October 31, 2007

Titus 1 - Rebuke Them Sharply

From today's Bible reading:

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.

For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach.

He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Jeremiah 29-30 - Seek the Welfare of the City

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 29:

These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.

For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Jeremiah 30:

Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:

Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.

Thus says the LORD:

We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.

Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?

Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?

Why has every face turned pale?

Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.

And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.

But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.


Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
those who plunder you shall be plundered,
and all who prey on you I will make a prey.

For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
declares the LORD,
because they have called you an outcast:
It is Zion, for whom no one cares!

Their prince shall be one of themselves;
their ruler shall come out from their midst;
I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me,
for who would dare of himself to approach me?
declares the LORD.

And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Behold the storm of the LORD!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.

The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind.

In the latter days you will understand this.

(Are we in the latter days now? Should we then understand this?)

October 30, 2007

2 Timothy 4 - To All Who Have Loved His Appearing

From today's Bible reading:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Do your best to come to me soon.

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me.

Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.

Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.

When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!

But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.

To him be the glory forever and ever.

Amen.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.

Do your best to come before winter.

Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.

The Lord be with your spirit.

Grace be with you.

Jeremiah 27-28 - The King of Babylon, My Servant

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 27:

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
This is what you shall say to your masters:

It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me.

Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him.

All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes.

Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.

But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the LORD, until I have consumed it by his hand.

So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, You shall not serve the king of Babylon. For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish.

But any nation that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on its own land, to work it and dwell there, declares the LORD.

(This isn't just a message for the nation of Israel, but for all nations in all the world.)

Jeremiah 28:

Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke-bars from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:

Go, tell Hananiah, Thus says the LORD: You have broken wooden bars, but you have made in their place bars of iron. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations an iron yoke to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him, for I have given to him even the beasts of the field.

And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah,

Listen, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. Therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD.

In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.

October 29, 2007

2 Timothy 3 - Always Learning, Never Arriving

From today's Bible reading:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

Avoid such people.

For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Jeremiah 25-26 - Pierced by the LORD

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 25:

You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, saying, Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm. Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp.

This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste.

I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations.

For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.

The LORD will roar from on high,
and from his holy habitation utter his voice;
he will roar mightily against his fold,
and shout, like those who tread grapes,
against all the inhabitants of the earth.

The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth,
for the LORD has an indictment against the nations;
he is entering into judgment with all flesh,
and the wicked he will put to the sword,
declares the LORD.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

Behold, disaster is going forth
from nation to nation,
and a great tempest is stirring
from the farthest parts of the earth!

And those pierced by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other.

They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.

Wail, you shepherds, and cry out,
and roll in ashes, you lords of the flock,
for the days of your slaughter and dispersion have come,
and you shall fall like a choice vessel.

No refuge will remain for the shepherds,
nor escape for the lords of the flock.

For the LORD is laying waste their pasture,
and the peaceful folds are devastated
because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

Like a lion he has left his lair,
for their land has become a waste
because of the sword of the oppressor,
and because of his fierce anger.

Jeremiah 26:

Thus says the LORD: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to listen to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently, though you have not listened, then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.

The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.

And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, You shall die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant?

And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.

(He was surrounded.)

When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house to the house of the LORD and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the LORD.

(Someone was putting on a show!)

Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.

(No freedom of speech there.)

Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying,

The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the LORD your God, and the LORD will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you.

But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the LORD sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.

Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.

And certain of the elders of the land arose and spoke to all the assembled people, saying,

Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and said to all the people of Judah:
Thus says the LORD of hosts,

Zion shall be plowed as a field;
Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death?

Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and did not the LORD relent of the disaster that he had pronounced against them?

But we are about to bring great disaster upon ourselves.

There was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD, Uriah the son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words like those of Jeremiah.

(He said the same thing!)

And when King Jehoiakim, with all his warriors and all the officials, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death.

But when Uriah heard of it, he was afraid and fled and escaped to Egypt.

Then King Jehoiakim sent to Egypt certain men, Elnathan the son of Achbor and others with him, and they took Uriah from Egypt and brought him to King Jehoiakim, who struck him down with the sword and dumped his dead body into the burial place of the common people.

But the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah so that he was not given over to the people to be put to death.

October 28, 2007

2 Timothy 2 - Entrust to Faithful Men

From today's Bible reading:

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal.

But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.

Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: The Lord knows those who are his, and, Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Jeremiah 23-24 - Because of His Holy Words

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 23:

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! declares the LORD.

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

And this is the name by which he will be called: The LORD is our righteousness.

My heart is broken within me;
all my bones shake;
I am like a drunken man,
like a man overcome by wine,
because of the LORD
and because of his holy words.

But in the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen a horrible thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies;
they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that no one turns from his evil;
all of them have become like Sodom to me,
and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.

Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets:

Behold, I will feed them with bitter food
and give them poisoned water to drink,
for from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has gone out into all the land.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.

Behold, the storm of the LORD!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.

I did not send the prophets, yet they ran;
I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.

But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds.

Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.

(God is omnipresent.)

Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully.

What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD.

Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another.

Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, declares the LORD.

Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them.

So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD.

You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 24:

I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

October 27, 2007

2 Timothy 1 - Fan into Flame

From today's Bible reading:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.

(It's ok for man to cry.)

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.

But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

Jeremiah 20-22 - Burning Fire Shut Up in My Bones

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 20:

Now Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things.

Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the LORD.

The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him:

The LORD does not call your name Pashhur, but Terror On Every Side. For thus says the LORD:

Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. They shall fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon. He shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall strike them down with the sword.

Moreover, I will give all the wealth of the city, all its gains, all its prized belongings, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies, who shall plunder them and seize them and carry them to Babylon.

And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. To Babylon you shall go, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.

O LORD, you have deceived me,
and I was deceived;
you are stronger than I,
and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all the day;
everyone mocks me.
For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the LORD has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

Sing to the LORD;
praise the LORD!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hand of evildoers.

Jeremiah 21:

Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:

Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands and with which you are fighting against the king of Babylon and against the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls.

And I will bring them together into the midst of this city.

I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm, in anger and in fury and in great wrath. And I will strike down the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast. They shall die of a great pestilence.

Afterward, declares the LORD, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the pestilence, sword, and famine into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their lives. He shall strike them down with the edge of the sword. He shall not pity them or spare them or have compassion.

Thus says the LORD:

Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.

He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war.

For I have set my face against this city for harm and not for good, declares the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.

Jeremiah 22:

Thus says the LORD:

Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people.

But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.

And many nations will pass by this city, and every man will say to his neighbor, Why has the LORD dealt thus with this great city?

And they will answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God and worshiped other gods and served them.

I spoke to you in your prosperity,
but you said, I will not listen.

This has been your way from your youth,
that you have not obeyed my voice.

The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds,
and your lovers shall go into captivity;
then you will be ashamed and confounded
because of all your evil.

Why are he and his children hurled and cast
into a land that they do not know?

O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD!

October 26, 2007

1 Timothy 6 - Sound Words

From today's Bible reading:

Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

Teach and urge these things.

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.

He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

(As a former pastor of mine pointed out, he doesn't even mention shelter.)

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.

It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.
  • Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
  • Fight the good fight of the faith.
  • Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.

To him be honor and eternal dominion.

Amen.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you.

Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

Jeremiah 17-19 - Hear and Receive Instruction

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 17:

The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country.

Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.

He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.

He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

I the LORD search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.

Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch,
so is he who gets riches but not by justice;
in the midst of his days they will leave him,
and at his end he will be a fool.

A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
is the place of our sanctuary.

O LORD, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth,
for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.

Thus says the LORD: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers.

Yet they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck, that they might not hear and receive instruction.

But if you listen to me, declares the LORD, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

And this city shall be inhabited forever.

And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephelah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the LORD.

But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.

Jeremiah 18:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.

So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel.

And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the LORD came to me:

O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.

And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.

Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the LORD, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.

(Note: he's not re-shaping the clay of Israel--at least not directly.)

Jeremiah 19:

Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.

And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life.

So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, so that it can never be mended.

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their neck, refusing to hear my words.

October 25, 2007

1 Timothy 5 - You Shall Not Muzzle an Ox

From today's Bible reading:

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Honor widows who are truly widows.

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.

She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.

Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan.

If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.

So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

Jeremiah 14-16 - Utter What is Precious

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 14:

The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

Judah mourns,
and her gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.

Because of the ground that is dismayed,
since there is no rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
they cover their heads.

Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
because there is no vegetation.

(Man's sin affects the animals.)

Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O LORD, for your name's sake;
for our backslidings are many;
we have sinned against you.

O you hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?

Why should you be like a man confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot save?

Yet you, O LORD, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not leave us.

We looked for peace, but no good came;
for a time of healing, but behold, terror.

We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD,
and the iniquity of our fathers,
for we have sinned against you.

Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?

Are you not he, O LORD our God?
We set our hope on you,
for you do all these things.

Jeremiah 15:

Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land!

I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me.

(Debt isn't the only curse.)

Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?

Will you be to me like a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail?

Therefore thus says the LORD:

If you return, I will restore you,
and you shall stand before me.

If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall be as my mouth.

I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

Jeremiah 16:

The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will silence in this place, before your eyes and in your days, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.

Israel: Why has the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?

Jeremiah: Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the LORD, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law, and because you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me.

Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.

Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said,
As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,
but
As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.
For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.

(This is a huge transition point both for Israel and in Scripture. It's what divides the first half of the Old Testament/Israel's history from the second.)

For my eyes are on all their ways.

They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.

O LORD, my strength and my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of trouble,
to you shall the nations come
from the ends of the earth and say:

Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies,
worthless things in which there is no profit.

Can man make for himself gods?
Such are not gods!

Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power (masculine) and my might (feminine), and they shall know that my name is the LORD.

1 Timothy 4 - Of Value in Every Way

From yesterday's Bible reading:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.

Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.

Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Jeremiah 11-13 - Obey My Voice

From yesterday's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 11:

Cursed be the man who does not hear the words of this covenant that I commanded your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you.

So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, that I may confirm the oath that I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day.

Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem:

Obey my voice.

A conspiracy exists among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

They have
  • turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words.
  • gone after other gods to serve them.
  • broken my covenant that I made with their fathers.
Therefore:

The LORD: Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape.

Israel/Judah: they cry to me, I will not listen to them.

Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble.

For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.

The LORD once called you a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.

But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed.

The LORD of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.

Jeremiah 12:

Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard;
they have trampled down my portion;
they have made my pleasant portion
a desolate wilderness.

Thus says the LORD concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them.

And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.

And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, As the LORD lives, even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people.

But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 13:

For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.

Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the LORD has spoken.

Give glory to the LORD your God
before he brings darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the twilight mountains,
and while you look for light
he turns it into gloom
and makes it deep darkness.

And if you say in your heart,
Why have these things come upon me?
it is for the greatness of your iniquity
that your skirts are lifted up
and you suffer violence.

Can the Ethiopian change his skin
or the leopard his spots?
Then also you can do good
who are accustomed to do evil.

I will scatter you like chaff
driven by the wind from the desert.

This is your lot, the portion I have measured out to you, declares the LORD,
because you have forgotten me and trusted in lies.

I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,
and your shame will be seen.

I have seen your abominations,
your adulteries and neighings, your lewd whorings,
on the hills in the field.

Woe to you, O Jerusalem!
How long will it be before you are made clean?

October 23, 2007

1 Timothy 3 - A Noble Task

From today's Bible reading:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?

He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.

Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.

Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.


I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Jeremiah 9-10 - Love, Justice and Righteousness

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 9:

Oh that my head were waters,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!

Oh that I had in the desert
a travelers' lodging place,
that I might leave my people
and go away from them!

For they are all adulterers,
a company of treacherous men.

They bend their tongue like a bow;
falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land;
for they proceed from evil to evil,
and they do not know me,

declares the LORD.

Everyone deceives his neighbor,
and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
they weary themselves committing iniquity.

Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD,
and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?

Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed this people with bitter food, and give them poisonous water to drink. I will scatter them among the nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.

(Romans 2: Circumcision is that of the heart.)

Jeremiah 10:

Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.

Thus says the LORD:

Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
for the customs of the peoples are vanity.

Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.

There is none like you, O LORD;
you are great, and your name is great in might.

Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
For this is your due;
for among all the wise ones of the nations
and in all their kingdoms
there is none like you.

The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.

It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.

When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.

He makes lightning for the rain,
and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Correct me, O LORD, but in justice;
not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.

October 22, 2007

1 Timothy 2 - Men Should Pray

From today's Bible reading:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Jeremiah 7-8 - Keep the Time

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 7:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:

Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD.

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:

Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.

Do not trust in these deceptive words: This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.

If you truly amend your ways and your deeds,
  • if you truly execute justice one with another,
  • if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and
  • if you do not go after other gods to your own harm,
then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered!—only to go on doing all these abominations?

Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?

(Jesus was quoting Scripture even when he said that!)

Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD.

Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel.

And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.

And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.

As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.

Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven.

(That's what Israel said when they were in Egypt, too.)

And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.

Is it I whom they provoke? declares the LORD. Is it not themselves, to their own shame?

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.

In the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.

This command I gave them: Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.

They did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. Yet they did not listen to me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.

So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you.

And you shall say to them, This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.

For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the LORD.

They have set their detestable things in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.

(I did not tell you to burn your children in the fire! That was not my idea!)

And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth, and none will frighten them away.

And I will silence in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, for the land shall become a waste.

Jeremiah 8:

You shall say to them, Thus says the LORD:

When men fall, do they not rise again?
If one turns away, does he not return?

Why then has this people turned away
in perpetual backsliding?

They hold fast to deceit;
they refuse to return.

Even the stork in the heavens knows her times,
and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming,
but my people know not the rules of the LORD.

(The rules of the LORD are about timing.)

How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’?

But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.

The wise men shall be put to shame;
they shall be dismayed and taken;
behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD,
so what wisdom is in them?

Therefore I will give their wives to others
and their fields to conquerors,
because from the least to the greatest
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.

They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.

(They didn't turn red at all.)

Why do we sit still?
Gather together; let us go into the fortified cities
and perish there,
for the LORD our God has doomed us to perish
and has given us poisoned water to drink,
because we have sinned against the LORD.

We looked for peace, but no good came;
for a time of healing, but behold, terror.

Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?

October 21, 2007

1 Timothy 1 - The Aim of Our Charge: Love

From today's Bible reading:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.

But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.

Amen.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.

By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Jeremiah 5-6 - What will you do when the end comes?

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 5:

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note!

Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her.

O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?

You have struck them down,
but they felt no anguish;
you have consumed them,
but they refused to take correction.

They have made their faces harder than rock;
they have refused to repent.

Therefore a lion from the forest shall strike them down;
a wolf from the desert shall devastate them.
A leopard is watching their cities;
everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces,
because their transgressions are many,
their apostasies are great.

How can I pardon you?

Your children have forsaken me
and have sworn by those who are no gods.

When I fed them to the full,
they committed adultery
and trooped to the houses of whores.

They were well-fed, lusty stallions,
each neighing for his neighbor's wife.

Shall I not punish them for these things?
declares the LORD;
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?

For the house of Israel and the house of Judah
have been utterly treacherous to me,
declares the LORD.

They have spoken falsely of the LORD
and have said, ‘He will do nothing;
no disaster will come upon us,
nor shall we see sword or famine.

The prophets will become wind;
the word is not in them.
Thus shall it be done to them!

Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts:

Because you have spoken this word,
behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire,
and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them.

Behold, I am bringing against you
a nation from afar, O house of Israel,
declares the LORD.

It is an enduring nation;
it is an ancient nation,
a nation whose language you do not know,
nor can you understand what they say.

Their quiver is like an open tomb;
they are all mighty warriors.

They shall eat up your harvest and your food;
they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;
they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;
they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;
your fortified cities in which you trust
they shall beat down with the sword.

But even in those days, declares the LORD, I will not make a full end of you.

And when your people say,
Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?
you shall say to them,
As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.
Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes, but see not,
who have ears, but hear not.

Do you not fear me? declares the LORD.
Do you not tremble before me?

I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
though they roar, they cannot pass over it.

(Interesting text in light of global warming and claims of sea level rise.)

But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.

They do not say in their hearts,
Let us fear the LORD our God,
who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.

Your iniquities have turned these away,
and your sins have kept good from you.

For wicked men are found among my people;
they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.

They set a trap;
they catch men.
Like a cage full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
therefore they have become great and rich;
they have grown fat and sleek.

They know no bounds in deeds of evil;
they judge not with justice
the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

Shall I not punish them for these things?
declares the LORD,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?

An appalling and horrible thing
has happened in the land:
the prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule at their direction;
my people love to have it so,
but what will you do when the end comes?

Jeremiah 6:

Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin,
from the midst of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem,
for disaster looms out of the north,
and great destruction.

The lovely and delicately bred I will destroy,
the daughter of Zion.

Woe to us, for the day declines,
for the shadows of evening lengthen!
Arise, and let us attack by night
and destroy her palaces!

For thus says the LORD of hosts:

Cut down her trees;
cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem.
This is the city that must be punished;
there is nothing but oppression within her.

Be warned, O Jerusalem,
lest I turn from you in disgust,
lest I make you a desolation,
an uninhabited land.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

To whom shall I speak and give warning,
that they may hear?

Behold, their ears are uncircumcised,
they cannot listen;
behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn;
they take no pleasure in it.

Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD;
I am weary of holding it in.

For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.

They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.

Thus says the LORD:

Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.

O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth,
and roll in ashes;
make mourning as for an only son,
most bitter lamentation,
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us.