Verse of the Day 1-31-13


Verse of the Day

Lord, you are good. You are forgiving. You are full of love for all who call out to you. Psalm 86:5 NIRV

Psalm 86

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Psalm 86

A prayer of David.

Lord, hear me and answer me.
I am poor and needy.
Keep my life safe. I am faithful to you.
You are my God. Save me.
I trust in you.
Lord, show me your favor.
I call out to you all day long.
Bring joy to me.
Lord, I worship you.

Lord, you are good. You are forgiving.
You are full of love for all who call out to you.
Lord, hear my prayer.
Listen to my cry for your favor.
When I’m in trouble, I will call out to you.
And you will answer me.

Lord, there’s no one like you among the gods.
No one can do what you do.
Lord, all of the nations you have made
will come and worship you.
They will bring glory to you.
10 You are great. You do wonderful things.
You alone are God.

11 Lord, teach me how you want me to live.
Then I will follow your truth.
Give me a heart that doesn’t want anything
more than to worship you.
12 Lord my God, I will praise you with all my heart.
I will bring glory to you forever.
13 Great is your love for me.
You have kept me from going down into the grave.

14 God, proud people are attacking me.
A gang of mean people is trying to kill me.
They don’t care about you.
15 But Lord, you are a God who is tender and kind.
You are gracious.
You are slow to get angry.
You are faithful and full of love.
16 Turn to me and show me your favor.
Give me strength and save me.
17 Prove your goodness to me.
Then my enemies will see it and be put to shame.
Lord, you have helped me and given me comfort.

Verse of the Day 1-30-13


Verse of the Day

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. Revelation 22:1-3 NIV

Revelation 22

New International Version (NIV)

Eden Restored

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

John and the Angel

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”

10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

Epilogue: Invitation and Warning

12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Verse of the Day 1-29-13


Verse of the Day

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth didn’t have any shape. And it was empty. Darkness was over the surface of the ocean. At that time, the ocean covered the earth. The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.God said, “Let there be light.” And there was lightGod saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day.” He called the darkness “night.” There was evening, and there was morning. It was day one. Genesis 1:1-5 NIRV

The Beginning

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth didn’t have any shape. And it was empty. Darkness was over the surface of the ocean. At that time, the ocean covered the earth. The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day.” He called the darkness “night.” There was evening, and there was morning. It was day one.

God said, “Let there be a huge space between the waters. Let it separate water from water.” And that’s exactly what happened. God made the huge space between the waters. He separated the water that was under the space from the water that was above it. God called the huge space “sky.” There was evening, and there was morning. It was day two.

God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place. Let dry ground appear.” And that’s exactly what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land.” He called the waters that were gathered together “oceans.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce plants. Let them bear their own seeds. And let there be trees on the land that bear fruit with seeds in it. Let each kind of plant or tree have its own kind of seeds.” And that’s exactly what happened.

12 The land produced plants. Each kind of plant had its own kind of seeds. The land produced trees that bore fruit with seeds in it. Each kind of tree had its own kind of seeds.

God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning. It was day three.

14 God said, “Let there be lights in the huge space of the sky. Let them separate the day from the night. Let them serve as signs to mark off the seasons and the days and the years. 15 Let them serve as lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth.” And that’s exactly what happened.

16 God made two great lights. He made the larger light to rule over the day. He made the smaller light to rule over the night. He also made the stars.

17 God put the lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth. 18 He put them there to rule over the day and the night. He put them there to separate light from darkness.

God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning. It was day four.

20 God said, “Let the waters be filled with living things. Let birds fly above the earth across the huge space of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the ocean. He created every living and moving thing that fills the waters. He created all kinds of them. He created every kind of bird that flies. And God saw that it was good.

22 God blessed them. He said, “Have little ones and increase your numbers. Fill the water in the oceans. Let there be more and more birds on the earth.”

23 There was evening, and there was morning. It was day five.

24 God said, “Let the land produce all kinds of living creatures. Let there be livestock, and creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals. Let there be all kinds of them.” And that’s exactly what happened.

25 God made all kinds of wild animals. He made all kinds of livestock. He made all kinds of creatures that move along the ground. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our likeness. Let them rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air. Let them rule over the livestock and over the whole earth. Let them rule over all of the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own likeness.
He created him in the likeness of God.
He created them as male and female.

28 God blessed them. He said to them, “Have children and increase your numbers. Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air. Rule over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I am giving you every plant on the face of the whole earth that bears its own seeds. I am giving you every tree that has fruit with seeds in it. All of them will be given to you for food.

30 “I am giving every green plant to all of the land animals and the birds of the air for food. I am also giving the plants to all of the creatures that move on the ground. I am giving them to every living thing that breathes.” And that’s exactly what happened.

31 God saw everything he had made. And it was very good. There was evening, and there was morning. It was day six.

Verse of the Day 1-28-13


Verse of the Day

“God is spirit. His worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 NIRV

John 4

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Jesus Talks With a Woman From Samaria

4 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was winning and baptizing more disciples than John. But in fact Jesus was not baptizing. His disciples were. When the Lord found out about all this, he left Judea. He went back to Galilee again.

Jesus had to go through Samaria. He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar. It was near the piece of land Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus was tired from the journey. So he sat down by the well. It was about noon.

A woman from Samaria came to get some water. Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew. I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” She said this because Jews don’t have anything to do with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered her, “You do not know what God’s gift is. And you do not know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would have asked him. He would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t have anything to get water with. The well is deep. Where can you get this living water?

12 “Our father Jacob gave us the well. He drank from it himself. So did his sons and his flocks and herds. Are you more important than he is?”

13 Jesus answered, “All who drink this water will be thirsty again. 14 But anyone who drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty. In fact, the water I give him will become a spring of water in him. It will flow up into eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water. Then I will never be thirsty. And I won’t have to keep coming here to get water.”

16 He told her, “Go. Get your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands. And the man you have now is not your husband. What you have just said is very true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our people have worshiped on this mountain for a long time. But you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 Jesus said, “Believe me, woman. A time is coming when you will not worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know. Salvation comes from the Jews.

23 “But a new time is coming. In fact, it is already here. True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father is looking for.

24 “God is spirit. His worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming.” (He is called Christ.) “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus said, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”

The Disciples Join Jesus Again

27 Just then Jesus’ disciples returned. They were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want from her?” No one asked, “Why are you talking with her?”

28 The woman left her water jar and went back to the town. She said to the people, 29 “Come. See a man who told me everything I’ve ever done. Could this be the Christ?”

30 The people came out of the town and made their way toward Jesus.

31 His disciples were saying to him, “Rabbi, eat something!”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples asked each other, “Did someone bring him food?”

34 Jesus said, “My food is to do what my Father sent me to do. My food is to finish his work.

35 “You say, ‘Four months more, and then it will be harvest time.’ But I tell you, open your eyes! Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest right now. 36 Those who gather the crop are already getting paid. They are already harvesting the crop for eternal life. So those who plant and those who gather can now be glad together.

37 “Here is a true saying. ‘One plants and another gathers.’ 38 I sent you to gather what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work. You have gathered the benefits of their work.”

Many Samaritans Believe in Jesus

39 Many of the Samaritans from the town of Sychar believed in Jesus. They believed because of the woman’s witness. She said, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.”

40 Then the Samaritans came to him and tried to get him to stay with them. So he stayed two days.41 Because of his words, many more people became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said. We have now heard for ourselves. We know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Jesus Heals the Official’s Son

43 After the two days, Jesus left for Galilee. 44 He himself had pointed out that a prophet is not respected in his own country. 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the people living there welcomed him. They had seen everything he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast. That was because they had also been there.

46 Once more, Jesus visited Cana in Galilee. Cana is where he had turned the water into wine. A royal official was there. His son was sick in bed at Capernaum. 47 The official heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea. So he went to Jesus and begged him to come and heal his son. The boy was close to death.

48 Jesus told him, “You people will never believe unless you see miraculous signs and wonders.”

49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50 Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”

The man believed what Jesus said, and so he left. 51 While he was still on his way home, his servants met him. They gave him the news that his boy was living. 52 He asked what time his son got better. They said to him, “The fever left him yesterday afternoon at one o’clock.”

53 Then the father realized what had happened. That was the exact time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his family became believers.

54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

Verse of the Day 1-27-13


Verse of the Day

Bow down to the Lord. He will lift you up. James 4:10NIRV

James 4

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Obey God

4 Why do you fight and argue among yourselves? Isn’t it because of your sinful longings? They fight inside you.

You want something, but you can’t get it. You kill and want what others have. But you can’t have what you want. You argue and fight. You don’t have what you want, because you don’t ask God.When you do ask for something, you don’t receive it. Why? Because you ask for the wrong reason. You want to spend your money on your sinful pleasures.

You are not faithful to God. Don’t you know that to be a friend of the world is to hate God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Don’t you know what Scripture says? The spirit that God caused to live in us wants us to belong only to God. Don’t you think Scripture has a reason for saying that? God continues to give us more grace. That’s why Scripture says,

“God opposes those who are proud.
But he gives grace to those who are not.” (Proverbs 3:34)

So obey God. Stand up to the devil. He will run away from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Make your hearts pure, you who can’t make up your minds.

Be full of sorrow. Cry and sob. Change your laughter to crying. Change your joy to sadness. 10 Bow down to the Lord. He will lift you up.

11 My brothers and sisters, don’t speak against one another. Anyone who speaks against another believer speaks against the law. And anyone who judges another believer judges the law. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it. Instead, you are acting as if you were its judge.

12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge. He is the One who is able to save life or destroy it. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Bragging About Tomorrow

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city. We will spend a year there. We will buy and sell and make money.” 14 You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while. Then it disappears. 15 Instead, you should say, “If it pleases the Lord, we will live and do this or that.”

16 As it is, you are proud. You brag about it. That kind of bragging is evil. 17 So when you know the good things you should do and don’t do them, you sin.

Verse of the Day 1-26-13


Verse of the Day

Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. Philippians 4:8 NIRV

Philippians 4

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

4 My brothers and sisters, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord’s strength. I love you and long for you. Dear friends, you are my joy and my crown.

Do What Is Best

Here is what I’m asking Euodia and Syntyche to do. I want them to agree with each other because they belong to the Lord.

My true companion, here is what I ask you to do. Help those women. They have served at my side. They have helped me spread the good news. So have Clement and the rest of those who have worked together with me. Their names are all written in the Book of Life.

Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful. Let everyone know how gentle you are. The Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him.Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.

Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. Do what you have learned or received or heard from me. Follow my example.

The God who gives peace will be with you.

Paul Gives Thanks for Help Received

10 At last you are concerned about me again. That makes me very happy. We belong to the Lord. I know that you have been concerned. But you had no chance to show it.

11 I’m not saying that because I need anything. I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. 12 I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough. 13 I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.

14 But it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 And you believers at Philippi know what happened when I left Macedonia. Not one church helped me in the matter of giving and receiving. You were the only one that did. That was in the early days when you first heard the good news. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help when I needed it. You did it again and again.

17 I’m not looking for a gift. I’m looking for what is best for you. 18 I have received my full pay, and even more than that. I have everything I need. That’s because Epaphroditus brought me the gifts you sent. They are a sweet-smelling offering. They are a gift that God accepts. He is pleased with it.

19 My God will meet all your needs. He will meet them in keeping with his wonderful riches that come to you because you belong to Christ Jesus.

20 Give glory to our God and Father for ever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

21 Greet all of God’s people. They belong to Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22 All of God’s people here send you greetings. Most of all, those who live in the palace of Caesar send you greetings.

23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Verse of the Day 1-25-13


Verse of the Day

21 Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You must have faith and not doubt. Then you can do what was done to the fig tree. And you can say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea.’ It will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive what you ask for when you pray.” Matthew 21:21 NIRV

Matthew 21

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

21 As they all approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage. It was on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two disciples. He said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey tied up. Her colt will be with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them. The owner will send them right away.”

This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would come true. It says,

“Say to the city of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you.
He is gentle and riding on a donkey.
He is riding on a donkey’s colt.’” (Zechariah 9:9)

The disciples went and did what Jesus told them to do. They brought the donkey and the colt. They placed their coats on them. Then Jesus sat on the coats. A very large crowd spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Some of the people went ahead of him, and some followed. They all shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. The people asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus. He is the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus Clears Out the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple area. He began chasing out all those who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of the people who were exchanging money. He also turned over the benches of those who were selling doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written that the Lord said, ‘My house will be called a house where people can pray.’ (Isaiah 56:7) But you are making it a ‘den for robbers.’” (Jeremiah 7:11)

14 Blind people and those who were disabled came to Jesus at the temple. There he healed them.15 The chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did. They also saw the children in the temple area shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” But when they saw all of this, they became angry.

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus. “Haven’t you ever read about it in Scripture? It says,

“‘You have made sure that children and infants
praise you.’” (Psalm 8:2)

17 Then Jesus left the people and went out of the city to Bethany. He spent the night there.

The Fig Tree Dries Up

18 Early in the morning, Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem. He was hungry. 19 He saw a fig tree by the road. He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Right away the tree dried up.

20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked.

21 Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You must have faith and not doubt. Then you can do what was done to the fig tree. And you can say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea.’ It will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive what you ask for when you pray.”

The Authority of Jesus Is Questioned

23 Jesus entered the temple courtyard. While he was teaching there, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “Who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 Where did John’s baptism come from? Was it from heaven? Or did it come from men?”

They talked to each other about it. They said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But what if we say, ‘From men’? We are afraid of the people. Everyone believes that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I am doing these things either.

The Story of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think about this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ the son answered. But later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son. He said the same thing. The son answered, ‘I will, sir.’ But he did not go.

31 “Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 John came to show you the right way to live. And you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. You saw this. But even then you did not turn away from your sins and believe him.

The Story of the Renters

33 “Listen to another story. A man who owned some land planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it. He dug a pit for a winepress in it. He also built a lookout tower. He rented the vineyard out to some farmers. Then he went away on a journey. 34 When harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the renters. He told the servants to collect his share of the fruit.

35 “But the renters grabbed his servants. They beat one of them. They killed another. They threw stones at the third to kill him. 36 Then the man sent other servants to the renters. He sent more than he did the first time. The renters treated them the same way.

37 “Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

38 “But the renters saw the son coming. They said to each other, ‘This is the one who will receive all the owner’s property someday. Come, let’s kill him. Then everything will be ours.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard. Then they killed him.

40 “When the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to those renters?”

41 “He will destroy those evil people,” they replied. “Then he will rent the vineyard out to other renters. They will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what the Scriptures say,

“‘The stone the builders didn’t accept
has become the most important stone of all.
The Lord has done it.
It is wonderful in our eyes’? (Psalm 118:22,23)

43 “So here is what I tell you. The kingdom of God will be taken away from you. It will be given to people who will produce its fruit. 44 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces. But the stone will crush anyone it falls on.”

45 The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ stories. They knew he was talking about them.46 So they looked for a way to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowd. The people believed that Jesus was a prophet.

Verse of the Day 1-24-13


Verse of the Day

So do not be afraid. I am with you. Do not be terrified. I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. My powerful right hand will take good care of you. I always do what is right. Isaiah 41:10 NIRV

Isaiah 41

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

The Lord Helps Israel

41The Lord says, “People who live on the islands,
come and stand quietly in front of me.
Let the nations gain new strength
in order to state their case.
Let them come forward and speak.
Let us go to court and find out who is right.

Who has stirred up a king from the east?
Who has helped him win his battles?
I hand nations over to him.
I bring kings under his control.
He turns them into dust with his sword.
With his bow he turns them into straw blowing in the wind.

He hunts them down. Then he moves on unharmed.
He travels so fast that his feet
don’t seem to touch the ground.

Who has made that happen? Who has carried it out?
Who has created all of the people who have ever lived?
I, the Lord, have done it.
I was with the first of them.
And I will be with the last of them.”

The people on the islands have seen that king coming.
And it has made them afraid.
People tremble with fear from one end of the earth to the other.
They come and gather together.

They help each other.
They say to one another, “Be strong!”

One skilled worker makes a statue of a god.
Another covers it with gold.
The first worker says to the second,
“You have done a good job.”
Another worker smooths out the metal with a hammer.
Still another gives the statue its final shape.
The third worker says to the last one,
“You have done a good job.”
Then they nail the statue down so it won’t fall over.

The Lord says, “People of Israel, you are my servants.
Family of Jacob, I have chosen you.
You are the children of my friend Abraham.

I gathered you from one end of the earth to the other.
From the farthest places on earth I brought you together.
I said, ‘You are my servants.’
I have chosen you.
I have not turned my back on you.

10 So do not be afraid. I am with you.
Do not be terrified. I am your God.
I will make you strong and help you.
My powerful right hand will take good care of you.
I always do what is right.

11 All those who are angry with you will be put to shame.
And they will be dishonored.
Those who oppose you will be destroyed.
And they will vanish.

12 You might search for your enemies.
But you will not find them.
Those who go to war against you
will completely disappear.

13 I am the Lord your God.
I take hold of your right hand.
I say to you, ‘Do not be afraid.
I will help you.’

14 Family of Jacob, you are as weak as a worm.
But do not be afraid.
People of Israel, there are only a few of you.
But do not be afraid.
I myself will help you,” announces the Lord.
He is the one who sets his people free.
He is the Holy One of Israel.

15 He says, “I will make you into a threshing sled.
It will be new and sharp.
It will have many teeth.
You will grind the mountains down and crush them.
You will turn the hills into nothing but straw.

16 You will toss them in the air.
A strong wind will catch them and blow them away.
You will be glad because I will make that happen.
You will praise me.
I am the Holy One of Israel.

17 Those who are poor and needy search for water.
But there isn’t any.
Their tongues are dry because they are thirsty.
But I will help them. I am the Lord.
I will not desert them.
I am Israel’s God.

18 I will make streams flow on the bare hilltops.
I will make springs come up in the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water.
I will turn the dry and cracked ground into flowing springs.

19 I will make trees grow in the desert.
I will plant cedar and acacia trees there.
I will plant myrtle and olive trees there.
I will make pine trees grow in the dry and empty desert.
I will plant fir and cypress trees there.

20 Then people will see and know
that my powerful hand has done it.
They will consider and understand
that I have created it.
I am the Holy One of Israel.”

21 The Lord says to the nations and their gods,
“State your case.”
Jacob’s King says to them,
“Prove your case to me.

22 Show me your facts. Tell me and my people
what is going to happen.
Tell us what happened in the past.
Then we can check it out
and see if it is really true.
Or announce to us the things that will take place.

23 Tell us what will happen in the days ahead.
Then we will know that you are gods.
Do something. It does not matter whether it is good or bad.
Then we will be terrified and filled with fear.

24 But you are less than nothing.
Your actions are completely worthless.
I hate it when people worship you.

25 I have stirred up a king
who will come from the north.
He lives in the east.
He will bring honor to me.
He walks all over rulers as if they were mud.
He steps on them just as a potter stomps on clay.

26 Which one of you gods said those things
would happen before they did?
Who told us about them
so we could know them?
Who told us ahead of time?
Who told us so we could say,
‘You are right’?
None of you told us about them.
None of you told us ahead of time.
In fact, no one heard you say anything at all.

27 I was the first to tell Zion.
I said, ‘Look! The people of Israel are coming back!’
I sent a prophet to Jerusalem with the good news.

28 I look, but there is no one
among the gods that can give me advice.
None of them can answer
when I ask them the simplest question.

29 So they are not really gods at all.
What they do does not amount to anything.
They are as useless as wind.

Verse of the Day 1-23-13


Verse of the Day

“If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault.” James 1:5 NIRV

James 1

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

1 I, James, am writing this letter. I serve God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am sending this letter to you, the 12 tribes that are scattered among the nations.

Greetings.

Facing All Kinds of Trouble

My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy.Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continueThe strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need.

If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault.

But when you ask, you must believe. You must not doubt. People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around. A man like that shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. He can’t make up his mind. He can never decide what to do.

A believer who finds himself in a low position in life should be proud that God has given him a high position. 10 But someone who is rich should take pride in his low position. That’s because he will fade away like a wild flower.

11 The sun rises. Its burning heat dries up the plants. Their blossoms fall. Their beauty is destroyed. In the same way, a rich person will fade away even as he goes about his business.

12 Blessed is the man who keeps on going when times are hard. After he has come through them, he will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love him.

13 When you are tempted, you shouldn’t say, “God is tempting me.” God can’t be tempted by evil. And he doesn’t tempt anyone.

14 But your own evil longings tempt you. They lead you on and drag you away. 15 When they are allowed to grow, they give birth to sin. When sin has grown up, it gives birth to death.

16 My dear brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone fool you. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from God. It comes down from the Father. He created the heavenly lights. He does not change like shadows that move.

18 God chose to give us new birth through the message of truth. He wanted us to be the first and best of everything he created.

Listen to the Word and Do What It Says

19 My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. 20 A man’s anger doesn’t produce the kind of life God wants.

21 So get rid of everything that is dirty and sinful. Get rid of the evil that is all around us. Don’t be too proud to accept the word that is planted in you. It can save you.

22 Don’t just listen to the word. You fool yourselves if you do that. You must do what it says.

23 Suppose you listen to the word but don’t do what it says. Then you are like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. 24 After looking at himself, he leaves. Right away he forgets what he looks like.

25 But suppose you take a good look at the perfect law that gives freedom. You keep looking at it. You don’t forget what you’ve heard, but you do what the law says. Then you will be blessed in what you do.

26 Suppose you think your beliefs are right because of how you live. But you don’t control what you say. Then you are fooling yourselves. Your beliefs are not worth anything at all.

27 Here are the kinds of beliefs that God our Father accepts as pure and without fault. When widows and children who have no parents are in trouble, take care of them. And keep yourselves from being polluted by the world.

Verse of the Day 1-22-13


Verse of the Day

6 Children, obey your parents as believers in the Lord. Obey them because it’s the right thing to do.Scripture says, “Honor your father and mother.” That is the first commandment that has a promise.“Then things will go well with you. You will live a long time on the earth.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)(NIRV)

Ephesians 6

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Children and Parents

6 Children, obey your parents as believers in the Lord. Obey them because it’s the right thing to do.Scripture says, “Honor your father and mother.” That is the first commandment that has a promise.“Then things will go well with you. You will live a long time on the earth.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)

Fathers, don’t make your children angry. Instead, train them and teach them the ways of the Lord as you raise them.

Slaves and Masters

Slaves, obey your masters here on earth. Respect them and honor them with a heart that is true. Obey them just as you would obey ChristDon’t obey them only to please them when they are watching. Do it because you are slaves of Christ. Be sure your heart does what God wants.

Serve your masters with all your heart. Work as if you were not serving people but the Lord. You know that the Lord will give you a reward. He will give to each of you in keeping with the good you do. It doesn’t matter whether you are slaves or free.

Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. When you warn them, don’t be too hard on them. You know that the One who is their Master and yours is in heaven. And he treats everyone the same.

God’s Armor

10 Finally, let the Lord make you strong. Depend on his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor. Then you can stand firm against the devil’s evil plans. 12 Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.

13 So put on all of God’s armor. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will still be standing.

14 So stand firm. Put the belt of truth around your waist. Put the armor of godliness on your chest.15 Wear on your feet what will prepare you to tell the good news of peace. 16 Also, pick up the shield of faith. With it you can put out all of the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Put on the helmet of salvation. And take the sword of the Holy Spirit. The sword is God’s word.

18 At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all of God’s people.

19 Pray also for me. Pray that when I open my mouth, the right words will be given to me. Then I can be bold as I tell the mystery of the good news. 20 Because of the good news, I am being held by chains as the Lord’s messenger. So pray that I will be bold as I preach the good news. That’s what I should do.

Final Greetings

21 Tychicus is a dear brother. He is faithful in serving the Lord. He will tell you everything about me. Then you will know how I am and what I am doing. 22 That’s why I am sending him to you. I want you to know how we are. And I want him to cheer you up.

23 May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give peace to the brothers and sisters. May they also give them love and faith.

24 May grace be given to everyone who loves our Lord Jesus Christ with a love that will never die.