February 14, 2018

Psalm 95

Come! Let’s sing for joy to the Lord!
Let’s shout out praises to our protector who delivers us!
Let’s enter his presence with thanksgiving!
Let’s shout out to him in celebration!
For the Lord is a great God,
a great king who is superior to all gods.
The depths of the earth are in his hand,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land.
Come! Let’s bow down and worship!
Let’s kneel before the Lord, our Creator!
For he is our God;
we are the people of his pasture,
the sheep he owns.
Today, if only you would obey him!
He says, “Do not be stubborn like they were at Meribah,
like they were that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors challenged my authority,
and tried my patience, even though they had seen my work.
For forty years I was continually disgusted with that generation,
and I said, ‘These people desire to go astray;
they do not obey my commands.’
So I made a vow in my anger,
‘They will never enter into the resting place I had set aside for them.’”

Psalm 32

By David; a well-written song.

How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven,
whose sin is pardoned!
How blessed is the one whose wrongdoing the Lord does not punish,
in whose spirit there is no deceit.
When I refused to confess my sin,
my whole body wasted away,
while I groaned in pain all day long.
For day and night you tormented me;
you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer. (Selah)
Then I confessed my sin;
I no longer covered up my wrongdoing.
I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.”
And then you forgave my sins. (Selah)
For this reason every one of your faithful followers should pray to you
while there is a window of opportunity.
Certainly when the surging water rises,
it will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
you protect me from distress.
You surround me with shouts of joy from those celebrating deliverance. (Selah)
I will instruct and teach you about how you should live.
I will advise you as I look you in the eye.
Do not be like an unintelligent horse or mule,
which will not obey you
unless they are controlled by a bridle and bit.
An evil person suffers much pain,
but the Lord’s faithfulness overwhelms the one who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be happy, you who are godly!
Shout for joy, all you who are morally upright!

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my plea for help!
Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me!
Do not sit in judgment on your servant,
for no one alive is innocent before you.
Certainly my enemies chase me.
They smash me into the ground.
They force me to live in dark regions,
like those who have been dead for ages.
My strength leaves me;
I am absolutely shocked.
I recall the old days;
I meditate on all you have done;
I reflect on your accomplishments.
I spread my hands out to you in prayer;
my soul thirsts for you in a parched land.
Answer me quickly, Lord!
My strength is fading.
Do not reject me,
or I will join those descending into the grave.
May I hear about your loyal love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
because I long for you.
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord!
I run to you for protection.
Teach me to do what pleases you,
for you are my God.
May your kind presence
lead me into a level land.
O Lord, for the sake of your reputation, revive me!
Because of your justice, rescue me from trouble!
As a demonstration of your loyal love, destroy my enemies!
Annihilate all who threaten my life,
for I am your servant.

Psalm 102

The prayer of an oppressed man, as he grows faint and pours out his lament before the Lord.

O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my cry for help!
Do not ignore me in my time of trouble!
Listen to me!
When I call out to you, quickly answer me!
For my days go up in smoke,
and my bones are charred like a fireplace.
My heart is parched and withered like grass,
for I am unable to eat food.
Because of the anxiety that makes me groan,
my bones protrude from my skin.
I am like an owl in the wilderness;
I am like a screech owl among the ruins.
I stay awake;
I am like a solitary bird on a roof.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who mock me use my name in their curses.
For I eat ashes as if they were bread,
and mix my drink with my tears,
because of your anger and raging fury.
Indeed, you pick me up and throw me away.
My days are coming to an end,
and I am withered like grass.
But you, O Lord, rule forever,
and your reputation endures.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion.
For it is time to have mercy on her,
for the appointed time has come.
Indeed, your servants take delight in her stones,
and feel compassion for the dust of her ruins.
The nations will respect the reputation of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth will respect his splendor,
when the Lord rebuilds Zion,
and reveals his splendor,
when he responds to the prayer of the destitute,
and does not reject their request.
The account of his intervention will be recorded for future generations;
people yet to be born will praise the Lord.
For he will look down from his sanctuary above;
from heaven the Lord will look toward earth,
in order to hear the painful cries of the prisoners,
and to set free those condemned to die,
so they may proclaim the name of the Lord in Zion,
and praise him in Jerusalem,
when the nations gather together,
and the kingdoms pay tribute to the Lord.
He has taken away my strength in the middle of life;
he has cut short my days.
I say, “O my God, please do not take me away in the middle of my life!
You endure through all generations.
In earlier times you established the earth;
the skies are your handiwork.
They will perish,
but you will endure.
They will wear out like a garment;
like clothes you will remove them and they will disappear.
But you remain;
your years do not come to an end.
The children of your servants will settle down here,
and their descendants will live securely in your presence.”

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

From the deep water I cry out to you, O Lord.
O Lord, listen to me!
Pay attention to my plea for mercy!
If you, O Lord, were to keep track of sins,
O Lord, who could stand before you?
But you are willing to forgive,
so that you might be honored.
I rely on the Lord,
I rely on him with my whole being;
I wait for his assuring word.
I yearn for the Lord,
more than watchmen do for the morning,
yes, more than watchmen do for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord,
for the Lord exhibits loyal love,
and is more than willing to deliver.
He will deliver Israel
from all the consequences of their sins.

Amos 5:6-15

Seek the Lord so you can live!
Otherwise he will break out like fire against Joseph’s family;
the fire will consume
and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel.
The Israelites turn justice into bitterness;
they throw what is fair and right to the ground.
(But there is one who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion;
he can turn the darkness into morning
and daylight into night.
He summons the water of the seas
and pours it out on the earth’s surface.
The Lord is his name!
He flashes destruction down upon the strong
so that destruction overwhelms the fortified places.)
The Israelites hate anyone who arbitrates at the city gate;
they despise anyone who speaks honestly.
Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops
and exact a grain tax from them,
you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone,
nor will you drink the wine from the fine vineyards you planted.
Certainly I am aware of your many rebellious acts
and your numerous sins.
You torment the innocent, you take bribes,
and you deny justice to the needy at the city gate.
For this reason whoever is smart keeps quiet in such a time,
for it is an evil time.
Seek good and not evil so you can live!
Then the Lord, the God who commands armies, just might be with you,
as you claim he is.
Hate what is wrong, love what is right!
Promote justice at the city gate!
Maybe the Lord, the God who commands armies, will have mercy on those who are left from Joseph.

Hebrews 12:1-14

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?

“My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline
or give up when he corrects you.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.”

Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord.

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’ I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”