Saturday, February 28, 2009

James 5 Today's Daily Bread

Warning to the Rich

1Look here, you rich people, weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh in hell. F15 This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. 4For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

5You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every whim. Now your hearts are nice and fat, ready for the slaughter. 6You have condemned and killed good people who had no power to defend themselves against you.

Patience in Suffering

7Dear brothers and sisters, F16 you must be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. Consider the farmers who eagerly look for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They patiently wait for the precious harvest to ripen. 8You, too, must be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

9Don't grumble about each other, my brothers and sisters, or God will judge you. For look! The great Judge is coming. He is standing at the door!

10For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. Job is an example of a man who endured patiently. From his experience we see how the Lord's plan finally ended in good, for he is full of tenderness and mercy.

12But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned for it.

The Power of Prayer

13Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord.

14Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.

16Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. 17Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! 18Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green, and the crops began to grow again.

Restore Wandering Believers

19My dear brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back again, 20you can be sure that the one who brings that person back will save that sinner from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
F15: Or will eat your flesh like fire.
F16: Greek brothers; also in 5:9, 10, 12, 19.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Coloosians 4 Today's Daily Bread

1You slave owners must be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.

An Encouragement for Prayer

2Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. 3Don't forget to pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to preach about his secret plan—that Christ is also for you Gentiles. That is why I am here in chains. 4Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

5Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.

Paul's Final Instructions and Greetings

7Tychicus, a much loved brother, will tell you how I am getting along. He is a faithful helper who serves the Lord with me. 8I have sent him on this special trip to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. 9I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and much loved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will give you all the latest news.

10Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas's cousin. And as you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. 11Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish Christians among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been!

12Epaphras, from your city, a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident of the whole will of God. 13I can assure you that he has agonized for you and also for the Christians in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

14Dear Doctor Luke sends his greetings, and so does Demas. 15Please give my greetings to our Christian brothers and sisters F12 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and those who meet in her house.

16After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them. 17And say to Archippus, "Be sure to carry out the work the Lord gave you."

18Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—PAUL. Remember my chains. May the grace of God be with you.
F12: Greek brothers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Collossian's 1 Today's Daily Bread

Greetings from Paul

1This letter is from Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

2It is written to God's holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters F1 in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Paul's Thanksgiving and Prayer

3We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4for we have heard that you trust in Christ Jesus and that you love all of God's people. 5You do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven—as you have been ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. 6This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God's great kindness to sinners.

7Epaphras, our much loved co-worker, was the one who brought you the Good News. He is Christ's faithful servant, and he is helping us in your place. F2 8He is the one who told us about the great love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.

9So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. 10Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.

11We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, 12always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light. 13For he has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. 14God has purchased our freedom with his blood F3 and has forgiven all our sins.

Christ Is Supreme

15Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. F4 16Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see—kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. 17He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together.

18Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, F5 so he is first in everything. 19For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. 21This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, 22yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.

Paul's Work for the Church

24I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am completing what remains of Christ's sufferings for his body, the church. 25God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his message in all its fullness to you Gentiles. 26This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to his own holy people. 27For it has pleased God to tell his people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory.

28So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God, perfect F6 in their relationship to Christ. 29I work very hard at this, as I depend on Christ's mighty power that works within me.
F1: Greek faithful brothers.
F2: Greek he is ministering on your behalf; other manuscripts read he is ministering on our behalf.
F3: Some manuscripts do not include with his blood.
F4: Greek He is the firstborn of all creation.
F5: Greek He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.
F6: Or mature.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Philippian's 4 Today's Daily Bread

1Dear brothers and sisters, F12 I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward for my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends.

Paul's Final Thoughts

2And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3And I ask you, my true teammate, F13 to help these women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. And they worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

4Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

6Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul's Thanks for Their Gifts

10How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn't have the chance to help me. 11Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. 14But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

15As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17I don't say this because I want a gift from you. What I want is for you to receive a well-earned reward because of your kindness.

18At the moment I have all I need—more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases him. 19And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 20Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.

Paul's Final Greetings

21Give my greetings to all the Christians there. The brothers who are with me here send you their greetings. 22And all the other Christians send their greetings, too, especially those who work in Caesar's palace.

23May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
F12: Greek brothers; also in 4:8.
F13: Greek true yokefellow, or loyal Syzygus.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ephesians 1 Today's Daily Bread

Greetings from Paul

1This letter is from Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. It is written to God's holy people in Ephesus, F1 who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

2May grace and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Spiritual Blessings

3How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. 4Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.

6So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. 7He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. 8He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

9God's secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. 10And this is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, F2 for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. 12God's purpose was that we who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God. 13And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.

Paul's Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for Christians everywhere, 16I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people. F3

19I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. 21Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come. 22And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church. 23And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with his presence.
F1: Some manuscripts do not include in Ephesus.
F2: Or we have become God's inheritance.
F3: Or realize how much God has been honored by acquiring his people.

Monday, February 23, 2009

1 Corinthians 14 Today's Daily Bread

The Gifts of Tongues and Prophecy

1Let love be your highest goal, but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, especially the gift of prophecy. 2For if your gift is the ability to speak in tongues, F67 you will be talking to God but not to people, since they won't be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. 3But one who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them. 4A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally in the Lord, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.

5I wish you all had the gift of speaking in tongues, but even more I wish you were all able to prophesy. For prophecy is a greater and more useful gift than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church can get some good out of it.

6Dear brothers and sisters, F68 if I should come to you talking in an unknown language, F69 how would that help you? But if I bring you some revelation or some special knowledge or some prophecy or some teaching—that is what will help you. 7Even musical instruments like the flute or the harp, though they are lifeless, are examples of the need for speaking in plain language. For no one will recognize the melody unless the notes are played clearly. 8And if the bugler doesn't sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? 9And it's the same for you. If you talk to people in a language they don't understand, how will they know what you mean? You might as well be talking to an empty room.

10There are so many different languages in the world, and all are excellent for those who understand them, 11but to me they mean nothing. I will not understand people who speak those languages, and they will not understand me. 12Since you are so eager to have spiritual gifts, ask God for those that will be of real help to the whole church.

13So anyone who has the gift of speaking in tongues should pray also for the gift of interpretation in order to tell people plainly what has been said. 14For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don't understand what I am saying.

15Well then, what shall I do? I will do both. I will pray in the spirit, F70 and I will pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will sing in words I understand. 16For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don't understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don't understand what you are saying? 17You will be giving thanks very nicely, no doubt, but it doesn't help the other people present.

18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19But in a church meeting I would much rather speak five understandable words that will help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.

20Dear brothers and sisters, don't be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise in understanding matters of this kind. 21It is written in the Scriptures, F71

"I will speak to my own people
through unknown languages
and through the lips of foreigners.
But even then, they will not listen to me," F72
says the Lord.

22So you see that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers. 23Even so, if unbelievers or people who don't understand these things come into your meeting and hear everyone talking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy. 24But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don't understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin, and they will be condemned by what you say. 25As they listen, their secret thoughts will be laid bare, and they will fall down on their knees and worship God, declaring, "God is really here among you."

A Call to Orderly Worship

26Well, my brothers and sisters, let's summarize what I am saying. When you meet, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in an unknown language, while another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord. 27No more than two or three should speak in an unknown language. They must speak one at a time, and someone must be ready to interpret what they are saying. 28But if no one is present who can interpret, they must be silent in your church meeting and speak in tongues to God privately.

29Let two or three prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said. 30But if someone is prophesying and another person receives a revelation from the Lord, the one who is speaking must stop. 31In this way, all who prophesy will have a turn to speak, one after the other, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged. 32Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can wait their turn. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the other churches. F73

34Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. 35If they have any questions to ask, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings. F74

36Do you think that the knowledge of God's word begins and ends with you Corinthians? Well, you are mistaken! 37If you claim to be a prophet or think you are very spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself. 38But if you do not recognize this, you will not be recognized. F75

39So, dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don't forbid speaking in tongues. 40But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.
F67: Or in unknown languages; also in 14:4, 5, 13, 14, 18, 22, 28, 39.
F68: Greek brothers; also in 14:20, 26, 39.
F69: Or in tongues; also in 14:19, 23, 26, 27.
F70: Or in the Spirit; also in 14:15b, 16.
F71: Greek in the law.
F72: Isa 28:11-12.
F73: The phrase as in all the other churches could be joined to the beginning of 14:34.
F74: Some manuscripts place verses 34-35 after 14:40.
F75: Some manuscripts read If you are ignorant of this, stay in your ignorance.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Acts 4 Today's Daily Bread

Peter and John before the Council

1While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the leading priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees came over to them. 2They were very disturbed that Peter and John were claiming, on the authority of Jesus, that there is a resurrection of the dead. 3They arrested them and, since it was already evening, jailed them until morning. 4But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so that the number of believers totaled about five thousand men, not counting women and children. F17

5The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. 7They brought in the two disciples and demanded, "By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?"

8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Leaders and elders of our nation, 9are we being questioned because we've done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10Let me clearly state to you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed in the name and power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, the man you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead. 11For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

'The stone that you builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.' F18

12There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them."

13The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 14But since the man who had been healed was standing right there among them, the council had nothing to say. 15So they sent Peter and John out of the council chamber F19 and conferred among themselves.

16"What should we do with these men?" they asked each other. "We can't deny they have done a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. 17But perhaps we can stop them from spreading their propaganda. We'll warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus' name again." 18So they called the apostles back in and told them never again to speak or teach about Jesus.

19But Peter and John replied, "Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard."

21The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn't know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.

The Believers Pray for Courage

23As soon as they were freed, Peter and John found the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. 24Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer: "O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—25you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor King David, your servant, saying,

'Why did the nations rage?
Why did the people waste their time with futile plans?

26 The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
the rulers gathered together
against the Lord
and against his Messiah.' F20

27"That is what has happened here in this city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. 28In fact, everything they did occurred according to your eternal will and plan. 29And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give your servants great boldness in their preaching. 30Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

31After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And they preached God's message with boldness.

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had. 33And the apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God's great favor was upon them all. 34There was no poverty among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them 35and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need.

36For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need.
F17: Greek 5,000 adult males.
F18: Ps 118:22.
F19: Greek the Sanhedrin.
F20: Ps 2:1-2.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Matthew 6 Today's Daily Bread

Teaching about Giving to the Needy

1"Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give a gift to someone in need, don't shout about it as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. 4Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

Teaching about Prayer and Fasting

5"And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

7"When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. 8Don't be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be honored.

10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done here on earth,
just as it is in heaven.

11 Give us our food for today, F45

12 and forgive us our sins,
just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.

13 And don't let us yield to temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. F46

14"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

16"And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I assure you, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18Then no one will suspect you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret. And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

Teaching about Money and Possessions

19"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. 21Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.

22"Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. 23But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!

24"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25"So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing? 26Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. 27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not.

28"And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, 29yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!

31"So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. 32Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, 33and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

34"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.
F45: Or for tomorrow.
F46: Or from evil. Some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

2 Corinthians 1 Today's Daily Bread

Greetings from Paul

1This letter is from Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our dear brother Timothy. We are writing to God's church in Corinth and to all the Christians throughout Greece. F1

2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you his grace and peace.

God Offers Comfort to All

3All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source F2 of every mercy and the God who comforts us. 4He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God's comfort.

8I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, F3 about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. 9In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. 10And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us. 11He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people's prayers for our safety have been answered.

Paul's Change of Plans

12We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have been honest F4 and sincere in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own earthly wisdom. That is how we have acted toward everyone, and especially toward you. 13My letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can't understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us, 14even if you don't fully understand us now. Then on the day when our Lord Jesus comes back again, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.

15Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing. 16I wanted to stop and see you on my way to Macedonia and again on my return trip. Then you could send me on my way to Judea.

17You may be asking why I changed my plan. Hadn't I made up my mind yet? Or am I like people of the world who say yes when they really mean no? 18As surely as God is true, I am not that sort of person. My yes means yes 19because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, never wavers between yes and no. He is the one whom Timothy, Silas, F5 and I preached to you, and he is the divine Yes—God's affirmation. 20For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in him. That is why we say "Amen" when we give glory to God through Christ. 21It is God who gives us, along with you, the ability to stand firm for Christ. F6 He has commissioned us, 22and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment of everything he will give us.

23Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn't return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. 24But that does not mean we want to tell you exactly how to put your faith into practice. F7 We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy as you stand firm in your faith.
F1: Greek Achaia, the southern region of the Greek peninsula.
F2: Greek the Father.
F3: Greek brothers.
F4: Some manuscripts read holy.
F5: Greek Silvanus.
F6: Or who has identified us and you as genuine Christians.
F7: Greek want to lord it over your faith.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Psalm 119 Today's Daily Bread

1 Happy are people of integrity, F95
who follow the law of the LORD.

2 Happy are those who obey his decrees
and search for him with all their hearts.

3 They do not compromise with evil,
and they walk only in his paths.

4 You have charged us
to keep your commandments carefully.

5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your principles!

6 Then I will not be disgraced
when I compare my life with your commands.

7 When I learn your righteous laws,
I will thank you by living as I should!

8 I will obey your principles.
Please don't give up on me!

9 How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word and following its rules.

10 I have tried my best to find you—
don't let me wander from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

12 Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your principles.

13 I have recited aloud
all the laws you have given us.

14 I have rejoiced in your decrees
as much as in riches.

15 I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.

16 I will delight in your principles
and not forget your word.

17 Be good to your servant,
that I may live and obey your word.

18 Open my eyes to see
the wonderful truths in your law.

19 I am but a foreigner here on earth;
I need the guidance of your commands.
Don't hide them from me!

20 I am overwhelmed continually
with a desire for your laws.

21 You rebuke those cursed proud ones
who wander from your commands.

22 Don't let them scorn and insult me,
for I have obeyed your decrees.

23 Even princes sit and speak against me,
but I will meditate on your principles.

24 Your decrees please me;
they give me wise advice.

25 I lie in the dust, completely discouraged;
revive me by your word.

26 I told you my plans, and you answered.
Now teach me your principles.

27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
and I will meditate on your wonderful miracles.

28 I weep with grief;
encourage me by your word.

29 Keep me from lying to myself;
give me the privilege of knowing your law.

30 I have chosen to be faithful;
I have determined to live by your laws.

31 I cling to your decrees.
LORD, don't let me be put to shame!

32 If you will help me,
I will run to follow your commands.

33 Teach me, O LORD,
to follow every one of your principles.

34 Give me understanding and I will obey your law;
I will put it into practice with all my heart.

35 Make me walk along the path of your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found.

36 Give me an eagerness for your decrees;
do not inflict me with love for money!

37 Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word. F96

38 Reassure me of your promise,
which is for those who honor you.

39 Help me abandon my shameful ways;
your laws are all I want in life.

40 I long to obey your commandments!
Renew my life with your goodness.

41 LORD, give to me your unfailing love,
the salvation that you promised me.

42 Then I will have an answer for those who taunt me,
for I trust in your word.

43 Do not snatch your word of truth from me,
for my only hope is in your laws.

44 I will keep on obeying your law
forever and forever.

45 I will walk in freedom,
for I have devoted myself to your commandments.

46 I will speak to kings about your decrees,
and I will not be ashamed.

47 How I delight in your commands!
How I love them!

48 I honor and love your commands.
I meditate on your principles.

49 Remember your promise to me,
for it is my only hope.

50 Your promise revives me;
it comforts me in all my troubles.

51 The proud hold me in utter contempt,
but I do not turn away from your law.

52 I meditate on your age-old laws;
O LORD, they comfort me.

53 I am furious with the wicked,
those who reject your law.

54 Your principles have been the music of my life
throughout the years of my pilgrimage.

55 I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD,
and I obey your law because of this.

56 This is my happy way of life:
obeying your commandments.

57 LORD, you are mine!
I promise to obey your words!

58 With all my heart I want your blessings.
Be merciful just as you promised.

59 I pondered the direction of my life,
and I turned to follow your statutes.

60 I will hurry, without lingering,
to obey your commands.

61 Evil people try to drag me into sin,
but I am firmly anchored to your law.

62 At midnight I rise to thank you
for your just laws.

63 Anyone who fears you is my friend—
anyone who obeys your commandments.

64 O LORD, the earth is full of your unfailing love;
teach me your principles.

65 You have done many good things for me, LORD,
just as you promised.

66 I believe in your commands;
now teach me good judgment and knowledge.

67 I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
but now I closely follow your word.

68 You are good and do only good;
teach me your principles.

69 Arrogant people have made up lies about me,
but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.

70 Their hearts are dull and stupid,
but I delight in your law.

71 The suffering you sent was good for me,
for it taught me to pay attention to your principles.

72 Your law is more valuable to me
than millions in gold and silver!

73 You made me; you created me.
Now give me the sense to follow your commands.

74 May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy,
for I have put my hope in your word.

75 I know, O LORD, that your decisions are fair;
you disciplined me because I needed it.

76 Now let your unfailing love comfort me,
just as you promised me, your servant.

77 Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live,
for your law is my delight.

78 Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me;
meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.

79 Let me be reconciled
with all who fear you and know your decrees.

80 May I be blameless in keeping your principles;
then I will never have to be ashamed.

81 I faint with longing for your salvation;
but I have put my hope in your word.

82 My eyes are straining to see your promises come true.
When will you comfort me?

83 I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, exhausted with waiting.
But I cling to your principles and obey them.

84 How long must I wait?
When will you punish those who persecute me?

85 These arrogant people who hate your law
have dug deep pits for me to fall into.

86 All your commands are trustworthy.
Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.

87 They almost finished me off,
but I refused to abandon your commandments.

88 In your unfailing love, spare my life;
then I can continue to obey your decrees.

89 Forever, O LORD,
your word stands firm in heaven.

90 Your faithfulness extends to every generation,
as enduring as the earth you created.

91 Your laws remain true today,
for everything serves your plans.

92 If your law hadn't sustained me with joy,
I would have died in my misery.

93 I will never forget your commandments,
for you have used them to restore my joy and health.

94 I am yours; save me!
For I have applied myself to obey your commandments.

95 Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me,
I will quietly keep my mind on your decrees.

96 Even perfection has its limits,
but your commands have no limit.

97 Oh, how I love your law!
I think about it all day long.

98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for your commands are my constant guide.

99 Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
for I am always thinking of your decrees.

100 I am even wiser than my elders,
for I have kept your commandments.

101 I have refused to walk on any path of evil,
that I may remain obedient to your word.

102 I haven't turned away from your laws,
for you have taught me well.

103 How sweet are your words to my taste;
they are sweeter than honey.

104 Your commandments give me understanding;
no wonder I hate every false way of life.

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light for my path.

106 I've promised it once, and I'll promise again:
I will obey your wonderful laws.

107 I have suffered much, O LORD;
restore my life again, just as you promised.

108 LORD, accept my grateful thanks
and teach me your laws.

109 My life constantly hangs in the balance,
but I will not stop obeying your law.

110 The wicked have set their traps for me along your path,
but I will not turn from your commandments.

111 Your decrees are my treasure;
they are truly my heart's delight.

112 I am determined to keep your principles,
even forever, to the very end.

113 I hate those who are undecided about you,
but my choice is clear—I love your law.

114 You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my only source of hope.

115 Get out of my life, you evil-minded people,
for I intend to obey the commands of my God.

116 LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live!
Do not let my hope be crushed.

117 Sustain me, and I will be saved;
then I will meditate on your principles continually.

118 But you have rejected all who stray from your principles.
They are only fooling themselves.

119 All the wicked of the earth are the scum you skim off;
no wonder I love to obey your decrees!

120 I tremble in fear of you;
I fear your judgments.

121 Don't leave me to the mercy of my enemies,
for I have done what is just and right.

122 Please guarantee a blessing for me.
Don't let those who are arrogant oppress me!

123 My eyes strain to see your deliverance,
to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.

124 I am your servant;
deal with me in unfailing love,
and teach me your principles.

125 Give discernment to me, your servant;
then I will understand your decrees.

126 LORD, it is time for you to act,
for these evil people have broken your law.

127 Truly, I love your commands
more than gold, even the finest gold.

128 Truly, each of your commandments is right.
That is why I hate every false way.

129 Your decrees are wonderful.
No wonder I obey them!

130 As your words are taught, they give light;
even the simple can understand them.

131 I open my mouth, panting expectantly,
longing for your commands.

132 Come and show me your mercy,
as you do for all who love your name.

133 Guide my steps by your word,
so I will not be overcome by any evil.

134 Rescue me from the oppression of evil people;
then I can obey your commandments.

135 Look down on me with love;
teach me all your principles.

136 Rivers of tears gush from my eyes
because people disobey your law.

137 O LORD, you are righteous,
and your decisions are fair.

138 Your decrees are perfect;
they are entirely worthy of our trust.

139 I am overwhelmed with rage,
for my enemies have disregarded your words.

140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested;
that is why I love them so much.

141 I am insignificant and despised,
but I don't forget your commandments.

142 Your justice is eternal,
and your law is perfectly true.

143 As pressure and stress bear down on me,
I find joy in your commands.

144 Your decrees are always fair;
help me to understand them, that I may live.

145 I pray with all my heart; answer me, LORD!
I will obey your principles.

146 I cry out to you; save me,
that I may obey your decrees.

147 I rise early, before the sun is up;
I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.

148 I stay awake through the night,
thinking about your promise.

149 In your faithful love, O LORD, hear my cry;
in your justice, save my life.

150 Those lawless people are coming near to attack me;
they live far from your law.

151 But you are near, O LORD,
and all your commands are true.

152 I have known from my earliest days
that your decrees never change.

153 Look down upon my sorrows and rescue me,
for I have not forgotten your law.

154 Argue my case; take my side!
Protect my life as you promised.

155 The wicked are far from salvation,
for they do not bother with your principles.

156 LORD, how great is your mercy;
in your justice, give me back my life.

157 Many persecute and trouble me,
yet I have not swerved from your decrees.

158 I hate these traitors
because they care nothing for your word.

159 See how I love your commandments, LORD.
Give back my life because of your unfailing love.

160 All your words are true;
all your just laws will stand forever.

161 Powerful people harass me without cause,
but my heart trembles only at your word.

162 I rejoice in your word
like one who finds a great treasure.

163 I hate and abhor all falsehood,
but I love your law.

164 I will praise you seven times a day
because all your laws are just.

165 Those who love your law have great peace
and do not stumble.

166 I long for your salvation, LORD,
so I have obeyed your commands.

167 I have obeyed your decrees,
and I love them very much.

168 Yes, I obey your commandments and decrees,
because you know everything I do.

169 O LORD, listen to my cry;
give me the discerning mind you promised.

170 Listen to my prayer;
rescue me as you promised.

171 Let my lips burst forth with praise,
for you have taught me your principles.

172 Let my tongue sing about your word,
for all your commands are right.

173 Stand ready to help me,
for I have chosen to follow your commandments.

174 O LORD, I have longed for your salvation,
and your law is my delight.

175 Let me live so I can praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.

176 I have wandered away like a lost sheep;
come and find me,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
F95: This psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; there are 22stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet . The 8verses within each stanza begin with the Hebrew letter of its section.
F96: Some manuscripts read in your ways.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Romans 8 Today's Daily Bread

Life in the Spirit

1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2For the power F25 of the life-giving Spirit has freed you F26 through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us F27 who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

5Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. 7For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. 8That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

9But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.) 10Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive F28 because you have been made right with God. 11The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.

12So, dear brothers and sisters, F29 you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it F30 and its evil deeds, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children F31 of God.

15So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family F32 —calling him "Father, dear Father." F33 16For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children. 17And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

The Future Glory

18Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. 19For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. 21All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, F34 including the new bodies he has promised us. 24Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don't need to hope for it. 25But if we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.

26And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. 28And we know that God causes everything to work together F35 for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. 30And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.

Nothing Can Separate Us from God's Love

31What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?

33Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has given us right standing with himself. 34Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us.

35Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? 36(Even the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep." F36 ) 37No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. 39Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
F25: Greek the law; also in 8:2b.
F26: Some manuscripts read me.
F27: Or accomplished by us.
F28: Or the Spirit will bring you eternal life.
F29: Greek brothers; also in 8:29.
F30: Greek put it to death.
F31: Greek sons; also in 8:19.
F32: Greek You received a spirit of sonship.
F33: Greek "Abba, Father." Abba is an Aramaic term for "father."
F34: Greek wait anxiously for sonship.
F35: Some manuscripts read And we know that everything works together.
F36: Ps 44:22.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Galatians 5 Today's Daily Bread

Galatians 5
Freedom in Christ

1So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law.

2Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ cannot help you. 3I'll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey all of the regulations in the whole law of Moses. 4For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God's grace.

5But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive everything promised to us who are right with God through faith. 6For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, it makes no difference to God whether we are circumcised or not circumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

7You were getting along so well. Who has interfered with you to hold you back from following the truth? 8It certainly isn't God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9But it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others—a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough! 10I am trusting the Lord to bring you back to believing as I do about these things. God will judge that person, whoever it is, who has been troubling and confusing you.

11Dear brothers and sisters, F27 if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why would the Jews persecute me? The fact that I am still being persecuted proves that I am still preaching salvation through the cross of Christ alone. 12I only wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. F28

13For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. 14For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." F29 15But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Living by the Spirit's Power

16So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. 18But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

19When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. 26Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.
F27: Greek Brothers.
F28: Or castrate themselves; Greek reads cut themselves off.
F29: Lev 19:18.

Monday, February 16, 2009

1 Corinthian's 12 Today's Daily Bread

1 Corinthians 12
Spiritual Gifts
1-3 What I want to talk about now is the various ways God's Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often mis-understood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn't know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It's different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say "Jesus be damned!" Nor would anyone be inclined to say "Jesus is Master!" without the insight of the Holy Spirit.

4-11God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

wise counsel

clear understanding

simple trust

healing the sick

miraculous acts


distinguishing between spirits


interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

12-13You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.

14-18I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong to this body," would that make it so? If Ear said, "I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

19-24But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn't be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, "Get lost; I don't need you"? Or, Head telling Foot, "You're fired; your job has been phased out"? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it's a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

25-26The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

27-31You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything. You're familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his "body":

miracle workers
those who pray in tongues.
But it's obvious by now, isn't it, that Christ's church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It's not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called "important" parts.

But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

James 2 Today's Daily Bread

A Warning against Prejudice
1 My dear brothers and sisters,[a] how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?

2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting[b] dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name[c] you bear?

8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[d] 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”[e] So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.

12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[f] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[g] He was even called the friend of God.[h] 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[i] so also faith is dead without good works.


1. James 2:1 Greek brothers; also in 2:5, 14.
2. James 2:2 Greek your synagogue.
3. James 2:7 Greek slander the noble name.
4. James 2:8 Lev 19:18.
5. James 2:11 Exod 20:13-14; Deut 5:17-18.
6. James 2:19 Some manuscripts read that God is one; see Deut 6:4.
7. James 2:23 Gen 15:6.
8. James 2:23 See Isa 41:8.
9. James 2:26 Or without spirit.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Micah 6 Today's Daily Bread

The LORD 's Case Against Israel
1 Listen to what the LORD says:
"Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
let the hills hear what you have to say.

2 "Hear, you mountains, the LORD's accusation;
listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the LORD has a case against his people;
he is lodging a charge against Israel.

3 "My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.

4 I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
also Aaron and Miriam.

5 My people, remember
what Balak king of Moab plotted
and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD."

6 With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?

7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has shown all you people what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly [a] with your God.
Israel's Guilt and Punishment
9 Listen! The LORD is calling to the city—
and to fear your name is wisdom—
"Heed the rod and the One who appointed it. [b]

10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house,
and the short ephah, [c] which is accursed?

11 Shall I acquit a person with dishonest scales,
with a bag of false weights?

12 Her rich people are violent;
her inhabitants are liars
and their tongues speak deceitfully.

13 Therefore, I have begun to destroy you,
to ruin [d] you because of your sins.

14 You will eat but not be satisfied;
your stomach will still be empty. [e]
You will store up but save nothing,
because what you save [f] I will give to the sword.

15 You will plant but not harvest;
you will press olives but not use the oil on yourselves,
you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.

16 You have observed the statutes of Omri
and all the practices of Ahab's house;
you have followed their traditions.
Therefore I will give you over to ruin
and your people to derision;
you will bear the scorn of the nations. [g]"


1. Micah 6:8 Or prudently
2. Micah 6:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
3. Micah 6:10 An ephah was a dry measure.
4. Micah 6:13 Or Therefore, I will make you ill and destroy you; / I will ruin
5. Micah 6:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
6. Micah 6:14 Or You will press toward birth but not give birth, / and what you bring to birth
7. Micah 6:16 Septuagint; Hebrew scorn due my people

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mark 4 Today's Daily Bread

The Picture-story Of The Man Who Planted Seed
(Matthew 13:1-52; Luke 8:4-18)

1Jesus began to teach by the sea-shore again. Many people gathered around Him. There were so many He had to get into a boat and sit down. The people were on the shore. 2He taught them many things by using picture-stories. As He taught, He said, 3"Listen! A man went out to plant seed. 4As he planted the seed, some fell by the side of the road. Birds came and ate them. 5Some seed fell among rocks. It came up at once because there was so little ground. 6But it dried up when the sun was high in the sky because it had no root. 7Some seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew and did not give the seed room to grow. This seed gave no grain. 8Some seed fell on good ground. It came up and grew and gave much grain. Some gave thirty times as much grain. Some gave sixty times as much grain. Some gave one hundred times as much grain." 9He said to them, "You have ears, then listen!" 10Those who were with Jesus and the twelve followers came to Him when He was alone. They asked about the picture-story. 11He said to them, "You were given the secrets about the holy nation of God. Everything is told in picture-stories to those who are outside the holy nation of God. 12They see, but do not know what it means. They hear, but do not understand. If they did, they might turn to God and have their sins forgiven." (Isaiah 6:9-10)

Jesus Tells About The Man Who Planted The Seed

13Jesus said to them, "Do you not understand this picture-story? Then how will you understand any of the picture-stories? 14What the man plants is the Word of God. 15Those by the side of the road are the ones who hear the Word. As soon as they hear it, the devil comes and takes away the Word that is planted in their hearts. 16The seed that fell among rocks is like people who receive the Word with joy when they hear it. 17Their roots are not deep so they live only a short time. When sorrow and trouble come because of the Word, they give up and fall away. 18The seed that was planted among thorns is like some people who listen to the Word. 19But the cares of this life let thorns come up. A love for riches and always wanting other things let thorns grow. These things do not give the Word room to grow so it does not give grain. 20The seed that fell on good ground is like people who hear the Word and understand it. They give much grain. Some give thirty times as much grain. Some give sixty times as much grain. Some give one hundred times as much grain."

The Picture-story Of The Lamp

21He said to them, "Is a lamp to be put under a pail or under a bed? Should it not be put on a lamp-stand? 22Everything that is hidden will be brought into the light. Everything that is a secret will be made known. 23You have ears, then listen!"

24Jesus said to them, "Be careful what you listen to. The same amount you give will be given to you, and even more. 25He who has, to him will be given. To him who does not have, even the little he has will be taken from him."

The Picture-story Of The Grain

26He said, "The holy nation of God is like a man who plants seed in the ground. 27He goes to sleep every night and gets up every day. The seed grows, but he does not know how. 28The earth gives fruit by itself. The leaf comes first and then the young grain can be seen. And last, the grain is ready to gather. 29As soon as the grain is ready, he cuts it. The time of gathering the grain has come."

The Picture-story Of The Mustard Seed

30Jesus said, "In what way can we show what the holy nation of God is like? Or what picture-story can we use to help you understand? 31It is like a grain of mustard seed that is planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds. 32After it is put in the ground, it grows and becomes the largest of the spices. It puts out long branches so birds of the sky can live in it." 33As they were able to understand, He spoke the Word to them by using many picture-stories. 34Jesus helped His followers understand everything when He was alone with them.

The Wind And Waves Obey Jesus
(Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25)

35It was evening of that same day. Jesus said to them, "Let us go over to the other side." 36After sending the people away, they took Jesus with them in a boat. It was the same boat He used when He taught them. Other little boats went along with them. 37A bad wind storm came up. The waves were coming over the side of the boat. It was filling up with water. 38Jesus was in the back part of the boat sleeping on a pillow. They woke Him up, crying out, "Teacher, do You not care that we are about to die?" 39He got up and spoke sharp words to the wind. He said to the sea, "Be quiet! Be still." At once the wind stopped blowing. There were no more waves. 40He said to His followers, "Why are you so full of fear? Do you not have faith?" 41They were very much afraid and said to each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Acts 1 ~ Today's Daily Bread

The webpage is SO peacefully pretty, otta try 'er out. Scroll down for the link and Go there - for reading fun. It's MUCH prettier reading :-)
Have a blessed God Filled day!
Love In Him,
Lena B.....

Acts 1
Luke Writes Another Book

1 To Theophilus.
The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2until the day he was taken up into heaven. Before this, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told the apostles he had chosen what they should do. 3After his death, he showed himself to them and proved in many ways that he was alive. The apostles saw Jesus during the forty days after he was raised from the dead, and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God. 4Once when he was eating with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem. He said, "Wait here to receive the promise from the Father which I told you about. 5John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

Jesus Is Taken Up into Heaven

6When the apostles were all together, they asked Jesus, "Lord, are you now going to give the kingdom back to Israel?"
7Jesus said to them, "The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know. 8But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses - in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world."
9After he said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10As he was going, they were looking into the sky. Suddenly, two men wearing white clothes stood beside them. 11They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, whom you saw taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go."

A New Apostle Is Chosen
12Then they went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. (This mountain is about half a mile from Jerusalem.) 13When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon (known as the Zealot), and Judas son of James were there. 14They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus' brothers.
15During this time there was a meeting of the believers (about one hundred twenty of them). Peter stood up and said, 16-17"Brothers and sisters, F1 in the Scriptures the Holy Spirit said through David something that must happen involving Judas. He was one of our own group and served together with us. He led those who arrested Jesus." 18(Judas bought a field with the money he got for his evil act. But he fell to his death, his body burst open, and all his intestines poured out. 19Everyone in Jerusalem learned about this so they named this place Akeldama. In their language Akeldama means "Field of Blood." ) 20"In the Book of Psalms, "Peter said, "this is written:
'May his place be empty;
leave no one to live in it.' Psalm 69:25
And it is also written:
'Let another man replace him as leader.' Psalm 109:8
21-22"So now a man must become a witness with us of Jesus' being raised from the dead. He must be one of the men who were part of our group during all the time the Lord Jesus was among us - from the time John was baptizing people until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven."
23They put the names of two men before the group. One was Joseph Barsabbas, who was also called Justus. The other was Matthias. 24-25The apostles prayed, "Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to do this work. Show us who should be an apostle in place of Judas, who turned away and went where he belongs." 26Then they used lots to choose between them, and the lots showed that Matthias was the one. So he became an apostle with the other eleven. FOOTNOTES:
F1 Verses 16-17 - Brothers and sisters Although the Greek text says "Brothers" here and throughout this book, the words of the speakers were meant for the entire church, including men and women.

Luke 11 Today's Daily Bread

Teaching about Prayer

1Once when Jesus had been out praying, one of his disciples came to him as he finished and said, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

2He said, "This is how you should pray:

"Father, may your name be honored.
May your Kingdom come soon.

3 Give us our food day by day.

4 And forgive us our sins—
just as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
And don't let us yield to temptation. F52 "

5Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this illustration: "Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would say to him, 6'A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.' 7He would call out from his bedroom, 'Don't bother me. The door is locked for the night, and we are all in bed. I can't help you this time.' 8But I tell you this—though he won't do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you what you want so his reputation won't be damaged. F53

9"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. 10For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.

11"You fathers—if your children ask F54 for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

Jesus and the Prince of Demons

14One day Jesus cast a demon out of a man who couldn't speak, and the man's voice returned to him. The crowd was amazed, 15but some said, "No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, F55 the prince of demons!" 16Trying to test Jesus, others asked for a miraculous sign from heaven to see if he was from God.

17He knew their thoughts, so he said, "Any kingdom at war with itself is doomed. A divided home is also doomed. 18You say I am empowered by the prince of demons. F56 But if Satan is fighting against himself by empowering me to cast out his demons, how can his kingdom survive? 19And if I am empowered by the prince of demons, what about your own followers? They cast out demons, too, so they will judge you for what you have said. 20But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. 21For when Satan, F57 who is completely armed, guards his palace, it is safe—22until someone who is stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.

23"Anyone who isn't helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.

24"When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, 'I will return to the person I came from.' 25So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and clean. 26Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before."

27As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, "God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!"

28He replied, "But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice."

The Sign of Jonah

29As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, "These are evil times, and this evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 30What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to me will be a sign that God has sent me, the Son of Man, to these people.

31"The queen of Sheba F58 will rise up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, because she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And now someone greater than Solomon is here—and you refuse to listen to him. 32The people of Nineveh, too, will rise up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And now someone greater than Jonah is here—and you refuse to repent.

Receiving the Light

33"No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, it is put on a lampstand to give light to all who enter the room. 34Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. 35Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness. 36If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight is shining on you."

Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders

37As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table. 38His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the ceremonial washing required by Jewish custom. 39Then the Lord said to him, "You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are still filthy—full of greed and wickedness! 40Fools! Didn't God make the inside as well as the outside? 41So give to the needy what you greedily possess, and you will be clean all over.

42"But how terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, F59 but you completely forget about justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.

43"How terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For how you love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the respectful greetings from everyone as you walk through the markets! 44Yes, how terrible it will be for you. For you are like hidden graves in a field. People walk over them without knowing the corruption they are stepping on."

45"Teacher," said an expert in religious law, "you have insulted us, too, in what you just said."

46"Yes," said Jesus, "how terrible it will be for you experts in religious law! For you crush people beneath impossible religious demands, and you never lift a finger to help ease the burden. 47How terrible it will be for you! For you build tombs for the very prophets your ancestors killed long ago. 48Murderers! You agree with your ancestors that what they did was right. You would have done the same yourselves. 49This is what God in his wisdom said about you: F60 'I will send prophets and apostles to them, and they will kill some and persecute the others.'

50"And you of this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God's prophets from the creation of the world—51from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will surely be charged against you.

52"How terrible it will be for you experts in religious law! For you hide the key to knowledge from the people. You don't enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering."

53As Jesus finished speaking, the Pharisees and teachers of religious law were furious. From that time on they grilled him with many hostile questions, 54trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him.
F52: Some manuscripts add additional portions of the Lord's Prayer as it reads in Matt 6:9-13.
F53: Greek in order to avoid shame, or because of [your] persistence.
F54: Some manuscripts add for bread, do you give them a stone? Or if they ask.
F55: Greek Beelzeboul.
F56: Greek by Beelzeboul; also in 11:19.
F57: Greek the strong one.
F58: Greek the queen of the south.
F59: Greek to tithe the mint and the rue and every herb.
F60: Greek Therefore, the wisdom of God said.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Luke 24 Today's Daiky Bread

The Resurrection

1But very early on Sunday morning F115 the women came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2They found that the stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside. 3So they went in, but they couldn't find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4They were puzzled, trying to think what could have happened to it. Suddenly, two men appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. 5The women were terrified and bowed low before them. Then the men asked, "Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? 6He isn't here! He has risen from the dead! Don't you remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again the third day?"

8Then they remembered that he had said this. 9So they rushed back to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 10The women who went to the tomb were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several others. They told the apostles what had happened, 11but the story sounded like nonsense, so they didn't believe it. 12However, Peter ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened. F116

The Walk to Emmaus

13That same day two of Jesus' followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles F117 out of Jerusalem. 14As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15Suddenly, Jesus himself came along and joined them and began walking beside them. 16But they didn't know who he was, because God kept them from recognizing him.

17"You seem to be in a deep discussion about something," he said. "What are you so concerned about?" They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, "You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn't heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days."

19"What things?" Jesus asked. "The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth," they said. "He was a prophet who did wonderful miracles. He was a mighty teacher, highly regarded by both God and all the people. 20But our leading priests and other religious leaders arrested him and handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21We had thought he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. That all happened three days ago. 22Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, Jesus' body was gone, just as the women had said."

25Then Jesus said to them, "You are such foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26Wasn't it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his time of glory?" 27Then Jesus quoted passages from the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining what all the Scriptures said about himself.

28By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus would have gone on, 29but they begged him to stay the night with them, since it was getting late. So he went home with them. 30As they sat down to eat, he took a small loaf of bread, asked God's blessing on it, broke it, then gave it to them. 31Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

32They said to each other, "Didn't our hearts feel strangely warm as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?" 33And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem, where the eleven disciples and the other followers of Jesus were gathered. When they arrived, they were greeted with the report, 34"The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter F118 !"

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

35Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. He said, "Peace be with you." F119 37But the whole group was terribly frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! 38"Why are you frightened?" he asked. "Why do you doubt who I am? 39Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it's really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don't have bodies, as you see that I do!" 40As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his feet. F120

41Still they stood there doubting, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he ate it as they watched.

44Then he said, "When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true." 45Then he opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures. 46And he said, "Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. 47With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: 'There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.' 48You are witnesses of all these things.

49"And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven."

The Ascension

50Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. F121 52They worshiped him and F122 then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
F115: Greek But on the first day of the week, very early in the morning.
F116: Some manuscripts do not include this verse.
F117: Greek 60 stadia [11.1 kilometers].
F118: Greek Simon.
F119: Some manuscripts do not include He said, "Peace be with you."
F120: Some manuscripts do not include this verse.
F121: Some manuscripts do not include and was taken up to heaven.
F122: Some manuscripts do not include worshiped him and.