Desperate Discipleship - Luke 9:1-17

[1] And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, [2] and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. [3] And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. [4] And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. [5] And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” [6] And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. [7] Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, [8] by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. [9] Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him. [10] On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. [11] When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. [12] Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” [13] But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” [14] For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” [15] And they did so, and had them all sit down. [16] And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. [17] And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9:1-17 ESV)

Only Believe - Luke 8:40-56

[40] Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. [41] And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus' feet, he implored him to come to his house, [42] for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. [43] And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. [44] She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. [45] And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” [46] But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” [47] And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. [48] And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” [49] While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler's house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” [50] But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” [51] And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. [52] And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” [53] And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. [54] But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” [55] And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. [56] And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.

(Luke 8:40-56 ESV)

A Broken Bondage - Luke 8:26-39

[26] Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. [27] When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. [28] When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” [29] For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) [30] Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. [31] And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. [32] Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. [33] Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned. [34] When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. [35] Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. [36] And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. [37] Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. [38] The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:26-39 ESV)

Perpetuate The Name — Ruth 4

 [1] Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. [2] And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. [3] Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. [4] So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” [5] Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” [6] Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

 [7] Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. [8] So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. [9] Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. [10] Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” [11] Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, [12] and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.”

 [13] So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. [14] Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! [15] He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” [16] Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. [17] And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

 [18] Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, [19] Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, [20] Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, [21] Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, [22] Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.

(Ruth 4 ESV)

Who Are You? — Ruth 3

 [1] Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? [2] Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. [3] Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. [4] But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” [5] And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

 [6] So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. [7] And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. [8] At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! [9] He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” [10] And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. [11] And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. [12] And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. [13] Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the LORD lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

 [14] So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” [15] And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. [16] And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, [17] saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” [18] She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

(Ruth 3 ESV)

The Power of Love — Ruth 2

 [1] Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. [2] And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” [3] So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. [4] And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you!” And they answered, “The LORD bless you.” [5] Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” [6] And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. [7] She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”

 [8] Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. [9] Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” [10] Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” [11] But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. [12] The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” [13] Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

 [14] And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. [15] When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. [16] And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

 [17] So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. [18] And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. [19] And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” [20] And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” [21] And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” [22] And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” [23] So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

(Ruth 2 ESV)

The Empty Prodigal Returns — Ruth 1

 [1] In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. [2] The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. [3] But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. [4] These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, [5] and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

 [6] Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. [7] So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. [8] But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. [9] The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. [10] And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” [11] But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? [12] Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, [13] would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.” [14] Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

 [15] And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” [16] But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. [17] Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” [18] And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

 [19] So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” [20] She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. [21] I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

 [22] So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

(Ruth 1 ESV)

Pure Fear — Luke 8:22-25

 [22] One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, [23] and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. [24] And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. [25] He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

(Luke 8:22-25 ESV)

Gospel Farming — Luke 8:1-21

[1] Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, [2] and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, [3] and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

 [4] And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, [5] “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. [6] And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. [7] And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. [8] And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 [9] And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, [10] he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ [11] Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. [13] And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. [14] And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. [15] As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

 [16] “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. [17] For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. [18] Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

 [19] Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. [20] And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” [21] But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

(Luke 8:1-21 ESV)

Love Crazy — Luke 7:36-50

 [36] One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. [37] And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, [38] and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. [39] Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” [40] And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

 [41] “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. [42] When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” [43] Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” [44] Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. [45] You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. [46] You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. [47] Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” [48] And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” [49] Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” [50] And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

(Luke 7:36-50 ESV)

Summer Vocation — 1 Peter 2:1-12

 [1] So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. [2] Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—[3] if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

 [4] As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, [5] you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [6] For it stands in Scripture:

 “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
  a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

  [7] So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

 “The stone that the builders rejected
  has become the cornerstone,”

  [8] and

 “A stone of stumbling,
  and a rock of offense.”

  They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

 [9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [10] Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

 [11] Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. [12] Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

(1 Peter 2:1-12 ESV)

Marco Polo — Psalm 13

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

 [1] How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
  How long will you hide your face from me?
[2] How long must I take counsel in my soul
  and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

 [3] Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
  light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
[4] lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
  lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

 [5] But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
  my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
[6] I will sing to the LORD,
  because he has dealt bountifully with me.

(Psalm 13 ESV)

Dancing and Weeping — Luke 7:24-35

 [24] When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? [25] What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. [26] What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. [27] This is he of whom it is written,

 “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
  who will prepare your way before you.’

  [28] I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” [29] (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, [30] but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

 [31] “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? [32] They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

 “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
  we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

  [33] For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ [34] The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ [35] Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

(Luke 7:24-35 ESV)

A Sure Perspective — Psalm 73

A Psalm of Asaph.

 [1] Truly God is good to Israel,
  to those who are pure in heart.
[2] But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
  my steps had nearly slipped.
[3] For I was envious of the arrogant
  when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

 [4] For they have no pangs until death;
  their bodies are fat and sleek.
[5] They are not in trouble as others are;
  they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
[6] Therefore pride is their necklace;
  violence covers them as a garment.
[7] Their eyes swell out through fatness;
  their hearts overflow with follies.
[8] They scoff and speak with malice;
  loftily they threaten oppression.
[9] They set their mouths against the heavens,
  and their tongue struts through the earth.
[10] Therefore his people turn back to them,
  and find no fault in them.
[11] And they say, “How can God know?
  Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
[12] Behold, these are the wicked;
  always at ease, they increase in riches.
[13] All in vain have I kept my heart clean
  and washed my hands in innocence.
[14] For all the day long I have been stricken
  and rebuked every morning.
[15] If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
  I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

 [16] But when I thought how to understand this,
  it seemed to me a wearisome task,
[17] until I went into the sanctuary of God;
  then I discerned their end.

 [18] Truly you set them in slippery places;
  you make them fall to ruin.
[19] How they are destroyed in a moment,
  swept away utterly by terrors!
[20] Like a dream when one awakes,
  O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
[21] When my soul was embittered,
  when I was pricked in heart,
[22] I was brutish and ignorant;
  I was like a beast toward you.

 [23] Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
  you hold my right hand.
[24] You guide me with your counsel,
  and afterward you will receive me to glory.
[25] Whom have I in heaven but you?
  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
[26] My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

 [27] For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
  you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
[28] But for me it is good to be near God;
  I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
  that I may tell of all your works.

(Psalm 73 ESV)

Amazing Faith — Luke 7:1-23

 [1] After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. [2] Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. [3] When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. [4] And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, [5] for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” [6] And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. [7] Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. [8] For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” [9] When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” [10] And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

 [11] Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. [12] As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. [13] And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” [14] Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” [15] And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. [16] Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” [17] And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

 [18] The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, [19] calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” [20] And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” [21] In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. [22] And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. [23] And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

(Luke 7:1-23 ESV)

Inside-Out Judging — Luke 6:37-49

 [37] “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; [38] give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

 [39] He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? [40] A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. [41] Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? [42] How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.

 [43] “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, [44] for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. [45] The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

 [46] “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? [47] Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: [48] he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. [49] But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

(Luke 6:37-49 ESV)

Closing Numbers — Numbers 36

 [1] The heads of the fathers' houses of the clan of the people of Gilead the son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of the people of Joseph, came near and spoke before Moses and before the chiefs, the heads of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel. [2] They said, “The LORD commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the people of Israel, and my lord was commanded by the LORD to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. [3] But if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the people of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers and added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry. So it will be taken away from the lot of our inheritance. [4] And when the jubilee of the people of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry, and their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.”

 [5] And Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, “The tribe of the people of Joseph is right. [6] This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: ‘Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father. [7] The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another, for every one of the people of Israel shall hold on to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. [8] And every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the people of Israel shall be wife to one of the clan of the tribe of her father, so that every one of the people of Israel may possess the inheritance of his fathers. [9] So no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Israel shall hold on to its own inheritance.’”

 [10] The daughters of Zelophehad did as the LORD commanded Moses, [11] for Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married to sons of their father's brothers. [12] They were married into the clans of the people of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father's clan.

 [13] These are the commandments and the rules that the LORD commanded through Moses to the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

(Numbers 36 ESV)

Living Hope — 1 Peter 1:3-9

 [3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, [5] who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [7] so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [8] Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, [9] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

(1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)

Extraordinary Love — Luke 6:27-36

 [27] “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. [29] To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. [30] Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. [31] And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

    [32] “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. [33] And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. [34] And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. [35] But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. [36] Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

(Luke 6:27-36 ESV)

 

Enduring Discipleship — Luke 6:17-26

 

    [17] And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, [18] who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. [19] And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

    [20] And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

    “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

    [21] “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

    “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

    [22] “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! [23] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

    [24] “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

    [25] “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

    “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

    [26] “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

(Luke 6:17-26 ESV)