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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19969
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 11 Juin - 12:21

http://bible.catholique.org/evangile-selon-saint-marc/3210-chapitre-2

abakkuk 1:1-17: The Book of Habakkuk records a prayer-filled conversation between the prophet Habakkuk and the LORD God. In today’s passage, Habakkuk complains to the LORD about the violence and injustice within his own nation of Judah. He does not understand why God is so slow to deal with this evil. Yet God surprises Habakkuk by saying that the armies of Babylon will bring an end to the evil in Judah.

Today’s Scripture: Habakkuk 1:12a

LORD, from the very beginning you are God. You are my God, holy and eternal.

Today’s Reading

1 This is the message that the LORD revealed to the prophet Habakkuk. 2 O LORD, how long must I call for help before you listen, before you save us from violence? 3 Why do you make me see such trouble? How can you stand to look on such wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are all around me, and there is fighting and quarreling everywhere. 4 The law is weak and useless, and justice is never done. Evil people get the better of the righteous, and so justice is perverted. 5 Then the LORD said to his people, “Keep watching the nations around you, and you will be astonished at what you see. I am going to do something that you will not believe when you hear about it. 6 I am bringing the Babylonians to power, those fierce, restless people. They are marching out across the world to conquer other lands. 7 They spread fear and terror, and in their pride they are a law to themselves. 8 Their horses are faster than leopards, fiercer than hungry wolves. Their cavalry troops come riding from distant lands; their horses paw the ground. They come swooping down like eagles attacking their prey. 9 Their armies advance in violent conquest, and everyone is terrified as they approach. Their captives are as numerous as grains of sand. 10 They treat kings with contempt and laugh at high officials. No fortress can stop them—they pile up earth against it and capture it. 11 Then they sweep on like the wind and are gone, these men whose power is their god. ” 12LORD, from the very beginning you are God. You are my God, holy and eternal. LORD, my God and protector, you have chosen the Babylonians and made them strong so that they can punish us. 13 But how can you stand these treacherous, evil men? Your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong. So why are you silent while they destroy people who are more righteous than they are? 14 How can you treat people like fish or like a swarm of insects that have no ruler to direct them? 15 The Babylonians catch people with hooks, as though they were fish. They drag them off in nets and shout for joy over their catch! 16 They even worship their nets and offer sacrifices to them, because their nets provide them with the best of everything. 17 Are they going to use their swords forever and keep on destroying nations without mercy?

Reflect

According to the Law of Moses, the people of Israel were to treat each other with fairness. Yet many of the Lord’s prophets accused the people and their leaders of being unjust. In 1:2, Habakkuk asks, “O LORD, how long must I call for help before you listen, before you save us from violence?” Do you ever talk to God about the violence and injustice you see in the world? Do you believe that prayer moves people toward justice?

Pray

Lord, the violence in our world fills me with frustration, despair and sadness. Too often I feel powerless against it. Help me see the ways in which I can be a peacemaker in the world. Amen.

Prayer Concern

People living amid war

Psalm 46: This psalm is an expression of confidence and trust in God. In the midst of cosmic or natural upheaval, God’s protection and presence is assured.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 46:1

God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

Today’s Reading

1 God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. 2 So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and mountains fall into the ocean depths; 3 even if the seas roar and rage, and the hills are shaken by the violence. 4 There is a river that brings joy to the city of God, to the sacred house of the Most High. 5 God is in that city, and it will never be destroyed; at early dawn he will come to its aid. 6 Nations are terrified, kingdoms are shaken; God thunders, and the earth dissolves. 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come and see what the LORD has done. See what amazing things he has done on earth. 9 He stops wars all over the world; he breaks bows, destroys spears, and sets shields on fire. 10 “Stop fighting,” he says, “and know that I am God, supreme among the nations, supreme over the world.” 11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Reflect

How is God depicted in this psalm? Do you find this psalm a source of comfort? Why or why not? Have you experienced a time when you needed to turn to God for protection and strength?

Pray

God, you are my shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. You are supreme among the nations and supreme over the world. I trust in your love, knowing that you are always with me. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those seeking refuge from war and natural disasters

Tomorrow's Reading

Genesis 1:1—2:4a: The first book in the Bible begins with the story of Creation.

Genesis 1:1-2:4a: The name “Genesis” means “origin.” Today’s passage describes the creation of the universe, and the origin of human beings. Out of desolation and darkness God creates the world in six days and rests on the seventh day.

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 1:31a

God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased.

Today’s Reading

1 In the beginning, when God created the universe, 2 the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. 3 Then God commanded, “Let there be light”—and light appeared. 4 God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness, 5 and he named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the first day. 6-7 Then God commanded, “Let there be a dome to divide the water and to keep it in two separate places”—and it was done. So God made a dome, and it separated the water under it from the water above it. 8 He named the dome “Sky.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the second day. 9 Then God commanded, “Let the water below the sky come together in one place, so that the land will appear”—and it was done. 10 He named the land “Earth,” and the water which had come together he named “Sea.” And God was pleased with what he saw. 11 Then he commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of plants, those that bear grain and those that bear fruit”—and it was done. 12 So the earth produced all kinds of plants, and God was pleased with what he saw. 13 Evening passed and morning came—that was the third day. 14 Then God commanded, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate day from night and to show the time when days, years, and religious festivals begin; 15 they will shine in the sky to give light to the earth ”—and it was done. 16 So God made the two larger lights, the sun to rule over the day and the moon to rule over the night; he also made the stars. 17 He placed the lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God was pleased with what he saw. 19 Evening passed and morning came—that was the fourth day. 20 Then God commanded, “Let the water be filled with many kinds of living beings, and let the air be filled with birds.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters, all kinds of creatures that live in the water, and all kinds of birds. And God was pleased with what he saw. 22 He blessed them all and told the creatures that live in the water to reproduce and to fill the sea, and he told the birds to increase in number. 23 Evening passed and morning came—that was the fifth day. 24 Then God commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life: domestic and wild, large and small”—and it was done. 25 So God made them all, and he was pleased with what he saw. 26 Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small. ” 27 So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, 28 blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. 29 I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; 30 but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food ”—and it was done. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came—that was the sixth day. 1 And so the whole universe was completed. 2 By the seventh day God finished what he had been doing and stopped working. 3 He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working. 4 And that is how the universe was created.

Reflect

In this opening chapter of the Bible, we read how God’s speaking is connected to God’s creative activity. Psalm 33:6 and 9 say, “The LORD created the heavens by his command, the sun, moon, and stars by his spoken word. … When he spoke, the world was created; at his command everything appeared.” This word-deed connection (“he said” - Hebrew: wayyo’mer) occurs ten times in Genesis 1 (verses 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, *29). Reread each of these verses and identify what God created or what God commands. Verses 26, 28, and 29 pertain to the creation of humankind and the call for humankind to participate in God’s creative activity. How do these verses speak to you? What does being created to be like God (verse 27) mean to you? *In verse 29 in the Good News Translation, the words “God commanded” or “God said” are implied; in other translations, such as the King James Version, the New Revised Standard Version, and the New International Version, the words are explicitly stated.

Pray

Heavenly Creator, your Spirit moved over the waters, and your spoken word brought creation into being. You were pleased with everything you made. Lord God, I thank and praise you for the beautiful world you created for my earthly home. Teach me to care for and respect all of creation. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those working on environmental issues

As in the first account of creation (Genesis 1:1—2:4a), God is the creator of the world. However, unlike the first account, no time element is given with regard to the process of creation.

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 2:7

Then the LORD God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.

Today’s Reading

4 When the LORD God made the universe, 5 there were no plants on the earth and no seeds had sprouted, because he had not sent any rain, and there was no one to cultivate the land; 6 but water would come up from beneath the surface and water the ground. 7 Then the LORD God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live. 8 Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and there he put the man he had formed. 9 He made all kinds of beautiful trees grow there and produce good fruit. In the middle of the garden stood the tree that gives life and the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. 10 A stream flowed in Eden and watered the garden; beyond Eden it divided into four rivers. 11 The first river is the Pishon; it flows around the country of Havilah. 12 (Pure gold is found there and also rare perfume and precious stones.) 13 The second river is the Gihon; it flows around the country of Cush. 14 The third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria, and the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 Then the LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it. 16 He told him, “You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, 17 except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day. ” 18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him.” 19 So he took some soil from the ground and formed all the animals and all the birds. Then he brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and that is how they all got their names. 20 So the man named all the birds and all the animals; but not one of them was a suitable companion to help him. 21 Then the LORD God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the flesh. 22 He formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him. 23 Then the man said, “At last, here is one of my own kind— Bone taken from my bone, and flesh from my flesh. “Woman” is her name because she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one. 25 The man and the woman were both naked, but they were not embarrassed.

Reflect

The Garden of Eden is the setting for what is recorded in Genesis 2. What did God create first? What was placed in the middle of the garden? What instructions were given to the man? How do you envision Eden?

Pray

Lord God, out of the soil from the ground you formed the first human with your life-giving breath. Breathe on me, O God, and fill me with your Spirit. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Gardeners


Dernière édition par végétalienne-13 le Dim 2 Nov - 19:17, édité 1 fois
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Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: christian    Jeu 19 Juin - 9:23

My Commader is Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He be the Prophet and General of the Saints. I am therfore a Sikh. Neither to say the God head of all beings is the same. As my Prophet and the others alike, The Great Jesus Christ and Muhammed and Budda all serve the One Creator Lord Almighty. Whom we all must fear and Love. But that's why many will go to Hell because they don't fear the Creator. Without fear u can not pay homage. We live now in a demonic atmospheric society. Takeup the armor of prayer. U by any means r to give even an inch to Sin. U r to give no mercy to the devil and his soldiers and u are to meet him on the battlefield everyday and defeat him. Spread this sentence where u go and whom ever wants to know God. "If you want to know Almight destroy the selfishness within u, meditate everyday on loving Almighty only. Repeat his divine name and make this ur VoW of Destiny" Almighty Creator ur happness is my happniess I exist I choose to exist to only please, love and serve u. I don't care about my sel. Only u. U . U .u


May YAHWEH Creator Make us an Armageddon Against Sin.
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Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: christian    Dim 22 Juin - 12:28

The creator is beyond any name. We as sentinel beings must have a ground to understand whom the creator is. By showing respect we call thy Lord. These are just words and the mouths you have heard that saying lord means this or that are more blind then bats that roam around in the deepest caves. You can never know God unless you fear him. As comes fear comes homage too. He is everything good. Compassion, Love, sharing, trust, truth these are his qualities. He expects us to live by these virtues which in turn are his commands. If you live not in Holy which is good virtue then by the true judgement you be judged in there hereafter and the account placed upon that persons head which reads good and bad deeds comes to pass. And there he/she is condemned to suffer for there evil deeds in the hell regions or in lower species.

Jesus Christ is beyond our understanding and so are the other servants of the God Divine.

Never assume this or that about any Prophet or saint that have lived or will live. As even these words are great sins against the beloved ones of God in which the Creator is extremely displeased about.

God is beyond birth and beyond time. Live by his command and he may grant you knowledge of thy which is the greatest existence one may have.
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Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: christian    Jeu 26 Juin - 16:26

Quotations from Saint Josemaria
4th Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration
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Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. And his face shone as the sun, and his garments became white as snow. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking together with him. Then Peter addressed Jesus, saying, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here. If thou wilt, let us set up three tents here, one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.' As he was still speaking behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him.' And on hearing it the disciples fell on their faces and were exceedingly afraid. And Jesus came near and touched them, and said to them, 'Arise, and do not be afraid.' But lifting up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus cautioned them, saying, 'Tell the vision to no one, till the Son of Man has risen from the dead.'
(Matthew 17:1-9)


“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2) Jesus, we want to see you, to speak to you! We want to contemplate you, immersed in the immensity of your beauty, in a contemplation that will never cease! It must be wonderful to see you, Jesus! It must be wonderful to see you and be wounded by your love!
And a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5)
Lord, we are ready to heed whatever you want to tell us. Speak to us: we are attentive to your voice. May your words enkindle our will so that we launch out fervently to obey you.
Vultum tuum, Domine, requiram.
(Ps 26:Cool Lord, I long to see your face. I like to close my eyes and think that, when God wills, the moment will come when I will be able to see him, not as in a mirror dimly, but…face to face. (cf. I Corr. 13:12) Yes, my heart yearns for God, the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God? (cf. Psalms 41:3)
Holy Rosary – Appendix, The Transfiguration

I will never share the opinion – though I respect it – of those who separate prayer from active life, as if they were incompatible.
We children of God have to be contemplatives: people who, in the midst of the din of the throng, know how to find silence of soul in a lasting conversation with Our Lord, people who know how to look at him as they look at a Father, as they look at a Friend, as they look at someone with whom they are madly in love.
The Forge, 738

Our being children of God, I insist, leads us to have a contemplative spirit in the midst of all human activities; to be light, salt and leaven through our prayer, through our mortification, through our knowledge of religion and of our profession. We will carry out this aim: the more within the world we are, the more we must be God's.
The Forge, 740

Rest assured that it is not difficult to convert work into a prayerful dialogue. As soon as you offer it up and then set to work, God is already listening and giving encouragement. We acquire the style of contemplative souls, in the midst of our daily work! Because we become certain that he is watching us, while he asks us to conquer ourselves anew: a little sacrifice here, a smile there for someone who bothers us, beginning the least pleasant but most urgent job first, carefulness in little details of order, perseverance in the fulfillment of our duty when it would be so easy to abandon it, not leaving for tomorrow what should be finished today: and all this, to please him, our Father God! On your desk or in some inconspicuous place that nobody notices, you perhaps place your crucifix to awaken in you a contemplative spirit and to act as a textbook for your mind and soul where you learn the lessons of service.
If you make up your mind to follow these ways of contemplation, in the midst of your ordinary work, without doing anything odd or withdrawing from the world, you will immediately feel that you are a friend of the Master, with the God-given task of opening up the divine ways of the earth to the whole of mankind. Yes. With your work you will help to spread Christ’s kingdom in every continent. You will offer up hour after hour of work for far-off lands which are being born to the faith, for the peoples of the East who are being cruelly forbidden to profess their faith, and for the traditionally Christian nations where it seems that the light of the Gospel has grown dim and souls are struggling in the obscurity of ignorance... Then, how valuable your hour of work becomes as you persevere with the same effort a little longer, a few minutes more, until the job is finished! In a simple and practical way you are converting contemplation into apostolate, seeing it as an imperative necessity of your heart, which beats in unison with the most sweet and merciful Heart of Jesus, Our Lord.
Friends of God, 67
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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Sam 28 Juin - 18:28

the future of the animals is in YOUR hands YAHWEH
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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Sam 23 Aoû - 18:57

Psalm 11: In this psalm, an individual who has found safety in YAHWEH, is addressing another individual and affirming trust and confidence in YAHWEH. YAHWEH is righteous and loves good deeds; those who do them will live in his presence.

Confidence in YAHWEH

I trust in YAHWEH for safety.

How foolish of you to say to me,

“Fly away like a bird to the mountains,

because the wicked have drawn their bows and aimed their arrows

to shoot from the shadows at good people.

There is nothing a good person can do

when everything falls apart.”

YAHWEH is in his holy temple;

He has His throne in heaven.

He watches people everywhere

and knows what they are doing.

He examines the good and the wicked alike;

the lawless he hates with all his heart.

He sends down flaming coals and burning sulfur on the wicked;

he punishes them with scorching winds.

YAHWEH is righteous and loves good deeds;

those who do them will live in his presence.

Reflect Reread verses 4-7. How does the psalm writer describe YAHWEH ? What is the destiny of the wicked? Of the righteous? In what ways have you been blessed by the good deeds of others? What good deeds will you do today?

Pray God, YOU alone are holy. Thank YOU for watching over us. Help us to obey YOU so that we always do what is right. Keep us close to YOU, and keep our heart pure. May our words and actions today be pleasing in Your sight. Amen.

Prayer Concern animal & human hospital & nursing home volunteers throughout earth


Gracious YAHWEH, all who fear YOU and do what is right are acceptable to YOU. Your Son, Jesus, is Lord of all. Empower us all with Your Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News of Your love and salvation. Amen. Prayer Concern Churches involved in community outreach Pray God, open our heart and our mind to Your Word and to Your surprising joys and new opportunities to advance Your kingdom. Amen. Prayer Concern evangelists Pray YAHWEH, we seek YOU every day. Feed and nourish us with Your life-giving word. Amen. Prayer Concern Volunteers at community food pantries

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand Matthew 14.13-21; Mark 6.30-44; Luke 9.10-17 Jesus went across Lake Galilee (or, Lake Tiberias, as it is also called).A large crowd followed him, because they had seen his miracles of healing the sick. Jesus went up a hill and sat down with his disciples.The time for the Passover Festival was near.Jesus looked around and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, so he asked Philip, “Where can we buy enough food to feed all these people?” (He said this to test Philip; actually he already knew what he would do) Philip answered, “For everyone to have even a little, it would take more than two hundred silver coins to buy enough bread.” Another one of his disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter's brother, said, “There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.” “Make the people sit down,” Jesus told them. (There was a lot of grass there.) So all the people sat down; there were about five thousand men.Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to the people who were sitting there. They all had as much as they wanted. When they were all full, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces left over; let us not waste a bit.” So they gathered them all and filled twelve baskets with the pieces left over from the five barley loaves which the people had eaten. Seeing this miracle that Jesus had performed, the people there said, “Surely this is the Prophet who was to come into the world!” Jesus knew that they were about to come and seize him in order to make him king by force; so he went off again to the hills by himself.

Jesus Walks on the Water Matthew 14.22-33; Mark 6.45-52 When evening came, Jesus' disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and went back across the lake toward Capernaum. Night came on, and Jesus still had not come to them. By then a strong wind was blowing and stirring up the water. The disciples had rowed about three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the water, coming near the boat, and they were terrified.“Don't be afraid,” Jesus told them, “it is I!”Then they willingly took him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached land at the place they were heading for.

The People Seek Jesus Next day the crowd which had stayed on the other side of the lake realized that there had been only one boat there. They knew that Jesus had not gone in it with his disciples, but that they had left without him.Other boats, which were from Tiberias, came to shore near the place where the crowd had eaten the bread after Jesus had given thanks.When the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they got into those boats and went to Capernaum, looking for him.

Reflect imagine yourself among the 5,000 who were miraculously fed. What would be your thoughts? What do you think the boy in today’s story might have told people when he returned home? Today’s reading ends with the people looking for Jesus. Why?

Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath, and his action angers the Jewish authorities who are now determined to kill him. John 5:17 The Healing at the Pool .After this, Jesus went to Jerusalem for a religious festival. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool with five porches; in Hebrew it is called Bethzatha. A large crowd of sick people were lying on the porches—the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed. A man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus saw him lying there, and he knew that the man had been sick for such a long time; so he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, I don't have anyone here to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am trying to get in, somebody else gets there first.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man got well; he picked up his mat and started walking. The day this happened was a Sabbath, so the Jewish authorities told the man who had been healed, “This is a Sabbath, and it is against our Law for you to carry your mat.” He answered, “The man who made me well told me to pick up my mat and walk.” They asked him, “Who is the man who told you to do this?” But the man who had been healed did not know who Jesus was, for there was a crowd in that place, and Jesus had slipped away.Afterward, Jesus found him in the Temple and said, “Listen, you are well now; so stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Then the man left and told the Jewish authorities that it was Jesus who had healed him. So they began to persecute Jesus, because he had done this healing on a Sabbath. Jesus answered them, “My Father is always working, and I too must work.” This saying made the Jewish authorities all the more determined to kill him; not only had he broken the Sabbath law, but he had said that God was his own Father and in this way had made himself equal with God.

Reflect How did Jesus respond to those who challenged his healing the man on the Sabbath (verse 17)? What does this verse tell you about God? What angered the Jewish authorities (verse 18)? After the man had been healed, why did Jesus tell him to “stop sinning” (verse 14)? Once we have received God’s forgiveness, is it hard to stop sinning? Explain.  Pray Gracious God, even when we sin, YOU look upon us with love and compassion and offer us forgiveness. Help us when we are weak and tempted to sin again, and remind that YOU are “always working,” ready to reach out to us in mercy and love. Amen. prayer Concern Those struggling with temptation

The disciples of John the Baptist speak to him about those who are being baptized by Jesus and following him. John acknowledges that his own ministry must now decrease as the ministry of Jesus increases. John 3:36a

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.

Jesus and John 22After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the province of Judea, where he spent some time with them and baptized.23John also was baptizing in Aenon, not far from Salim, because there was plenty of water in that place. People were going to him, and he was baptizing them. (24 This was before John had been put in prison.)

25Some of John's disciples began arguing with a Jew about the matter of ritual washing.26So they went to John and told him, “Teacher, you remember the man who was with you on the east side of the Jordan, the one you spoke about? Well, he is baptizing now, and everyone is going to him!”

27John answered, “No one can have anything unless God gives it.28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’29The bridegroom is the one to whom the bride belongs; but the bridegroom's friend, who stands by and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom's voice. This is how my own happiness is made complete.30He must become more important while I become less important.”

He Who Comes from Heaven

31He who comes from above is greater than all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly matters, but he who comes from heaven is above all.32He tells what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his message.33But whoever accepts his message confirms by this that God is truthful.34The one whom God has sent speaks God's words, because God gives him the fullness of his Spirit.35 The Father loves his Son and has put everything in his power.36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not have life, but will remain under God's punishment.

Reflect

In today’s reading, the ministries of Jesus and John appear to occur simultaneously. What is John’s reaction to what his disciples tell him? What are your thoughts about John’s words in verses 29-30? How are his words an indication of his faithfulness and witness?

Pray YHWEH, we rejoice with YOU when others accept YOU as their Savior. Like John the Baptist, our happiness is complete when we hear and obey Your voice. Amen.

Prayer Concern Bible study leaders

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, approaches Jesus at night and questions him about the Kingdom of God. Jesus describes what it means to be born of the Spirit and says that, by believing in him, one will have eternal life.

Today’s Scripture: John 3:16

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

Today’s Reading

Jesus and Nicodemus

1There was a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees.2One night he went to Jesus and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent by God. No one could perform the miracles you are doing unless God were with him.”

3Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.”

4“How can a grown man be born again?” Nicodemus asked. “He certainly cannot enter his mother's womb and be born a second time!”

5“I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus, “that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.6A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit.7Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again. 8The wind blows wherever it wishes; you hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9“How can this be?” asked Nicodemus.

10Jesus answered, “You are a great teacher in Israel, and you don't know this?11I am telling you the truth: we speak of what we know and report what we have seen, yet none of you is willing to accept our message.12 You do not believe me when I tell you about the things of this world; how will you ever believe me, then, when I tell you about the things of heaven?13 And no one has ever gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from heaven.”

14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up,15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God's only Son.19This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.20Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up.21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.

Reflect

What is your understanding of the Kingdom of God and being “born of water and the Spirit” as described by Jesus in verse 5? What does eternal life mean to you? Reread verse 16 and substitute your name for “the world.” Have you ever memorized this verse?

Pray

Lord Jesus, you are my Savior. Thank you for offering me eternal life by believing in you. Help me to grow in faith and share the good news about God’s love with those I meet today. Amen. Prayer Concern Students in Bible study classes

Peter has a vision in which he is shown that nothing is unclean that God has declared clean. Meanwhile, Cornelius, a Gentile, has a vision of an angel telling him to invite Peter to his house.The angel answered, “God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you.” Peter and Cornelius  There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman army regiment called “The Italian Regiment.”He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshiped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God. It was about three o'clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius!” He stared at the angel in fear and said, “What is it, sir?” The angel answered, “God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you. And now send some men to Joppa for a certain man whose full name is Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of a tanner of leather named Simon, who lives by the sea.” Then the angel went away, and Cornelius called two of his house servants and a soldier, a religious man who was one of his personal attendants. He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa. The next day, as they were on their way and coming near Joppa, Peter went up on the roof of the house about noon in order to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth. In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds. A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!” But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled.” The voice spoke to him again, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.” This happened three times, and then the thing was taken back up into heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of this vision, the men sent by Cornelius had learned where Simon's house was, and they were now standing in front of the gate.They called out and asked, “Is there a guest here by the name of Simon Peter?” Peter was still trying to understand what the vision meant, when the Spirit said, “Listen! Three men are here looking for you. So get ready and go down, and do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” So Peter went down and said to the men, “I am the man you are looking for. Why have you come?” “Captain Cornelius sent us,” they answered. “He is a good man who worships God and is highly respected by all the Jewish people. An angel of God told him to invite you to his house, so that he could hear what you have to say.” Peter invited the men in and had them spend the night there. The next day he got ready and went with them; and some of the believers from Joppa went along with him. The following day he arrived in Caesarea, where Cornelius was waiting for him, together with relatives and close friends that he had invited. As Peter was about to go in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and bowed down before him. But Peter made him rise. “Stand up,” he said, “I myself am only a man.” Peter kept on talking to Cornelius as he went into the house, where he found many people gathered. He said to them, “You yourselves know very well that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled. And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?” Cornelius said, “It was about this time three days ago that I was praying in my house at three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a man dressed in shining clothes stood in front of me and said: ‘Cornelius! God has heard your prayer and has taken notice of your works of charity. Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner of leather, who lives by the sea.’ And so I sent for you at once, and you have been good enough to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God, waiting to hear anything that YAHWEH has instructed you to say.

Reflect How is Cornelius described? What is he told to do? What is Peter’s vision? How does he respond to what he is told to do? How might these visions have been strange or surprising to each of these men? Have you ever been surprised by something God did in your life?

continues the story of Peter and Cornelius. Peter speaks to those gathered at Cornelius’ home and delivers the message of the Gospel to this Gentile audience. The chapter concludes with the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit and being baptized.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 10:34

Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis.”

Today’s Reading

Peter's Speech

34 Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis.35Those who fear him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to.36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the Good News of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.37You know of the great event that took place throughout the land of Israel, beginning in Galilee after John preached his message of baptism.38You know about Jesus of Nazareth and how God poured out on him the Holy Spirit and power. He went everywhere, doing good and healing all who were under the power of the Devil, for God was with him.39We are witnesses of everything that he did in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem. Then they put him to death by nailing him to a cross.40But God raised him from death three days later and caused him to appear,41not to everyone, but only to the witnesses that God had already chosen, that is, to us who ate and drank with him after he rose from death.42And he commanded us to preach the gospel to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God has appointed judge of the living and the dead.43All the prophets spoke about him, saying that all who believe in him will have their sins forgiven through the power of his name.”

The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit

44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his message.45The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles also.46For they heard them speaking in strange tongues and praising God's greatness. Peter spoke up:47“These people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did. Can anyone, then, stop them from being baptized with water?”48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay with them for a few days.

Reflect

What is the essence of Peter’s speech (verses 34-43)? What is the significance of Peter’s vision and his meeting with Cornelius? In what ways does your community of faith seek to proclaim the Good News of Jesus?

Jesus teaches the crowds in parables, beginning with the Parable of the Sower. Jesus tells a story of an individual sowing seed. The seed is scattered about, landing where it will, and meets with a variety of outcomes. Unable to understand, his disciples ask Jesus to explain the parable. Jesus tells them that the seed represents the word, which, when sown, faces many obstacles but produces much fruit when it successfully takes root.

Today’s Scripture: Mark 4:20a

Other people are like seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit.

The Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.1-9; Luke 8.4-Cool

1 Again Jesus began to teach beside Lake Galilee. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it. The boat was out in the water, and the crowd stood on the shore at the water's edge.2He used parables to teach them many things, saying to them:

3“Listen! Once there was a man who went out to sow grain.4As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep.6Then, when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up.7Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants, and they didn't bear grain.8But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew, and bore grain: some had thirty grains, others sixty, and others one hundred.”

9And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

The Purpose of the Parables

(Matthew 13.10-17; Luke 8.9,10)

10When Jesus was alone, some of those who had heard him came to him with the twelve disciples and asked him to explain the parables.11“You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God,” Jesus answered. “But the others, who are on the outside, hear all things by means of parables,12 so that,

‘They may look and look,

yet not see;

they may listen and listen,

yet not understand.

For if they did, they would turn to God,

and he would forgive them.’”

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.18-23; Luke 8.11-15)

13Then Jesus asked them, “Don't you understand this parable? How, then, will you ever understand any parable?14The sower sows God's message.15Some people are like the seeds that fall along the path; as soon as they hear the message, Satan comes and takes it away.16Other people are like the seeds that fall on rocky ground. As soon as they hear the message, they receive it gladly.17But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once.18Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message,19but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and choke the message, and they don't bear fruit.20But other people are like seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred.”

Reflect

Why, according to Mark, did Jesus speak in parables (verses 10-12)? What are the four types of ground upon which the seed lands? What happens to the seed in each instance? To what does each outcome correspond in Jesus’ interpretation of the parable? Can you recall times in your life when you responded to the word in one or more of these ways?

avec l'énegie de chacun ensemble réaliser els reve, ouvrons les champs des possible

on sy opoze farouchement
c'est une réaktion trs humaine

Pray

YAHWEH , teacher of true wisdom, help us all Your living beings to understand your teachings when our mind is cloudy and dark. We want to be fertile soil for Your word, but sometimes our heart is hard; sometimes our faith lacks depth; sometimes the cares of this world make Your word difficult to hear. Increase Your word in us so that it might produce the fruit for which it is intended, to Your glory God. In Yeshua 's name. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who plant and harvest

introduces us to another miracle that involves Jesus’ traveling back and forth across Lake Galilee. When Jesus and his disciples arrive on the other side of the lake, they are in Gentile territory and encounter a man possessed by evil spirits.

Today’s Scripture: Mark 5:19b

Yeshua said “Go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you.”

Jesus Heals a Man with Evil Spirits

Jesus and his disciples arrived on the other side of Lake Galilee, in the territory of Gerasa.2As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, he was met by a man who came out of the burial caves there. This man had an evil spirit in him3and lived among the tombs. Nobody could keep him tied with chains any more;4many times his feet and his hands had been tied, but every time he broke the chains and smashed the irons on his feet. He was too strong for anyone to control him.5Day and night he wandered among the tombs and through the hills, screaming and cutting himself with stones.

He was some distance away when he saw Jesus; so he ran, fell on his knees before him,7and screamed in a loud voice, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God! What do you want with me? For God's sake, I beg you, don't punish me!” (8He said this because Jesus was saying, “Evil spirit, come out of this man!”)

So Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

The man answered, “My name is ‘Mob’—there are so many of us!”10And he kept begging Jesus not to send the evil spirits out of that region.

11There was a large herd of pigs near by, feeding on a hillside.12So the spirits begged Jesus, “Send us to the pigs, and let us go into them.”13He let them go, and the evil spirits went out of the man and entered the pigs. The whole herd—about two thousand pigs in all—rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and was drowned.

14The men who had been taking care of the pigs ran away and spread the news in the town and among the farms. People went out to see what had happened,15and when they came to Jesus, they saw the man who used to have the mob of demons in him. He was sitting there, clothed and in his right mind; and they were all afraid.16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the man with the demons, and about the pigs.

17So they asked Jesus to leave their territory.

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had had the demons begged him, “Let me go with you!”

19But Jesus would not let him. Instead, he told him, “Go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you.”

20So the man left and went all through the Ten Towns, telling what Jesus had done for him. And all who heard it were amazed.

Reflect

Why were the people afraid after Jesus healed the man in Gerasa (verse 15)? What did the man do after he was healed? What does this story teach you about Jesus?

Pray

YAHWEH , many of Your beings we thank YOU for Your love for us all and Your steadfast kindness. May we reflect that love and kindness to all we encounter every day & today. Amen.

Prayer Concern Those around this earth suffering from mental illness

Today’s reading includes an account of two more miracles – Jesus feeding 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, and Jesus walking on water. Verse 30 picks up where verse 13 (from yesterday’s reading) ended, with the disciples reporting back to Jesus about what they had done and taught. The reading concludes with Jesus and the disciples arriving in Gennesaret where Jesus heals many people.

Today’s Scripture: Mark 6:41a

Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God.

Today’s Reading

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

(Matthew 14.13-21; Luke 9.10-17; John 6.1-14)

30The apostles returned and met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught.31There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn't even have time to eat. So he said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest a while.”32So they started out in a boat by themselves to a lonely place.

33Many people, however, saw them leave and knew at once who they were; so they went from all the towns and ran ahead by land and arrived at the place ahead of Jesus and his disciples.34 When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd, and his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.35When it was getting late, his disciples came to him and said, “It is already very late, and this is a lonely place.36Send the people away, and let them go to the nearby farms and villages in order to buy themselves something to eat.”

37“You yourselves give them something to eat,” Jesus answered.

They asked, “Do you want us to go and spend two hundred silver coins on bread in order to feed them?”

38So Jesus asked them, “How much bread do you have? Go and see.”

When they found out, they told him, “Five loaves and also two fish.”

39Jesus then told his disciples to make all the people divide into groups and sit down on the green grass.40So the people sat down in rows, in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty.41Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.42Everyone ate and had enough.43Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left of the bread and the fish.44The number of men who were fed was five thousand.

Jesus Walks on the Water

(Matthew 14.22-33; John 6.15-21)

45At once Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to Bethsaida, on the other side of the lake, while he sent the crowd away.46After saying good-bye to the people, he went away to a hill to pray.47When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, while Jesus was alone on land.48He saw that his disciples were straining at the oars, because they were rowing against the wind; so sometime between three and six o'clock in the morning, he came to them, walking on the water. He was going to pass them by, 49but they saw him walking on the water. “It's a ghost!” they thought, and screamed.50They were all terrified when they saw him.

Jesus spoke to them at once, “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don't be afraid!”51Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind died down. The disciples were completely amazed,52because they had not understood the real meaning of the feeding of the five thousand; their minds could not grasp it.

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

(Matthew 14.34-36)

53They crossed the lake and came to land at Gennesaret, where they tied up the boat.54As they left the boat, people recognized Jesus at once.55So they ran throughout the whole region; and wherever they heard he was, they brought to him the sick lying on their mats.56And everywhere Jesus went, to villages, towns, or farms, people would take their sick to the marketplaces and beg him to let the sick at least touch the edge of his cloak. And all who touched it were made well.

Reflect

Why were the crowds eager to follow Jesus and his disciples? Why did Jesus feel pity for the people (verse 34)? How did the disciples react when they saw Jesus approaching them walking on the water? In verse 52, we learn that the disciples could not grasp the meaning of what Jesus had done. In matters of faith, have you ever experienced difficulty in understanding? If so, where or to whom do you turn for help?

Pray

Holy Jesus, by the power of your Holy Spirit, help me to understand your teachings and strengthen my faith. Guide me each day as I grow in the knowledge of you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those in need of nourishing food


Jesus returns to Nazareth, his hometown, and is rejected by the people. He commissions his twelve disciples to preach and to heal people. King Herod hears about Jesus and thinks that John the Baptist, whom he had executed, has come back to life.

Today’s Scripture: Mark 6:12

So they went out and preached that people should turn away from their sins.

Today’s Reading

Jesus Is Rejected at Nazareth

(Matthew 13.53-58; Luke 4.16-30)

1Jesus left that place and went back to his hometown, followed by his disciples.2On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue. Many people were there; and when they heard him, they were all amazed. “Where did he get all this?” they asked. “What wisdom is this that has been given him? How does he perform miracles?3Isn't he the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren't his sisters living here?” And so they rejected him.

4 Jesus said to them, “Prophets are respected everywhere except in their own hometown and by their relatives and their family.”

5He was not able to perform any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them.6He was greatly surprised, because the people did not have faith.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples

(Matthew 10.5-15; Luke 9.1-6)

Then Jesus went to the villages around there, teaching the people.7He called the twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two. He gave them authority over the evil spirits8and ordered them, “Don't take anything with you on the trip except a walking stick—no bread, no beggar's bag, no money in your pockets.9Wear sandals, but don't carry an extra shirt.”10He also told them, “Wherever you are welcomed, stay in the same house until you leave that place.11 If you come to a town where people do not welcome you or will not listen to you, leave it and shake the dust off your feet. That will be a warning to them!”

12So they went out and preached that people should turn away from their sins.13 They drove out many demons, and rubbed olive oil on many sick people and healed them.

The Death of John the Baptist

(Matthew 14.1-12; Luke 9.7-9)

14 Now King Herod heard about all this, because Jesus' reputation had spread everywhere. Some people were saying, “John the Baptist has come back to life! That is why he has this power to perform miracles.”

15Others, however, said, “He is Elijah.”

Others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”

16When Herod heard it, he said, “He is John the Baptist! I had his head cut off, but he has come back to life!”17 Herod himself had ordered John's arrest, and he had him tied up and put in prison. Herod did this because of Herodias, whom he had married, even though she was the wife of his brother Philip.18John the Baptist kept telling Herod, “It isn't right for you to marry your brother's wife!”

19So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because of Herod.20Herod was afraid of John because he knew that John was a good and holy man, and so he kept him safe. He liked to listen to him, even though he became greatly disturbed every time he heard him.

21Finally Herodias got her chance. It was on Herod's birthday, when he gave a feast for all the top government officials, the military chiefs, and the leading citizens of Galilee.22The daughter of Herodias came in and danced, and pleased Herod and his guests. So the king said to the girl, “What would you like to have? I will give you anything you want.”23With many vows he said to her, “I swear that I will give you anything you ask for, even as much as half my kingdom!”

24So the girl went out and asked her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.

25The girl hurried back at once to the king and demanded, “I want you to give me here and now the head of John the Baptist on a plate!”

26This made the king very sad, but he could not refuse her because of the vows he had made in front of all his guests.27So he sent off a guard at once with orders to bring John's head. The guard left, went to the prison, and cut John's head off;28then he brought it on a plate and gave it to the girl, who gave it to her mother.29When John's disciples heard about this, they came and got his body, and buried it.

Reflect

Why did the people in Jesus’ hometown reject him? Are any people who preach the Good News rejected today? In what ways can communities of faith affirm those among them who engage in public ministry? What instructions did Jesus give his disciples? What were they able to do? Why did Herod think that John the Baptist had come back to life? (This was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great who ruled at the time of Jesus’ birth.) Can you think of examples today where people in power feel threatened by people of faith? You have called me, Lord Jesus, to follow you. Help me to be a bold witness for you and tell others about your saving love. Amen.

Pray

You have called me, Lord Jesus, to follow you. Help me to be a bold witness for you and tell others about your saving love. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those preparing for ordained ministry

For the next five days, we will be reading the concluding five psalms (146-150) in the book of Psalms. All five of these psalms begin and end with the words “Praise the LORD!” and form the concluding doxology to the book. These five psalms are also known as the “Hallelujah” psalms because in some translations they begin and end with the word “Hallelujah.” Today’s reading praises God as Creator and Deliverer and emphasizes God’s concern for justice.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 146:1, 2

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, my soul! I will praise him as long as I live; I will sing to my God all my life.

Today’s Reading

1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, my soul! 2 I will praise him as long as I live; I will sing to my God all my life. 3 Don't put your trust in human leaders; no human being can save you. 4 When they die, they return to the dust; on that day all their plans come to an end. 5 Happy are those who have the God of Jacob to help them and who depend on the LORD their God, 6 the Creator of heaven, earth, and sea, and all that is in them. He always keeps his promises; 7 he judges in favor of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free 8 and gives sight to the blind. He lifts those who have fallen; he loves his righteous people. 9 He protects the strangers who live in our land; he helps widows and orphans, but takes the wicked to their ruin. 10 The LORD is king forever. Your God, O Zion, will reign for all time. Praise the LORD!  

Reflect

Reread verses 3 and 4. These verses reflect the strong message of Israel’s prophets and the Law that the people were to place their trust in God and not in earthly leaders, wealth, foreign powers, or idols. What are the risks of putting our trust in worldly things? Why might we be tempted to do so?

Pray

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD my soul! I will praise you as long as I live, O God. I will sing to you all my life. You always keep your promises; you judge in favor of the oppressed and give food to the hungry. May your name be praised forever! Amen.

Prayer Concern

Victims of injustice



Psalm 138: This psalm is a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s love and care, and the writer expresses trust in God’s promises.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 138:1a, 8a

I thank you, LORD, with all my heart. … You will do everything you have promised; LORD, your love is eternal.

Today’s Reading

1 I thank you, LORD, with all my heart; I sing praise to you before the gods. 2 I face your holy Temple, bow down, and praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness, because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme. 3 You answered me when I called to you; with your strength you strengthened me. 4 All the kings in the world will praise you, LORD, because they have heard your promises. 5 They will sing about what you have done and about your great glory. 6 Even though you are so high above, you care for the lowly, and the proud cannot hide from you. 7 When I am surrounded by troubles, you keep me safe. You oppose my angry enemies and save me by your power. 8 You will do everything you have promised; LORD, your love is eternal. Complete the work that you have begun.  

Reflect

Verse 2 refers to God’s “constant love and faithfulness,” an indication of the covenant bond that unites God and people. In what ways have you experienced God’s constant love and faithfulness? In verse 3, the psalm writer refers to answered prayer. When and/or how have you experienced an answer to prayer?

Pray

I thank you, LORD, with all my heart. Your love and faithfulness are constant. I call out to you, and today I thank you for _____________________________. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those in need of renewed strength

Habakkuk 2:1-20: YAHWEH offers Habakkuk a vision of justice, saying that the Babylonians will be punished according to how they have treated others. This vision is borne out by history: the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and stole the treasures of Israel’s temple. Yet by 539 B.C., the Babylonian leaders became so weak that King Cyrus of Persia captured the city of Babylon without a fight.

Today’s Scripture: Habakkuk 2:4

This is the message: “Those who are evil will not survive, but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God.”

Today’s Reading

1 I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the LORD will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint. 2 The LORD gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. 3 Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed. 4 And this is the message: ‘Those who are evil will not survive, but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God. ’ ” 5 Wealth is deceitful. Greedy people are proud and restless—like death itself they are never satisfied. That is why they conquer nation after nation for themselves. 6 The conquered people will taunt their conquerors and show their scorn for them. They will say, “You take what isn't yours, but you are doomed! How long will you go on getting rich by forcing your debtors to pay up?” 7 But before you know it, you that have conquered others will be in debt yourselves and be forced to pay interest. Enemies will come and make you tremble. They will plunder you! 8 You have plundered the people of many nations, but now those who have survived will plunder you because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities. 9 You are doomed! You have made your family rich with what you took by violence, and have tried to make your own home safe from harm and danger! 10 But your schemes have brought shame on your family; by destroying many nations you have only brought ruin on yourself. 11 Even the stones of the walls cry out against you, and the rafters echo the cry. 12 You are doomed! You founded a city on crime and built it up by murder. 13 The nations you conquered wore themselves out in useless labor, and all they have built goes up in flames. The LORD Almighty has done this. 14 But the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the LORD's glory as the seas are full of water. 15 You are doomed! In your fury you humiliated and disgraced your neighbors; you made them stagger as though they were drunk. 16 You in turn will be covered with shame instead of honor. You yourself will drink and stagger. The LORD will make you drink your own cup of punishment, and your honor will be turned to disgrace. 17 You have cut down the forests of Lebanon; now you will be cut down. You killed its animals; now animals will terrify you. This will happen because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities. 18 What's the use of an idol? It is only something that a human being has made, and it tells you nothing but lies. What good does it do for its maker to trust it—a god that can't even talk! 19 You are doomed! You say to a piece of wood, “Wake up!” or to a block of stone, “Get up!” Can an idol reveal anything to you? It may be covered with silver and gold, but there is no life in it. 20 The LORD is in his holy Temple; let everyone on earth be silent in his presence.  

Reflect

Habakkuk 2:4 is used by a number of New Testament writers (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 10:38). The “proud” likely refers to the Babylonians. But it also refers to those who take pride in their own abilities, power or wealth above trusting God. Does pride interrupt your relationship with God?

Pray

Holy One, you alone are God. Forgive me for my foolish pride, and remind me that you are the source of all things. Make me a humble servant that I may become an agent of your justice and peace. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Legislative leaders

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God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Introduction

1 Timothy 6:3-21: This passage discusses the richness that faith brings to life—not monetary riches, but rather spiritual fulfillment. Warnings are given against the temptation of desire for wealth and about the danger of trusting in wealth rather than in God. Believers are admonished to share God’s resources generously.

Today’s Scripture: 1Timothy 6:10a

For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil.

Today’s Reading

3 Whoever teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the true words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching of our religion 4 is swollen with pride and knows nothing. He has an unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words, and this brings on jealousy, disputes, insults, evil suspicions, 5 and constant arguments from people whose minds do not function and who no longer have the truth. They think that religion is a way to become rich. 6 Well, religion does make us very rich, if we are satisfied with what we have. 7 What did we bring into the world? Nothing! What can we take out of the world? Nothing! 8 So then, if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows. 11 But you, man of God, avoid all these things. Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses. 13 Before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who firmly professed his faith before Pontius Pilate, I command you 14 to obey your orders and keep them faithfully until the Day when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear. 15 His appearing will be brought about at the right time by God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 16 He alone is immortal; he lives in the light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen him; no one can ever see him. To him be honor and eternal power! Amen. 17 Command those who are rich in the things of this life not to be proud, but to place their hope, not in such an uncertain thing as riches, but in God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. 19 In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life. 20 Timothy, keep safe what has been entrusted to your care. Avoid the profane talk and foolish arguments of what some people wrongly call “Knowledge.” 21 For some have claimed to possess it, and as a result they have lost the way of faith. God's grace be with you all.  

Reflect

Some false teachers wanted to gain wealth by teaching religion. But this passage states that being part of the church isn’t about wealth, and that those who love money cause trouble. How are these false teachers described (verses 3-5)? Is having money inherently bad? How can money get in the way of faithful living? How can wealth be used in positive ways to serve God? According to verse 6, how does religion make one “very rich”?

Pray

Generous God, all we have is yours. I want to use your resources wisely; forgive me when I am concerned only with my own desires. Open my eyes to the ways in which I can use the resources in my care to serve your people. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Non-profit organizations

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Isaiah 24:1-23: Today’s reading is from a section of Isaiah sometimes referred to as the “Apocalypse of Isaiah.” It describes how God will act in the last days to judge the nations and destroy the forces of evil.

Isaiah 24:14, 15a Those who survive will sing for joy. Those in the West will tell how great the LORD is, and those in the East will praise him.The LORD is going to devastate the earth and leave it desolate. He will twist the earth's surface and scatter its people. 2 Everyone will meet the same fate—the priests and the people, slaves and masters, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, rich and poor. 3 The earth will lie shattered and ruined. The LORD has spoken and it will be done. 4 The earth dries up and withers; the whole world grows weak; both earth and sky decay. 5 The people have defiled the earth by breaking God's laws and by violating the covenant he made to last forever. 6 So God has pronounced a curse on the earth. Its people are paying for what they have done. Fewer and fewer remain alive. 7 The grapevines wither, and wine is becoming scarce. Everyone who was once happy is now sad, 8 and the joyful music of their harps and drums has ceased. 9 There is no more happy singing over wine; no one enjoys its taste any more. 10 In the city everything is in chaos, and people lock themselves in their houses for safety. 11 People shout in the streets because there is no more wine. Happiness is gone forever; it has been banished from the land. 12 The city is in ruins, and its gates have been broken down. 13 This is what will happen in every nation all over the world. It will be like the end of harvest, when the olives have been beaten off every tree and the last grapes picked from the vines. 14 Those who survive will sing for joy. Those in the West will tell how great the LORD is, 15 and those in the East will praise him. The people who live along the sea will praise the LORD, the God of Israel. 16 From the most distant parts of the world we will hear songs in praise of Israel, the righteous nation. But there is no hope for me! I am wasting away! Traitors continue to betray, and their treachery grows worse and worse. 17 Listen to me, everyone! There are terrors, pits, and traps waiting for you. 18 Anyone who tries to escape from the terror will fall in a pit, and anyone who escapes from the pit will be caught in a trap. Torrents of rain will pour from the sky, and earth's foundations will shake. 19 The earth will crack and shatter and split open. 20 The earth itself will stagger like a drunk, sway like a hut in a storm. The world is weighed down by its sins; it will collapse and never rise again. 21 A time is coming when the LORD will punish the powers above and the rulers of the earth. 22 God will crowd kings together like prisoners in a pit. He will shut them in prison until the time of their punishment comes. 23 The moon will grow dark, and the sun will no longer shine, for the LORD Almighty will be king. He will rule in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and the leaders of the people will see his glory. According to today’s reading, all people, regardless of social standing, will be affected by the LORD’s coming day of judgment. How will the earth be punished? Why (verse 5)? What were your thoughts as you read this passage? Does this passage contain any words of hope?

Pray

Almighty and All-Powerful God, I turn to you, seeking your forgiveness of my sins. You, Lord God, are great, and I sing your praises. Help me to live my life in ways that glorify you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Survivors of natural disasters seeking to rebuild their lives

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Isaiah 32:1-20: Today’s reading describes a time when those who govern will rule with integrity and justice, and God’s peace will reign.

Isaiah 32:8 An honorable person acts honestly and stands firm for what is right j Some day there will be a king who rules with integrity, and national leaders who govern with justice. 2 Each of them will be like a shelter from the wind and a place to hide from storms. They will be like streams flowing in a desert, like the shadow of a giant rock in a barren land. 3 Their eyes and ears will be open to the needs of the people. 4 They will not be impatient any longer, but they will act with understanding and will say what they mean. 5 No one will think that a fool is honorable or say that a scoundrel is honest. 6 A fool speaks foolishly and thinks up evil things to do. What he does and what he says are an insult to the LORD, and he never feeds the hungry or gives thirsty people anything to drink. 7 A stupid person is evil and does evil things; he plots to ruin the poor with lies and to keep them from getting their rights. 8 But an honorable person acts honestly and stands firm for what is right. 9 You women who live an easy life, free from worries, listen to what I am saying. 10 You may be satisfied now, but this time next year you will be in despair because there will be no grapes for you to gather. 11 You have been living an easy life, free from worries; but now, tremble with fear! Strip off your clothes and tie rags around your waist. 12 Beat your breasts in grief because the fertile fields and the vineyards have been destroyed, 13 and thorn bushes and briers are growing on my people's land. Weep for all the houses where people were happy and for the city that was full of life. 14 Even the palace will be abandoned and the capital city totally deserted. Homes and the forts that guarded them will be in ruins forever. Wild donkeys will roam there, and sheep will find pasture there. 15 But once more God will send us his spirit. The wasteland will become fertile, and fields will produce rich crops. 16 Everywhere in the land righteousness and justice will be done. 17 Because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security forever. 18 God's people will be free from worries, and their homes peaceful and safe. ( 19 But hail will fall on the forests, and the city will be torn down.) 20 How happy everyone will be with plenty of water for the crops and safe pasture everywhere for the donkeys and cattle. How are those who rule with integrity described? Reread verses 15-20. How do you envision what is described here? What can you do to bring about God’s peace where you live? Pray Righteous and Sovereign God, I pray that your peace will reign throughout the earth and that your justice will prevail. With you there is perfect peace and security. Empower and fill me with your Spirit so that I walk the path of integrity. Amen. Prayer Concern Newly elected leaders

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God’s Word: Sending Us Forth With a Thankful Heart

Introduction

Esther 9:20-32: The events in the book of Esther take place among the Jewish diaspora community in the Persian Empire during the reign of the Persian emperor Xerxes (486 – 465 B.C.). The story centers around Esther who, by her great courage and devotion to her people, saved them from being exterminated by their enemies. Today’s reading describes the origin of the festival of Purim, an annual celebration to commemorate the triumph of the Jewish people over their enemies. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, who had become a high official in the king’s court, writes a letter to all the Jews with instructions for observing the festival.

Today’s Scripture: Esther 9:22b

They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to one another and to the poor.

Today’s Reading

20 Mordecai had these events written down and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, throughout the Persian Empire, 21 telling them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar as holidays every year. 22 These were the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies; this was a month that had been turned from a time of grief and despair into a time of joy and happiness. They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to one another and to the poor. 23 So the Jews followed Mordecai's instructions, and the celebration became an annual custom. 24 Haman son of Hammedatha—the descendant of Agag and the enemy of the Jewish people—had cast lots ( “purim,” they were called) to determine the day for destroying the Jews; he had planned to wipe them out. 25 But Esther went to the king, and the king issued written orders with the result that Haman suffered the fate he had planned for the Jews—he and his sons were hanged from the gallows. 26 That is why the holidays are called Purim. Because of Mordecai's letter and because of all that had happened to them, 27 the Jews made it a rule for themselves, their descendants, and anyone who might become a Jew, that at the proper time each year these two days would be regularly observed according to Mordecai's instructions. 28 It was resolved that every Jewish family of every future generation in every province and every city should remember and observe the days of Purim for all time to come. 29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai, also wrote a letter, putting her full authority behind the letter about Purim, which Mordecai had written earlier. 30 The letter was addressed to all the Jews, and copies were sent to all the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. It wished the Jews peace and security 31 and directed them and their descendants to observe the days of Purim at the proper time, just as they had adopted rules for the observance of fasts and times of mourning. This was commanded by both Mordecai and Queen Esther. 32 Esther's command, confirming the rules for Purim, was written down on a scroll.  

Reflect

The Festival of Purim is still celebrated by Jews around the world today, normally in early March. It is preceded by a day of fasting. The festival gets its name from “purim,” which is the Babylonian term for the lots that were used to determine the day on which the Jews were to be killed. Instead, the Jews survived and their enemies were destroyed. What were Mordecai’s instructions for the celebration (verses 20-23)? Verses 24-28 provide a summary of the events that led to this particular commemoration. What reason is given? What events are commemorated and celebrated within your community of faith?

Pray

Almighty God, eternal is your reign. Thank you for your steadfast love and faithfulness. Daily will I praise you and glorify your holy name. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Victims of prejudice

Job 42:1-17: The book of Job is the story of a good man who suffers the loss of his children and property and is afflicted with a repulsive disease. Today’s reading is the concluding chapter to the book which records how Job is restored to his former state with even greater prosperity than before. God reprimands Job’s friends for failing to understand the meaning of Job’s suffering and they are told to make a special offering to avoid being punished. Job prays for his friends as instructed by God, and Job receives the LORD’s blessings.

Today’s Scripture: Job 42:2

I know, LORD, that you are all-powerful; that you can do everything you want.

Today’s Reading

1 Then Job answered the LORD. 2 I know, LORD, that you are all-powerful; that you can do everything you want. 3 You ask how I dare question your wisdom when I am so very ignorant. I talked about things I did not understand, about marvels too great for me to know. 4 You told me to listen while you spoke and to try to answer your questions. 5 In the past I knew only what others had told me, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. 6 So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes. 7 After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you did not speak the truth about me, the way my servant Job did. 8 Now take seven bulls and seven rams to Job and offer them as a sacrifice for yourselves. Job will pray for you, and I will answer his prayer and not disgrace you the way you deserve. You did not speak the truth about me as he did. ” 9 Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did what the LORD had told them to do, and the LORD answered Job's prayer. 10 Then, after Job had prayed for his three friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had had before. 11 All Job's brothers and sisters and former friends came to visit him and feasted with him in his house. They expressed their sympathy and comforted him for all the troubles the LORD had brought on him. Each of them gave him some money and a gold ring. 12 The LORD blessed the last part of Job's life even more than he had blessed the first. Job owned fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, two thousand head of cattle, and one thousand donkeys. 13 He was the father of seven sons and three daughters. 14 He called the oldest daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the youngest Keren Happuch. 15 There were no other women in the whole world as beautiful as Job's daughters. Their father gave them a share of the inheritance along with their brothers. 16 Job lived a hundred and forty years after this, long enough to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 17 And then he died at a very great age.  

Reflect

Chapters 38—41 record how God speaks to Job. Verses 1-6 in today’s reading record Job’s response. What does Job say to God? Have you ever questioned God regarding events that happened in your life?

Pray

Lord God, you are all-powerful, and I worship you and praise your holy name. Teach me to listen to your voice and obey your commands. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those living in poverty


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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Sam 23 Aoû - 18:58

YAHWEH, we believe Yeshua is Your Son and source of life, and we honor him. Open our ears and our heart to hear his words to us each day. Teach us to be obedient to Your will. Amen. Almighty God, YOU alone are God and we worship YOU. Draw us close to YOU and keep us in Your care. We seek to serve YOU always. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.

a continuation of Jesus’ encounter with the Jewish authorities. It is a lengthy discourse in which Jesus describes his relationship with God.

“Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

Today’s Reading

The Authority of the Son

19So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does.20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. He will show him even greater things to do than this, and you will all be amazed.21Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, in the same way the Son gives life to those he wants to.22Nor does the Father himself judge anyone. He has given his Son the full right to judge,23so that all will honor the Son in the same way as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

24“I am telling you the truth: those who hear my words and believe in him who sent me have eternal life. They will not be judged, but have already passed from death to life.25I am telling you the truth: the time is coming—the time has already come—when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear it will come to life.26Just as the Father is himself the source of life, in the same way he has made his Son to be the source of life.27And he has given the Son the right to judge, because he is the Son of Man.28Do not be surprised at this; the time is coming when all the dead will hear his voice29 and come out of their graves: those who have done good will rise and live, and those who have done evil will rise and be condemned.

Witnesses to Jesus

30“I can do nothing on my own authority; I judge only as God tells me, so my judgment is right, because I am not trying to do what I want, but only what he who sent me wants.

31“If I testify on my own behalf, what I say is not to be accepted as real proof.32But there is someone else who testifies on my behalf, and I know that what he says about me is true.33 John is the one to whom you sent your messengers, and he spoke on behalf of the truth.34It is not that I must have a human witness; I say this only in order that you may be saved.35 John was like a lamp, burning and shining, and you were willing for a while to enjoy his light.36But I have a witness on my behalf which is even greater than the witness that John gave: what I do, that is, the deeds my Father gave me to do, these speak on my behalf and show that the Father has sent me.37 And the Father, who sent me, also testifies on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his face,38and you do not keep his message in your hearts, for you do not believe in the one whom he sent.39 You study the Scriptures, because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very Scriptures speak about me!40Yet you are not willing to come to me in order to have life.

41“I am not looking for human praise.42But I know what kind of people you are, and I know that you have no love for God in your hearts.43I have come with my Father's authority, but you have not received me; when, however, someone comes with his own authority, you will receive him.44You like to receive praise from one another, but you do not try to win praise from the one who alone is God; how, then, can you believe me?45Do not think, however, that I am the one who will accuse you to my Father. Moses, in whom you have put your hope, is the very one who will accuse you.46If you had really believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me.47But since you do not believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?”

Reflect

How does Jesus describe his relationship to God the Father? What authority has been given to Jesus? Reread verses 41-47. How does Jesus describe his opponents’ unbelief? What does he tell them about Moses? In what ways do you honor Jesus? How will you honor him today?

Prayer Concern

Those who deny the authority of Jesus

Jesus crosses Lake Galilee, and a large crowd follows him. A young boy offers his food of barley bread and fish and Jesus is able to provide food for all the people. In the evening, the disciples cross the lake and Jesus approaches their boat walking on the water.

Today’s Scripture: John 6:11

Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to the people who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, and they all had as much as they wanted.

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Nehemiah 8:1-18: Emperor Artaxerxes of Persia permitted Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem. Nehemiah served as governor of Judah, and he took charge of having the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt (see chapters 2 – 6). When all the people were settled, they gathered in Jerusalem to hear Ezra give a public reading of the Law. The Levite priests, along with Ezra and Nehemiah, explained the Law to the people. Then the people were told to celebrate, concluding with the Festival of Shelters.

Today’s Scripture: Nehemiah 8:10b

“Today is holy to our Lord, so don’t be sad. The joy that the LORD gives you will make you strong.”

Today’s Reading

1 By the seventh month the people of Israel were all settled in their towns. On the first day of that month they all assembled in Jerusalem, in the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law which the LORD had given Israel through Moses, to get the book of the Law. 2 So Ezra brought it to the place where the people had gathered—men, women, and the children who were old enough to understand. 3 There in the square by the gate he read the Law to them from dawn until noon, and they all listened attentively. 4 Ezra was standing on a wooden platform that had been built for the occasion. The following men stood at his right: Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and the following stood at his left: Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 As Ezra stood there on the platform high above the people, they all kept their eyes fixed on him. As soon as he opened the book, they all stood up. 6 Ezra said, “Praise the LORD, the great God! ” All the people raised their arms in the air and answered, “Amen! Amen!” They knelt in worship, with their faces to the ground. 7 Then they rose and stood in their places, and the following Levites explained the Law to them: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah. 8 They gave an oral translation of God's Law and explained it so that the people could understand it. 9 When the people heard what the Law required, they were so moved that they began to cry. So Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law, and the Levites who were explaining the Law told all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God, so you are not to mourn or cry. 10 Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who don't have enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don't be sad. The joy that the LORD gives you will make you strong. ” 11 The Levites went around calming the people and telling them not to be sad on such a holy day. 12 So all the people went home and ate and drank joyfully and shared what they had with others, because they understood what had been read to them. 13 The next day the heads of the clans, together with the priests and the Levites, went to Ezra to study the teachings of the Law. 14 They discovered that the Law, which the LORD gave through Moses, ordered the people of Israel to live in temporary shelters during the Festival of Shelters. 15 So they gave the following instructions and sent them all through Jerusalem and the other cities and towns: “Go out to the hills and get branches from pines, olives, myrtles, palms, and other trees to make shelters according to the instructions written in the Law.” 16 So the people got branches and built shelters on the flat roofs of their houses, in their yards, in the Temple courtyard, and in the public squares by the Water Gate and by the Ephraim Gate. 17 All the people who had come back from captivity built shelters and lived in them. This was the first time it had been done since the days of Joshua son of Nun, and everybody was excited and happy. 18 From the first day of the festival to the last they read a part of God's Law every day. They celebrated for seven days, and on the eighth day there was a closing ceremony, as required in the Law.  

Reflect

Why did Ezra, Nehemiah, and the priests explain the Law to the people? What or who helps you to understand the Scriptures? Today’s reading concludes with a description of the Festival of Shelters which commemorates the wilderness wanderings following the exodus from Egypt. The shelters are constructed of myrtle, olive, and palm branches as symbols of God’s protection, and the people live in these shelters for seven days to remember the wandering of their ancestors in the desert and God’s care of them at that time. In what ways are events in the worship life of your community of faith commemorated?

Pray

Lord God, as I read your Word, give me eyes and ears to understand your teachings. With joy I feast today on your Word. In your holy name I pray, Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who prepare biblical commentaries

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Zephaniah 1:1-18: The prophet Zephaniah preached in the latter part of the seventh century B.C. In today’s reading a day of doom and destruction is threatened when the people of Judah will be punished for worshiping other gods.

The day is near when GOD will sit in judgment; so be silent in his presence.

1 This is the message that the LORD gave to Zephaniah during the time that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. (Zephaniah was descended from King Hezekiah through Amariah, Gedaliah, and Cushi.) 2 The LORD said, “I am going to destroy everything on earth, 3 all human beings and animals, birds and fish. I will bring about the downfall of the wicked. I will destroy everyone, and no survivors will be left. I, the LORD, have spoken. 4 I will punish the people of Jerusalem and of all Judah. I will destroy the last trace of the worship of Baal there, and no one will even remember the pagan priests who serve him. 5 I will destroy anyone who goes up on the roof and worships the sun, the moon, and the stars. I will also destroy those who worship me and swear loyalty to me, but then take oaths in the name of the god Molech. 6 I will destroy those who have turned back and no longer follow me, those who do not come to me or ask me to guide them. ” 7 The day is near when the LORD will sit in judgment; so be silent in his presence. The LORD is preparing to sacrifice his people and has invited enemies to plunder Judah. 8 “On that day of slaughter,” says the LORD, “I will punish the officials, the king's sons, and all who practice foreign customs. 9 I will punish all who worship like pagans and who steal and kill in order to fill their master's house with loot. 10 “On that day,” says the LORD, you will hear the sound of crying at the Fish Gate in Jerusalem. You will hear wailing in the newer part of the city and a great crashing sound in the hills. 11 Wail and cry when you hear this, you that live in the lower part of the city, because all the merchants will be dead! 12 At that time I will take a lamp and search Jerusalem. I will punish the people who are self-satisfied and confident, who say to themselves, ‘The LORD never does anything, one way or the other. ’ 13 Their wealth will be looted and their houses destroyed. They will never live in the houses they are building or drink wine from the vineyards they are planting. ” 14 The great day of the LORD is near—very near and coming fast! That day will be bitter, for even the bravest soldiers will cry out in despair! 15 It will be a day of fury, a day of trouble and distress, a day of ruin and destruction, a day of darkness and gloom, a black and cloudy day, 16 a day filled with the sound of war trumpets and the battle cry of soldiers attacking fortified cities and high towers. 17 The LORD says, “I will bring such disasters on the human race that everyone will grope about like someone blind. They have sinned against me, and now their blood will be poured out like water, and their dead bodies will lie rotting on the ground.” 18 On the day when the LORD shows his fury, not even all their silver and gold will save them. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of his anger. He will put an end—a sudden end—to everyone who lives on earth.  

Reflect

What is the LORD’s message to Zephaniah? Reread verses 4-9. What reasons are given for the people’s punishment? What were your thoughts when you read this message?

Prayer Concern

Those who have turned away from God

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Zephaniah 3:1-20: The prophet declares that, although Jerusalem is doomed, in time the city will be restored, with people who are humble and righteous living there. Today’s reading concludes with a song of joy and proclaims an end to the people’s punishment.

Today’s Scripture: Zephaniah 3:17b

The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life.

Today’s Reading

1 Jerusalem is doomed, that corrupt, rebellious city that oppresses its own people. 2 It has not listened to the LORD or accepted his discipline. It has not put its trust in the LORD or asked for his help. 3 Its officials are like roaring lions; its judges are like hungry wolves, too greedy to leave a bone until morning. 4 The prophets are irresponsible and treacherous; the priests defile what is sacred, and twist the law of God to their own advantage. 5 But the LORD is still in the city; he does what is right and never what is wrong. Every morning without fail, he brings justice to his people. And yet the unrighteous people there keep on doing wrong and are not ashamed. 6 The LORD says, “I have wiped out whole nations; I have destroyed their cities and left their walls and towers in ruins. The cities are deserted; the streets are empty—no one is left. 7 I thought that then my people would have reverence for me and accept my discipline, that they would never forget the lesson I taught them. But soon they were behaving as badly as ever. 8 “Just wait,” the LORD says. Wait for the day when I rise to accuse the nations. I have made up my mind to gather nations and kingdoms in order to let them feel the force of my anger. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of my fury. 9 Then I will change the people of the nations, and they will pray to me alone and not to other gods. They will all obey me. 10 Even from distant Ethiopia my scattered people will bring offerings to me. 11 At that time you, my people, will no longer need to be ashamed that you rebelled against me. I will remove everyone who is proud and arrogant, and you will never again rebel against me on my sacred hill. 12 I will leave there a humble and lowly people, who will come to me for help. 13 The people of Israel who survive will do no wrong to anyone, tell no lies, nor try to deceive. They will be prosperous and secure, afraid of no one. ” 14 Sing and shout for joy, people of Israel! Rejoice with all your heart, Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has stopped your punishment; he has removed all your enemies. The LORD, the king of Israel, is with you; there is no reason now to be afraid. 16 The time is coming when they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not be afraid, city of Zion! Do not let your hands hang limp! 17 The LORD your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you, 18 as joyful as people at a festival. ” The LORD says, “I have ended the threat of doom and taken away your disgrace. 19 The time is coming! I will punish your oppressors; I will rescue all the lame and bring the exiles home. I will turn their shame to honor, and all the world will praise them. 20 The time is coming! I will bring your scattered people home; I will make you famous throughout the world and make you prosperous once again. ”  

Reflect

What does Zephaniah say about the leaders of the people? In what ways have they misused their power? Why will Jerusalem and the people of Israel celebrate once again? On what occasions are songs of celebration sung in your community of faith?

Pray

I sing and shout for joy, Lord God, because you are always with me. Your love revives my soul, and I trust in your care. I will praise your holy name forever. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Church committees planning special events




God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Zechariah 1:1-21: Zechariah’s prophecies are dated at various times from the years 520 to 518 B.C. They are largely in the form of visions and deal with the restoration of Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the Temple, the purification of God’s people, and the messianic age to come. Today’s reading opens with a call for the people to return to the LORD and is followed by a description of Zechariah’s first two visions (there are eight in all, recorded in chapters 1—6).

Today’s Scripture: Zechariah 1:3

“…now I say to you, ‘Return to me, and I will return to you.’ ”

Today’s Reading

1 In the eighth month of the second year that Darius was emperor of Persia, the Lord gave this message to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah and grandson of Iddo. 2The Lord Almighty told Zechariah to say to the people, “I, the Lord, was very angry with your ancestors, 3but now I say to you, ‘Return to me, and I will return to you. 4Do not be like your ancestors. Long ago the prophets gave them my message, telling them not to live evil, sinful lives any longer. But they would not listen to me or obey me. 5Your ancestors and those prophets are no longer alive. 6Through my servants the prophets I gave your ancestors commands and warnings, but they disregarded them and suffered the consequences. Then they repented and acknowledged that I, the Lord Almighty, had punished them as they deserved and as I had determined to do.’” The Prophet's Vision of the Horses 7In the second year that Darius was emperor, on the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month (the month of Shebat), the Lord gave me a message in a vision at night. 8 I saw someone riding a red horse. He had stopped among some myrtle trees in a valley, and behind him were other horses—red, dappled, and white. 9I asked him, “Sir, what do these horses mean?” He answered, “I will show you what they mean. 10The Lord sent them to go and inspect the earth.” 11They reported to the angel: “We have been all over the world and have found that the whole world lies helpless and subdued.” 12Then the angel said, “Almighty Lord, you have been angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah for seventy years now. How much longer will it be before you show them mercy?” 13The Lord answered the angel with comforting words, 14and the angel told me to proclaim what the Lord Almighty had said: “I have a deep love and concern for Jerusalem, my holy city, 15and I am very angry with the nations that enjoy quiet and peace. For while I was holding back my anger against my people, those nations made the sufferings of my people worse. 16So I have come back to Jerusalem to show mercy to the city. My Temple will be restored, and the city will be rebuilt.” 17The angel also told me to proclaim: “The Lord Almighty says that his cities will be prosperous again and that he will once again help Jerusalem and claim the city as his own.” The Vision of the Horns 18In another vision I saw four ox horns. 19I asked the angel that had been speaking to me, “What do these horns mean?” He answered, “They stand for the world powers that have scattered the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 20Then the Lord showed me four workers with hammers. 21I asked, “What have they come to do?” He answered, “They have come to terrify and overthrow the nations that completely crushed the land of Judah and scattered its people.”

Reflect

The first vision is of horses and riders sent to inspect the earth. What did the riders observe? The seventy years (verse 12) is a round number that refers to 586-520 B.C., a time known as the exile in Babylon. The exile ended in 538 B.C., and many of the people returned home to Judah but did not follow through on their promise to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. In 520 B.C. Zechariah joined the prophet Haggai in encouraging the people of Jerusalem to complete the work of rebuilding the Temple. Reread verses 13-16. What does the LORD promise? In the second vision, the four ox horns represent the four major enemies that had threatened Israel and Judah and were symbols of power in ancient times. What do the four workers with hammers represent (verses 20-21)? What do these two visions teach you about God?

Pray

All-Powerful God, you comfort us with your love and concern. When we stray, in your mercy you call us to return to you. Teach me your ways, O God, that I may learn to serve you with an obedient heart. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Construction workers

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Zechariah 2:1-13: Zechariah’s third vision is of someone measuring the city of Jerusalem so that a wall can be built to protect it. God promises to live in the city “in all his glory.” (Read chapters 2—6 in the book of Nehemiah to learn more about the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.)

Today’s Scripture: Zechariah 2:10

The LORD said, “Sing for joy, people of Jerusalem! I am coming to live among you!”

Today’s Reading

1In another vision I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2“Where are you going?” I asked. “To measure Jerusalem,” he answered, “to see how long and how wide it is.” 3Then I saw the angel who had been speaking to me step forward, and another angel came to meet him. 4The first one said to the other, “Run and tell that young man with the measuring line that there are going to be so many people and so much livestock in Jerusalem that it will be too big to have walls. 5The Lord has promised that he himself will be a wall of fire around the city to protect it and that he will live there in all his glory.” 6-7The Lord said to his people, “I scattered you in all directions. But now, you exiles, escape from Babylonia and return to Jerusalem. 8Anyone who strikes you strikes what is most precious to me.” So the Lord Almighty sent me with this message for the nations that had plundered his people: 9“The Lord himself will fight against you, and you will be plundered by the people who were once your servants.” When this happens, everyone will know that the Lord Almighty sent me. 10The Lord said, “Sing for joy, people of Jerusalem! I am coming to live among you!” 11At that time many nations will come to the Lord and become his people. He will live among you, and you will know that he has sent me to you. 12Once again Judah will be the special possession of the Lord in his sacred land, and Jerusalem will be the city he loves most of all. 13Be silent, everyone, in the presence of the Lord, for he is coming from his holy dwelling place.

Reflect

God promises to be a “wall of fire” around the city to protect it (verse 5). The “wall of fire” symbolizes God’s protective presence (see Exodus 13:21, 22; 40:34-38). In what ways do you experience God’s protective presence?

Pray

I sing for joy, Lord God, because you have come to live among us. Thank you for your protective presence and for surrounding me with your love and grace. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Cities being restored


God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Zechariah 9:9-17: A future king will usher in a time of peace, and the LORD’s people will be restored. The LORD promises to protect and save his people.

Today’s Scripture: Zechariah 9:16

…the LORD will save his people, as a shepherd saves his flock from danger. They will shine in his land like the jewels of a crown.

Today’s Reading

9 Rejoice, rejoice, people of Zion! Shout for joy, you people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you! He comes triumphant and victorious, but humble and riding on a donkey— on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 The Lord says, “I will remove the war chariots from Israel and take the horses from Jerusalem; the bows used in battle will be destroyed. Your king will make peace among the nations; he will rule from sea to sea, from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.” 11 The Lord says, “Because of my covenant with you that was sealed by the blood of sacrifices, I will set your people free— free from the waterless pit of exile. 12Return, you exiles who now have hope; return to your place of safety. Now I tell you that I will repay you twice over with blessing for all you have suffered. 13I will use Judah like a soldier's bow and Israel like the arrows. I will use the men of Zion like a sword, to fight the men of Greece.” 14The Lord will appear above his people; he will shoot his arrows like lightning. The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms from the south. 15The Lord Almighty will protect his people, and they will destroy their enemies. They will shout in battle like drunk men and will shed the blood of their enemies; it will flow like the blood of a sacrifice poured on the altar from a bowl. 16When that day comes, the Lord will save his people, as a shepherd saves his flock from danger. They will shine in his land like the jewels of a crown. 17How good and beautiful the land will be! The young people will grow strong on its grain and wine.

Reflect

How is the future king described (verses 9, 10)? Christian tradition interprets verses 9 and 10 as referring to Jesus, the messianic king, and his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Mathew 21:5 and John 12:15). What is the significance of this king riding on a donkey rather than in a horse-drawn war chariot? Verse 11 refers to the covenant sealed in blood that God made with Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:7, Cool. What does the LORD promise the people?

Pray

Lord God, you keep your promises and remain faithful to your covenant with your people. You are the God of my salvation, and I place my hope and trust in you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who feel hopeless




God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Zechariah 10:1-12: The people of Israel and Judah are like sheep without a shepherd because they have not looked to God for help. But the LORD promises to care for the people and punish their enemies.

Today’s Scripture: Zechariah 10:12a

[The LORD says] “I will make my people strong; they will worship and obey me.”

Today’s Reading

The Lord Promises Deliverance

1Ask the Lord for rain in the spring of the year. It is the Lord who sends rain clouds and showers, making the fields green for everyone.2 People consult idols and fortunetellers, but the answers they get are lies and nonsense. Some interpret dreams, but only mislead you; the comfort they give is useless. So the people wander about like lost sheep. They are in trouble because they have no leader.

3The Lord says, “I am angry with those foreigners who rule my people, and I am going to punish them. The people of Judah are mine, and I, the Lord Almighty, will take care of them. They will be my powerful war-horses.4From among them will come rulers, leaders, and commanders to govern my people. 5The people of Judah will be victorious like soldiers who trample their enemies in the mud of the streets. They will fight because the Lord is with them, and they will defeat even the enemy cavalry.

6“I will make the people of Judah strong;

I will rescue the people of Israel.

I will have compassion on them

and bring them all back home.

They will be as though I had never rejected them.

I am the Lord their God; I will answer their prayers.

7The people of Israel will be strong like soldiers,

happy like those who have been drinking wine.

Their descendants will remember this victory

and be glad because of what the Lord has done.

8“I will call my people

and gather them together.

I will rescue them

and make them as numerous as they used to be.

9 Though I have scattered them among the nations,

yet in far-off places they will remember me.

They and their children will survive

and return home together.

10From Egypt and Assyria I will bring them home

and settle them in their own country.

I will settle them in Gilead and Lebanon also;

the whole land will be filled with people.

11When they pass through their sea of trouble,

I, the Lord, will strike the waves,

and the depths of the Nile will go dry.

Proud Assyria will be humbled,

and mighty Egypt will lose her power.

12I will make my people strong;

they will worship and obey me.”

The Lord has spoken.

Reflect

According to verse 2, whom do the people consult? Why are the people compared to lost sheep? In what ways does the LORD promise to care for the people? In what ways does God care for you?

Pray

Lord God, you alone revive my soul, and you surround me with your loving presence. You fill my heart with joy, and I promise to worship and obey you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those in need of direction and guidance



YAHWEH’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Timothy 5:1-25: Timothy is given further advice on how to treat others. Widows are to be cared for. However, particular restrictions are given concerning who should be treated as a widow. Once a widow is placed on the list of widows, the expectation is that her life is marked by the performance of good deeds. Good deeds are plainly seen, and even those that are not so plain cannot be hidden. Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as your brothers, the older women as mothers, the younger women as sisters, with all purity. Show respect for widows who really are all alone. if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn first to carry out their religious duties toward their own family and in this way repay their parents and grandparents, because that is what pleases God.A widow who is all alone, with no one to take care of her, has placed her hope in God and continues to pray and ask him for his help night and day. a widow who gives herself to pleasure has already died, even though she lives. Give them these instructions, so that no one will find fault with them. if any do not take care of their relatives, especially the members of their own family, they have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever. Do not add any widow to the list of widows unless she is over sixty years of age. In addition, she must have been married only once and have a reputation for good deeds: a woman who brought up her children well, received strangers in her home, performed humble duties for other Christians, helped people in trouble, and devoted herself to doing good. do not include younger widows in the list; because when their desires make them want to marry, they turn away from Christ, and so become guilty of breaking their earlier promise to him. They learn to waste their time in going around from house to house; but even worse, they learn to be gossips and busybodies, talking of things they should not. So I would prefer that the younger widows get married, have children, and take care of their homes, so as to give our enemies no chance of speaking evil of us. For some widows have already turned away to follow Satan. if any Christian woman has widows in her family, she must take care of them and not put the burden on the church, so that it may take care of the widows who are all alone. The elders who do good work as leaders should be considered worthy of receiving double pay, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh grain” and “Workers should be given their pay.” Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or more witnesses. Rebuke publicly all those who commit sins, so that the rest may be afraid. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the holy angels I solemnly call upon you to obey these instructions without showing any prejudice or favor to anyone in anything you do. Be in no hurry to lay hands on people to dedicate them to Yahweh's service. Take no part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are sick so often. The sins of some people are plain to see, and their sins go ahead of them to judgment; but the sins of others are seen only later. In the same way good deeds are plainly seen, and even those that are not so plain cannot be hidden.  

The term “widow” in this passage referred to a woman devoted to ministry who was not dependent on a male relative or other family members. What are your thoughts concerning what is stated about widows in verses 3-16? What roles do women play in the church today?

Pray Creator God, bless the ministries of women in the church. Empower them to use their particular gifts in ways that enhance and grow your kingdom. Amen.

Prayer Concern Women in ministry

Psalm 104: This psalm is a hymn of praise to God our Creator. All creation is dependent on God who exercised wisdom in creating everything.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 104:31

May the glory of the LORD last forever! May the LORD be happy with what he has made!

Today’s Reading

1 O LORD, my God, how great you are! You are clothed with majesty and glory; 2 you cover yourself with light. You have spread out the heavens like a tent 3 and built your home on the waters above. You use the clouds as your chariot and ride on the wings of the wind. 4 You use the winds as your messengers and flashes of lightning as your servants. 5 You have set the earth firmly on its foundations, and it will never be moved. 6 You placed the ocean over it like a robe, and the water covered the mountains. 7 When you rebuked the waters, they fled; they rushed away when they heard your shout of command. 8 They flowed over the mountains and into the valleys, to the place you had made for them. 9 You set a boundary they can never pass, to keep them from covering the earth again. 10 You make springs flow in the valleys, and rivers run between the hills. 11 They provide water for the wild animals; there the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 In the trees near by, the birds make their nests and sing. 13 From the sky you send rain on the hills, and the earth is filled with your blessings. 14 You make grass grow for the cattle and plants for us to use, so that we can grow our crops 15 and produce wine to make us happy, olive oil to make us cheerful, and bread to give us strength. 16 The cedars of Lebanon get plenty of rain— the LORD's own trees, which he planted. 17 There the birds build their nests; the storks nest in the fir trees. 18 The wild goats live in the high mountains, and the rock badgers hide in the cliffs. 19 You created the moon to mark the months; the sun knows the time to set. 20 You made the night, and in the darkness all the wild animals come out. 21 The young lions roar while they hunt, looking for the food that God provides. 22 When the sun rises, they go back and lie down in their dens. 23 Then people go out to do their work and keep working until evening. 24LORD, you have made so many things! How wisely you made them all! The earth is filled with your creatures. 25 There is the ocean, large and wide, where countless creatures live, large and small alike. 26 The ships sail on it, and in it plays Leviathan, that sea monster which you made. 27 All of them depend on you to give them food when they need it. 28 You give it to them, and they eat it; you provide food, and they are satisfied. 29 When you turn away, they are afraid; when you take away your breath, they die and go back to the dust from which they came. 30 But when you give them breath, they are created; you give new life to the earth. 31 May the glory of the LORD last forever! May the LORD be happy with what he has made! 32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles; he touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke. 33 I will sing to the LORD all my life; as long as I live I will sing praises to my God. 34 May he be pleased with my song, for my gladness comes from him. 35 May sinners be destroyed from the earth; may the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, my soul! Praise the LORD!  

Reflect

How is God described in verses 1-4? Light is a symbol of God’s glory. Why does the psalm writer employ this image? How does God provide for all living creatures? Do human beings have roles and responsibilities? Explain. Try reading this psalm alongside Genesis 1. How does it compare?

Pray

Sovereign God, you are clothed with majesty and glory. The earth is filled with your creatures. All creation receives breath from you and you give new life to the earth. Praise the LORD, my soul! May your glory last forever! Amen.

Prayer Concern

Anthropologists
: Today’s psalm is an alphabetical acrostic psalm. If you read this psalm in Hebrew, you would see that each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The form of this psalm is as important as the text itself. By using the acrostic form, the psalm writer describes God’s kindness and mercy from “A to Z”.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 145:3

The LORD is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding.

Today’s Reading

1 I will proclaim your greatness, my God and king; I will thank you forever and ever. 2 Every day I will thank you; I will praise you forever and ever. 3 The LORD is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding. 4 What you have done will be praised from one generation to the next; they will proclaim your mighty acts. 5 They will speak of your glory and majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. 6 People will speak of your mighty deeds, and I will proclaim your greatness. 7 They will tell about all your goodness and sing about your kindness. 8 The LORD is loving and merciful, slow to become angry and full of constant love. 9 He is good to everyone and has compassion on all he made. 10 All your creatures, LORD, will praise you, and all your people will give you thanks. 11 They will speak of the glory of your royal power and tell of your might, 12 so that everyone will know your mighty deeds and the glorious majesty of your kingdom. 13 Your rule is eternal, and you are king forever. The LORD is faithful to his promises; he is merciful in all his acts. 14 He helps those who are in trouble; he lifts those who have fallen. 15 All living things look hopefully to you, and you give them food when they need it. 16 You give them enough and satisfy the needs of all. 17 The LORD is righteous in all he does, merciful in all his acts. 18 He is near to those who call to him, who call to him with sincerity. 19 He supplies the needs of those who honor him; he hears their cries and saves them. 20 He protects everyone who loves him, but he will destroy the wicked. 21 I will always praise the LORD; let all his creatures praise his holy name forever.  

Reflect

Rewrite the first three verses of this psalm as an acrostic: the first word of the first verse beginning with the letter “A”, the second beginning with the letter “B”, and the third beginning with the letter “C”. Does the use of this form magnify the message of the psalm for you?

Pray

Always, I will praise you and honor your name, my God and King, and proclaim your greatness. Blessed is your name; each and every day I am delighted to sing your praises. Creator God, your greatness is beyond our understanding! Amen.

Prayer Concern

Young children learning to read
Nehemiah 12:27-47: When the Babylonians invaded Judah, the capital city Jerusalem fell, the city’s walls and the Temple were destroyed, and many people were killed or deported (c. 587/586 B.C.). Emperor Artaxerxes of Persia permitted Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem (c. 445 B.C.). Nehemiah served as governor of Judah, and he took charge of having the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt (see chapters 2 – 6). In today’s reading, he oversees the dedication of the rebuilt wall of Jerusalem. He organizes two processions to march around the city in opposite directions, and both processions end up in the area of the Temple. Officials are put in charge to supervise contributions for the Temple and the Levite priests.

Today’s Scripture: Nehemiah 12:43b

The people were full of joy because God had made them very happy.

Today’s Reading

27 When the city wall of Jerusalem was dedicated, the Levites were brought in from wherever they were living, so that they could join in celebrating the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals and harps. 28 The Levite families of singers gathered from the area where they had settled around Jerusalem and from the towns around Netophah, 29 and from Bethgilgal, Geba, and Azmaveth. 30 The priests and the Levites performed ritual purification for themselves, the people, the gates, and the city wall. 31 I assembled the leaders of Judah on top of the wall and put them in charge of two large groups to march around the city, giving thanks to God. The first group went to the right on top of the wall toward the Rubbish Gate. 32 Hoshaiah marched behind the singers, followed by half the leaders of Judah. 33-35 The following priests, blowing trumpets, marched next: Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah. Next came Zechariah, the son of Jonathan and grandson of Shemaiah. (His ancestors also included Mattaniah, Micaiah, and Zaccur, of the clan of Asaph.) 36 He was followed by other members of his clan—Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani—all of whom carried musical instruments of the kind played by King David, the man of God. Ezra the scholar led this group in the procession. 37 At the Fountain Gate they went up the steps that led to David's City, past David's palace, and back to the wall at the Water Gate, on the east side of the city. 38 The other group of those who gave thanks went to the left along the top of the wall, and I followed with half of the people. We marched past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall, 39 and from there we went past Ephraim Gate, Jeshanah Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate. We ended our march near the gate to the Temple. 40 So both the groups that were giving thanks to God reached the Temple area. In addition to the leaders who were with me, 41 my group included the following priests, blowing trumpets: Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah; 42 and they were followed by Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers, led by Jezrahiah, sang at the top of their voices. 43 That day many sacrifices were offered, and the people were full of joy because God had made them very happy. The women and the children joined in the celebration, and the noise they all made could be heard for miles. 44 At that time men were put in charge of the storerooms where contributions for the Temple were kept, including the tithes and the first grain and fruit that ripened each year. These men were responsible for collecting from the farms near the various cities the contributions for the priests and the Levites which the Law required. All the people of Judah were pleased with the priests and the Levites, 45 because they performed the ceremonies of purification and the other rituals that God had commanded. The Temple musicians and the Temple guards also performed their duties in accordance with the regulations made by King David and his son Solomon. 46 From the time of King David and the musician Asaph long ago, the musicians have led songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 In the time of Zerubbabel and also in the time of Nehemiah, all the people of Israel gave daily gifts for the support of the Temple musicians and the Temple guards. The people gave a sacred offering to the Levites, and the Levites gave the required portion to the priests.  

Reflect

Describe the celebration that took place at the dedication ceremony. How do you envision this celebration? What celebrations take place within your community of faith?

Pray

Holy God, my heart is filled with joy because of your faithfulness and steadfast love for me. I praise your holy name. May all I say and do today be an act of worship that gives glory to you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Houses of worship being dedicated


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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 27 Aoû - 6:27

This psalm is a call for the universe to praise God. While some of Israel’s neighbors worshiped the sun, moon, and stars as gods, in this psalm, the heavenly bodies worship the God who created them. In addition, this psalm invites everyone and everything on earth to praise God as creator.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 148:13

Let them all praise the name of the LORD! His name is greater than all others; his glory is above earth and heaven.

Today’s Reading

1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from heaven, you that live in the heights above. 2 Praise him, all his angels, all his heavenly armies. 3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, shining stars. 4 Praise him, highest heavens, and the waters above the sky. 5 Let them all praise the name of the LORD! He commanded, and they were created; 6 by his command they were fixed in their places forever, and they cannot disobey. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, sea monsters and all ocean depths; 8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds, strong winds that obey his command. 9 Praise him, hills and mountains, fruit trees and forests; 10 all animals, tame and wild, reptiles and birds. 11 Praise him, kings and all peoples, princes and all other rulers; 12 young women and young men, old people and children too. 13 Let them all praise the name of the LORD! His name is greater than all others; his glory is above earth and heaven. 14 He made his nation strong, so that all his people praise him— the people of Israel, so dear to him. Praise the LORD!

Reflect

At the time that the psalm was written, people believed that the sky was a dome that covered the flat earth. They thought heavenly waters swirled above the sky and that an ocean of water resided under the earth. You may wish to compare today’s psalm with the story of creation as found in Genesis 1—2. What are your thoughts as you reflect on the wonders of God’s creation?

Pray

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from heaven, you that live in the heights above. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, shining stars, praise him, highest heavens! Let them all praise the name of the LORD! Your name, O God, is greater than all others, and I praise you! Amen.

Prayer Concern

Scientists

Psalm 149: Today’s psalm is another song of praise that emphasizes God’s justice. It offers images of music, praise and celebration. But it also includes images of punishment. It may possibly have been an exilic or postexilic prayer for the defeat of Israel’s enemies and the deliverance of the people from exile and the restoration of Judah.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 149:1b

Sing a new song to the LORD; praise him in the assembly of his faithful people!

Today’s Reading

1 Praise the LORD! Sing a new song to the LORD; praise him in the assembly of his faithful people! 2 Be glad, Israel, because of your Creator; rejoice, people of Zion, because of your king! 3 Praise his name with dancing; play drums and harps in praise of him. 4 The LORD takes pleasure in his people; he honors the humble with victory. 5 Let God's people rejoice in their triumph and sing joyfully all night long. 6 Let them shout aloud as they praise God, with their sharp swords in their hands 7 to defeat the nations and to punish the peoples; 8 to bind their kings in chains, their leaders in chains of iron; 9 to punish the nations as God has commanded. This is the victory of God's people. Praise the LORD!

Reflect

Reread verses 6-9: The “swords” symbolize God’s concern for justice. Punishment is to serve the purpose of justice. God gave the king the responsibility for establishing justice on earth, but after the end of David’s dynasty, the responsibility for establishing justice was given to all God’s people. Note that New Testament writers do not speak about the sword of vengeance as much as the power of God at work within us (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:12-17; Hebrews 4:12). This “power” is God’s Spirit which helps us to be living examples of God’s love. In what ways have you experienced the power of God’s Spirit at work in your life?

Pray

Praise the LORD! I sing to you joyfully, Saving God! Make me an agent of your justice through the peaceful power of your Holy Spirit, that I may be a living example of your love. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those working for restorative justice

God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Introduction

2 Timothy 3:10—4:8: Timothy is encouraged to be faithful to what he has been taught, remembering that everything in Scripture is useful for helping people know how to live. He is told to preach the Good News, even in the face of opposition and to do his work as a servant of God.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living.

Today’s Reading

10 But you have followed my teaching, my conduct, and my purpose in life; you have observed my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, 11 my persecutions, and my sufferings. You know all that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, the terrible persecutions I endured! But the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 Everyone who wants to live a godly life in union with Christ Jesus will be persecuted; 13 and evil persons and impostors will keep on going from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves. 14 But as for you, continue in the truths that you were taught and firmly believe. You know who your teachers were, 15 and you remember that ever since you were a child, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, 17 so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.   1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and because he is coming to rule as King, I solemnly urge you 2 to preach the message, to insist upon proclaiming it (whether the time is right or not), to convince, reproach, and encourage, as you teach with all patience. 3 The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. 4 They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends. 5 But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God. 6 As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed; the time is here for me to leave this life. 7 I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith. 8 And now there is waiting for me the victory prize of being put right with God, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day—and not only to me, but to all those who wait with love for him to appear.  

Reflect

In today’s passage, Timothy is exhorted to insist on proclaiming the Good News “whether the time is right or not” (4:2). How do you go about sharing your faith with others? When is it important to speak up in faith? When might your actions “preach” better than words?

Pray

Sovereign God, inspire and surround me with the wisdom of your Holy Spirit that I may discern how best to share my faith with others. Speak through my words and my actions so that others will experience knowledge of you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Bible study leaders


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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 27 Aoû - 6:27

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Luke 1:1-25: Luke’s Gospel opens with a prologue in which he sets forth his claim “to write an orderly account” concerning Jesus, and Luke begins by recounting the events surrounding the birth of John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and announces that, even though he and his wife Elizabeth are advanced in years, Elizabeth will bear a son who is to be named John. Because Zechariah exhibits doubt about the angel’s message, he is rendered unable to speak. When Elizabeth becomes pregnant, she declares that the Lord has taken away her public disgrace.

Today’s Scripture: Luke 1:15

John will be great in the Lord’s sight … From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Today’s Reading

Introduction

1Dear Theophilus:

Many people have done their best to write a report of the things that have taken place among us.2They wrote what we have been told by those who saw these things from the beginning and who proclaimed the message.3And so, Your Excellency, because I have carefully studied all these matters from their beginning, I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you.4I do this so that you will know the full truth about everything which you have been taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist Is Announced

5 During the time when Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife's name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family.6They both lived good lives in God's sight and obeyed fully all the Lord's laws and commands.7They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.

8One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service.9According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord,10while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burned.11An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar where the incense was burned.12When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid.13But the angel said to him, “Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John.14How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born!15 John will be great in the Lord's sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit,16and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.17 He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord's people ready for him.”

18Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know if this is so? I am an old man, and my wife is old also.”

19 “I am Gabriel,” the angel answered. “I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this good news.20But you have not believed my message, which will come true at the right time. Because you have not believed, you will be unable to speak; you will remain silent until the day my promise to you comes true.”

21In the meantime the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he was spending such a long time in the Temple.22When he came out, he could not speak to them, and so they knew that he had seen a vision in the Temple. Unable to say a word, he made signs to them with his hands.

23When his period of service in the Temple was over, Zechariah went back home.24Some time later his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and did not leave the house for five months.25“Now at last the Lord has helped me,” she said. “He has taken away my public disgrace!”

Reflect

How does the angel Gabriel describe John and John’s mission (verses 15-17)? In a society that views having children as being blessed by God (Psalm 127:3-5), Elizabeth’s barrenness is seen as a sign of public disgrace. Childless women were even the object of scorn (see 1 Samuel 1:6). Elizabeth’s pregnancy demonstrates God’s graciousness in reversing her position from one of shame to one of divine favor. Can you recall others in Israel’s history who experienced God’s favor by means of a child? (see Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-8; Judges 13; 1 Samuel 1:9-28).

Pray

Holy God, teach me to be obedient to your Word. I trust in your promises. Open my eyes to your daily blessings. Guide me this day in the way of your truth. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who wish to conceive a child



This psalm affirms that God is the supreme king and that God alone is holy. It concludes the collection of psalms we have been reading the past several days (95 – 99) that praise God as king and righteous judge.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 99:5

Praise our God; worship before his throne! Holy is he!

Today’s Reading

1 The LORD is king, and the people tremble. He sits on his throne above the winged creatures, and the earth shakes. 2 The LORD is mighty in Zion; he is supreme over all the nations. 3 Everyone will praise his great and majestic name. Holy is he! 4 Mighty king, you love what is right; you have established justice in Israel; you have brought righteousness and fairness. 5 Praise the LORD our God; worship before his throne! Holy is he! 6 Moses and Aaron were his priests, and Samuel was one who prayed to him; they called to the LORD, and he answered them. 7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they obeyed the laws and commands that he gave them. 8 O LORD, our God, you answered your people; you showed them that you are a God who forgives, even though you punished them for their sins. 9 Praise the LORD our God, and worship at his sacred hill! The LORD our God is holy.  

Reflect

Verses 3 and 5 end with the words “Holy is he!” and verse 9 concludes with similar words. What has the psalm writer said about God? Verses 6 and 7 include references to leaders in Israel’s past – Moses, Aaron, and Samuel – and how God spoke to them. Moses led the people out of Egypt (Exodus 12:37—14:31); Aaron was Moses’ brother and he and his sons became Israel’s first priests (Exodus 28:1); Samuel led the people after the time of the judges until Israel got its first king (1 Samuel 12:1-25). While the Israelites were in the wilderness, God appeared in the form of a cloud (Exodus 19:9; 33:9). In what ways does God speak to you?

Pray

Holy are you, Lord God, king of all creation. I worship and adore you and praise you for your deeds of righteousness and justice. As I listen for your voice, teach me your ways and order my steps this day. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who mentor us in faith

This psalm is another song of praise that celebrates God’s faithfulness, justice and fairness.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 98:2

The LORD announced his victory; he made his saving power known to the nations.

Today’s Reading

1 Sing a new song to the LORD; he has done wonderful things! By his own power and holy strength he has won the victory. 2 The LORD announced his victory; he made his saving power known to the nations. 3 He kept his promise to the people of Israel with loyalty and constant love for them. All people everywhere have seen the victory of our God. 4 Sing for joy to the LORD, all the earth; praise him with songs and shouts of joy! 5 Sing praises to the LORD! Play music on the harps! 6 Blow trumpets and horns, and shout for joy to the LORD, our king. 7 Roar, sea, and every creature in you; sing, earth, and all who live on you! 8 Clap your hands, you rivers; you hills, sing together with joy before the LORD, 9 because he comes to rule the earth. He will rule the peoples of the world with justice and fairness.  

Reflect

This psalm is similar to Psalm 96 and calls upon creation to join in praising God (verses 7, Cool. Verse 9 declares that God rules with justice and fairness, the same words used at the end of Psalm 96. If you are familiar with the words to the Christmas carol, “Joy to the World,” you may wish to compare the words of that carol with Psalm 98 and note the similarities. Reread verses 4-6. What instructions are given for worshiping and praising the LORD? How is joy and praise expressed in your community of faith?

Pray

I sing for joy, O Lord, because of your steadfast love and faithfulness. My heart is in tune with the music of your teachings. I trust in your promises and praise your holy name. Amen.

Prayer Concern

World leaders

: As king, God rules the whole universe which he created. On earth, God rules the nations. In this psalm, God is celebrated as one who rules with righteousness and justice.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 97:12b

Remember what the holy God has done, and give thanks to him.

Today’s Reading

1 The LORD is king! Earth, be glad! Rejoice, you islands of the seas! 2 Clouds and darkness surround him; he rules with righteousness and justice. 3 Fire goes in front of him and burns up his enemies around him. 4 His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees it and trembles. 5 The hills melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the nations see his glory. 7 Everyone who worships idols is put to shame; all the gods bow down before the LORD. 8 The people of Zion are glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice because of your judgments, O LORD. 9LORD Almighty, you are ruler of all the earth; you are much greater than all the gods. 10 The LORD loves those who hate evil; he protects the lives of his people; he rescues them from the power of the wicked. 11 Light shines on the righteous, and gladness on the good. 12 All you that are righteous be glad because of what the LORD has done! Remember what the holy God has done, and give thanks to him.  

Reflect

In this psalm, the writer encourages us to “remember what the holy God has done” and to give God thanks. What memories do you have of what God has done for you? For what will you thank God today?

Pray

Lord God Almighty, you are my king. Reign in my heart forever. May the light of your love shine on me. I praise your glorious name and thank you for ___________________. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Administrators of justice

This psalm is a song of praise for God’s deliverance, and it recounts God’s wonderful acts and affirms God’s listening to prayer.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 66:5

Come and see what God has done, his wonderful acts among people.

Today’s Reading

1 Praise God with shouts of joy, all people! 2 Sing to the glory of his name; offer him glorious praise! 3 Say to God, “How wonderful are the things you do! Your power is so great that your enemies bow down in fear before you. 4 Everyone on earth worships you; they sing praises to you, they sing praises to your name.” 5 Come and see what God has done, his wonderful acts among people. 6 He changed the sea into dry land; our ancestors crossed the river on foot. There we rejoiced because of what he did. 7 He rules forever by his might and keeps his eyes on the nations. Let no rebels rise against him. 8 Praise our God, all nations; let your praise be heard. 9 He has kept us alive and has not allowed us to fall. 10 You have put us to the test, God; as silver is purified by fire, so you have tested us. 11 You let us fall into a trap and placed heavy burdens on our backs. 12 You let our enemies trample us; we went through fire and flood, but now you have brought us to a place of safety. 13 I will bring burnt offerings to your house; I will offer you what I promised. 14 I will give you what I said I would when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer sheep to be burned on the altar; I will sacrifice bulls and goats, and the smoke will go up to the sky. 16 Come and listen, all who honor God, and I will tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried to him for help; I praised him with songs. 18 If I had ignored my sins, the Lord would not have listened to me. 19 But God has indeed heard me; he has listened to my prayer. 20 I praise God, because he did not reject my prayer or keep back his constant love from me.  

Reflect

The first twelve verses in this psalm praise God and recount God’s past deeds. The remaining verses switch to first person and provide a personal testimony to God’s love and forgiveness. Reread verses 13-20. What does the psalm writer promise? For what does the writer praise God? What are you praying for today?

Pray

Lord God, I know that you hear and answer prayer. When I call out to you for help, you are there, listening to my cries. You are awesome, Lord, and I praise you for all your wonderful acts and I thank you for your constant love. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those praying for God’s help

The book of Revelation belongs to a kind of writing called apocalyptic literature. Apocalyptic writings try to reveal the secrets of heaven and often try to describe how human history will end. Today’s reading describes the One who is seated on a heavenly throne, surrounded by those singing praises to God who created all things.

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 4:8b

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.”

Today’s Reading

1 At this point I had another vision and saw an open door in heaven. And the voice that sounded like a trumpet, which I had heard speaking to me before, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” 2 At once the Spirit took control of me. There in heaven was a throne with someone sitting on it. 3 His face gleamed like such precious stones as jasper and carnelian, and all around the throne there was a rainbow the color of an emerald. 4 In a circle around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, on which were seated twenty-four elders dressed in white and wearing crowns of gold. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. In front of the throne seven lighted torches were burning, which are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. Surrounding the throne on each of its sides, were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and behind. 7 The first one looked like a lion; the second looked like a bull; the third had a face like a human face; and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. 8 Each one of the four living creatures had six wings, and they were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stop singing: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.” 9 The four living creatures sing songs of glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever. When they do so, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They throw their crowns down in front of the throne and say, 11 “Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. For you created all things, and by your will they were given existence and life.”  

Reflect

What is happening around the throne? What are your thoughts when reading this passage? When do you experience God’s presence? How do you respond during such a time?

Pray

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, you alone are worthy to receive glory and honor. With all creation I praise your name forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Worship assistants

God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Introduction

2 Timothy 2:1-26: Timothy’s ministry is compared to that of a soldier: enduring suffering, staying focused on the task at hand, and obeying his leader. Timothy is encouraged to keep his mind on Christ, and he is reminded that, even though Paul was imprisoned, the good news of Jesus Christ is free and available for all to hear.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:1b

Be strong through the grace that is ours in union with Christ Jesus.

Today’s Reading

1 As for you, my son, be strong through the grace that is ours in union with Christ Jesus. 2 Take the teachings that you heard me proclaim in the presence of many witnesses, and entrust them to reliable people, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Take your part in suffering, as a loyal soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 A soldier on active duty wants to please his commanding officer and so does not get mixed up in the affairs of civilian life. 5 An athlete who runs in a race cannot win the prize unless he obeys the rules. 6 The farmer who has done the hard work should have the first share of the harvest. 7 Think about what I am saying, because the Lord will enable you to understand it all. 8 Remember Jesus Christ, who was raised from death, who was a descendant of David, as is taught in the Good News I preach. 9 Because I preach the Good News, I suffer and I am even chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not in chains, 10 and so I endure everything for the sake of God's chosen people, in order that they too may obtain the salvation that comes through Christ Jesus and brings eternal glory. 11 This is a true saying: “If we have died with him, we shall also live with him. 12 If we continue to endure, we shall also rule with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us. 13 If we are not faithful, he remains faithful, because he cannot be false to himself.” 14 Remind your people of this, and give them a solemn warning in God's presence not to fight over words. It does no good, but only ruins the people who listen. 15 Do your best to win full approval in God's sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God's truth. 16 Keep away from profane and foolish discussions, which only drive people farther away from God. 17 Such teaching is like an open sore that eats away the flesh. Two men who have taught such things are Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the way of truth and are upsetting the faith of some believers by saying that our resurrection has already taken place. 19 But the solid foundation that God has laid cannot be shaken; and on it are written these words: “The Lord knows those who are his” and “Those who say that they belong to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing.” 20 In a large house there are dishes and bowls of all kinds: some are made of silver and gold, others of wood and clay; some are for special occasions, others for ordinary use. 21 Those who make themselves clean from all those evil things, will be used for special purposes, because they are dedicated and useful to their Master, ready to be used for every good deed. 22 Avoid the passions of youth, and strive for righteousness, faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help. 23 But keep away from foolish and ignorant arguments; you know that they end up in quarrels. 24 As the Lord's servant, you must not quarrel. You must be kind toward all, a good and patient teacher, 25 who is gentle as you correct your opponents, for it may be that God will give them the opportunity to repent and come to know the truth. 26 And then they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the Devil, who had caught them and made them obey his will.  

Reflect

In verses 3-7, three types of people are described as hard workers. What qualities do these different types of people have that Timothy is to imitate? Which type of person do you think best depicts the life of a Christian? Why? What does “the word of God is not in chains” (verse 9) mean to you?

Pray

Dear God, as a soldier in faith, embolden me to stand for justice. As an athlete in faith, give me the endurance to stay strong in your will. As a farmer in faith, equip me to plant seeds of love and truth. In your name I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those experiencing suffering because of their faith


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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 27 Aoû - 6:28

Micah 5:1-15: The chapter opens with an image of Jerusalem being besieged, but a new king is promised who will usher in a time of peace and safety for the people. This king will be a “new David,” because he will come from Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David. Whatever symbolizes dependence on anything other than God will be destroyed.

Micah 5:4a When he comes, he will rule his people with the strength that comes from YAHWEH and with the majesty of GOD for God himself. People of Jerusalem, gather your forces! We are besieged! They are attacking the leader of Israel!

God Promises a Ruler from Bethlehem

GOD says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”So GOD will abandon his people to their enemies until the woman who is to give birth has her son. Then those Israelites who are in exile will be reunited with their own people.4When he comes, he will rule his people with the strength that comes from the GOD and with the majesty of God himself. His people will live in safety because people all over the earth will acknowledge his greatness,5and he will bring peace.

Deliverance and Punishment

When the Assyrians invade our country and break through our defenses, we will send our strongest leaders to fight them.6 By force of arms they will conquer Assyria, the land of Nimrod, and they will save us from the Assyrians when they invade our territory. The people of Israel who survive will be like refreshing dew sent by the Lord for many nations, like showers on growing plants. They will depend on God, not people.8Those who are left among the nations will be like a lion hunting for food in a forest or a pasture: it gets in among the sheep, pounces on them, and tears them to pieces—and there is no hope of rescue.9Israel will conquer her enemies and destroy them all. YAHWEH says, “At that time I will take away your horses and destroy your chariots.11I will destroy the cities in your land and tear down all your defenses.12I will destroy the magic charms you use and leave you without any fortunetellers.13I will destroy your idols and sacred stone pillars; no longer will you worship the things that you yourselves have made.14I will pull down the images of the goddess Asherah in your land and destroy your cities.15And in my great anger I will take revenge on all nations that have not obeyed me.”

Reflect

Reread verse 2. Christians have interpreted this verse as referring to Jesus, and this verse is quoted in Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:6). How is God’s promised ruler described (verses 4-5a)? Micah goes on to describe a time of deliverance and punishment. Why are the people of Israel who survive described as “refreshing dew” (verse 7)? What will the LORD destroy (verses 10-14)? Why?

Pray

God of deliverance, help me to reach out today to someone who may be hurting so that I may speak a word of hope and encouragement and share the refreshing dew of your love and peace. Amen.

Prayer Concern Medical personnel serving in countries affected by the ebola virus

Isaiah 35:1-10: The land of God’s people is pictured as blooming and rejoicing because GOD will bring his people back from exile. The people will travel on a highway called “The Road of Holiness” that GOD will prepare.Everyone will see the YAHWEH's splendor, see his greatness and power. The Road of Holiness
The desert will rejoice,and flowers will bloom in the wastelands.The desert will sing and shout for joy;it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon. Everyone will see YAHWEH splendor, see his greatness and power.Give strength to hands that are tired

and to knees that tremble with weakness.

4Tell everyone who is discouraged,

“Be strong and don't be afraid!

God is coming to your rescue,

coming to punish your enemies.”

5 The blind will be able to see,

and the deaf will hear.

6The lame will leap and dance,

and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.

Streams of water will flow through the desert;

7the burning sand will become a lake,

and dry land will be filled with springs.

Where jackals used to live,

marsh grass and reeds will grow.

8There will be a highway there,

called “The Road of Holiness.”

No sinner will ever travel that road;

no fools will mislead those who follow it.

9No lions will be there;

no fierce animals will pass that way.

Those whom the Lord has rescued

will travel home by that road.

10They will reach Jerusalem with gladness,

singing and shouting for joy.

They will be happy forever,

forever free from sorrow and grief.

Reflect

Water was the most precious natural resource in the dry lands where God’s people lived. The image of a desert turning into a land “filled with springs” (verse 7) symbolizes God’s abundance. In what ways do you experience God’s abundance in your life?

Pray

God of abundance, your word today is one of gladness and joy. Open my eyes, ears, and heart to your splendor so that I can proclaim your greatness and power. You alone are holy, and I sing your praises. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who are ill and weak


God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Isaiah 56:1-8: In the new Jerusalem, foreigners are welcome. Portions of the Law had excluded foreigners and certain groups of people (see Deuteronomy 23:1-3), but all are now invited to take part in the new community of God’s people. The Israelites who returned to Jerusalem after the exile would now be joined by non-Israelites in worshiping God.

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 56:7b

[The LORD says] “My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.”

Today’s Reading

God's People Will Include All Nations

1The Lord says to his people, “Do what is just and right, for soon I will save you.2I will bless those who always observe the Sabbath and do not misuse it. I will bless those who do nothing evil.”

3A foreigner who has joined the Lord's people should not say, “The Lord will not let me worship with his people.”

A man who has been castrated should never think that because he cannot have children, he can never be part of God's people.4 The Lord says to such a man, “If you honor me by observing the Sabbath and if you do what pleases me and faithfully keep my covenant,5then your name will be remembered in my Temple and among my people longer than if you had sons and daughters. You will never be forgotten.”

6And the Lord says to those foreigners who become part of his people, who love him and serve him, who observe the Sabbath and faithfully keep his covenant:7 “I will bring you to Zion, my sacred hill, give you joy in my house of prayer, and accept the sacrifices you offer on my altar. My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.”

8The Sovereign Lord, who has brought his people Israel home from exile, has promised that he will bring still other people to join them.

Reflect

Who is invited to be part of God’s new worshiping community? What is promised to those who observe the Sabbath? In what ways does your community of faith reach out to others and welcome them?

Pray

Sovereign God, you invite people from all nations to worship you. Teach me to honor you and faithfully keep your covenant. In your holy name I pray, Amen.

Prayer Concern

Houses of worship that have been vandalized

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Isaiah 57:1-21: Today’s passage offers a thorough condemnation of the worship practices of other Canaanite religions. It then explains that God is the Holy One who dwells on high yet is present on earth with those who are humble and repentant. God promises peace and healing for all of God’s people.

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 57:15

“I am the high and holy God, who lives forever. I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with people who are humble and repentant, so that I can restore their confidence and hope.”

Today’s Reading

Israel's Idolatry Is Condemned

1Good people die, and no one understands or even cares. But when they die, no calamity can hurt them.2Those who live good lives find peace and rest in death.

3Come here to be judged, you sinners! You are no better than sorcerers, adulterers, and prostitutes.4Who are you making fun of? Who are you liars jeering at?5You worship the fertility gods by having sex under those sacred trees of yours. You offer your children as sacrifices in the rocky caves near stream beds.6You take smooth stones from there and worship them as gods. You pour out wine as offerings to them and bring them grain offerings. Do you think I am pleased with all this?7You go to the high mountains to offer sacrifices and have sex.8You set up your obscene idols just inside your front doors. You forsake me; you take off your clothes and climb in your large beds with your lovers, whom you pay to sleep with you. And there you satisfy your lust.9You put on your perfumes and ointments and go to worship the god Molech. To find gods to worship, you send messengers far and wide, even to the world of the dead.10You wear yourselves out looking for other gods, but you never give up. You think your obscene idols give you strength, and so you never grow weak.

11The Lord says, “Who are these gods that make you afraid, so that you tell me lies and forget me completely? Have you stopped honoring me because I have kept silent for so long?12You think that what you do is right, but I will expose your conduct, and your idols will not be able to help you.13When you cry for help, let those idols of yours save you! A puff of wind will carry them off! But those who trust in me will live in the land and will worship me in my Temple.”

God's Promise of Help and Healing

14The Lord says, “Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready!

15“I am the high and holy God, who lives forever. I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with people who are humble and repentant, so that I can restore their confidence and hope.16I gave my people life, and I will not continue to accuse them or be angry with them forever. 17I was angry with them because of their sin and greed, and so I punished them and abandoned them. But they were stubborn and kept on going their own way.

18“I have seen how they acted, but I will heal them. I will lead them and help them, and I will comfort those who mourn.19 I offer peace to all, both near and far! I will heal my people.20But evil people are like the restless sea, whose waves never stop rolling in, bringing filth and muck.21 There is no safety for sinners,” says the Lord.

Reflect

Reread verses 14-21. The Lord’s home was pictured as being in the heavens, far removed from human beings. Yet God promises to be near the people, healing them, leading them and comforting them. How do you experience the nearness of God’s presence today? How does God provide healing, leadership and comfort?

Pray

Lord God, no matter where I am, you have the power to heal me and give me peace. I am sorry for the times when I have let false idols distract me from your love. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those seeking to experience God’s presence in their midst




God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Isaiah 60:1-22: Today’s reading is an oracle pertaining to the restoration and transformation of Jerusalem. The city had been destroyed by foreigners in 586 B.C. because of God’s anger and the sins of the people, but foreigners will now help rebuild the city because of God’s favor and mercy. Those who had been living in exile will return home. The city will reflect the glory of God.

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 60:19b

“I, the LORD, will be your eternal light; the light of my glory will shine on you.”

Today’s Reading

The Future Glory of Jerusalem

1Arise, Jerusalem, and shine like the sun;

The glory of the Lord is shining on you!

2Other nations will be covered by darkness,

But on you the light of the Lord will shine;

The brightness of his presence will be with you.

3Nations will be drawn to your light,

And kings to the dawning of your new day.

4 Look around you and see what is happening:

Your people are gathering to come home!

Your sons will come from far away;

Your daughters will be carried like children.

5You will see this and be filled with joy;

You will tremble with excitement.

The wealth of the nations will be brought to you;

From across the sea their riches will come.

6Great caravans of camels will come, from Midian and Ephah.

They will come from Sheba, bringing gold and incense.

People will tell the good news of what the Lord has done!

7All the sheep of Kedar and Nebaioth

Will be brought to you as sacrifices

And offered on the altar to please the Lord.

The Lord will make his Temple more glorious than ever.

8What are these ships that skim along like clouds,

Like doves returning home?

9They are ships coming from distant lands,

Bringing God's people home.

They bring with them silver and gold

To honor the name of the Lord,

The holy God of Israel,

Who has made all nations honor his people.

10The Lord says to Jerusalem,

“Foreigners will rebuild your walls,

And their kings will serve you.

In my anger I punished you,

But now I will show you my favor and mercy.

11 Day and night your gates will be open,

So that the kings of the nations

May bring you their wealth.

12But nations that do not serve you

Will be completely destroyed.

13“The wood of the pine, the juniper, and the cypress,

The finest wood from the forests of Lebanon,

Will be brought to rebuild you, Jerusalem,

To make my Temple beautiful,

To make my city glorious.

14 The descendants of those who oppressed you will come

And bow low to show their respect.

All who once despised you will worship at your feet.

They will call you ‘The City of the Lord,’

‘Zion, the City of Israel's Holy God.’

15“You will no longer be forsaken and hated,

A city deserted and desolate.

I will make you great and beautiful,

A place of joy forever and ever.

16Nations and kings will care for you

As a mother nurses her child.

You will know that I, the Lord, have saved you,

That the mighty God of Israel sets you free.

17“I will bring you gold instead of bronze,

Silver and bronze instead of iron and wood,

And iron instead of stone.

Your rulers will no longer oppress you;

I will make them rule with justice and peace.

18The sounds of violence will be heard no more;

Destruction will not shatter your country again.

I will protect and defend you like a wall;

You will praise me because I have saved you.

19 “No longer will the sun be your light by day

Or the moon be your light by night;

I, the Lord, will be your eternal light;

The light of my glory will shine on you.

20Your days of grief will come to an end.

I, the Lord, will be your eternal light,

More lasting than the sun and moon.

21Your people will all do what is right,

And will possess the land forever.

I planted them, I made them,

To reveal my greatness to all.

22Even your smallest and humblest family

Will become as great as a powerful nation.

When the right time comes,

I will make this happen quickly.

I am the Lord!”

Reflect

Based on this reading, how do you envision the restored Jerusalem? What images do you find particularly compelling? Why? Verse 19 calls to mind the new Jerusalem described in Revelation 21:23 and 22:5. What is to be the city’s source of light? Reread verses 10-22. What promises are given?

Pray

God of grace and transformation, the light of your glory dispels clouds of darkness and gloom. May my words and actions this day reflect the light of you love. Shine in my heart, Lord God. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those preparing for homecomings




od’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Malachi 2:17—3:12: The people had been questioning God’s justice (Malachi 2:17). God announces that a messenger will come to purify the Temple and the priests. Judgment will be meted out against those who do not respect the LORD.

Today’s Scripture: Malachi 3:10b

Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things.

Today’s Reading

The Day of Judgment Is Near

17You have tired the Lord out with your talk. But you ask, “How have we tired him?” By saying, “The Lord Almighty thinks all evildoers are good; in fact he likes them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God who is supposed to be just?”

1 The Lord Almighty answers, “I will send my messenger to prepare the way for me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger you long to see will come and proclaim my covenant.”

2 But who will be able to endure the day when he comes? Who will be able to survive when he appears? He will be like strong soap, like a fire that refines metal.3He will come to judge like one who refines and purifies silver. As a metalworker refines silver and gold, so the Lord's messenger will purify the priests, so that they will bring to the Lord the right kind of offerings.4Then the offerings which the people of Judah and Jerusalem bring to the Lord will be pleasing to him, as they used to be in the past.

5The Lord Almighty says, “I will appear among you to judge, and I will testify at once against those who practice magic, against adulterers, against those who give false testimony, those who cheat employees out of their wages, and those who take advantage of widows, orphans, and foreigners—against all who do not respect me.

The Payment of Tithes

6 “I am the Lord, and I do not change. And so you, the descendants of Jacob, are not yet completely lost.7You, like your ancestors before you, have turned away from my laws and have not kept them. Turn back to me, and I will turn to you. But you ask, ‘What must we do to turn back to you?’8I ask you, is it right for a person to cheat God? Of course not, yet you are cheating me. ‘How?’ you ask. In the matter of tithes and offerings.9A curse is on all of you because the whole nation is cheating me.10 Bring the full amount of your tithes to the Temple, so that there will be plenty of food there. Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things.11I will not let insects destroy your crops, and your grapevines will be loaded with grapes.12Then the people of all nations will call you happy, because your land will be a good place to live.

Reflect

For Malachi, the “messenger” is someone who will come to prepare for the Lord’s coming (verse 1). In Christian tradition, this passage about the LORD’s messenger is interpreted as referring to John the Baptist (see Mark 1:2). What will the messenger do (verses 2-3)? Who will be judged (verse 5)? How were the people cheating God (verses 8-9)? What does God promise if the people turn back to God?

Pray

Almighty God, you know my inmost thoughts. Trusting in your love and mercy, I humbly turn to you and ask that you purify and cleanse my heart. In your holy name I pray, Amen.

Prayer Concern

Couriers

Malachi 3:13—4:6: Some of the people were questioning the usefulness of serving God (3:14-15) since those who were evil were getting away with their behavior. The prophet warns what will happen to such people on the Day of the LORD’s coming. God’s mercy is promised to those who fear and respect the LORD.

Today’s Scripture: Malachi 4:2a

“But for you who obey me, my saving power will rise on you like the sun and bring healing like the sun’s rays.”

Today’s Reading

God's Promise of Mercy

13“You have said terrible things about me,” says the Lord. “But you ask, ‘What have we said about you?’14You have said, ‘It's useless to serve God. What's the use of doing what he says or of trying to show the Lord Almighty that we are sorry for what we have done?15As we see it, proud people are the ones who are happy. Evil people not only prosper, but they test God's patience with their evil deeds and get away with it.’”

16Then the people who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard what they said. In his presence, there was written down in a book a record of those who feared the Lord and respected him.17“They will be my people,” says the Lord Almighty. “On the day when I act, they will be my very own. I will be merciful to them as parents are merciful to the children who serve them.18Once again my people will see the difference between what happens to the righteous and to the wicked, to the person who serves me and the one who does not.”

The Day of the Lord Is Coming

1The Lord Almighty says, “The day is coming when all proud and evil people will burn like straw. On that day they will burn up, and there will be nothing left of them.2But for you who obey me, my saving power will rise on you like the sun and bring healing like the sun's rays. You will be as free and happy as calves let out of a stall.3On the day when I act, you will overcome the wicked, and they will be like dust under your feet.

4“Remember the teachings of my servant Moses, the laws and commands which I gave him at Mount Sinai for all the people of Israel to obey.

5 “But before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, I will send you the prophet Elijah.6He will bring fathers and children together again; otherwise I would have to come and destroy your country.”

Reflect

Reread 3:14-15. Do people today have similar thoughts? What are your thoughts when you read these verses? What is said about the people who fear and respect the LORD? According to what is written in chapter 4, what is the fate of the wicked? In what ways do you demonstrate your fear and respect for God?

Pray

Lord God, I trust in your promise of mercy to those who fear and respect you. Thank you for your saving power and for your steadfast love. Teach me to be obedient to your will and to serve you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those in need of encouragement

Today’s psalm expands on themes found in yesterday’s reading (Psalm 146). These themes include God’s help and justice for the poor, the importance of trusting in God rather than in human leaders, and the glory of God’s creation. It is a postexilic psalm that praises God for restoring Jerusalem and bringing home those who were living in exile.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 147:5

Great and mighty is our Lord; his wisdom cannot be measured.

Today’s Reading

1 Praise the LORD! It is good to sing praise to our God; it is pleasant and right to praise him. 2 The LORD is restoring Jerusalem; he is bringing back the exiles. 3 He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds. 4 He has decided the number of the stars and calls each one by name. 5 Great and mighty is our Lord; his wisdom cannot be measured. 6 He raises the humble, but crushes the wicked to the ground. 7 Sing hymns of praise to the LORD; play music on the harp to our God. 8 He spreads clouds over the sky; he provides rain for the earth and makes grass grow on the hills. 9 He gives animals their food and feeds the young ravens when they call. 10 His pleasure is not in strong horses, nor his delight in brave soldiers; 11 but he takes pleasure in those who honor him, in those who trust in his constant love. 12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! 13 He keeps your gates strong; he blesses your people. 14 He keeps your borders safe and satisfies you with the finest wheat. 15 He gives a command to the earth, and what he says is quickly done. 16 He spreads snow like a blanket and scatters frost like dust. 17 He sends hail like gravel; no one can endure the cold he sends! 18 Then he gives a command, and the ice melts; he sends the wind, and the water flows. 19 He gives his message to his people, his instructions and laws to Israel. 20 He has not done this for other nations; they do not know his laws. Praise the LORD!  

Reflect

Reread verses 12-20. God’s blessings for Jerusalem include secure gates (meaning peace), many children, and good harvests. Verse 19 notes that God has spoken a personal word to his people. God’s instructions and laws are given to Israel. Just as God expects nature to obey his word, so also does God expect people to obey him. What does it mean for you to obey God?

Pray

Praise the LORD! It is good to sing praise to you, O God; it is pleasant and right to praise you. May I find the strength and wisdom to obey your word and walk in your ways all my life. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those preparing for homecomings
Timothy 1:1-18 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Introduction

2 Timothy 1:1-18: Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy consists largely of personal advice. The main theme is endurance, and Timothy is encouraged to keep on witnessing faithfully to Jesus Christ, even though this could mean that he might suffer. Timothy’s grandmother and mother are commended for their faith and the faith that they instilled in Timothy.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.

Today’s Reading

1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God's will, sent to proclaim the promised life which we have in union with Christ Jesus— 2 To Timothy, my dear son: May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. 3 I give thanks to God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did. I thank him as I remember you always in my prayers night and day. 4 I remember your tears, and I want to see you very much, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had. I am sure that you have it also. 6 For this reason I remind you to keep alive the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. 8 Do not be ashamed, then, of witnessing for our Lord; neither be ashamed of me, a prisoner for Christ's sake. Instead, take your part in suffering for the Good News, as God gives you the strength for it. 9 He saved us and called us to be his own people, not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace by means of Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but now it has been revealed to us through the coming of our Savior, Christ Jesus. He has ended the power of death and through the gospel has revealed immortal life. 11 God has appointed me as an apostle and teacher to proclaim the Good News, 12 and it is for this reason that I suffer these things. But I am still full of confidence, because I know whom I have trusted, and I am sure that he is able to keep safe until that Day what he has entrusted to me. 13 Hold firmly to the true words that I taught you, as the example for you to follow, and remain in the faith and love that are ours in union with Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, keep the good things that have been entrusted to you. 15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia, including Phygelus and Hermogenes, has deserted me. 16 May the Lord show mercy to the family of Onesiphorus, because he cheered me up many times. He was not ashamed that I am in prison, 17 but as soon as he arrived in Rome, he started looking for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant him his mercy on that Day! And you know very well how much he did for me in Ephesus.  

Reflect

In the provinces where Paul and Timothy were preaching, the Roman authorities were arresting people who worshiped Jesus. Some Roman emperors insisted on being worshiped by their subjects. Titles they gave themselves included “son of god,” “lord,” and “savior.” Most Jews and followers of Christ would have refused to participate in this kind of idolatry, making them targets for arrest. Timothy is instructed not to be ashamed of witnessing for the Lord (verse Cool. How would Paul’s advice have impacted Timothy’s ministry? Have you ever found it difficult to witness to your faith?

Pray

Lord God, empower me to share the light of Jesus Christ with others and not to be ashamed of witnessing for you. Give me courage and strength and, by your Holy Spirit, fill me with power, love, and self-control. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who need encouragement in faith


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Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 27 Aoû - 6:29

God’s kingship is a frequent subject in the psalms. Kings were known as the shepherds of their people. Their responsibility was to feed and protect their people. In Psalm 23, God is described as providing food, drink, guidance, protection.

Psalm 23:1

GOD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.

GOD is Our Shepherd

GOD is my shepherd;

we have everything we need.

He lets us rest in fields of green grass

and leads us to quiet pools of fresh water.

He gives us new strength.

He guides us in the right paths,

as he has promised.

Even if we go through the deepest darkness,

we will not be afraid, GOD,

for you are with us.

Your shepherd's rod and staff protect us all.

You prepare a banquet for us,

where all our enemies can see us;

you welcome me as an honored guest

and fill my cup to the brim.

we know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;

and your house will be our home as long as we live.

Reflect Psalm 23 is a much beloved psalm that many have committed to memory. It has been reported that a child who was asked to memorize this psalm said it this way: “YAHWEH is my shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.” This psalm conveys complete trust in God. What verses in this psalm particularly resonate with you?

Pray Because YOU, YAHWEH, are our shepherd, we have everything we need. Your goodness, mercy, and love are always with us. We will dwell in Your presence our whole life long. Amen. Prayer Concern Caregivers

psalm asking for God’s forgiveness and is attributed to King David. After David had arranged to have Uriah killed in battle so that he could marry Bathsheba, who was pregnant with David’s child, the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 51:1

Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins!

Today’s Reading

A Prayer for Forgiveness

1Be merciful to me, O God,

because of your constant love.

Because of your great mercy

wipe away my sins!

2Wash away all my evil

and make me clean from my sin!

3I recognize my faults;

I am always conscious of my sins.

4 I have sinned against you—only against you—

and done what you consider evil.

So you are right in judging me;

you are justified in condemning me.

5I have been evil from the day I was born;

from the time I was conceived, I have been sinful.

6Sincerity and truth are what you require;

fill my mind with your wisdom.

7Remove my sin, and I will be clean;

wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;

and though you have crushed me and broken me,

I will be happy once again.

9Close your eyes to my sins

and wipe out all my evil.

10Create a pure heart in me, O God,

and put a new and loyal spirit in me.

11Do not banish me from your presence;

do not take your holy spirit away from me.

12Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation,

and make me willing to obey you.

13Then I will teach sinners your commands,

and they will turn back to you.

14Spare my life, O God, and save me,

and I will gladly proclaim your righteousness.

15Help me to speak, Lord,

and I will praise you.

16You do not want sacrifices,

or I would offer them;

you are not pleased with burnt offerings.

17My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God;

you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.

18O God, be kind to Zion and help her;

rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

19Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifices

and with our burnt offerings;

and bulls will be sacrificed on your altar.

Reflect

How would you describe the tone of David’s prayer? What does he confess? What does he ask of God? Can this prayer serve as a model of confession for you? What do you need to confess to God today?

Pray

Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love, and wipe away all my sins. Create a pure heart in me and put a new and loyal spirit in me. Keep me forever in your presence so that I may know the joy that comes only from you and your salvation. In your holy name I pray, Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those in need of God’s forgiveness


Mark 12:28-34: Jesus is questioned as to what commandment is the most important. Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 and from Leviticus 19:18 which point to loving God and loving one’s neighbor.

Today’s Scripture: Mark 12:30

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength”.

Today’s Reading

The Great Commandment

(Matthew 22.34-40; Luke 10.25-28)

28A teacher of the Law was there who heard the discussion. He saw that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer, so he came to him with a question: “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’31 The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.”

32 The teacher of the Law said to Jesus, “Well done, Teacher! It is true, as you say, that only the Lord is God and that there is no other god but he.33 And you must love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength; and you must love your neighbor as you love yourself. It is more important to obey these two commandments than to offer on the altar animals and other sacrifices to God.”

34 Jesus noticed how wise his answer was, and so he told him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

After this nobody dared to ask Jesus any more questions.

Reflect

Reread verses 29-31. Why are these commandments the most important? Do these two commandments guide the way you live your life? Explain.

Pray

I love you, Lord God, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. You alone, Lord, are God and I praise your holy name. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Religious educators

Ephesians 3:1-21: Paul says that he was called specifically for the purpose of ministering to the Gentiles—people who are not Jewish. He says that the Holy Spirit reveals that all people can share in the promise that God first gave to the ancient Israelites because Christ’s love extends beyond human boundaries.

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 3:17b, 18

I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love.

Today’s Reading

Paul's Work for the Gentiles

1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles, pray to God.2Surely you have heard that God in his grace has given me this work to do for your good.3God revealed his secret plan and made it known to me. (I have written briefly about this,4 and if you will read what I have written, you can learn about my understanding of the secret of Christ.)5In past times human beings were not told this secret, but God has revealed it now by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets.6The secret is that by means of the gospel the Gentiles have a part with the Jews in God's blessings; they are members of the same body and share in the promise that God made through Christ Jesus.

7I was made a servant of the gospel by God's special gift, which he gave me through the working of his power.8I am less than the least of all God's people; yet God gave me this privilege of taking to the Gentiles the Good News about the infinite riches of Christ,9and of making all people see how God's secret plan is to be put into effect. God, who is the Creator of all things, kept his secret hidden through all the past ages,10in order that at the present time, by means of the church, the angelic rulers and powers in the heavenly world might learn of his wisdom in all its different forms.11God did this according to his eternal purpose, which he achieved through Christ Jesus our Lord.12In union with Christ and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God's presence with all confidence.13I beg you, then, not to be discouraged because I am suffering for you; it is all for your benefit.

The Love of Christ

14For this reason I fall on my knees before the Father,15from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name.16I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves,17and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love,18 so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love.19Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.

20To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of:21to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever! Amen.

Reflect

Paul suggests that God waited to reveal the inclusion of the Gentiles because God reveals new things in God’s time. Are there still things that God has yet to reveal? Reread verse 20. In what ways do those words challenge your thinking about the power of God working in you?

Pray

God of great love, forgive me for the times when I fail to love as you love. Open my heart to the vast depth of your love for all people, that I may learn to love like you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Disaster relief workers

2 Chronicles 6:1-11: Following the completion of the Temple and the housing of the Covenant Box in the Most Holy Place, Solomon speaks to the people. He tells them that the LORD has kept his promise in having Solomon build the Temple.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Chronicles 6:11

[Solomon said]: “I have placed in the Temple the Covenant Box, which contains the stone tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with the people of Israel.”

Today’s Reading

Solomon's Address to the People

(1 Kings 8.12-21)

1Then King Solomon prayed,

“Lord, you have chosen to live in clouds and darkness.

2Now I have built a majestic temple for you,

a place for you to live in forever.”

3All the people of Israel were standing there. The king turned to face them and asked God's blessing on them.4 He said, “Praise the Lord God of Israel! He has kept the promise he made to my father David when he said to him,5‘From the time I brought my people out of Egypt until now, I did not choose any city in the land of Israel as the place to build a temple where I would be worshiped, and I did not choose anyone to lead my people Israel.6But now I have chosen Jerusalem as the place where I will be worshiped, and you, David, to rule my people.’”

7And Solomon continued, “My father David planned to build a temple for the worship of the Lord God of Israel,8but the Lord said to him, ‘You were right in wanting to build a temple for me,9but you will never build it. It is your son, your own son, who will build my temple.’

10“Now the Lord has kept his promise: I have succeeded my father as king of Israel, and I have built a temple for the worship of the Lord God of Israel.11I have placed in the Temple the Covenant Box, which contains the stone tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with the people of Israel.”

Reflect

What was Solomon’s message to the people? What promises did he speak of? In what ways have you experienced fulfillment of God’s promises? The covenant mentioned in verse 11 refers to the covenant God made with the people of Israel on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1-8; 20:1-17). How does your community of faith experience God’s covenant relationship?

Pray

God of promise, I praise you for your eternal love. May all my actions reflect your love and grace and be a sign of worship to you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

New churches being constructed

Nehemiah 9:1-38: After hearing Ezra read the Law, the people respond with worship, prayer, and confession. The beautiful prayer in this passage is a summary of God’s dealings with Israel. These include creation, the promise to Abraham, the exodus from Egypt, their experiences in the desert, the conquest of Canaan, the time of the judges, the time of the prophets, and their present situation.

Today’s Scripture: Nehemiah 9:17b

You are a God who forgives; you are gracious and loving, slow to be angry.

Today’s Reading

The People Confess Their Sins

1-2On the twenty-fourth day of the same month the people of Israel gathered to fast in order to show sorrow for their sins. They had already separated themselves from all foreigners. They wore sackcloth and put dust on their heads as signs of grief. Then they stood and began to confess the sins that they and their ancestors had committed.3For about three hours the Law of the Lord their God was read to them, and for the next three hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God.

4There was a platform for the Levites, and on it stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani. They prayed aloud to the Lord their God.

5The following Levites gave a call to worship: Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah. They said:

“Stand up and praise the Lord your God;

praise him forever and ever!

Let everyone praise his glorious name,

although no human praise is great enough.”

The Prayer of Confession

6And then the people of Israel prayed this prayer:

“You, Lord, you alone are Lord;

you made the heavens and the stars of the sky.

You made land and sea and everything in them;

you gave life to all.

The heavenly powers bow down and worship you.

7 You, Lord God, chose Abram

and led him out of Ur in Babylonia;

you changed his name to Abraham.

8 You found that he was faithful to you,

and you made a covenant with him.

You promised to give him the land of the Canaanites,

the land of the Hittites and the Amorites,

the land of the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Girgashites,

to be a land where his descendants would live.

You kept your promise, because you are faithful.

9 “You saw how our ancestors suffered in Egypt;

you heard their call for help at the Red Sea.

10 You worked amazing miracles against the king,

against his officials and the people of his land,

because you knew how they oppressed your people.

You won then the fame you still have today.

11 Through the sea you made a path for your people

and led them through on dry ground.

Those who pursued them drowned in deep water,

as a stone sinks in the raging sea.

12 With a cloud you led them in daytime,

and at night you lighted their way with fire.

13 At Mount Sinai you came down from heaven;

you spoke to your people

and gave them good laws and sound teachings.

14You taught them to keep your Sabbaths holy,

and through your servant Moses you gave them your laws.

15 “When they were hungry, you gave them bread from heaven,

and water from a rock when they were thirsty.

You told them to take control of the land

which you had promised to give them.

16 But our ancestors grew proud and stubborn

and refused to obey your commands.

17 They refused to obey; they forgot all you did;

they forgot the miracles you had performed.

In their pride they chose a leader

to take them back to slavery in Egypt.

But you are a God who forgives;

you are gracious and loving, slow to be angry.

Your mercy is great; you did not forsake them.

18 They made an idol in the shape of a bull-calf

and said it was the god who led them from Egypt!

How much they insulted you, Lord!

19 But you did not abandon them there in the desert,

for your mercy is great.

You did not take away the cloud or the fire

that showed them the path by day and night.

20In your goodness you told them what they should do;

you fed them manna and gave them water to drink.

21Through forty years in the desert

you provided all that they needed;

their clothing never wore out,

and their feet were not swollen with pain.

22 “You let them conquer nations and kingdoms,

lands that bordered their own.

They conquered the land of Heshbon, where Sihon ruled,

and the land of Bashan, where Og was king.

23 You gave them as many children as there are stars in the sky,

and let them conquer and live in the land

that you had promised their ancestors to give them.

24 They conquered the land of Canaan;

you overcame the people living there.

You gave your people the power to do as they pleased

with the people and kings of Canaan.

25 Your people captured fortified cities,

fertile land, houses full of wealth,

cisterns already dug,

olive trees, fruit trees, and vineyards.

They ate all they wanted and grew fat;

they enjoyed all the good things you gave them.

26 “But your people rebelled and disobeyed you;

they turned their backs on your Law.

They killed the prophets who warned them,

who told them to turn back to you.

They insulted you time after time,

27so you let their enemies conquer and rule them.

In their trouble they called to you for help,

and you answered them from heaven.

In your great mercy you sent them leaders

who rescued them from their foes.

28When peace returned, they sinned again,

and again you let their enemies conquer them.

Yet when they repented and asked you to save them,

in heaven you heard, and time after time

you rescued them in your great mercy.

29 You warned them to obey your teachings,

but in pride they rejected your laws,

although keeping your Law is the way to life.

Hard-headed and stubborn, they refused to obey.

30 Year after year you patiently warned them.

You inspired your prophets to speak,

but your people were deaf,

so you let them be conquered by other nations.

31And yet, because your mercy is great,

you did not forsake or destroy them.

You are a gracious and merciful God!

32 “O God, our God, how great you are!

How terrifying, how powerful!

You faithfully keep your covenant promises.

From the time when Assyrian kings oppressed us,

even till now, how much we have suffered!

Our kings, our leaders, our priests and prophets,

our ancestors, and all our people have suffered.

Remember how much we have suffered!

33You have done right to punish us;

you have been faithful, even though we have sinned.

34Our ancestors, our kings, leaders, and priests

have not kept your Law.

They did not listen to your commands and warnings.

35With your blessing, kings ruled your people

when they lived in the broad, fertile land you gave them;

but they failed to turn from sin and serve you.

36And now we are slaves in the land that you gave us,

this fertile land which gives us food.

37What the land produces goes to the kings

that you put over us because we sinned.

They do as they please with us and our livestock,

and we are in deep distress!”

The People Sign an Agreement

38Because of all that has happened, we, the people of Israel, hereby make a solemn written agreement, and our leaders, our Levites, and our priests put their seals to it.

Reflect

When the people offered this prayer of confession, they wore sackcloth. Sackcloth was a rough, coarse fabric that was often worn in times of trouble or sorrow. They also threw dirt or ashes on their heads to express sorrow and grief. In what ways have you expressed your sorrow and grief?

Pray

Gracious God, you alone are the Lord, Creator of the heavens and all the stars. Because of your great mercy, you never abandoned your people, and you never abandon me. I am grateful for your blessings of forgiveness, healing, and renewal. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those preparing to confess their sins

The psalm writer encourages worshipers to come before God with thanksgiving and songs of praise. God rules over all creation, and humankind is compared to a flock for which God cares. The writer encourages people to listen to God’s voice and to live in obedience and peace.

Come, let us bow down and worship him; let us kneel before YAHWEH , our Maker!

1 Come, let us praise the LORD! Let us sing for joy to God, who protects us! 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and sing joyful songs of praise. 3 For the LORD is a mighty God, a mighty king over all the gods. 4 He rules over the whole earth, from the deepest caves to the highest hills. 5 He rules over the sea, which he made; the land also, which he himself formed. 6 Come, let us bow down and worship him; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! 7 He is our God; we are the people he cares for, the flock for which he provides. Listen today to what he says: 8 “Don't be stubborn, as your ancestors were at Meribah, as they were that day in the desert at Massah. 9 There they put me to the test and tried me, although they had seen what I did for them. 10 For forty years I was disgusted with those people. I said, ‘How disloyal they are! They refuse to obey my commands.’ 11 I was angry and made a solemn promise: ‘You will never enter the land where I would have given you rest.’”  

Reflect

Reread verses 7-11. Sheep normally listen to their shepherd (John 10:4), but this passage tells how God’s people did not listen. The psalm writer uses this memory to call people to obey God “today.” These verses may have been spoken in a worship service by a priest or prophet. How can remembering stories from your own spiritual life impact the way you respond to God now?

Pray

God of grace and mercy, there are times in my life when I have failed to listen to your call. Forgive me. Help me to hear your voice in all aspects of my life so that I may serve you faithfully. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who are hearing impaired

God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Introduction

1 Timothy 4:1-16: Today’s passage includes warnings about false teachings, along with personal advice to Timothy. Timothy is told not to let anyone undermine him because of his youth and to continue sharing his gifts by reading Scripture, preaching and teaching.

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:12b

Be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity.

Today’s Reading

1 The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. 2 Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron. 3 Such people teach that it is wrong to marry and to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten, after a prayer of thanks, by those who are believers and have come to know the truth. 4 Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks, 5 because the word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God. 6 If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. 7 But keep away from those godless legends, which are not worth telling. Keep yourself in training for a godly life. 8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future. 9 This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed. 10 We struggle and work hard, because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all and especially of those who believe. 11 Give them these instructions and these teachings. 12 Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity. 13 Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the Scriptures and to preaching and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you, which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things and devote yourself to them, in order that your progress may be seen by all. 16 Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.  

Reflect

Timothy was probably younger than other church leaders of his time. What advice does he receive that could help him be a respected leader despite his youth? How are young leaders treated within your community of faith? How can the church embrace new styles of leadership from young people?

Pray

God of grace, at the height of his ministry, Jesus was a young man. May his example remind the church that young people are particularly gifted to share your Word. Lift them up and empower them by your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Youth leaders
a full orchestra of musical instruments is to be joined by a full choir of voices, as “all living creatures” join the song of praise. Every verse begins with and includes the word “praise” and the word appears thirteen times.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 150:6

Praise the LORD, all living creatures! Praise the LORD!

Today’s Reading

1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his Temple! Praise his strength in heaven! 2 Praise him for the mighty things he has done. Praise his supreme greatness. 3 Praise him with trumpets. Praise him with harps and lyres. 4 Praise him with drums and dancing. Praise him with harps and flutes. 5 Praise him with cymbals. Praise him with loud cymbals. 6 Praise the LORD, all living creatures! Praise the LORD!  

Reflect

Music and musical instruments are mentioned frequently in the Bible, but unfortunately no actual melodies are preserved and we can only guess at the exact sounds of the instruments. What instruments are mentioned in today’s psalm? What kinds of music are most helpful to you in praising God? What does it mean to you to make a joyful noise unto the Lord?

Pray

Praise the LORD! Lord, I praise you for all the mighty things you have done. May the joyful noises I make be pleasing to you. Give me the confidence to sing, dance, and play boldly in my worship of you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Church musicians and choirs


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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 27 Aoû - 6:29

Timothy 2:1-15 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Introduction

1 Timothy 2:1-15: Instructions are offered on how and for whom to pray, including praying for kings and others in power. According to Paul, it was important for Christians to show respect to authorities so that they could avoid trouble. Also prescribed are restrictions on women’s dress and freedom of expression.

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:5, 6a

For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself to redeem the whole human race.

Today’s Reading

1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people; 2 for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence toward God and with proper conduct. 3 This is good and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself to redeem the whole human race. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved, 7 and that is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, to proclaim the message of faith and truth. I am not lying; I am telling the truth! 8 In every church service I want the men to pray, men who are dedicated to God and can lift up their hands in prayer without anger or argument. 9 I also want the women to be modest and sensible about their clothes and to dress properly; not with fancy hair styles or with gold ornaments or pearls or expensive dresses, 10 but with good deeds, as is proper for women who claim to be religious. 11 Women should learn in silence and all humility. 12 I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must keep quiet. 13 For Adam was created first, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God's law. 15 But a woman will be saved through having children, if she perseveres in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

Reflect

What is your prayer for those “who are in authority”? How do you interpret what is stated in verses 8-15? How do you understand these verses in light of Paul’s claim that “there is no difference…between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) and that “anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)?

Pray

Gracious God, in Christ our human hierarchies are flattened as we become new creations through you. Empower me to work for justice and equality for all people, that we may experience Christ’s love anew in our world. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those in positions of authority
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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 27 Aoû - 6:30

Timothy 3:1-9 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live

Introduction

2 Timothy 3:1-9: This passage warns Timothy that some of Christ’s followers will be fooled by false and evil teachers. In the end, their foolishness will be overcome by God’s truth. Jannes and Jambres are mentioned as examples of those who opposed the truth. Their names are not found in the Old Testament; but according to Jewish tradition, these were the names of the two Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses (see Exodus 7:11, 22).

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:8b

…these people are opposed to the truth—people…who are failures in the faith.

Today’s Reading

1 Remember that there will be difficult times in the last days. 2 People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and irreligious; 3 they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; 4 they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God; 5 they will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power. Keep away from such people. 6 Some of them go into people's houses and gain control over weak women who are burdened by the guilt of their sins and driven by all kinds of desires, 7 women who are always trying to learn but who can never come to know the truth. 8 As Jannes and Jambres were opposed to Moses, so also these people are opposed to the truth—people whose minds do not function and who are failures in the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, because everyone will see how stupid they are. That is just what happened to Jannes and Jambres.

Reflect

In verses 1-5, Timothy is given a brief description of how difficult the “last days” will be. According to these verses, what will people be like at that time? How are the behavior and thoughts of the people described here different from the kinds of behavior and thoughts Christians are to practice?

Pray

Almighty God, help me to hold fast to your truth and remain strong in faith. May I live each day in a way that is pleasing to you. In your holy name I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who have rejected the Good News
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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 15 Oct - 17:26

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvLbWSpBBQw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVkfx-0nL8c

Mark 12:35-44: Jesus points to the behavior of the teachers of the Law as behavior to be avoided inasmuch as they seek praise and exhibit false piety. He commends a poor widow for her offering of two coins which were worth more than the offerings from the rich since she gave what she needed to live on.

Today’s Scripture: Mark 12:44

“Others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had – she gave all she had to live on.”

Today’s Reading

35 As Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he asked the question, “How can the teachers of the Law say that the Messiah will be the descendant of David? 36 The Holy Spirit inspired David to say: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit here at my right side until I put your enemies under your feet.’ 37 David himself called him “Lord”; so how can the Messiah be David's descendant? ” A large crowd was listening to Jesus gladly. 38 As he taught them, he said, “Watch out for the teachers of the Law, who like to walk around in their long robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplace, 39 who choose the reserved seats in the synagogues and the best places at feasts. 40 They take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers. Their punishment will be all the worse! ” 41 As Jesus sat near the Temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; 42 then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. 43 He called his disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. 44 For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had—she gave all she had to live on. ”

Reflect

The teachers of the Law were Jewish scholars who studied the Law of Moses and tried to teach others how to live by what the Law taught. Jesus shows how these teachers liked to be noticed for what they were doing. Some of them accepted sums of money from widows for giving advice or praying for them, and sometimes widows gave over their houses in payment (see verse 40). What does Jesus say about these teachers? Do you think Jesus’ commending the widow for her offering was also a condemnation of widows being exploited by the teachers of the Law? Are there situations today where people are bereft of resources due to the exploitive behavior of others?

Pray

Lord God, open my eyes and heart this day to the needs of others. Teach me to share my resources generously and to extend your love to all I meet this day. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Widows

Psalm 100: This psalm is a hymn of praise that acknowledges God as our Creator and us as God’s people. It affirms our reasons for thanking and praising God.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 100:5

The LORD is good; his love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever.

Today’s Reading

1 Sing to the LORD, all the world! 2 Worship the LORD with joy; come before him with happy songs! 3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God. He made us, and we belong to him; we are his people, we are his flock. 4 Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving; go into its courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise him. 5 The LORD is good; his love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever.  

Reflect

This psalm affirms that we belong to God and compares God’s people to a flock of sheep. What are your thoughts about this image? Verse 5 concludes the psalm with the reason for praising God. How will you thank and praise God today?

Pray

Lord, you indeed are good and your faithfulness lasts forever. Gather us all into your flock and renew and refresh us with your life-giving Word. I thank and praise you for your mercy, love, and care. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who tend flocks of sheep

Psalm 67: Today’s reading is a psalm that may have been used originally at a worship service during the harvest season. The psalm writer states that, when other nations see how God has blessed Israel, they will honor Israel’s God.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 67:7

God has blessed us; may all people everywhere honor him.

Today’s Reading

1 God, be merciful to us and bless us; look on us with kindness, 2 so that the whole world may know your will; so that all nations may know your salvation. 3 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! 4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, because you judge the peoples with justice and guide every nation on earth. 5 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! 6 The land has produced its harvest; God, our God, has blessed us. 7 God has blessed us; may all people everywhere honor him.  

Reflect

God’s blessing means that God provides everything needed for life. In what ways has God blessed you? How can you be a blessing to others?

Pray

I praise and thank you, O God, for your abundant blessings. You judge the peoples with justice and guide every nation on earth. May the whole world know your will so that all nations may know your salvation. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who need to hear the good news of God’s salvation


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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Jeu 30 Oct - 19:33



Today’s Scripture: Mark 13:26

Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

Today’s Reading

24 In the days after that time of trouble the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, 25 the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses. 26 Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send the angels out to the four corners of the earth to gather God's chosen people from one end of the world to the other. 28 Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When its branches become green and tender and it starts putting out leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that the time is near, ready to begin. 30 Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 32 No one knows, however, when that day or hour will come—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; only the Father knows. 33 Be on watch, be alert, for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It will be like a man who goes away from home on a trip and leaves his servants in charge, after giving to each one his own work to do and after telling the doorkeeper to keep watch. 35 Watch, then, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming—it might be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or at sunrise. 36 If he comes suddenly, he must not find you asleep. 37 What I say to you, then, I say to all: Watch! ”  

Reflect

How does Jesus describe the coming of the Son of Man? Why does Jesus tell his followers to be watchful? How do you prepare for the unexpected? What does this passage say to you with regard to living faithfully?

Pray

Lord Jesus, as I await your coming in power and glory, keep me faithful. Open my heart to be ever ready to receive and welcome you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those experiencing anxiety about the future


God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Jeremiah 10:1-16: The prophet Jeremiah lived during the latter part of the seventh century and first part of the sixth century B.C. During his ministry, he warned God’s people of the catastrophe that was to fall upon the nation because of their idolatry and sin. In today’s reading, the prophet warns the people to avoid idolatry and points out the foolishness of worshiping other gods. The reading concludes with a hymn of praise to God.

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 10:6

LORD, there is no one like you; you are mighty, and your name is great and powerful.

Today’s Reading

1 People of Israel, listen to the message that the LORD has for you. 2 He says, “Do not follow the ways of other nations; do not be disturbed by unusual sights in the sky, even though other nations are terrified. 3 The religion of these people is worthless. A tree is cut down in the forest; it is carved by the tools of the woodworker 4 and decorated with silver and gold. It is fastened down with nails to keep it from falling over. 5 Such idols are like scarecrows in a field of melons; they cannot speak; they have to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them: they can cause you no harm, and they can do you no good.” 6LORD, there is no one like you; you are mighty, and your name is great and powerful. 7 Who would not honor you, the king of all nations? You deserve to be honored. There is no one like you among all the wise men of the nations or among any of their kings. 8 All of them are stupid and foolish. What can they learn from wooden idols? 9 Their idols are covered with silver from Spain and with gold from Uphaz, all the work of artists; they are dressed in violet and purple cloth woven by skilled weavers. 10 But you, LORD, are the true God, you are the living God and the eternal king. When you are angry, the world trembles; the nations cannot endure your anger. ( 11 You people must tell them that the gods who did not make the earth and the sky will be destroyed. They will no longer exist anywhere on earth.) 12 The LORD made the earth by his power; by his wisdom he created the world and stretched out the heavens. 13 At his command the waters above the sky roar; he brings clouds from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning flash in the rain and sends the wind from his storeroom. 14 At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless; those who make idols are disillusioned, because the gods they make are false and lifeless. 15 They are worthless and should be despised; they will be destroyed when the LORD comes to deal with them. 16 The God of Jacob is not like them; he is the one who made everything, and he has chosen Israel to be his very own people. The LORD Almighty is his name.  

Reflect

To what does Jeremiah compare idols (verse 5)? What do you think of this description? How does Jeremiah describe the LORD (verses 6, 7, 10)? What is the most striking comparison you find in Jeremiah’s comparison of false gods to the one true God?

Pray

Holy God, LORD Almighty is your name. There is no one like you, and I praise your great and powerful name. You made everything, and you are the true and living God. May all I do and say this day bring honor and glory to you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who put their trust in false gods

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Jeremiah 23:1-8: Israel’s leaders were supposed to care for the people; for not doing so, they will be punished. In today’s reading, the prophet speaks the LORD’s message of the coming of a righteous king from the line of David who will rule with justice.

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 23:5a

The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David.”

Today’s Reading

1 How terrible will be the LORD's judgment on those rulers who destroy and scatter his people! 2 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the rulers who were supposed to take care of his people: “You have not taken care of my people; you have scattered them and driven them away. Now I am going to punish you for the evil you have done. 3 I will gather the rest of my people from the countries where I have scattered them, and I will bring them back to their homeland. They will have many children and increase in number. 4 I will appoint rulers to take care of them. My people will no longer be afraid or terrified, and I will not punish them again. I, the LORD, have spoken. ” 5 The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David. That king will rule wisely and do what is right and just throughout the land. 6 When he is king, the people of Judah will be safe, and the people of Israel will live in peace. He will be called ‘The LORD Our Salvation. ’ 7 “The time is coming,” says the LORD, when people will no longer swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 8 Instead, they will swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of a northern land and out of all the other countries where I had scattered them. Then they will live in their own land. ”  

Reflect

By what name will the righteous king be known (verse 6)? What does this name mean to you? Reread verses 5 and 6. How is the righteous king described? How is the new future described? Do you ever envision a time when all people will live in peace?

Pray

You, Lord God, are the living God who rescues us from sin and death and offers us eternal salvation. Teach me to do what is right and just and to extend your redeeming love to all I meet. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those working to bring humanitarian aid to war-torn countries

God’s Word: Offering Us True Joy

Introduction

Zephaniah 2:1-15: Zephaniah urges the people of Judah to repent, and he declares that the nations surrounding Israel are doomed.

Today’s Scripture: Zephaniah 2:3a

Turn to the LORD, all you humble people of the land, who obey his commands. Do what is right, and humble yourselves before the LORD.

Today’s Reading

1 Shameless nation, come to your senses 2 before you are driven away like chaff blown by the wind, before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day when he shows his fury. 3 Turn to the LORD, all you humble people of the land, who obey his commands. Do what is right, and humble yourselves before the LORD. Perhaps you will escape punishment on the day when the LORD shows his anger. 4 No one will be left in the city of Gaza. Ashkelon will be deserted. The people of Ashdod will be driven out in half a day, and the people of Ekron will be driven from their city. 5 You Philistines are doomed, you people who live along the coast. The LORD has passed sentence on you. He will destroy you, and not one of you will be left. 6 Your land by the sea will become open fields with shepherd's huts and sheep pens. 7 The people of Judah who survive will occupy your land. They will pasture their flocks there and sleep in the houses of Ashkelon. The LORD their God will be with them and make them prosper again. 8 The LORD Almighty says, “I have heard the people of Moab and Ammon insulting and taunting my people, and boasting that they would seize their land. 9 As surely as I am the living LORD, the God of Israel, I swear that Moab and Ammon are going to be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. They will become a place of salt pits and everlasting ruin, overgrown with weeds. Those of my people who survive will plunder them and take their land. ” 10 That is how the people of Moab and Ammon will be punished for their pride and arrogance and for insulting the people of the LORD Almighty. 11 The LORD will terrify them. He will reduce the gods of the earth to nothing, and then every nation will worship him, each in its own land. 12 The LORD will also put the people of Ethiopia to death. 13 The LORD will use his power to destroy Assyria. He will make the city of Nineveh a deserted ruin, a waterless desert. 14 It will be a place where flocks, herds, and animals of every kind will lie down. Owls will live among its ruins and hoot from the windows. Crows will caw on the doorsteps. The cedar wood of her buildings will be stripped away. 15 That is what will happen to the city that is so proud of its own power and thinks it is safe. Its people think that their city is the greatest in the world. What a desolate place it will become, a place where wild animals will rest! Everyone who passes by will shrink back in horror.  

Reflect

If possible, consult a biblical map and see if you can identify the various nations that are mentioned in today’s reading. What punishments are to be inflicted on them? Why? What warning is given to a “city that is so proud of its own power” (verse 15)?

Pray

I turn to you, Lord God, and humble myself before you. Teach me to do what is right and to obey your commands. In your holy name I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Nations at war


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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Jeu 27 Nov - 7:43

Introduction

Psalm 96: This psalm is a song that celebrates God as the supreme king over all the earth who rules with justice and fairness.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 96:7

Praise the LORD, all people on earth; praise his glory and might.

Today’s Reading

1 Sing a new song to the LORD! Sing to the LORD, all the world! 2 Sing to the LORD, and praise him! Proclaim every day the good news that he has saved us. 3 Proclaim his glory to the nations, his mighty deeds to all peoples. 4 The LORD is great and is to be highly praised; he is to be honored more than all the gods. 5 The gods of all other nations are only idols, but the LORD created the heavens. 6 Glory and majesty surround him; power and beauty fill his Temple. 7 Praise the LORD, all people on earth; praise his glory and might. 8 Praise the LORD's glorious name; bring an offering and come into his Temple. 9 Bow down before the Holy One when he appears; tremble before him, all the earth! 10 Say to all the nations, “The LORD is king! The earth is set firmly in place and cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with justice.” 11 Be glad, earth and sky! Roar, sea, and every creature in you; 12 be glad, fields, and everything in you! The trees in the woods will shout for joy 13 when the LORD comes to rule the earth. He will rule the peoples of the world with justice and fairness.

Reflect

How does the psalm writer describe the LORD? Identify all the verses that speak of joy and praise. The psalm writer encourages the singing of a “new song to the LORD” (verse 1). What “new song” will you sing to God today?

Pray

Sovereign God, with joy I sing praises to you and proclaim the good news of your salvation. Glorious and mighty are you! I sing anew to you each day and declare your everlasting love. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Hymn writers

troduction

Psalm 94: Today’s reading is in the form of a lament, calling upon God to punish the wicked and establish justice for victims of oppression.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 94:14

The LORD will not abandon his people; he will not desert those who belong to him.

Today’s Reading

1LORD, you are a God who punishes; reveal your anger! 2 You are the judge of us all; rise and give the proud what they deserve! 3 How much longer will the wicked be glad? How much longer, LORD? 4 How much longer will criminals be proud and boast about their crimes? 5 They crush your people, LORD; they oppress those who belong to you. 6 They kill widows and orphans, and murder the strangers who live in our land. 7 They say, “The LORD does not see us; the God of Israel does not notice.” 8 My people, how can you be such stupid fools? When will you ever learn? 9 God made our ears—can't he hear? He made our eyes—can't he see? 10 He scolds the nations—won't he punish them? He is the teacher of us all—hasn't he any knowledge? 11 The LORD knows what we think; he knows how senseless our reasoning is. 12LORD, how happy are those you instruct, the ones to whom you teach your law! 13 You give them rest from days of trouble until a pit is dug to trap the wicked. 14 The LORD will not abandon his people; he will not desert those who belong to him. 15 Justice will again be found in the courts, and all righteous people will support it. 16 Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against the evildoers? 17 If the LORD had not helped me, I would have gone quickly to the land of silence. 18 I said, “I am falling”; but your constant love, O LORD, held me up. 19 Whenever I am anxious and worried, you comfort me and make me glad. 20 You have nothing to do with corrupt judges, who make injustice legal, 21 who plot against good people and sentence the innocent to death. 22 But the LORD defends me; my God protects me. 23 He will punish them for their wickedness and destroy them for their sins; the LORD our God will destroy them.

Reflect

What does the psalm writer ask of God (verses 1-4)? How are the wicked described (verses 5-7)? Reread verses 12-19. What does the writer affirm about God? Have you ever turned to God for comfort when feeling anxious or worried?

Pray

Lord God, whenever I am anxious and worried, you comfort me and make me glad. Your constant love holds me up, and I know that you will never abandon me. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who are anxious and worried

Revelation 5:1-14: Today’s reading introduces the Lamb of God, who alone is worthy to break open the seven seals of a scroll. (The sixth chapter of Revelation describes the opening of the seven seals which contain God’s plan for defeating the powers of evil.) Chapter 5 concludes with a hymn of praise to the Lamb, similar to the conclusion of chapter 4 and the hymn of praise to God.

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 5:12

“The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength, honor, glory, and praise!”

Today’s Reading

1 I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne; it was covered with writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel, who announced in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But there was no one in heaven or on earth or in the world below who could open the scroll and look inside it. 4 I cried bitterly because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside it. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Don't cry. Look! The Lion from Judah's tribe, the great descendant of David, has won the victory, and he can break the seven seals and open the scroll.” 6 Then I saw a Lamb standing in the center of the throne, surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb appeared to have been killed. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God that have been sent through the whole earth. 7 The Lamb went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. 8 As he did so, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God's people. 9 They sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to break open its seals. For you were killed, and by your sacrificial death you bought for God people from every tribe, language, nation, and race. 10 You have made them a kingdom of priests to serve our God, and they shall rule on earth.” 11 Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood around the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, 12 and sang in a loud voice: “The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength, honor, glory, and praise!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea—all living beings in the universe—and they were singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever!” 14 The four living creatures answered, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Reflect

What is happening around the throne? The number 7 appears several times in today’s reading. It is a number that signifies completeness and perfection. In what verses does the number appear? In each instance, to what does the number refer?

Pray

Worthy is the Lamb! To him be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever! Amen!

Prayer Concern

College and university choirs

Psalm 92: This psalm is a song written for use on the Sabbath, the day for rest and worship (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). It celebrates God’s goodness and righteousness.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 92:1

How good it is to give thanks to you, O LORD, to sing in your honor, O Most High God.

Today’s Reading

1 How good it is to give thanks to you, O LORD, to sing in your honor, O Most High God, 2 to proclaim your constant love every morning and your faithfulness every night, 3 with the music of stringed instruments and with melody on the harp. 4 Your mighty deeds, O LORD, make me glad; because of what you have done, I sing for joy. 5 How great are your actions, LORD! How deep are your thoughts! 6 This is something a fool cannot know; someone who is stupid cannot understand: 7 the wicked may grow like weeds, those who do wrong may prosper; yet they will be totally destroyed, 8 because you, LORD, are supreme forever. 9 We know that your enemies will die, and all the wicked will be defeated. 10 You have made me as strong as a wild ox; you have blessed me with happiness. 11 I have seen the defeat of my enemies and heard the cries of the wicked. 12 The righteous will flourish like palm trees; they will grow like the cedars of Lebanon. 13 They are like trees planted in the house of the LORD, that flourish in the Temple of our God, 14 that still bear fruit in old age and are always green and strong. 15 This shows that the LORD is just, that there is no wrong in my protector.

Reflect

This psalm, in addition to being a song of praise, is also written in the wisdom tradition. Reread verses 5-8 and 12-15. How are the wicked described? What is their fate? How are the righteous described? What does it mean to “flourish”? What does verse 15 affirm? You may wish to compare these verses with Psalm 1 and note the similarities. Many of the psalms were intended to be sung as part of the worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. How are psalms used in your community of faith?

Pray

Most High God, I proclaim your constant love every morning and your faithfulness every night. With you, O God, I flourish like a palm tree, rooted in you and growing strong in faith. I sing your praises, and with a thankful heart I declare your goodness to me. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Choir directors and cantors


Psalm 93: Today’s reading is considered an enthronement hymn. In this brief psalm, God is affirmed as king whose eternal laws testify to God’s universal rule.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 93:2

Your throne, O LORD, has been firm from the beginning, and you existed before time began.

Today’s Reading

1 The LORD is king. He is clothed with majesty and strength. The earth is set firmly in place and cannot be moved. 2 Your throne, O LORD, has been firm from the beginning, and you existed before time began. 3 The ocean depths raise their voice, O LORD; they raise their voice and roar. 4 The LORD rules supreme in heaven, greater than the roar of the ocean, more powerful than the waves of the sea. 5 Your laws are eternal, LORD, and your Temple is holy indeed, forever and ever.

Reflect

The title “King” is often used for God in Psalms. As “King,” God rules the whole universe which he created. How is God as “King” described in this psalm? What does it mean to you to have the Lord God as king?

Pray

Sovereign God, you are King and rule supreme in heaven and on earth. You are clothed in majesty and strength. Rule in my heart and teach me to follow your laws. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Nations served by monarchs

This psalm is a communal hymn of praise and offers thanks and praise to God for an abundant harvest and for God’s blessings.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 65:1, 2a

O God, it is right for us to praise you in Zion and keep our promises to you, because you answer prayers.

Today’s Reading

1 O God, it is right for us to praise you in Zion and keep our promises to you, 2 because you answer prayers. People everywhere will come to you 3 on account of their sins. Our faults defeat us, but you forgive them. 4 Happy are those whom you choose, whom you bring to live in your sanctuary. We shall be satisfied with the good things of your house, the blessings of your sacred Temple. 5 You answer us by giving us victory, and you do wonderful things to save us. People all over the world and across the distant seas trust in you. 6 You set the mountains in place by your strength, showing your mighty power. 7 You calm the roar of the seas and the noise of the waves; you calm the uproar of the peoples. 8 The whole world stands in awe of the great things that you have done. Your deeds bring shouts of joy from one end of the earth to the other. 9 You show your care for the land by sending rain; you make it rich and fertile. You fill the streams with water; you provide the earth with crops. This is how you do it: 10 you send abundant rain on the plowed fields and soak them with water; you soften the soil with showers and cause the young plants to grow. 11 What a rich harvest your goodness provides! Wherever you go there is plenty. 12 The pastures are filled with flocks; the hillsides are full of joy. 13 The fields are covered with sheep; the valleys are full of wheat. Everything shouts and sings for joy.

Reflect

How does the psalm writer describe God’s care for the land and for people? Zion is the name of the mountain in Jerusalem where the Temple was built. The people kept their promises with correct worship, including offering prayers of thanks and bringing gifts and sacrifices. Describe the worship life in your community of faith. In what ways does it reflect promises to God?

Pray

O God, I thank and praise you for your abundant love and blessings. You show your love and care for me and for all your creation. On this day I promise _____________________. In your holy name I pray, Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those preparing and serving Thanksgiving meals at community soup kitchens and those being served

Tomorrow's Reading

Psalm 66: A psalm in praise of God’s deeds.
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MessageSujet: Re: christian    Mer 25 Fév - 6:04

Hannah, who is childless, is tormented by her husband’s other wife, Peninnah. She prays to God for a son and names him Samuel which, in Hebrew, means “name of God” and is related to the Hebrew verb for “ask.” 1 Samuel 1:15b Elkanah and His Family at Shiloh

There was a man named Elkanah, from the tribe of Ephraim, who lived in the town of Ramah in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham and grandson of Elihu, and belonged to the family of Tohu, a part of the clan of Zuph.Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.Every year Elkanah went from Ramah to worship and offer sacrifices to GOD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of GOD. Each time Elkanah offered his sacrifice, he would give one share of the meat to Peninnah and one share to each of her children. even though he loved Hannah very much he would give her only one share, because YAHWEH had kept her from having children.Peninnah, her rival, would torment and humiliate her, because YAHWEH had kept her childless.This went on year after year; whenever they went to the house of GOD, Peninnah would upset Hannah so much that she would cry and refuse to eat anything.Her husband Elkanah would ask her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why won't you eat? Why are you always so sad? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?”

Hannah and Eli

One time, after they had finished their meal in the house of YAHWEH at Shiloh, Hannah got up. She was deeply distressed, and she cried bitterly as she prayed to GOD. Meanwhile, Eli the priest was sitting in his place by the door.Hannah made a solemn promise: “YAHWEH Almighty, look at me, Your servant! See my trouble and remember me! Don't forget me! If you give me a son, I promise that I will dedicate him to YOU for his whole life and that he will never have his hair cut.” Hannah continued to pray to GOD for a long time, and Eli watched her lips.She was praying silently; her lips were moving, but she made no sound. So Eli thought that she was drunk,and he said to her, “Stop making a drunken show of yourself Stop your drinking and sober up!” “No, I'm not drunk, sir,” she answered. “I haven't been drinking! I am desperate, and I have been praying, pouring out my troubles to YAHWEH.Don't think I am a worthless woman. I have been praying like this because I'm so miserable.” “Go in peace,” Eli said, “and may the God of Israel give you what you have asked him for.” “May you always think kindly of me,” she replied. she went away, ate some food, and was no longer sad.

Samuel's Birth and Dedication

The next morning Elkanah and his family got up early, and after worshiping GOD, they went back home to Ramah. Elkanah had intercourse with his wife Hannah, and GOD answered her prayer.So it was that she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, and explained, “I asked YAHWEH for him.” The time came again for Elkanah and his family to go to Shiloh and offer to GOD the yearly sacrifice and the special sacrifice he had promised.This time Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will take him to the house of GOD, where he will stay all his life.” Elkanah answered, “All right, do whatever you think best; stay at home until you have weaned him. May YAHWEH make your promise come true.” Hannah stayed at home and nursed her child. After she had weaned him, she took him to Shiloh, taking along a three-year-old bull, a bushel of flour, and a leather bag full of wine. She took Samuel, young as he was, to the house of YAHWEH at Shiloh.After they had killed the bull, they took the child to Eli.Hannah said to him, “Excuse me, sir. Do you remember me? I am the woman you saw standing here, praying to GOD.I asked him for this child, and he gave me what I asked for.So I am dedicating him to YAHWEH. As long as he lives, he will belong to YAHWEH.” They worshiped YAHWEH there. Reflect Children were considered a sign of God’s blessing (Psalm 127:3-5). What might Peninnah have been saying to Hannah? How would you describe Hannah’s distress? What promise did Hannah make to God (verse 11)? Pray Almighty God, we pour out our heart to YOU. We are Your servant. Hear our prayer and draw us close to YOU. We pray in Your holy name. Amen. Prayer Concern Newborn beings

Psalm 4: In this individual prayer, the writer expresses both a plea for God’s help as well as trust in God’s safety.

Psalm 4:3

Remember that the LORD has chosen the righteous for his own, and he hears me when I call to him.

Today’s Reading

Evening Prayer for Help

1Answer me when I pray,

O God, my defender!

When I was in trouble, you helped me.

Be kind to me now and hear my prayer.

2How long will you people insult me?

How long will you love what is worthless

and go after what is false?

3Remember that the Lord has chosen the righteous for his own,

and he hears me when I call to him.

4 Tremble with fear and stop sinning;

think deeply about this,

when you lie in silence on your beds.

5Offer the right sacrifices to the Lord,

and put your trust in him.

6There are many who pray:

“Give us more blessings, O Lord.

Look on us with kindness!”

7But the joy that you have given me

is more than they will ever have

with all their grain and wine.

8When I lie down, I go to sleep in peace;

you alone, O YAHWEH, keep me perfectly safe.

Reflect Reread verses 2-5. What is being said to those who are initiating insults? In verse 7 the writer speaks of the joy that comes from YAHWEH. How do you experience the joy of YAHWEH?

Pray Almighty GOD, YOU are our place of safety, and YOU hear us when we call out to YOU. In YOU, GOD, we put our trust; Your love and kindness fill us with joy. When we lie down, we sleep peacefully and safely in Your love. Amen. Prayer Concern Those experiencing insomnia

John 13:21-38: Jesus predicts his betrayal by Judas, & gives his disciples a new commandment about loving one another. The chapter concludes with Jesus predicting that Peter will deny him. John 13:34 “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal Matthew 26.20-25; Mark 14.17-21; Luke 22.21-23

After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant.One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus.Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him whom he is talking about.” So that disciple moved closer to Jesus' side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?” Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man.” So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Hurry and do what you must!”None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him.Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.

The New Commandment

After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man's glory is revealed; now God's glory is revealed through him.And if God's glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once.My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial Matthew 26.31-35; Mark 14.27-31; Luke 22.31-34

“Where are you going, Lord?” Simon Peter asked him.“You cannot follow me now where I am going,” answered Jesus; “but later you will follow me.”“Lord, why can't I follow you now?” asked Peter. “I am ready to die for you!” Jesus answered, “Are you really ready to die for me? I am telling you the truth: before the rooster crows you will say three times that you do not know me.

Reflect In yesterday’s reading (John 13:1-20) we learned from Jesus’ example what it means to serve one another. In today’s reading, Jesus gives a new commandment to love one another in the same way that he has shown his love for people. How do you make known to others Jesus’ love for you? What loving acts of service will you do today?

Pray YAHWEH, remind us every day of Your new commandment to love others as Yeshua has loved us. May our words and actions reflect Your love for us and make visible a love for others. In Yeshua's holy name, we pray. Amen. Prayer Concern abused living beings all around the earth

a psalm attributed to David, written after Doeg the Edomite (who was one of King Saul’s army officers) went to Saul and told him that David had gone to the house of the priest Ahimelech. While trying to help Saul capture David, Doeg killed Ahimelech and many of Israel’s priests and their families (see 1 Samuel 22:6-19). The opening verses include accusations against the wicked and words of God’s judgment, and the psalm concludes by affirming the goodness of God.

Psalm 52:8 But I am like an olive tree growing in the house of God; I trust in his constant love forever and ever.

God's Judgment and Grace

Why do you boast, great one, of your evil?

God's faithfulness is eternal.

You make plans to ruin others;

your tongue is like a sharp razor.

You are always inventing lies.

You love evil more than good

and falsehood more than truth.

You love to hurt people with your words, you liar!

So God will ruin you forever;

He will take hold of you and snatch you from your home;

He will remove you from the world of the living.

Righteous people will see this and be afraid;

then they will laugh at you and say,

“Look, here is someone who did not depend on God for safety,

but trusted instead in great wealth

and looked for security in being wicked.”

But I am like an olive tree growing in the house of God;

I trust in his constant love forever and ever.

I will always thank you, God, for what you have done;

in the presence of your people

I will proclaim that you are good.

Reflect In verse 8, the psalm writer compares himself to an olive tree. Olive trees live a long time, and even when cut down, they sprout from the root. They symbolize people whose foundation for life is their trust in God’s love. Such people are the opposite of the wicked who have no roots (see verse 5). In what ways can you be like an olive tree, demonstrating that your foundation for life is built on your trust in God and God’s love?

Pray God, nurture us each day with Your holy word so that we grow like an olive tree in knowledge of YOU. We thank and praise YOU and will proclaim Your goodness forever. Amen. prayer Concern all the animals murdered by human beings

Josiah organizes the Passover and ensures that the duties are divided among the priests and the leaders. Everyone has a clear idea of what is required and they work together to make it the greatest Passover celebration since the days of Samuel the prophet.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Chronicles 35:16a

So, as King Josiah had commanded, everything was done that day for the worship of the LORD.

Today’s Reading

Josiah Celebrates the Passover

(2 Kings 23.21-23)

1King Josiah celebrated the Passover at Jerusalem in honor of the Lord; on the fourteenth day of the first month they killed the animals for the festival.2He assigned to the priests the duties they were to perform in the Temple and encouraged them to do them well.3He also gave these instructions to the Levites, the teachers of Israel, who were dedicated to the Lord: “Put the sacred Covenant Box in the Temple that King Solomon, the son of David, built. You are no longer to carry it from place to place, but you are to serve the Lord your God and his people Israel.4 Take your places in the Temple by clans, according to the responsibilities assigned to you by King David and his son King Solomon,5and arrange yourselves so that some of you will be available to help each family of the people of Israel.6You are to kill the Passover lambs and goats. Now make yourselves ritually clean and prepare the sacrifices in order that your fellow Israelites may follow the instructions which the Lord gave through Moses.”

7For the use of the people at the Passover, King Josiah contributed from his own herds and flocks 30,000 sheep, lambs, and young goats, and 3,000 bulls.8His officials also made contributions for the people, the priests, and the Levites to use. And the officials in charge of the Temple—Hilkiah, the High Priest, Zechariah, and Jehiel—gave the priests 2,600 lambs and young goats and 300 bulls for sacrifices during the festival.9The leaders of the Levites—Conaniah, Shemaiah and his brother Nethanel, Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad—contributed 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 bulls for the Levites to offer as sacrifices.

10When everything was arranged for the Passover, the priests and the Levites took their posts, as commanded by the king.11After the lambs and goats had been killed, the Levites skinned them, and the priests sprinkled the blood on the altar.12Then they divided among the people, by family groups, the animals for burnt offerings, so that they could offer them according to the instructions in the Law of Moses.13 The Levites roasted the Passover sacrifices over the fire, according to the regulations, and boiled the sacred offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and quickly distributed the meat to the people.14After this was done, the Levites provided meat for themselves and for the priests descended from Aaron, for the priests were kept busy until night, burning the animals that were burned whole and the fat of the sacrifices.15 The following musicians of the Levite clan of Asaph were in the places assigned to them by King David's instructions: Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king's prophet. The guards at the Temple gates did not need to leave their posts, because the other Levites prepared the Passover for them.16So, as King Josiah had commanded, everything was done that day for the worship of the Lord, the keeping of the Passover Festival, and the offering of burnt offerings on the altar.17 For seven days all the people of Israel who were present celebrated the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread.18Since the days of the prophet Samuel, the Passover had never been celebrated like this. None of the former kings had ever celebrated a Passover like this one celebrated by King Josiah, the priests, the Levites, and the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem19in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign.

Reflect

What contributions did various individuals or groups make for the Passover celebration? How are responsibilities assigned within your community of faith? Does everyone have a clear idea of what is required? Verse 15 says that some Levites prepared food for the temple guards so they would not have to leave their places. What actions can you take to enhance life for those whom you encounter day by day?

Pray

Dear God, keep me encouraged by your Word so I may work together with your people to advance your kingdom here on earth and glorify you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who work on assembly lines

2 Chronicles 6:12-42: In his prayer, Solomon acknowledges God’s faithfulness and the fulfillment of God’s promises. He asks God to hear the prayers of the people and to deal with the people favorably if they repent and pray.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Chronicles 6:14

“LORD God of Israel, in all heaven and earth there is no god like you. You keep your covenant with your people and show them your love when they live in wholehearted obedience to you.”

Today’s Reading

Solomon's Prayer

(1 Kings 8.22-53)

12Then in the presence of the people Solomon went and stood in front of the altar and raised his arms in prayer. (13Solomon had made a bronze platform and put it in the middle of the courtyard. It was eight feet square and five feet high. He mounted this platform, knelt down where everyone could see him, and raised his hands toward heaven.)14He prayed, “Lord God of Israel, in all heaven and earth there is no god like you. You keep your covenant with your people and show them your love when they live in wholehearted obedience to you.15You have kept the promise you made to my father David; today every word has been fulfilled.16 Now, Lord God of Israel, keep the other promise you made to my father when you told him that there would always be one of his descendants ruling as king of Israel, provided that they carefully obeyed your Law just as he did.17So now, Lord God of Israel, let everything come true that you promised to your servant David.

18 “But can you, O God, really live on earth among men and women? Not even all of heaven is large enough to hold you, so how can this Temple that I have built be large enough?19Lord my God, I am your servant. Listen to my prayer and grant the requests I make to you.20 Watch over this Temple day and night. You have promised that this is where you will be worshiped, so hear me when I face this Temple and pray.21Hear my prayers and the prayers of your people Israel when they face this place and pray. In your home in heaven hear us and forgive us.

22“When people are accused of wronging others and are brought to your altar in this Temple to take an oath that they are innocent,23O Lord, listen in heaven and judge your servants. Punish the guilty ones as they deserve and acquit the innocent.

24“When your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you and then when they turn to you and come to this Temple, humbly praying to you for forgiveness,25listen to them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people and bring them back to the land which you gave to them and to their ancestors.

26“When you hold back the rain because your people have sinned against you and then when they repent and face this Temple, humbly praying to you,27O Lord, listen to them in heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, the people of Israel, and teach them to do what is right. Then, O Lord, send rain on this land of yours, which you gave to your people as a permanent possession.

28“When there is famine in the land or an epidemic or the crops are destroyed by scorching winds or swarms of locusts, or when your people are attacked by their enemies, or when there is disease or sickness among them,29listen to their prayers. If any of your people Israel, out of heartfelt sorrow, stretch out their hands in prayer toward this Temple,30hear their prayer. Listen to them in your home in heaven and forgive them. You alone know the thoughts of the human heart. Deal with each of us as we deserve,31so that your people may honor you and obey you all the time they live in the land which you gave to our ancestors.

32“When foreigners who live in a distant land hear how great and powerful you are and how you are always ready to act, and then they come to pray at this Temple,33listen to their prayers. In heaven, where you live, hear them and do what they ask you to do, so that all the peoples of the world may know you and obey you, as your people Israel do. Then they will know that this Temple I have built is where you are to be worshiped.

34“When you command your people to go into battle against their enemies and they pray to you, wherever they are, facing this city which you have chosen and this Temple which I have built for you,35listen to their prayers. Hear them in heaven and give them victory.

36“When your people sin against you—and there is no one who does not sin—and in your anger you let their enemies defeat them and take them as prisoners to some other land, even if that land is far away,37listen to your people's prayers. If there in that land they repent and pray to you, confessing how sinful and wicked they have been, hear their prayers, O Lord.38If in that land they truly and sincerely repent and pray to you as they face toward this land which you gave to our ancestors, this city which you have chosen, and this Temple which I have built for you,39then listen to their prayers. In your home in heaven hear them and be merciful to them and forgive all the sins of your people.

40“Now, O my God, look on us and listen to the prayers offered in this place.41 Rise up now, Lord God, and with the Covenant Box, the symbol of your power, enter the Temple and stay here forever. Bless your priests in all they do, and may all your people be happy because of your goodness to them.42Lord God, do not reject the king you have chosen. Remember the love you had for your servant David.”

Reflect

Why do you think Solomon places so much emphasis on repentance and prayer? How would you describe your own prayer life? In what ways do you experience a covenant relationship with God?

Pray

Lord God, in your home in heaven, you hear us when we pray. Trusting in your forgiving love, I offer you my repentant heart. In your holy name I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who offer intercessory prayers

Chronicles 7:1-22: After Solomon offered his prayer to GOD , he dedicated the Temple and offered sacrifices to GOD. Solomon and all the people celebrated the Festival of Shelters. God appeared to Solomon and acknowledged his prayer.

2 Chronicles 7:15 YAHWEH said I will watch over this Temple and be ready to hear all the prayers that are offered here. The Dedication of the Temple When King Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and burned up the sacrifices that had been offered, and the dazzling light of GOD's presence filled the Temple.Because the Temple was full of the dazzling light, the priests could not enter it. When the people of Israel saw the fire fall from heaven and the light fill the Temple, they fell face downward on the pavement, worshiping God and praising Him for his goodness and his eternal love.Then Solomon and all the people offered sacrifices to YAHWEH.He sacrificed 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings. he and all the people dedicated the Temple.The priests stood in the places that were assigned to them, and facing them stood the Levites, praising GOD with the musical instruments that king david had provided and singing the hymn, “His Love Is Eternal!” as they had been commissioned by david. The priests blew trumpets while all the people stood. Solomon consecrated the central part of the courtyard, the area in front of the Temple, and then offered there the sacrifices burned whole, the grain offerings, and the fat from the fellowship offerings. He did this because the bronze altar which he had made was too small for all these offerings. Solomon and all the people of Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters for seven days. There was a huge crowd of people from as far away as Hamath Pass in the north and the Egyptian border in the south.They had spent seven days for the dedication of the altar and then seven more days for the festival. On the last day they had a closing celebration,and on the following day, the twenty-third day of the seventh month, Solomon sent the people home. They were happy about all the blessings that YAHWEH had given to his people Israel, to David, and to Solomon.

God Appears to Solomon Again 1 Kings 9.1-9 After King Solomon had finished the Temple and the palace, successfully completing all his plans for them,12the Lord appeared to him at night. He said to him, “I have heard your prayer, and I accept this Temple as the place where sacrifices are to be offered to me.13Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people,14if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.15I will watch over this Temple and be ready to hear all the prayers that are offered here,16because I have chosen it and consecrated it as the place where I will be worshiped forever. I will watch over it and protect it for all time.17If you serve me faithfully as your father David did, obeying my laws and doing everything I have commanded you,18 I will keep the promise I made to your father David when I told him that Israel would always be ruled by his descendants.19But if you and your people ever disobey the laws and commands I have given you and worship other gods,20then I will remove you from the land that I gave you, and I will abandon this Temple that I have consecrated as the place where I am to be worshiped. People everywhere will ridicule it and treat it with contempt. “The Temple is now greatly honored, but then everyone who passes by it will be amazed and will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land and this Temple?’22People will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt. They gave their allegiance to other gods and worshiped them. That is why the Lord has brought this disaster on them.’” Reflect After King Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven, burning up the sacrifices as a sign of God’s presence and approval. How did the people react when they saw the fire? In what ways does your community of faith experience God’s presence? Reread verses 11-22. What did God say to Solomon?

Pray Merciful God, thank YOU for the ways in which YOU keep Your promises to Your people. We praise YOU for Your goodness and eternal love. Make us ever mindful of Your will so that we may live and serve according to Your ways. Amen.

Prayer Concern Houses of worship being dedicated all around the earth

Chronicles 5:1-14: King Solomon celebrates God’s faithfulness to the people of Israel by bringing the Covenant Box to the newly built Temple in Jerusalem. The priests carry it into the Most Holy Place, and God’s glory fills the Temple.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Chronicles 5:13b

They praised the LORD singing: “Praise the LORD, because he is good, And his love is eternal.”

Today’s Reading

1 When King Solomon finished all the work on the Temple, he placed in the Temple storerooms all the things that his father David had dedicated to the Lord —the silver, gold, and other articles.

The Covenant Box Is Brought to the Temple

(1 Kings 8.1-9)

2 Then King Solomon summoned all the leaders of the tribes and clans of Israel to assemble in Jerusalem, in order to take the Lord's Covenant Box from Zion, David's City, to the Temple.3They all assembled at the time of the Festival of Shelters.4When all the leaders had gathered, then the Levites lifted the Covenant Box5and carried it to the Temple. The priests and the Levites also moved the Tent of the Lord's presence and all its equipment to the Temple.6King Solomon and all the people of Israel assembled in front of the Covenant Box and sacrificed a large number of sheep and cattle—too many to count.7Then the priests carried the Covenant Box of the Lord into the Temple and put it in the Most Holy Place, beneath the winged creatures.8Their outstretched wings covered the Box and the poles it was carried by.9The ends of the poles could be seen by anyone standing directly in front of the Most Holy Place, but from nowhere else. (The poles are still there today.)10 There was nothing inside the Covenant Box except the two stone tablets which Moses had placed there at Mount Sinai, when the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel as they were coming from Egypt.

The Glory of the Lord

11-14 All the priests present, regardless of the group to which they belonged, had consecrated themselves. And all the Levite musicians—Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, and the members of their clans—were wearing linen clothing. The Levites stood near the east side of the altar with cymbals and harps, and with them were 120 priests playing trumpets. The singers were accompanied in perfect harmony by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, as they praised the Lord singing:

“Praise the Lord, because he is good,

And his love is eternal.”

As the priests were leaving the Temple, it was suddenly filled with a cloud shining with the dazzling light of the Lord's presence, and they could not continue the service of worship.

Reflect

The Covenant Box was sacred to the people of Israel. What was inside the Covenant Box? What objects in your community of faith do you consider sacred? How was God’s presence made known when the priests were leaving the Temple? You may wish to compare this description with Exodus 14:19, 20 and Exodus 40:34-38. In what ways do you experience God’s presence in your life?

Pray

Lord God, I render my heart as a dwelling place for your Spirit and a temple for your steadfast love. Reign in my heart forever. In your holy name I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Church architects

Deuteronomy 6:1-25: Moses tells the people that God wants them to obey God’s laws in the land they are about to occupy. Moses also warns them of the consequences of disobedience. Today’s reading includes the great commandment (see verse 5) that is later underscored by Jesus (see Mark 12:30).

Today’s Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:13

Honor the LORD your God, worship only him, and make your promises in his name alone.

Today’s Reading

The Great Commandment

1“These are all the laws that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. Obey them in the land that you are about to enter and occupy.2As long as you live, you and your descendants are to honor the Lord your God and obey all his laws that I am giving you, so that you may live in that land a long time.3Listen to them, people of Israel, and obey them! Then all will go well with you, and you will become a mighty nation and live in that rich and fertile land, just as the Lord, the God of our ancestors, has promised.

4 “Israel, remember this! The Lord —and the Lord alone—is our God. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.6 Never forget these commands that I am giving you today.7Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working.8Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder.9Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

Warning against Disobedience

10 “Just as the Lord your God promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he will give you a land with large and prosperous cities which you did not build.11The houses will be full of good things which you did not put in them, and there will be wells that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant. When the Lord brings you into this land and you have all you want to eat,12make certain that you do not forget the Lord who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves.13 Honor the Lord your God, worship only him, and make your promises in his name alone.14Do not worship other gods, any of the gods of the peoples around you.15If you do worship other gods, the Lord's anger will come against you like fire and will destroy you completely, because the Lord your God, who is present with you, tolerates no rivals.

16 “Do not put the Lord your God to the test, as you did at Massah.17Be sure that you obey all the laws that he has given you.18Do what the Lord says is right and good, and all will go well with you. You will be able to take possession of the fertile land that the Lord promised your ancestors,19and you will drive out your enemies, as he promised.

20“In times to come your children will ask you, ‘Why did the Lord our God command us to obey all these laws?’21Then tell them, ‘We were slaves of the king of Egypt, and the Lord rescued us by his great power.22With our own eyes we saw him work miracles and do terrifying things to the Egyptians and to their king and to all his officials.23He freed us from Egypt to bring us here and give us this land, as he had promised our ancestors he would.24Then the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these laws and to honor him. If we do, he will always watch over our nation and keep it prosperous.25If we faithfully obey everything that God has commanded us, he will be pleased with us.’

Reflect

What does Moses tell the people to do? Why are they to write and discuss the laws over and over again? What are the people promised if they obey God? What warnings are they given if they are disobedient? What do you do to help you remember God’s laws?

Pray

Lord God, help me to remember your laws and keep them foremost in my mind. Strengthen my faith day to day and help me to share your teachings with others. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Children enrolled in church schools

Ephesians 4:1-32: Paul encourages the followers of Christ to live in unity and to serve and strengthen the whole body of Christ, the Church, by using the special gifts the Holy Spirit has given them. He urges maturity among them, that they may grow strong in Christ. This strength comes through love and is made manifest through a commitment to truth. The chapter concludes with Paul drawing a distinction between the ways in which Christ’s followers lived before they knew him and after they experienced God’s grace. He says that they must give up their foolish ways and bad habits and instead live, by the help of the Holy Spirit, in ways that reflect God’s likeness.

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 4:15

By speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.

Today’s Reading

The Unity of the Body

1I urge you, then—I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you.2 Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.3Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.4There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you.5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism;6there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.

7Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given.8 As the scripture says,

“When he went up to the very heights,

he took many captives with him;

he gave gifts to people.”

9Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth. 10So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence.11It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers.12He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.13And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature.14Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent.15Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.16 Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.

The New Life in Christ

17In the Lord's name, then, I warn you: do not continue to live like the heathen, whose thoughts are worthless18and whose minds are in the dark. They have no part in the life that God gives, for they are completely ignorant and stubborn.19They have lost all feeling of shame; they give themselves over to vice and do all sorts of indecent things without restraint.

20That was not what you learned about Christ!21You certainly heard about him, and as his followers you were taught the truth that is in Jesus.22 So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires.23Your hearts and minds must be made completely new,24 and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

25 No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ.26 If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day.27Don't give the Devil a chance.28If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor.29Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.30And do not make God's Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God's mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free.31Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort.32 Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

Reflect

In today’s passage, Paul gives seven different examples of how the followers of Christ are unified (verses 4-6). What seven things do the people of God share? Reread verses 17-32 and list the things that are part of a Christian’s “old life,” and the “rules” for the “new life.” Is anything about trying to live this new life hard? If so, why?

Pray

Holy Spirit, you equip the church to love, share, teach, and serve. May we use your gifts to strengthen your body, that we will be united by faith and be mature in our understandings of Christ. Fill me with kindness and tender-heartedness, that I may forgive others as you have forgiven me. Amen

Prayer Concern all the Churches of earth

God's Prayerful Word

2 Chronicles 34:1-33: King Josiah, a descendant of David, became king at an early age. Despite his tender years, he knew that God was the only true god. In obedience to God’s laws, Josiah bans worship of foreign gods and smashes the pagan idols in Judah, Jerusalem, and all the territories he rules. He decides to repair the Temple at Jerusalem. During the repairs, The Book of the Law is found. When Josiah hears its message, he becomes sorrowful because he realizes that his people and their ancestors did not follow God’s laws. The high priest, Hilkiah, along with other men, journey to the house of Huldah, the prophetess, to find out what God requires of the people.

He…made a covenant with the LORD to obey him, to keep his laws and commands with all his heart and soul.

King Josiah of Judah

(2 Kings 22.1,2)

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years.2He did what was pleasing to the Lord; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God.

Josiah Attacks Pagan Worship

3In the eighth year that Josiah was king, while he was still very young, he began to worship the God of his ancestor King David. Four years later he began to destroy the pagan places of worship, the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and all the other idols.4 Under his direction the altars where Baal was worshiped were smashed, and the incense altars near them were torn down. They ground to dust the images of Asherah and all the other idols and then scattered the dust on the graves of the people who had sacrificed to them.5 He burned the bones of the pagan priests on the altars where they had worshiped. By doing all this, he made Judah and Jerusalem ritually clean again.6He did the same thing in the cities and the devastated areas of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far north as Naphtali.7Throughout the territory of the Northern Kingdom he smashed the altars and the symbols of Asherah, ground the idols to dust, and broke into bits all the incense altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

The Book of the Law Is Discovered

(2 Kings 22.3-20)

8In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple by ending pagan worship, King Josiah sent three men to repair the Temple of the Lord God: Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah, the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, a high official.9The money that the Levite guards had collected in the Temple was turned over to Hilkiah the High Priest. (It had been collected from the people of Ephraim and Manasseh and the rest of the Northern Kingdom, and from the people of Judah, Benjamin, and Jerusalem.)10This money was then handed over to the three men in charge of the Temple repairs, and they gave it to11the carpenters and the builders to buy the stones and the timber used to repair the buildings that the kings of Judah had allowed to decay.12The men who did the work were thoroughly honest. They were supervised by four Levites: Jahath and Obadiah of the clan of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam of the clan of Kohath. (The Levites were all skillful musicians.)13Other Levites were in charge of transporting materials and supervising the workers on various jobs, and others kept records or served as guards.

14While the money was being taken out of the storeroom, Hilkiah found the book of the Law of the Lord, the Law that God had given to Moses.15He said to Shaphan, “I have found the book of the Law here in the Temple.” He gave Shaphan the book,16and Shaphan took it to the king. He reported, “We have done everything that you commanded.17We have taken the money that was kept in the Temple and handed it over to the workers and their supervisors.”18Then he added, “I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me.” And he read it aloud to the king.

19When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay20and gave the following order to Hilkiah, to Ahikam son of Shaphan, to Abdon son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the court secretary, and to Asaiah, the king's attendant:21“Go and consult the Lord for me and for the people who still remain in Israel and Judah. Find out about the teachings of this book. The Lord is angry with us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord and have not done what this book says must be done.”

22At the king's command, Hilkiah and the others went to consult a woman named Huldah, a prophet who lived in the newer part of Jerusalem. (Her husband Shallum, the son of Tikvah and grandson of Harhas, was in charge of the Temple robes.) They described to her what had happened,23and she told them to go back to the king and give him24the following message from the Lord: “I am going to punish Jerusalem and all its people with the curses written in the book that was read to the king.25They have rejected me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and so have stirred up my anger by all they have done. My anger is aroused against Jerusalem, and it will not die down.26As for the king himself, this is what I, the Lord God of Israel, say: You listened to what is written in the book,27and you repented and humbled yourself before me, tearing your clothes and weeping, when you heard how I threatened to punish Jerusalem and its people. I have heard your prayer,28and the punishment which I am going to bring on Jerusalem will not come until after your death. I will let you die in peace.”

The men returned to King Josiah with this message.

Josiah Makes a Covenant to Obey the Lord

(2 Kings 23.1-20)

29King Josiah summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem,30and together they went to the Temple, accompanied by the priests and the Levites and all the rest of the people, rich and poor alike. Before them all the king read aloud the whole book of the covenant, which had been found in the Temple.31He stood by the royal column and made a covenant with the Lord to obey him, to keep his laws and commands with all his heart and soul, and to put into practice the demands attached to the covenant, as written in the book.32He made the people of Benjamin and everyone else present in Jerusalem promise to keep the covenant. And so the people of Jerusalem obeyed the requirements of the covenant they had made with the God of their ancestors.33King Josiah destroyed all the disgusting idols that were in the territory belonging to the people of Israel, and as long as he lived, he required the people to serve the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

Reflect

Reread verses 23-28. What message from the LORD did Huldah reveal? Do you become repentant when you realize that you have not been obeying God’s laws? Why is it significant that Josiah says, “Go and consult the LORD ” (verse 21a)? How do you determine what God wants you to do?

Pray

God, I come before you with a repentant heart. Help me to stand firm in my promise to serve only you. Repair those areas of my life that have fallen into disrepair. Loving God, I look to you for guidance. Order my steps this day. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those seeking guidance and wisdom from the Holy Scriptures

God’s people are sometimes described as a vineyard (see Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1). Jesus identifies himself as the real vine and his followers as branches connected to the vine. Jesus tells his followers to remain in him so that they bear fruit that endures. Today’s reading concludes with Jesus repeating his command to love one another.

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”

Jesus the Real Vine

1“I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener.2He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit.3You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you.4Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.6Those who do not remain in me are thrown out like a branch and dry up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, where they are burned.7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it.8My Father's glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples.9I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love.10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.

11“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.12 My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.13The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them.14And you are my friends if you do what I command you.15I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.16You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name.17This, then, is what I command you: love one another.

Reflect

Today’s reading includes another of the “I am” sayings of Jesus (verses 1, 5). Is the image of vine and branches a good metaphor for a community of faith? Why or why not? Why does Jesus say that we are to stay connected to him (the vine)? What “fruit” will you bear today?

Pray

GOD, YOU are the real vine, and we are the branches. YOU have called us Your friends. Keep all of us Your earth creatures close to YOU so that we all remain in Your love as a fruitful disciple. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Vine dressers

Religious leaders seek to trap Jesus by asking him questions about paying taxes and about rising from death, but Jesus discerns their motives.

Jesus said: “He is the God of the living, not of the dead

The Question about Paying Taxes

(Matthew 22.15-22; Luke 20.20-26)

13Some Pharisees and some members of Herod's party were sent to Jesus to trap him with questions.14They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you tell the truth, without worrying about what people think. You pay no attention to anyone's status, but teach the truth about God's will for people. Tell us, is it against our Law to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor? Should we pay them or not?”

15But Jesus saw through their trick and answered, “Why are you trying to trap me? Bring a silver coin, and let me see it.”

16They brought him one, and he asked, “Whose face and name are these?”

“The Emperor's,” they answered.

17So Jesus said, “Well, then, pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God.”

And they were amazed at Jesus.

The Question about Rising from Death

(Matthew 22.23-33; Luke 20.27-40)

18 Then some Sadducees, who say that people will not rise from death, came to Jesus and said,19 “Teacher, Moses wrote this law for us: ‘If a man dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man's brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man's children.’20Once there were seven brothers; the oldest got married and died without having children.21Then the second one married the woman, and he also died without having children. The same thing happened to the third brother,22and then to the rest: all seven brothers married the woman and died without having children. Last of all, the woman died.23Now, when all the dead rise to life on the day of resurrection, whose wife will she be? All seven of them had married her.”

24Jesus answered them, “How wrong you are! And do you know why? It is because you don't know the Scriptures or God's power.25For when the dead rise to life, they will be like the angels in heaven and will not marry.26 Now, as for the dead being raised: haven't you ever read in the Book of Moses the passage about the burning bush? There it is written that God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’27He is the God of the living, not of the dead. You are completely wrong!”

Reflect

Jews in Palestine had to pay taxes to the Romans who controlled their land. The emperor was the highest Roman leader. If Jesus answered “No” to the question posed by the Pharisees (verse 14), he could be accused of rebelling against the Romans. How did Jesus answer their question? The Sadducees were a wealthy group of Jews who worked closely with the priests, and they did not believe in life after death. How did Jesus respond to their question?

Pray

Loving and living God, YOU are the source of life and Your Son Yeshua is the resurrection and the life. Thank YOU for Your promise of eternal life and the hope this gives to all who believe in YOU. Amen. Prayer Concern Those facing death
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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19969
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: christian    Lun 16 Mar - 6:50

God's Prayerful Word

Introduction

Psalm 33: The concluding verse from yesterday’s reading (Psalm 32:11) invited us to “be glad and rejoice” and “shout for joy!” It is believed that today’s psalm is therefore a continuation of Psalm 32 since it opens with an exhortation to shout for joy, to praise and thank the LORD, and to sing a new song to him. Assurance of the LORD’s constant love comes from trusting in and obeying the LORD.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 33:5

The LORD loves what is righteous and just; his constant love fills the earth.

Today’s Reading

A Song of Praise

1All you that are righteous,

shout for joy for what the Lord has done;

praise him, all you that obey him.

2Give thanks to the Lord with harps,

sing to him with stringed instruments.

3Sing a new song to him,

play the harp with skill, and shout for joy!

4The words of the Lord are true,

and all his works are dependable.

5The Lord loves what is righteous and just;

his constant love fills the earth.

6The Lord created the heavens by his command,

the sun, moon, and stars by his spoken word.

7He gathered all the seas into one place;

he shut up the ocean depths in storerooms.

8Worship the Lord, all the earth!

Honor him, all peoples of the world!

9When he spoke, the world was created;

at his command everything appeared.

10The Lord frustrates the purposes of the nations;

he keeps them from carrying out their plans.

11But his plans endure forever;

his purposes last eternally.

12Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord;

happy are the people he has chosen for his own!

13The Lord looks down from heaven

and sees all of us humans.

14From where he rules, he looks down

on all who live on earth.

15He forms all their thoughts

and knows everything they do.

16 A king does not win because of his powerful army;

a soldier does not triumph because of his strength.

17War horses are useless for victory;

their great strength cannot save.

18The Lord watches over those who obey him,

those who trust in his constant love.

19He saves them from death;

he keeps them alive in times of famine.

20We put our hope in the Lord;

he is our protector and our help.

21We are glad because of him;

we trust in his holy name.

22May your constant love be with us, Lord,

as we put our hope in you.

Reflect

Today’s psalm is a communal hymn of praise. What verses express God’s love and God’s greatness? The writer instructs us to worship and honor the LORD (verse Cool. How will you do that today?

Pray

Righteous God, all your works are dependable and all your words are true. I give thanks to you with my whole heart and soul because of your constant love. I put my hope in you and trust in your holy name. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Church musicians


Psalm 32: This psalm begins with an affirmation of the happiness one experiences resulting from confession. What follows is a description of life in terms of before and after confessing one’s sins (verses 3-5). The writer encourages people to pray and concludes with praise for the LORD’s righteousness.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 32:1

Happy are those whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned.

Today’s Reading

Confession and Forgiveness

1 Happy are those whose sins are forgiven,

whose wrongs are pardoned.

2Happy is the one whom the Lord does not accuse of doing wrong

and who is free from all deceit.

3When I did not confess my sins,

I was worn out from crying all day long.

4Day and night you punished me, Lord;

my strength was completely drained,

as moisture is dried up by the summer heat.

5Then I confessed my sins to you;

I did not conceal my wrongdoings.

I decided to confess them to you,

and you forgave all my sins.

6So all your loyal people should pray to you in times of need;

when a great flood of trouble comes rushing in,

it will not reach them.

7You are my hiding place;

you will save me from trouble.

I sing aloud of your salvation,

because you protect me.

8The Lord says, “I will teach you the way you should go;

I will instruct you and advise you.

9Don't be stupid like a horse or a mule,

which must be controlled with a bit and bridle

to make it submit.”

10The wicked will have to suffer,

but those who trust in the Lord

are protected by his constant love.

11You that are righteous, be glad and rejoice

because of what the Lord has done.

You that obey him, shout for joy!

Reflect

Describe the psalm writer’s feelings before and after confession. Have you ever felt this way? How have you experienced God’s forgiveness? What might you need to confess today?

Pray

Lord God, you are my hiding place. I turn to you in prayer in my time of need. Today I seek your forgiveness and confess _________________. I sing aloud of your salvation and rejoice because of your righteousness. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those seeking God’s forgiveness

God's Prayerful Word

Introduction

Psalm 30: Today’s reading is a psalm in which the writer praises God for healing and being restored to life. The psalm focuses on sadness and sorrow turning to joy and concludes with a promise to thank God forever.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 30:4

Sing praise to the LORD, all his faithful people! Remember what the Holy One has done, and give him thanks!

Today’s Reading

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

1I praise you, Lord, because you have saved me

and kept my enemies from gloating over me.

2I cried to you for help, O Lord my God,

and you healed me;

3you kept me from the grave.

I was on my way to the depths below,

but you restored my life.

4Sing praise to the Lord,

all his faithful people!

Remember what the Holy One has done,

and give him thanks!

5His anger lasts only a moment,

his goodness for a lifetime.

Tears may flow in the night,

but joy comes in the morning.

6I felt secure and said to myself,

“I will never be defeated.”

7You were good to me, Lord;

you protected me like a mountain fortress.

But then you hid yourself from me,

and I was afraid.

8I called to you, Lord;

I begged for your help:

9“What will you gain from my death?

What profit from my going to the grave?

Are dead people able to praise you?

Can they proclaim your unfailing goodness?

10Hear me, Lord, and be merciful!

Help me, Lord!”

11You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance;

you have taken away my sorrow

and surrounded me with joy.

12So I will not be silent;

I will sing praise to you.

Lord, you are my God;

I will give you thanks forever.

Reflect

For what does the psalm writer thank and praise God? How would you describe the overall tone of this psalm? Can you describe a time in your life when sadness was turned to joy? Did you sense God at work? Do you know someone who is in need of a word of encouragement today?

Pray

Holy God, I praise you for your constant love and goodness. I will not be silent. You are my God, and I will give you thanks forever. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Hospital patients

Psalm 31: Today’s psalm begins with the writer expressing trust in God (verses 1-Cool, followed by a series of laments (verses 9-13), trust (verse 14), pleas for deliverance (verses 15-18), and concluding with praise (verses 19-24). This psalm is an example of voicing complaints while, at the same time, expressing trust in God.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 31:24

Be strong, be courageous, all you that hope in the LORD.

Today’s Reading

A Prayer of Trust in God

1I come to you, Lord, for protection;

never let me be defeated.

You are a righteous God;

save me, I pray!

2Hear me! Save me now!

Be my refuge to protect me;

my defense to save me.

3You are my refuge and defense;

guide me and lead me as you have promised.

4Keep me safe from the trap that has been set for me;

shelter me from danger.

5 I place myself in your care.

You will save me, Lord;

you are a faithful God.

6You hate those who worship false gods,

but I trust in you.

7I will be glad and rejoice

because of your constant love.

You see my suffering;

you know my trouble.

8You have not let my enemies capture me;

you have given me freedom to go where I wish.

9Be merciful to me, Lord,

for I am in trouble;

my eyes are tired from so much crying;

I am completely worn out.

10I am exhausted by sorrow,

and weeping has shortened my life.

I am weak from all my troubles;

even my bones are wasting away.

11All my enemies, and especially my neighbors,

treat me with contempt.

Those who know me are afraid of me;

when they see me in the street, they run away.

12Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead;

I am like something thrown away.

13I hear many enemies whispering;

terror is all around me.

They are making plans against me,

plotting to kill me.

14But my trust is in you, O Lord;

you are my God.

15I am always in your care;

save me from my enemies,

from those who persecute me.

16Look on your servant with kindness;

save me in your constant love.

17I call to you, Lord;

don't let me be disgraced.

May the wicked be disgraced;

may they go silently down to the world of the dead.

18Silence those liars—

all the proud and arrogant

who speak with contempt about the righteous.

19How wonderful are the good things

you keep for those who honor you!

Everyone knows how good you are,

how securely you protect those who trust you.

20You hide them in the safety of your presence

from the plots of others;

in a safe shelter you hide them

from the insults of their enemies.

21Praise the Lord!

How wonderfully he showed his love for me

when I was surrounded and attacked!

22I was afraid and thought

that he had driven me out of his presence.

But he heard my cry,

when I called to him for help.

23Love the Lord, all his faithful people.

The Lord protects the faithful,

but punishes the proud as they deserve.

24Be strong, be courageous,

all you that hope in the Lord.

Reflect

Note the movement of this psalm from words of confidence and trust, to petitions for help, and concluding with praise. Have you ever experienced this type of spiritual journey when praying? Is there something for which you need God’s help today? For what will you thank God today?

Pray

O Lord, trusting in your mercy and righteousness, I turn to you for help. When I am in trouble, I place myself in your care. My hope is in you. I thank and praise you for sheltering me in your goodness and love. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Victims of crime


This  psalm is in the form of a lament that is balanced by confidence and trust in God’s help.

Psalm 13:6

A Prayer for Help

1How much longer will you forget me, YAHWEH ? Forever?

How much longer will you hide yourself from me?

2How long must I endure trouble?

How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night?

How long will my enemies triumph over me?

3Look at me, O my God, and answer me.

Restore my strength; don't let me die.

4Don't let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.”

Don't let them gloat over my downfall.

5I rely on your constant love;

I will be glad, because you will rescue me.

6I will sing to you, O Lord,

because you have been good to me.

Reflect

Verses 1 and 2 include the type of questions that often appear in prayers for help (see Psalm 10:1; 22:1). What does the psalm writer ask? How would you describe what the psalm writer is feeling? Have you ever felt this way?

Pray

Lord God, whenever I feel sorrowful or whenever I am going through troublesome times, remind me of your constant love. I know you will never abandon me and that you alone, O Lord, can lift my spirit and fill my heart with your peace. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who are lonely and feel forgotten by God

This reading opens with a plea for God’s help against those who lie, flatter, and deceive. The psalm writer expresses trust in God’s promises and that the LORD will arise and come to the aid of those in need.
________________________________________
Today’s Scripture: Psalm 12:6
The promises of the LORD can be trusted; they are as genuine as silver refined seven times in the furnace.
________________________________________
Today’s Reading
A Prayer for Help
1Help us, Lord!
There is not a good person left;
honest people can no longer be found.
2All of them lie to one another;
they deceive each other with flattery.
3Silence those flattering tongues, O Lord!
Close those boastful mouths that say,
4“With our words we get what we want.
We will say what we wish,
and no one can stop us.”
5“But now I will come,” says the Lord,
“because the needy are oppressed
and the persecuted groan in pain.
I will give them the security they long for.”
6The promises of the Lord can be trusted;
they are as genuine as silver
refined seven times in the furnace.
7-8The wicked are everywhere,
and everyone praises what is evil.
Keep us always safe, O Lord,
and preserve us from such people.
________________________________________
Reflect
Reread verse 5. The words quoted here may have been spoken by a prophet in the temple. They declare God’s concern for justice and for the needy. In what ways do you proclaim God’s love and care to those who are suffering or who are victims of injustice?
________________________________________
Pray
Lord God, I know that you hear the prayers of your faithful people. Your promises can be trusted and you come to those in need of your loving presence. Amen.
________________________________________
Prayer Concern
Those who are suffering

Today’s reading is an individual prayer for protection from enemies. The writer expresses trust in God’s love and asks God to punish those who speak deceitfully.
________________________________________
Today’s Scripture: Psalm 5:12
You bless those who obey you, LORD; your love protects them like a shield.
________________________________________
Today’s Reading
A Prayer for Protection
1Listen to my words, O Lord,
and hear my sighs.
2Listen to my cry for help,
my God and king!
I pray to you, O Lord;
3you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer
and wait for your answer.
4You are not a God who is pleased with wrongdoing;
you allow no evil in your presence.
5You cannot stand the sight of the proud;
you hate all wicked people.
6You destroy all liars
and despise violent, deceitful people.
7But because of your great love
I can come into your house;
I can worship in your holy Temple
and bow down to you in reverence.
8Lord, I have so many enemies!
Lead me to do your will;
make your way plain for me to follow.
9 What my enemies say can never be trusted;
they only want to destroy.
Their words are flattering and smooth,
but full of deadly deceit.
10Condemn and punish them, O God;
may their own plots cause their ruin.
Drive them out of your presence
because of their many sins
and their rebellion against you.
11But all who find safety in you will rejoice;
they can always sing for joy.
Protect those who love you;
because of you they are truly happy.
12You bless those who obey you, Lord;
your love protects them like a shield.
________________________________________
Reflect
How is God described in this psalm? What does the psalm writer ask of God? What would you do if you heard someone saying hurtful and deceitful remarks about another person?
________________________________________
Pray
Lord God, listen to my words and hear my sighs. Lead me to do your will; make your way plain for me to follow. Guard my lips this day from speaking evil. I trust in your love, O Lord, which protects me like a shield. Amen.
________________________________________
Prayer Concern
Victims of bullying

1 Samuel 2:1-11: Today’s reading is Hannah’s prayer upon offering Samuel as a servant to the LORD. She offers God praise and thanksgiving, celebrating the ways in which God offers safety, sustenance, and care.
________________________________________
Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:1a
“The LORD has filled my heart with joy; how happy I am because of what he has done!”
________________________________________
Today’s Reading
Hannah's Prayer
1 Hannah prayed:
“The Lord has filled my heart with joy;
how happy I am because of what he has done!
I laugh at my enemies;
how joyful I am because God has helped me!
2“No one is holy like the Lord;
there is none like him,
no protector like our God.
3Stop your loud boasting;
silence your proud words.
For the Lord is a God who knows,
and he judges all that people do.
4The bows of strong soldiers are broken,
but the weak grow strong.
5The people who once were well fed
now hire themselves out to get food,
but the hungry are hungry no more.
The childless wife has borne seven children,
but the mother of many is left with none.
6 The Lord kills and restores to life;
he sends people to the world of the dead
and brings them back again.
7He makes some people poor and others rich;
he humbles some and makes others great.
8He lifts the poor from the dust
and raises the needy from their misery.
He makes them companions of princes
and puts them in places of honor.
The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord;
on them he has built the world.
9“He protects the lives of his faithful people,
but the wicked disappear in darkness;
a man does not triumph by his own strength.
10The Lord's enemies will be destroyed;
he will thunder against them from heaven.
The Lord will judge the whole world;
he will give power to his king,
he will make his chosen king victorious.”
11Then Elkanah went back home to Ramah, but the boy Samuel stayed in Shiloh and served theLord under the priest Eli.
________________________________________
Reflect
Some scholars believe that parts of this prayer may have been taken from older prayers that were used to give thanks after receiving God’s help. The prayer celebrates God’s power to change human situations from bad to good so that those in need are helped. According to Hannah’s prayer, what are some of the ways God helps people? Does God act in similar ways today?
________________________________________
Pray
You fill my heart with joy, Lord. How happy I am because of what you have done! Thank you for the ways in which you care for me and protect me. You alone are God. Amen.
________________________________________
Prayer Concern
Children in foster care
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