it coming to you.
   I've measured it out precisely."
         God's Decree.
"It's because you forgot me
   and embraced the Big Lie,
   that so-called god Baal.
I'm the one who will rip off your clothes,
   expose and shame you before the watching world.
Your obsessions with gods, gods, and more gods,
   your goddess affairs, your god-adulteries.
Gods on the hills, gods in the fields—
   every time I look you're off with another god.
O Jerusalem, what a sordid life!
   Is there any hope for you!"

Jeremiah 14

Time and Again We've Betrayed God
 1-6 God's Message that came to Jeremiah regarding the drought: "Judah weeps,
   her cities mourn.
The people fall to the ground, moaning,
   while sounds of Jerusalem's sobs rise up, up.
The rich people sent their servants for water.
   They went to the cisterns, but the cisterns were dry.
They came back with empty buckets,
   wringing their hands, shaking their heads.
All the farm work has stopped.
   Not a drop of rain has fallen.
The farmers don't know what to do.
   They wring their hands, they shake their heads.
Even the doe abandons her fawn in the field
   because there is no grass—
Eyes glazed over, on her last legs,
   nothing but skin and bones."
 7-9We know we're guilty. We've lived bad lives—
   but do something, God. Do it for your sake!
Time and time again we've betrayed you.
   No doubt about it—we've sinned against you.
Hope of Israel! Our only hope!
   Israel's last chance in this trouble!
Why are you acting like a tourist,
   taking in the sights, here today and gone tomorrow?
Why do you just stand there and stare,
   like someone who doesn't know what to do in a crisis?
But God, you are, in fact, here, here with us!
   You know who we are—you named us!
   Don't leave us in the lurch.

 10Then God said of these people: "Since they loved to wander this way and that,
   never giving a thought to where they were going,
I will now have nothing more to do with them—
   except to note their guilt and punish their sins."




1 Thessalonians 1-2:9 (The Message)

1 Thessalonians 1

 1I, Paul, together here with Silas and Timothy, send greetings to the church at Thessalonica, Christians assembled by God the Father and by the Master, Jesus Christ. God's amazing grace be with you! God's robust peace!
Convictions of Steel
 2-5Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you're in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn't just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.  5-6You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.
 7-10Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master's Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don't even have to say anything anymore—you're the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.

1 Thessalonians 2

 1-2So, friends, it's obvious that our visit to you was no waste of time. We had just been given rough treatment in Philippi, as you know, but that didn't slow us down. We were sure of ourselves in God, and went right ahead and said our piece, presenting God's Message to you, defiant of the opposition.
No Hidden Agendas
 3-5God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we're not after crowd approval—only God approval. Since we've been put through that battery of tests, you're guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.  6-8Even though we had some standing as Christ's apostles, we never threw our weight around or tried to come across as important, with you or anyone else. We weren't aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did.
 9-12You remember us in those days, friends, working our fingers to the bone, up half the night, moonlighting so you wouldn't have the burden of supporting us while we proclaimed God's Message to you. You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. And God knows we weren't freeloaders! You experienced it all firsthand. With each of you we were like a father with his child, holding your hand, whispering encouragement, showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into his own kingdom, into this delightful life.



Psalm 79:1-13 (The Message)

Psalm 79

An Asaph Psalm
 1-4 God! Barbarians have broken into your home, violated your holy temple,
      left Jerusalem a pile of rubble!
   They've served up the corpses of your servants
      as carrion food for birds of prey,
   Threw the bones of your holy people
      out to the wild animals to gnaw on.
   They dumped out their blood
      like buckets of water.
   All around Jerusalem, their bodies
      were left to rot, unburied.
   We're nothing but a joke to our neighbors,
      graffiti scrawled on the city walls.

 5-7 How long do we have to put up with this, God?
      Do you have it in for us for good?
      Will your smoldering rage never cool down?
   If you're going to be angry, be angry
      with the pagans who care nothing about you,
      or your rival kingdoms who ignore you.
   They're the ones who ruined Jacob,
      who wrecked and looted the place where he lived.

 8-10 Don't blame us for the sins of our parents.
      Hurry up and help us; we're at the end of our rope.
   You're famous for helping; God, give us a break.
      Your reputation is on the line.
   Pull us out of this mess, forgive us our sins—
      do what you're famous for doing!
   Don't let the heathen get by with their sneers:
      "Where's your God? Is he out to lunch?"
   Go public and show the godless world
      that they can't kill your servants and get by with it.

 11-13 Give groaning prisoners a hearing;
      pardon those on death row from their doom—you can do it!
   Give our jeering neighbors what they've got coming to them;
      let their God-taunts boomerang and knock them flat.
   Then we, your people, the ones you love and care for,
      will thank you over and over and over.
   We'll tell everyone we meet
      how wonderful you are, how praiseworthy you are!
 

 

Proverbs 24:30-34 (The Message)



 30-34 One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones,
   and then passed the vineyard of a lout;
They were overgrown with weeds,
   thick with thistles, all the fences broken down.
I took a long look and pondered what I saw;
   the fields preached me a sermon and I listened:
"A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
   sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
   with poverty as your permanent houseguest!"





Verse of the Day

“You must be completely faithful to the LORD. Worship and obey only the LORD and do this with fear and trembling,” - Deuteronomy 13:4
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.


 
Thought for the Day
 

Roman Catholic Religious Sister and missionary of Albanian origin who lived for most of her life in India, Mother Teresa wrote, “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, October 12, 2014

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Psalms (Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23), Old Testament (Exodus 32:1-14), the Letters (Philippians 4:1-9), and the Gospels (Matthew 22:1-14). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord, or declare all his praise?

Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.

Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people; help me when you deliver them;

that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory in your heritage.

Both we and our ancestors have sinned; we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.

They made a calf at Horeb and worshiped a cast image.

They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.

They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,

wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

Exodus 32:1-14

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’“ And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

Philippians 4:1-9

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Matthew 22:1-14

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 8, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 8, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 10:1–11:23; Colossians 3:18–4:18; Psalm 78:56-72; and Proverbs 24:28-29 . The readings are from The...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 7, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 7, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 8:8–9:26; Colossians 3:1-17; Psalm 78:32-55; and Proverbs 24:27 . The readings are from The Messag...

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 6, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 6, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 6:15–8:7; Colossians 2:8-23; Psalm 78:1-31; and Proverbs 24:26 . The readings are from The Message ...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 5, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 5, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 4:19–6:14; Colossians 1:21–2:7; Psalm 77:1-20; and Proverbs 24:23-25 . The readings are from The Me...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 4, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 4, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 2:31–4:18; Colossians 1:1-20; Psalm 76:1-12; and Proverbs 24:21-22 . The readings are from The Mess...

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 3, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 3, 2014: Today our passages are Jeremiah 1:1–2:30; Philippians 4:1-23; Psalm 75:1-10; and Proverbs 24:17-20 . The readings are from The Mes...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 2, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 2, 2014: Today our passages are Isaiah 66:1-24; Philippians 3:4b-21; Psalm 74:1-23; and Proverbs 24:15-16 . The readings are from The Messag...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, October 5, 2014

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Psalms (Psalm 19), Old Testament (Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9), the Letters (Philippians 3:4b-14), and the Gospels (Matthew 21:33-46). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;

yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,

which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.

Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;

the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.

Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

Philippians 3:4b-14

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 21:33-46

“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for October 1, 2014

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