At King Street Church, we believe that the Word of God is vital to a growing walk with Jesus.  We make reading the Bible a priority at our church with a new Bible Reading Plan every year.  It is our desire that the church body would read the Scriptures together, and come to a ever-deepening understanding of God’s purpose and plan for our lives.  We welcome others around the world to join us in this quest! 

If you would like to hear messages that focus on biblical teaching, visit us at www.kingstreetchurch.com.   

2019 Focus

Our new Bible Reading Program for 2019 will feature readings each day from the Old and New Testament  as well as a reading from Psalm or Proverbs. In addition our pastoral team is providing directives and questions that will lead you in a deeper study experience each day. The first time you encounter a new book we will be including a short video from the Bible Project to help provide context.  Over the course of the year, we believe that you will see growth in your spiritual walk as you discover new truths about Christ!

Ways to Read

  • – Subscribe via the sign box below to receive daily emails
  • – Text DAILY to 717.210.5729 to receive the readings and questions via a text message
  • – Visit 2019.kingstreetchurch.com daily to read the passage and respond to the questions. 

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

GENESIS 27-28

CHAPTER 27

When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” “Here I am,” he answered.
Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death.
Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me.
Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back,
Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau,
‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’
Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you:
Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it.
10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”
11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin.
12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”
13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”
14 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it.
15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob.
16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins.
17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.
18 He went to his father and said, “My father.” “Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”
19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”
20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.
21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”
22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”
23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him.
24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “I am,” he replied.
25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.” Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank.
26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.”
27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.
28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.”
30 After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting.
31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”
32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” “I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.”
33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”
34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”
35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”
36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob[a]? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”
38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.
39 His father Isaac answered him, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above.
40 You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”
41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you.
43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran.
44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides.
45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

CHAPTER 28

So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman.
Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.
May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.
May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.”
Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,”
and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram.
Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac;
so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran.
11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.
12 He had a dreamin which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the landon which you are lying.
14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.
15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”
17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.
19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear
21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God
22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

PSALM 13

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

MATTHEW 16

The Demand for a Sign

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’
and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?
Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?
10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?
11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Jesus Predicts His Death

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Genesis 27-28 – Jacob names the place of his “stairway to heaven” dream Bethel, which means, “House of God.” He did so because, as he says, “God was in this place and I was not aware of it” (Gen. 28:16). What are some places in your life that you could name Bethel, knowing that God was right there and you didn’t know it?

Psalm 13 – David cries out to God in verse 1, asking, “How long, O Lord?!” Have these words ever come out of your mouth? What can we learn from David in verse 3 about how to deal with this kind of sorrow and desperation?

Matthew 16 – It seems awfully harsh for Jesus to say to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Why do you think Jesus was so firm—and why did He put it this way?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

GENESIS 26

Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar.
The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.
Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.
I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,
because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.”
So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah.
So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him.
13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.
14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.
15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled.
18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there.
20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him.
21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.
22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba.
24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
26 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces.
27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you
29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank.
31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!”
33 He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.
34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite.
35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

PSALM 12

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.
May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.
You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honored by the human race.

MATTHEW 15

That Which Defiles

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked,
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?
For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’
But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’
they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’ ”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand.
11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.
14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.
17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.
31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.
36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.
37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.
39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.

Genesis 26 — God poured out His blessing on Isaac (success, prosperity, protection, etc.) because of the promises He had made to Isaac’s father, Abraham (v. 24). Do you believe that some of the blessings of God that you are enjoying today might have something to do with the faithfulness of people who have gone before you?

Psalm 12 — David observes that “what is vile is honored by the human race.” (v. 8). How interesting that David observed this to be true some three thousand years ago. Do you believe this is still true today? How so? According to this Psalm what is God doing about it?

Matthew 15 – Jesus refers to people whose hearts are far from God (v. 8). What do you think that really means? What does it mean for a person’s heart to be far from God?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Monday, January 14, 2019

GENESIS 25

Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah.
She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.
Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites.
The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.
But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaacto the land of the east.
Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years.
Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.
His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite,
10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah.
11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.
12 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.
13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,
14 Mishma, Dumah,Massa,
15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah.
16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps.
17 Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people.
18 His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.
19 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.  Abraham became the father of Isaac,
20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.
21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
23 The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.
25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.
26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents.
28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished.
30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.  So Esau despised his birthright.

PSALM 11

In the Lord I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
“Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.

MATTHEW 14

John the Baptist Beheaded

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus,
and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,
for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.
On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much
that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted
10 and had John beheaded in the prison.
11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.
12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.
14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said.
19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,
24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,”they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret.
35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him
36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Genesis 25 — Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. He forfeited untold future blessing for immediate satisfaction. How do people do this today? How do YOU do this today?

Psalm 11 — David describes how the wicked “shoot from the shadows.” What do you think he meant by this? Are you experiencing anyone shooting from the shadows in your life? Is your response the same as David’s?

Matthew 14 — What do you make of Peter’s willingness to get out of the boat to walk on the water? Do you believe this really happened? Do you think it is really possible to walk on water? What causes us to sink?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

GENESIS 24

Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way.
He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh.
I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living,
but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”
The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”
“Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said.
“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.
If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.”
So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.
10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor.
11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.
12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.
14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.
16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.”
20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.
21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.
23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.”
25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord,
27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things.
29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring.
30 As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring.
31 “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord,” he said. “Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.”
32 So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet.
33 Then food was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.”  “Then tell us,” Laban said.
34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.
35 The Lord has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys.
36 My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns.
37 And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live,
38 but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’
39 “Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’
40 “He replied, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family.
41 You will be released from my oath if, when you go to my clan, they refuse to give her to you—then you will be released from my oath.’
42 “When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come.
43 See, I am standing beside this spring. If a young woman comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,”
44 and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
45 “Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’
46 “She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.
47 “I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’  “She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milkah bore to him.’  “Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms,
48 and I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son.
49 Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”
50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.
51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”
52 When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord.
53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother.
54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.  When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”
55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.”
56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”
57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.”
58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”  “I will go,” she said.
59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men.
60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies.”
61 Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.
62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev.
63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.
64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel
65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”  “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.
66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done.
67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

PSALM 10:12-18

12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

MATTHEW 13

The Parable of the Sower

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.
Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:
19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.
21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.
26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.
35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.
38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one,
39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.
41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

The Parable of the Net

47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.
48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.
49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous
50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.
52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

A Prophet Without Honor

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.
54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.
55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”
57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Genesis 24 — Abraham’s servant prays a very specific prayer, asking God for clear direction as to which woman was to be Isaac’s wife. Do you need this same kind of clear direction from God in YOUR life today? Are you praying specific prayers for God’s guidance as the servant in this story did?

Psalm 10:12-18 — What is God’s view of the fatherless? What are you doing in your own life to help the fatherless?

Matthew 13 — Think about all of the different examples from everyday life that Jesus used in this chapter: farmers, weeds, seeds, yeast, pearls, nets. Why do you think Jesus taught using so many ordinary things from everyday life?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

GENESIS 22-23

CHAPTER 22

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,
Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”  “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.  “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”  “Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time
16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,
18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
20 Some time later Abraham was told, “Milkah is also a mother; she has borne sons to your brother Nahor:
21 Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel (the father of Aram),
22 Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel.”
23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milkah bore these eight sons to Abraham’s brother Nahor.
24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also had sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maakah.

CHAPTER 23

Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old.
She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.
Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said,
“I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”
The Hittites replied to Abraham,
“Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”
Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites.
He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf
so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.”
10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city.
11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”
12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land
13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”
14 Ephron answered Abraham,
15 “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”
16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.
17 So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded
18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city.
19 Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan.
20 So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.

PSALM 10:1-11

1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
    like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”

MATTHEW 12

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.
Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?
I tell you that something greater than the temple is here.
If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue,
10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.
14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

God’s Chosen Servant

15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.
16 He warned them not to tell others about him.
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Jesus and Beelzebul

22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.
23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?
27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.
28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.
30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.
34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Sign of Jonah

38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.
42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.
47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.
50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Genesis 22-23 — How does Abraham’s willingness to offer up Isaac on the alter point us directly to Jesus on the cross?

Psalm 10:1-11 — What are the behaviors of wicked people? What are some ways you see yourself in this list?

Matthew 12 — Jesus describes a very definite line in this chapter. In or out. With Him or against Him. Good tree or bad tree. How do you know if YOU are in or out?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Friday, January 11, 2019

GENESIS 20-21

CHAPTER 20

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar,
and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”
Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation?
Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.
Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”
Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid.
Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.”
10 And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”
11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’
12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife.
13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
14 Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him.
15 And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”
16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again,
18 for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

CHAPTER 21

Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.
Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast.
But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking,
10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.
12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.
13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes.
16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.
18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.
21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
22 At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do.
23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”
24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”
25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized.
26 But Abimelek said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”
27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty.
28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock,
29 and Abimelek asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?”
30 He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”
31 So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there.
32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines.
33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.
34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. 

PSALM 9:11-20

11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.
13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises
in the gates of Daughter Zion,
and there rejoice in your salvation.
15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
let the nations know they are only mortal.

MATTHEW 11

Jesus and John the Baptist

1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples
to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.
Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
10 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.
13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.
15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’
19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Woe on Unrepentant Towns

20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.
24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

The Father Revealed in the Son

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Genesis 20-21 — The story of Hagar and Ishmael is an illustration of how God can bring great blessing (making Ishmael’s descendants into a nation) out of great disobedience (Abram taking matters into his own hands). Do you believe God can do the same thing in your life?

Psalm 9:11-20 — This Psalm describes how entire nations are judged by God when they forsake Him. Do you think that is true today?

Matthew 11 — Jesus talks in this chapter about how God the Father has revealed great and glorious truths—not to the wise and learned, but to little children. What did He mean by this? What can you do today to have the faith of a child?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

GENESIS 18-19

CHAPTER 18

The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.
Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.
Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.
Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it.
He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said.
10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.
11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.
12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’
14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.
17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.
19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous
21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.
23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?
25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,
28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”  He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

CHAPTER 19

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.
“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house.
They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him
and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.
Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door.
11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here,
13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.
17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please!
19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die.
20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of.
22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land.
24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens.
25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.
26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord.
28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.
30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.
31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth.
32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.”
35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.
37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today.
38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

PSALM 9:1-10

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
you have uprooted their cities;
even the memory of them has perished.
The Lord reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

MATTHEW 10

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.
Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.
As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—
10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.
11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave.
12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting.
13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.
14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.
18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.
19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,
20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.
22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.
25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36  a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.
42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Genesis 18-19 — It’s pretty obvious WHY Sarah laughed when hearing that she would become pregnant. The question is, what was behind this laughter? Was it distrust—or years of great disappointment—or perhaps something else? Do you ever laugh at God’s promises?

Psalm 9:1-10 — David declares that God never forsakes those who seek Him. What do you need to do today to seek God in deeper and more effective ways?

Matthew 10 —What do you think it means to be as shrewd as a snake, and as innocent as a dove? What does this mean for you—in your life?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

GENESIS 16-17

CHAPTER 16

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar;
so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.
He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”  “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”
10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.
16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

CHAPTER 17

1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,
“As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations.
No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.
10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: every male among you shall be circumcised.
11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring.
13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.
14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.
16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”
18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.
21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”
22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.
24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,
25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen;
26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.
27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

PSALM 8

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

MATTHEW 9

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.
Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?
Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
Then the man got up and went home.
When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.

The Calling of Matthew

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”
19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.
21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes,
24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.
25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up.
26 News of this spread through all that region.

Jesus Heals the Blind and the Mute

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them,“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”;
30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.”
31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.
32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.
33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

The Workers Are Few

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Genesis 16-17 — When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, He also made a covenant with him. What were the terms of that covenant?

Psalm 8 — How important are we to God? Why did God create us?

Matthew 9 — Who did Jesus come to heal? Who did Jesus come to call? Who did Jesus come to save?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

GENESIS 14 and 15

CHAPTER 14

At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomerking of Elam and Tidal king of Goyim,
these kings went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).
All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea Valley).
For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim
and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert.
Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.
Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyimand the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim
against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five.
10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.
11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.
12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.
13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram.
14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.
16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,
19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,
23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’
24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”

CHAPTER 15

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”
And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.
11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.
14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.
15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.
16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.
18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—
19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
20 Hittites,Perizzites, Rephaites,
21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

PSALM 7:10-17

10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.
12 If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.
14 Whoever is pregnant with evil
conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.
17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

MATTHEW 8

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy

1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

The Faith of the Centurion

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

Jesus Heals Many

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”

The Cost of Following Jesus

18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.
19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Manhas no place to lay his head.”
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.
24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men

28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.
29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding.
31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.
33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Genesis 14-15:  When Abram was passing through Salem (modern day Jerusalem), a man named Melchizedek came out to give him bread and wine. Abram responds by offering him a tenth of his plunder. What is so special about Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7)?

Psalm 7:10-17 — David uses the metaphor in verse 14 of pregnancy (evil), conception (trouble) and giving birth (disillusionment). Thinking of your own heart—what are you “pregnant” with?

Matthew 8 — How does this chapter describe the difference between fear and faith?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Monday, January 7, 2019

GENESIS 12 & 13

CHAPTER 12

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.
He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.
Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.
11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are.
12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live.
13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman.
15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.
16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.
18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?
19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!”
20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

CHAPTER 13

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him.
Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier
and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.
But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.
And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives.
Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company:
12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.
14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.
15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.
16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.
17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”
18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

PSALM 7:1-9

1 Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands—
if I have repaid my ally with evil
or without cause have robbed my foe—
then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
Arise, Lord, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
Let the assembled peoples gather around you,
while you sit enthroned over them on high.
Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure—
you, the righteous God
who probes minds and hearts.

MATTHEW 7

Judging Others

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Ask, Seek, Knock

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?
17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

True and False Disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,
29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Genesis 12-13:  How has God blessed all peoples on earth through Abraham?

 Psalm 7:1-9:  What is David giving permission for God to do?

Matthew 7:  The foolish person builds their house on the sand. What are some ways that you might be building your house on sand today?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

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