06, July 2019

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Today’s Readings

Joel 1–3 ()

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1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel:

  Hear this, you elders;
    give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
  Has such a thing happened in your days,
    or in the days of your fathers?
  Tell your children of it,
    and let your children tell their children,
    and their children to another generation.
  What the cutting locust left,
    the swarming locust has eaten.
  What the swarming locust left,
    the hopping locust has eaten,
  and what the hopping locust left,
    the destroying locust has eaten.
  Awake, you drunkards, and weep,
    and wail, all you drinkers of wine,
  because of the sweet wine,
    for it is cut off from your mouth.
  For a nation has come up against my land,
    powerful and beyond number;
  its teeth are lions' teeth,
    and it has the fangs of a lioness.
  It has laid waste my vine
    and splintered my fig tree;
  it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down;
    their branches are made white.
  Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth
    for the bridegroom of her youth.
  The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off
    from the house of the LORD.
  The priests mourn,
    the ministers of the LORD.
10   The fields are destroyed,
    the ground mourns,
  because the grain is destroyed,
    the wine dries up,
    the oil languishes.
11   Be ashamed, O tillers of the soil;
    wail, O vinedressers,
  for the wheat and the barley,
    because the harvest of the field has perished.
12   The vine dries up;
    the fig tree languishes.
  Pomegranate, palm, and apple,
    all the trees of the field are dried up,
  and gladness dries up
    from the children of man.

13   Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests;
    wail, O ministers of the altar.
  Go in, pass the night in sackcloth,
    O ministers of my God!
  Because grain offering and drink offering
    are withheld from the house of your God.
14   Consecrate a fast;
    call a solemn assembly.
  Gather the elders
    and all the inhabitants of the land
  to the house of the LORD your God,
    and cry out to the LORD.
15   Alas for the day!
  For the day of the LORD is near,
    and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.
16   Is not the food cut off
    before our eyes,
  joy and gladness
    from the house of our God?
17   The seed shrivels under the clods;
    the storehouses are desolate;
  the granaries are torn down
    because the grain has dried up.
18   How the beasts groan!
    The herds of cattle are perplexed
  because there is no pasture for them;
    even the flocks of sheep suffer.
19   To you, O LORD, I call.
  For fire has devoured
    the pastures of the wilderness,
  and flame has burned
    all the trees of the field.
20   Even the beasts of the field pant for you
    because the water brooks are dried up,
  and fire has devoured
    the pastures of the wilderness.

2:1   Blow a trumpet in Zion;
    sound an alarm on my holy mountain!
  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
    for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near,
  a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of clouds and thick darkness!
  Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
    a great and powerful people;
  their like has never been before,
    nor will be again after them
    through the years of all generations.
  Fire devours before them,
    and behind them a flame burns.
  The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
    but behind them a desolate wilderness,
    and nothing escapes them.
  Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
    and like war horses they run.
  As with the rumbling of chariots,
    they leap on the tops of the mountains,
  like the crackling of a flame of fire
    devouring the stubble,
  like a powerful army
    drawn up for battle.
  Before them peoples are in anguish;
    all faces grow pale.
  Like warriors they charge;
    like soldiers they scale the wall.
  They march each on his way;
    they do not swerve from their paths.
  They do not jostle one another;
    each marches in his path;
  they burst through the weapons
    and are not halted.
  They leap upon the city,
    they run upon the walls,
  they climb up into the houses,
    they enter through the windows like a thief.
10   The earth quakes before them;
    the heavens tremble.
  The sun and the moon are darkened,
    and the stars withdraw their shining.
11   The LORD utters his voice
    before his army,
  for his camp is exceedingly great;
    he who executes his word is powerful.
  For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome;
    who can endure it?

12   “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
    “return to me with all your heart,
  with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13     and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
  Return to the LORD your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
  slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster.
14   Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
    and leave a blessing behind him,
  a grain offering and a drink offering
    for the LORD your God?
15   Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    consecrate a fast;
  call a solemn assembly;
16     gather the people.
  Consecrate the congregation;
    assemble the elders;
  gather the children,
    even nursing infants.
  Let the bridegroom leave his room,
    and the bride her chamber.
17   Between the vestibule and the altar
    let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep
  and say, “Spare your people, O LORD,
    and make not your heritage a reproach,
    a byword among the nations.
  Why should they say among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?’”

18   Then the LORD became jealous for his land
    and had pity on his people.
19   The LORD answered and said to his people,
  “Behold, I am sending to you
    grain, wine, and oil,
    and you will be satisfied;
  and I will no more make you
    a reproach among the nations.
20   “I will remove the northerner far from you,
    and drive him into a parched and desolate land,
  his vanguard into the eastern sea,
    and his rear guard into the western sea;
  the stench and foul smell of him will rise,
    for he has done great things.
21   “Fear not, O land;
    be glad and rejoice,
    for the LORD has done great things!
22   Fear not, you beasts of the field,
    for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
  the tree bears its fruit;
    the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
23   “Be glad, O children of Zion,
    and rejoice in the LORD your God,
  for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
    he has poured down for you abundant rain,
    the early and the latter rain, as before.
24   “The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
    the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25   I will restore to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten,
  the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent among you.
26   “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the LORD your God,
    who has dealt wondrously with you.
  And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27   You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
    and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else.
  And my people shall never again be put to shame.

28    “And it shall come to pass afterward,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
  your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.
29   Even on the male and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

3:1 “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.

“What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border. Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will return your payment on your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the LORD has spoken.”

  Proclaim this among the nations:
  Consecrate for war;
    stir up the mighty men.
  Let all the men of war draw near;
    let them come up.
10   Beat your plowshares into swords,
    and your pruning hooks into spears;
    let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
11   Hasten and come,
    all you surrounding nations,
    and gather yourselves there.
  Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
12   Let the nations stir themselves up
    and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
  for there I will sit to judge
    all the surrounding nations.
13   Put in the sickle,
    for the harvest is ripe.
  Go in, tread,
    for the winepress is full.
  The vats overflow,
    for their evil is great.
14   Multitudes, multitudes,
    in the valley of decision!
  For the day of the LORD is near
    in the valley of decision.
15   The sun and the moon are darkened,
    and the stars withdraw their shining.
16   The LORD roars from Zion,
    and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
    and the heavens and the earth quake.
  But the LORD is a refuge to his people,
    a stronghold to the people of Israel.

17   “So you shall know that I am the LORD your God,
    who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.
  And Jerusalem shall be holy,
    and strangers shall never again pass through it.
18   “And in that day
  the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
    and the hills shall flow with milk,
  and all the streambeds of Judah
    shall flow with water;
  and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD
    and water the Valley of Shittim.
19   “Egypt shall become a desolation
    and Edom a desolate wilderness,
  for the violence done to the people of Judah,
    because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
20   But Judah shall be inhabited forever,
    and Jerusalem to all generations.
21   I will avenge their blood,
    blood I have not avenged,
    for the LORD dwells in Zion.”

Matthew 7:15–29 ()

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15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Psalm 79 ()

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A Psalm of Asaph.

79:1   O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
    they have defiled your holy temple;
    they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
  They have given the bodies of your servants
    to the birds of the heavens for food,
    the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth.
  They have poured out their blood like water
    all around Jerusalem,
    and there was no one to bury them.
  We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
    mocked and derided by those around us.
  How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever?
    Will your jealousy burn like fire?
  Pour out your anger on the nations
    that do not know you,
  and on the kingdoms
    that do not call upon your name!
  For they have devoured Jacob
    and laid waste his habitation.
  Do not remember against us our former iniquities;
    let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
    for we are brought very low.
  Help us, O God of our salvation,
    for the glory of your name;
  deliver us, and atone for our sins,
    for your name's sake!
10   Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
  Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
    be known among the nations before our eyes!
11   Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
    according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
12   Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors
    the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
13   But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
    will give thanks to you forever;
    from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Proverbs 15:18–21 ()

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18   A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
    but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
19   The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
    but the path of the upright is a level highway.
20   A wise son makes a glad father,
    but a foolish man despises his mother.
21   Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
    but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.

06, July 2019

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