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“But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
One-Year Bible 

Old Testament: Esther 6–10

Esther 6–10 (Listen)

The King Honors Mordecai

On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana1 and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king's young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows2 that he had prepared for him. And the king's young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown3 is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” 10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” 11 So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”

12 Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. 13 And Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”

Esther Reveals Haman's Plot

14 While they were yet talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hurried to bring Haman to the feast that Esther had prepared.

So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared4 to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

Haman Is Hanged

And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman's face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows5 that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman's house, fifty cubits6 high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.

Esther Saves the Jews

On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. And she said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows,7 because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king's ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king's ring cannot be revoked.”

The king's scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. 10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king's signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king's service, bred from the royal stud, 11 saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, 12 on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 13 A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies. 14 So the couriers, mounted on their swift horses that were used in the king's service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king's command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.

15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown8 and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. 16 The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king's command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples. All the officials of the provinces and the satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them. For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful. The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them. In Susa the citadel itself the Jews killed and destroyed 500 men, and also killed Parshandatha and Dalphon and Aspatha and Poratha and Adalia and Aridatha and Parmashta and Arisai and Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, but they laid no hand on the plunder.

11 That very day the number of those killed in Susa the citadel was reported to the king. 12 And the king said to Queen Esther, “In Susa the citadel the Jews have killed and destroyed 500 men and also the ten sons of Haman. What then have they done in the rest of the king's provinces! Now what is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what further is your request? It shall be fulfilled.” 13 And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the Jews who are in Susa be allowed tomorrow also to do according to this day's edict. And let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.”9 14 So the king commanded this to be done. A decree was issued in Susa, and the ten sons of Haman were hanged. 15 The Jews who were in Susa gathered also on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and they killed 300 men in Susa, but they laid no hands on the plunder.

16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder. 17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness. 18 But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.

The Feast of Purim Inaugurated

20 And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, 22 as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews accepted what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and to destroy them. 25 But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, 27 the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. 30 Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth, 31 that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther obligated them, and as they had obligated themselves and their offspring, with regard to their fasts and their lamenting. 32 The command of Esther confirmed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing.

The Greatness of Mordecai

10 King Ahasuerus imposed tax on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. And all the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.

Footnotes

[1] 6:2 Bigthana is an alternate spelling of Bigthan (see 2:21)
[2] 6:4 Or wooden beam (see note on 2:23)
[3] 6:8 Or headdress
[4] 7:5 Hebrew whose heart has filled him
[5] 7:9 Or wooden beam; also verse 10 (see note on 2:23)
[6] 7:9 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[7] 8:7 Or wooden beam (see note on 2:23)
[8] 8:15 Or headdress
[9] 9:13 Or wooden beam; also verse 25 (see note on 2:23)

(ESV)

New Testament: Philippians 3–4:1

Philippians 3–4:1 (Listen)

Righteousness Through Faith in Christ

Finally, my brothers,1 rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God2 and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,3 blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Straining Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Therefore, my brothers,4 whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Footnotes

[1] 3:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 13, 17
[2] 3:3 Some manuscripts God in spirit
[3] 3:6 Greek in the law
[4] 4:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 8, 21

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 42

Psalm 42 (Listen)

Book Two

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil1 of the Sons of Korah.

42   As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
  My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
  When shall I come and appear before God?2
  My tears have been my food
    day and night,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
  These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
  how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
  with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.
  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation3 and my God.
  My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
  from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
  Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
  all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
  By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
  I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
  Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10   As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
11   Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

Footnotes

[1] 42:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[2] 42:2 Revocalization yields and see the face of God
[3] 42:5 Hebrew the salvation of my face; also verse 11 and 43:5

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 21:21–22

Proverbs 21:21–22 (Listen)

21   Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.
22   A wise man scales the city of the mighty
    and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

(ESV)

Old Testament: Esther 3–5

Esther 3–5 (Listen)

Haman Plots Against the Jews

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Then the king's servants who were at the king's gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king's command?” And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai's words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. But he disdained1 to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy2 all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.

In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not to the king's profit to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents3 of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king's business, that they may put it into the king's treasuries.” 10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.”

12 Then the king's scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.

Esther Agrees to Help the Jews

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king's gate clothed in sackcloth. And in every province, wherever the king's command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther's young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction,4 that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him5 on behalf of her people. And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11 “All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”

12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”6 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Esther Prepares a Banquet

On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” And Esther said, “If it please the king,7 let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”8 Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king9 to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

Haman Plans to Hang Mordecai

And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. 12 Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. 13 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.” 14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows10 fifty cubits11 high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Footnotes

[1] 3:6 Hebrew disdained in his eyes
[2] 3:6 Or annihilate
[3] 3:9 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
[4] 4:8 Or annihilation
[5] 4:8 Hebrew and seek from before his face
[6] 4:16 Hebrew if I am destroyed, then I will be destroyed
[7] 5:4 Hebrew If it is good to the king
[8] 5:6 Or done
[9] 5:8 Hebrew if it is good to the king
[10] 5:14 Or wooden beam; twice in this verse (see note on 2:23)
[11] 5:14 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

(ESV)

New Testament: Philippians 2:12–30

Philippians 2:12–30 (Listen)

Lights in the World

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy's1 proven worth, how as a son2 with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died3 for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

Footnotes

[1] 2:22 Greek his
[2] 2:22 Greek child
[3] 2:30 Or he drew near to the point of death; compare verse 8

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 41

Psalm 41 (Listen)

O Lord, Be Gracious to Me

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

41   Blessed is the one who considers the poor!1
    In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
  the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
    he is called blessed in the land;
    you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
  The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
    in his illness you restore him to full health.2
  As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me;
    heal me,3 for I have sinned against you!”
  My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die, and his name perish?”
  And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
    while his heart gathers iniquity;
    when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
  All who hate me whisper together about me;
    they imagine the worst for me.4
  They say, “A deadly thing is poured out5 on him;
    he will not rise again from where he lies.”
  Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
    who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10   But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
    and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11   By this I know that you delight in me:
    my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12   But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
    and set me in your presence forever.
13   Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
      Amen and Amen.

Footnotes

[1] 41:1 Or weak
[2] 41:3 Hebrew you turn all his bed
[3] 41:4 Hebrew my soul
[4] 41:7 Or they devise evil against me
[5] 41:8 Or has fastened

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 21:19–20

Proverbs 21:19–20 (Listen)

19   It is better to live in a desert land
    than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
20   Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling,
    but a foolish man devours it.

(ESV)

Old Testament: Esther 1–2

Esther 1–2 (Listen)

The King's Banquets

Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa, the citadel, in the third year of his reign he gave a feast for all his officials and servants. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were before him, while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness for many days, 180 days. And when these days were completed, the king gave for all the people present in Susa the citadel, both great and small, a feast lasting for seven days in the court of the garden of the king's palace. There were white cotton curtains and violet hangings fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rods1 and marble pillars, and also couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones. Drinks were served in golden vessels, vessels of different kinds, and the royal wine was lavished according to the bounty of the king. And drinking was according to this edict: “There is no compulsion.” For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired. Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women in the palace that belonged to King Ahasuerus.

Queen Vashti's Refusal

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown,2 in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.

13 Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king's procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, 14 the men next to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king's face, and sat first in the kingdom): 15 “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen's behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt,3 since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ 18 This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's behavior will say the same to all the king's officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. 19 If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.” 21 This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed. 22 He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, that every man be master in his own household and speak according to the language of his people.

Esther Chosen Queen

After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. Then the king's young men who attended him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king. And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa the citadel, under custody of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women. Let their cosmetics be given them. And let the young woman who pleases the king4 be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so.

Now there was a Jew in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite, who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away. He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. So when the king's order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king's palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king's palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem. 10 Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known. 11 And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.

12 Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women—13 when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king's palace. 14 In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.

15 When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king's eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, 17 the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown5 on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther's feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.

Mordecai Discovers a Plot

19 Now when the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate. 20 Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him. 21 In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. 23 When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows.6 And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

Footnotes

[1] 1:6 Or rings
[2] 1:11 Or headdress
[3] 1:17 Hebrew to disdain their husbands in their eyes
[4] 2:4 Hebrew who is good in the eyes of the king
[5] 2:17 Or headdress
[6] 2:23 Or wooden beam or stake; Hebrew tree or wood. This Persian execution practice involved affixing or impaling a person on a stake or pole (compare Ezra 6:11)

(ESV)

New Testament: Philippians 1:27–2:11

Philippians 1:27–2:11 (Listen)

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy1 of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Christ's Example of Humility

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,2 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,3 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,4 being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Footnotes

[1] 1:27 Greek Only behave as citizens worthy
[2] 2:5 Or which was also in Christ Jesus
[3] 2:6 Or a thing to be held on to for advantage
[4] 2:7 Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 40

Psalm 40 (Listen)

My Help and My Deliverer

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

40   I waited patiently for the LORD;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
  He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
  and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
  He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
  Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the LORD.
  Blessed is the man who makes
    the LORD his trust,
  who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
  You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
  I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.
  In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.1
  Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
  Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
  I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”
  I have told the glad news of deliverance2
    in the great congregation;
  behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O LORD.
10   I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
  I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation.
11   As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
  your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
12   For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
  my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
  they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me.
13   Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
    O LORD, make haste to help me!
14   Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who seek to snatch away my life;
  let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who delight in my hurt!
15   Let those be appalled because of their shame
    who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16   But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
  may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
17   As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
  You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!

Footnotes

[1] 40:6 Hebrew ears you have dug for me
[2] 40:9 Hebrew righteousness; also verse 10

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 21:17–18

Proverbs 21:17–18 (Listen)

17   Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man;
    he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18   The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
    and the traitor for the upright.

(ESV)

Old Testament: Nehemiah 12–13

Nehemiah 12–13 (Listen)

Priests and Levites

12 These are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chiefs of the priests and of their brothers in the days of Jeshua.

And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his brothers was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. And Bakbukiah and Unni and their brothers stood opposite them in the service. 10 And Jeshua was the father of Joiakim, Joiakim the father of Eliashib, Eliashib the father of Joiada, 11 Joiada the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan the father of Jaddua.

12 And in the days of Joiakim were priests, heads of fathers' houses: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; 13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; 14 of Malluchi, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; 15 of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; 16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 17 of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Piltai; 18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; 19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 20 of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.

22 In the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, the Levites were recorded as heads of fathers' houses; so too were the priests in the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 As for the sons of Levi, their heads of fathers' houses were written in the Book of the Chronicles until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib. 24 And the chiefs of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers who stood opposite them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, watch by watch. 25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers standing guard at the storehouses of the gates. 26 These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra, the priest and scribe.

Dedication of the Wall

27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 And the sons of the singers gathered together from the district surrounding Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites; 29 also from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem. 30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and they purified the people and the gates and the wall.

31 Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. One went to the south on the wall to the Dung Gate. 32 And after them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah, 33 and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 35 and certain of the priests' sons with trumpets: Zechariah the son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph; 36 and his relatives, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went before them. 37 At the Fountain Gate they went up straight before them by the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, to the Water Gate on the east.

38 The other choir of those who gave thanks went to the north, and I followed them with half of the people, on the wall, above the Tower of the Ovens, to the Broad Wall, 39 and above the Gate of Ephraim, and by the Gate of Yeshanah,1 and by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate; and they came to a halt at the Gate of the Guard. 40 So both choirs of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God, and I and half of the officials with me; 41 and the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. 43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.

Service at the Temple

44 On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns, for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered. 45 And they performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, according to the command of David and his son Solomon. 46 For long ago in the days of David and Asaph there were directors of the singers, and there were songs2 of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; and they set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron.

Nehemiah's Final Reforms

13 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent.

Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.

10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.

15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster3 on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”

19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.

23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?”

28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.

30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits.

Remember me, O my God, for good.

Footnotes

[1] 12:39 Or of the old city
[2] 12:46 Or leaders
[3] 13:18 The Hebrew word can mean evil, harm, or disaster, depending on the context

(ESV)

New Testament: Philippians 1:1–26

Philippians 1:1–26 (Listen)

Greeting

Paul and Timothy, servants1 of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers2 and deacons:3

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace,4 both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The Advance of the Gospel

12 I want you to know, brothers,5 that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard6 and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word7 without fear.

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

To Live Is Christ

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Footnotes

[1] 1:1 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface
[2] 1:1 Or bishops; Greek episkopoi
[3] 1:1 Or servants, or ministers; Greek diakonoi
[4] 1:7 Or you all have fellowship with me in grace
[5] 1:12 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verse 14
[6] 1:13 Greek in the whole praetorium
[7] 1:14 Some manuscripts add of God

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 39

Psalm 39 (Listen)

What Is the Measure of My Days?

To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

39   I said, “I will guard my ways,
    that I may not sin with my tongue;
  I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
    so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
  I was mute and silent;
    I held my peace to no avail,
  and my distress grew worse.
    My heart became hot within me.
  As I mused, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:
  “O LORD, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!
  Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
  Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
    Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
  Surely for nothing1 they are in turmoil;
    man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
  “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
    My hope is in you.
  Deliver me from all my transgressions.
    Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
  I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
    for it is you who have done it.
10   Remove your stroke from me;
    I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11   When you discipline a man
    with rebukes for sin,
  you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
    surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
12   “Hear my prayer, O LORD,
    and give ear to my cry;
    hold not your peace at my tears!
  For I am a sojourner with you,
    a guest, like all my fathers.
13   Look away from me, that I may smile again,
    before I depart and am no more!”

Footnotes

[1] 39:6 Hebrew Surely as a breath

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 21:14–16

Proverbs 21:14–16 (Listen)

14   A gift in secret averts anger,
    and a concealed bribe,1 strong wrath.
15   When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
    but terror to evildoers.
16   One who wanders from the way of good sense
    will rest in the assembly of the dead.

Footnotes

[1] 21:14 Hebrew a bribe in the bosom

(ESV)

Old Testament: Nehemiah 11

Nehemiah 11 (Listen)

The Leaders in Jerusalem

11 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten1 remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.

These are the chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem; but in the towns of Judah everyone lived on his property in their towns: Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon's servants. And in Jerusalem lived certain of the sons of Judah and of the sons of Benjamin. Of the sons of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, son of Zechariah, son of Amariah, son of Shephatiah, son of Mahalalel, of the sons of Perez; and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, son of Col-hozeh, son of Hazaiah, son of Adaiah, son of Joiarib, son of Zechariah, son of the Shilonite. All the sons of Perez who lived in Jerusalem were 468 valiant men.

And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, son of Joed, son of Pedaiah, son of Kolaiah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah, and his brothers, men of valor, 928.2 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city.

10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin, 11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, ruler of the house of God, 12 and their brothers who did the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah, 13 and his brothers, heads of fathers' houses, 242; and Amashsai, the son of Azarel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer, 14 and their brothers, mighty men of valor, 128; their overseer was Zabdiel the son of Haggedolim.

15 And of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Bunni; 16 and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who were over the outside work of the house of God; 17 and Mattaniah the son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, who was the leader of the praise,3 who gave thanks, and Bakbukiah, the second among his brothers; and Abda the son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun. 18 All the Levites in the holy city were 284.

19 The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon and their brothers, who kept watch at the gates, were 172. 20 And the rest of Israel, and of the priests and the Levites, were in all the towns of Judah, every one in his inheritance. 21 But the temple servants lived on Ophel; and Ziha and Gishpa were over the temple servants.

22 The overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, son of Hashabiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Mica, of the sons of Asaph, the singers, over the work of the house of God. 23 For there was a command from the king concerning them, and a fixed provision for the singers, as every day required. 24 And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the sons of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king's side4 in all matters concerning the people.

Villages Outside Jerusalem

25 And as for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, and in Dibon and its villages, and in Jekabzeel and its villages, 26 and in Jeshua and in Moladah and Beth-pelet, 27 in Hazar-shual, in Beersheba and its villages, 28 in Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages, 29 in En-rimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth, 30 Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom. 31 The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages, 32 Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, 33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, 34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, 35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen. 36 And certain divisions of the Levites in Judah were assigned to Benjamin.

Footnotes

[1] 11:1 Hebrew nine hands
[2] 11:8 Compare Septuagint; Hebrew Jeshaiah, and after him Gabbai, Sallai, 928
[3] 11:17 Compare Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew beginning
[4] 11:24 Hebrew hand

(ESV)

New Testament: Ephesians 6:10–24

Ephesians 6:10–24 (Listen)

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Final Greetings

21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brothers,1 and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Footnotes

[1] 6:23 Or brothers and sisters

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 38

Psalm 38 (Listen)

Do Not Forsake Me, O Lord

A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

38   O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath!
  For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.
  There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;
  there is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
  For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
  My wounds stink and fester
    because of my foolishness,
  I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all the day I go about mourning.
  For my sides are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
  I am feeble and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
  O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
10   My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11   My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
    and my nearest kin stand far off.
12   Those who seek my life lay their snares;
    those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
    and meditate treachery all day long.
13   But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
    like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
14   I have become like a man who does not hear,
    and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
15   But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16   For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
    who boast against me when my foot slips!”
17   For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever before me.
18   I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin.
19   But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
    and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20   Those who render me evil for good
    accuse me because I follow after good.
21   Do not forsake me, O LORD!
    O my God, be not far from me!
22   Make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation!

(ESV)

Proverb: Proverbs 21:13

Proverbs 21:13 (Listen)

13   Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
    will himself call out and not be answered.

(ESV)

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Saint Augustine Missionary Baptist Church
2931 Murphy Street | Shreveport, LA 71103 | Phone: 318 221-2306 
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Build In Layers

"As we grow into maturity" (1 Corinthians 15:1-7, 58; Acts 6:7)

I love the way Peter says it: "Add to..."  (2 Peter 1:5-9)

Make every effort to add to your faith (Philippians 1:27)

Add "Goodness"  (Romans 2:10; Ephesians 6:8)

Add "Knowledge" (Colossians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 8:2)

Add "Self-Control" (Acts 24:25; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27)

The Upcoming Church Events2018:

January 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday -- January 14, 2018

(Actual Date: January 15, 2018)

Church Council Meeting -- January 27,  2018  at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- January 28, 20178  at 11:00 a.m.

Re-Dedication of Workers -- January 14, 2018  at 12:30 p.m.

February 2018

Black History Celebration -- Month of February 2018

Church Council Meeting -- February 24, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- February 25, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

March 2018

Loyalty Day -- March 11, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Palm Sunday -- March 20,  2018

Youth/Children Revival -- March 21 - 23, 2018  at 7:00 p.m. each evening

Good Friday -- March 30, 2018

Church Council Meeting -- March 31, 2018 

(The Lord's Supper will be served) During the Ressurection Worship

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- March 27, 2017 at 6:30 a.m. ??

April 2018

Easter/Resurrection Sunday (Sunrise Services)  -- April 1, 2018 at 6:00 a.m.

Senior Citizen Recognition Day -- April 8, 2018  at 12:30 a.m.

Senior Mission's Anniversary -- April 10, 2018  (Tuesday)  at 7:00 p.m.

Church Council Meeting -- April 28, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- April 29, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

Pastor's Aide Fellowship  -- April 29, 2018 at  2:30 p.m.

May 2018

Mother's Day Recognition -- May 13, 2018

Women's Day Fellowship -- May  20, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- May 27, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Church Council Meeting -- May 26, 2018   (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

June 2018

Annual Church Luncheon -- June 10,  2018  at 2:00 p.m. (Optional)

VBS --  Monday thru Friday -- June 11 - 15, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

VBS Fellowship -- June 16, 2018  10:00 a.m.  (Optional)

Father's Day Recognition -- June 17, 2018

Church Council Meeting -- June 30, 2018   (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- June 24, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Men's Day Program Fellowship  -- June 24, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

July 2018

Annual Choir Musical Fellowship -- July 15, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Church Council Meeting -- July 28, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadeship in Action -- July 22, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

Pastor's Aide Program Fellowship -- July 29, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

August 2018

Church Council Meeting -- August 25, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Church Anniversary, Family and Friends Day Fellowship -- August 20, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- August 26, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

September 2018

Grandparents Recognition Day -- September 9, 2018

Senior Mission's State and Bench Rally Fellowship -- (Tuesday)  September 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Annual Useher's Day Fellowship -- September 16, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

Night Sunday School -- Thursday_September 20, 2018  at 7:00 p.m.

Youth and Children Leadership In Action -- September 23, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Round-Up Fellowship -- September 23, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

Church Council Meeting -- September 29, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

October 2018

Annual Fall Revival -- October 24 - 26, 2018  at 7:00 p.m. each evening

Church Council Meeting -- October 27, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership In Action -- October 28, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Annual Musician's Appreciation Day Fellowship -- October 28, 2018  at 2:30 p.m.

November 2018

Annual Church Anniversary/Homecoming/Family and Friends Fellowship Day -- November 11, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

Feeding of the Needy -- November 17, 2018  at 9:00 a.m.

Thanksgiving Day -- November 22, 2018

Church Council Meeting -- November 22, 2018  (Saturday) at 10:00 a.m.

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- November 25, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

December 2018

Deacon's Anniversary Fellowship -- December 9, 2018  at 2:30 p.m

Youth and Children Leadership in Action -- December 23, 2018  at 11:00 a.m.

Christmas Day Fellowship -- December 23, 2018

Acutal Christmas Day -- December 25, 2018 -- (Tuesday)