December 22, 2014

4 Advent

Psalm 61

For the music director; to be played on a stringed instrument; written by David.

O God, hear my cry for help!
Pay attention to my prayer!
From the most remote place on earth
I call out to you in my despair.
Lead me up to a rocky summit where I can be safe!
Indeed, you are my shelter,
a strong tower that protects me from the enemy.
I will be a permanent guest in your home;
I will find shelter in the protection of your wings. (Selah)
For you, O God, hear my vows;
you grant me the reward that belongs to your loyal followers.
Give the king long life!
Make his lifetime span several generations!
May he reign forever before God!
Decree that your loyal love and faithfulness should protect him.
Then I will sing praises to your name continually,
as I fulfill my vows day after day.

Psalm 62

For the music director, Jeduthun; a psalm of David.

For God alone I patiently wait;
he is the one who delivers me.
He alone is my protector and deliverer.
He is my refuge; I will not be upended.
How long will you threaten a man?
All of you are murderers,
as dangerous as a leaning wall or an unstable fence.
They spend all their time planning how to bring him down.
They love to use deceit;
they pronounce blessings with their mouths,
but inwardly they utter curses. (Selah)
Patiently wait for God alone, my soul!
For he is the one who gives me confidence.
He alone is my protector and deliverer.
He is my refuge; I will not be upended.
God delivers me and exalts me;
God is my strong protector and my shelter.
Trust in him at all times, you people!
Pour out your hearts before him!
God is our shelter! (Selah)
Men are nothing but a mere breath;
human beings are unreliable.
When they are weighed in the scales,
all of them together are lighter than air.
Do not trust in what you can gain by oppression!
Do not put false confidence in what you can gain by robbery!
If wealth increases, do not become attached to it!
God has declared one principle;
two principles I have heard:
God is strong,
and you, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love.
For you repay men for what they do.

Psalm 112

Praise the Lord!
How blessed is the one who obeys the Lord,
who takes great delight in keeping his commands.
His descendants will be powerful on the earth;
the godly will be blessed.
His house contains wealth and riches;
his integrity endures.
In the darkness a light shines for the godly,
for each one who is merciful, compassionate, and just.
It goes well for the one who generously lends money,
and conducts his business honestly.
For he will never be upended;
others will always remember one who is just.
He does not fear bad news.
He is confident; he trusts in the Lord.
His resolve is firm; he will not succumb to fear
before he looks in triumph on his enemies.
He generously gives to the needy;
his integrity endures.
He will be vindicated and honored.
When the wicked see this, they will worry;
they will grind their teeth in frustration and melt away;
the desire of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 115

Not to us, O Lord, not to us!
But to your name bring honor,
for the sake of your loyal love and faithfulness.
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven!
He does whatever he pleases!
Their idols are made of silver and gold—
they are man-made.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see,
ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell,
hands, but cannot touch,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot even clear their throats.
Those who make them will end up like them,
as will everyone who trusts in them.
O Israel, trust in the Lord!
He is their deliverer and protector.
O family of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their deliverer and protector.
You loyal followers of the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their deliverer and protector.
The Lord takes notice of us, he will bless—
he will bless the family of Israel,
he will bless the family of Aaron.
He will bless his loyal followers,
both young and old.
May he increase your numbers,
yours and your children’s!
May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Creator of heaven and earth!
The heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to mankind.
The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any of those who descend into the silence of death.
But we will praise the Lord
now and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

Isaiah 11:1-9

An Ideal King Establishes a Kingdom of Peace

A shoot will grow out of Jesse’s root stock,
a bud will sprout from his roots.
The Lord’s spirit will rest on him—
a spirit that gives extraordinary wisdom,
a spirit that provides the ability to execute plans,
a spirit that produces absolute loyalty to the Lord.
He will take delight in obeying the Lord.
He will not judge by mere appearances,
or make decisions on the basis of hearsay.
He will treat the poor fairly,
and make right decisions for the downtrodden of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and order the wicked to be executed.
Justice will be like a belt around his waist,
integrity will be like a belt around his hips.
A wolf will reside with a lamb,
and a leopard will lie down with a young goat;
an ox and a young lion will graze together,
as a small child leads them along.
A cow and a bear will graze together,
their young will lie down together.
A lion, like an ox, will eat straw.
A baby will play
over the hole of a snake;
over the nest of a serpent
an infant will put his hand.
They will no longer injure or destroy
on my entire royal mountain.
For there will be universal submission to the Lord’s sovereignty,
just as the waters completely cover the sea.

Revelation 20:1-10

The Thousand Year Reign

Then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain. He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan—and tied him up for a thousand years. The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things he must be released for a brief period of time.)

Then I saw thrones and seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. These had not worshiped the beast or his image and had refused to receive his mark on their forehead or hand. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Satan’s Final Defeat

Now when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to bring them together for the battle. They are as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea. They went up on the broad plain of the earth and encircled the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and devoured them completely. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever.

John 5:30-47

I can do nothing on my own initiative. Just as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.

More Testimony About Jesus

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies about me, and I know the testimony he testifies about me is true. You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. (I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved.) He was a lamp that was burning and shining, and you wanted to rejoice greatly for a short time in his light.

“But I have a testimony greater than that from John. For the deeds that the Father has assigned me to complete—the deeds I am now doing—testify about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You people have never heard his voice nor seen his form at any time, nor do you have his word residing in you, because you do not believe the one whom he sent. You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.

“I do not accept praise from people, but I know you, that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, if you accept praise from one another and don’t seek the praise that comes from the only God?

“Do not suppose that I will accuse you before the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what Moses wrote, how will you believe my words?”