1 Corinthians 9 (Listen)

Paul Surrenders His Rights

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

(ESV)

Jeremiah 6 (Listen)

Impending Disaster for Jerusalem

  Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin,
    from the midst of Jerusalem!
  Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
    and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem,
  for disaster looms out of the north,
    and great destruction.
  The lovely and delicately bred I will destroy,
    the daughter of Zion.
  Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her;
    they shall pitch their tents around her;
    they shall pasture, each in his place.
  “Prepare war against her;
    arise, and let us attack at noon!
  Woe to us, for the day declines,
    for the shadows of evening lengthen!
  Arise, and let us attack by night
    and destroy her palaces!”
  For thus says the LORD of hosts:
  “Cut down her trees;
    cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem.
  This is the city that must be punished;
    there is nothing but oppression within her.
  As a well keeps its water fresh,
    so she keeps fresh her evil;
  violence and destruction are heard within her;
    sickness and wounds are ever before me.
  Be warned, O Jerusalem,
    lest I turn from you in disgust,
  lest I make you a desolation,
    an uninhabited land.”
  Thus says the LORD of hosts:
  “They shall glean thoroughly as a vine
    the remnant of Israel;
  like a grape gatherer pass your hand again
    over its branches.”
10   To whom shall I speak and give warning,
    that they may hear?
  Behold, their ears are uncircumcised,
    they cannot listen;
  behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn;
    they take no pleasure in it.
11   Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD;
    I am weary of holding it in.
  “Pour it out upon the children in the street,
    and upon the gatherings of young men, also;
  both husband and wife shall be taken,
    the elderly and the very aged.
12   Their houses shall be turned over to others,
    their fields and wives together,
  for I will stretch out my hand
    against the inhabitants of the land,”
      declares the LORD.
13   “For from the least to the greatest of them,
    everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
  and from prophet to priest,
    everyone deals falsely.
14   They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
    saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
    when there is no peace.
15   Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
    No, they were not at all ashamed;
    they did not know how to blush.
  Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
    at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
      says the LORD.
16   Thus says the LORD:
  “Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
  where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17   I set watchmen over you, saying,
    ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’
  But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’
18   Therefore hear, O nations,
    and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.
19   Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
    the fruit of their devices,
  because they have not paid attention to my words;
    and as for my law, they have rejected it.
20   What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba,
    or sweet cane from a distant land?
  Your burnt offerings are not acceptable,
    nor your sacrifices pleasing to me.
21   Therefore thus says the LORD:
  ‘Behold, I will lay before this people
    stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble;
  fathers and sons together,
    neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
22   Thus says the LORD:
  “Behold, a people is coming from the north country,
    a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
23   They lay hold on bow and javelin;
    they are cruel and have no mercy;
    the sound of them is like the roaring sea;
  they ride on horses,
    set in array as a man for battle,
    against you, O daughter of Zion!”
24   We have heard the report of it;
    our hands fall helpless;
  anguish has taken hold of us,
    pain as of a woman in labor.
25   Go not out into the field,
    nor walk on the road,
  for the enemy has a sword;
    terror is on every side.
26   O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth,
    and roll in ashes;
  make mourning as for an only son,
    most bitter lamentation,
  for suddenly the destroyer
    will come upon us.
27   “I have made you a tester of metals among my people,
    that you may know and test their ways.
28   They are all stubbornly rebellious,
    going about with slanders;
  they are bronze and iron;
    all of them act corruptly.
29   The bellows blow fiercely;
    the lead is consumed by the fire;
  in vain the refining goes on,
    for the wicked are not removed.
30   Rejected silver they are called,
    for the LORD has rejected them.”

(ESV)

Proverbs 14 (Listen)

  The wisest of women builds her house,
    but folly with her own hands tears it down.
  Whoever walks in uprightness fears the LORD,
    but he who is devious in his ways despises him.
  By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back,
    but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
  Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
  A faithful witness does not lie,
    but a false witness breathes out lies.
  A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,
    but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.
  Leave the presence of a fool,
    for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
  The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way,
    but the folly of fools is deceiving.
  Fools mock at the guilt offering,
    but the upright enjoy acceptance.
10   The heart knows its own bitterness,
    and no stranger shares its joy.
11   The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
    but the tent of the upright will flourish.
12   There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death.
13   Even in laughter the heart may ache,
    and the end of joy may be grief.
14   The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways,
    and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
15   The simple believes everything,
    but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
16   One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
    but a fool is reckless and careless.
17   A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
    and a man of evil devices is hated.
18   The simple inherit folly,
    but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19   The evil bow down before the good,
    the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
20   The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
    but the rich has many friends.
21   Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
    but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
22   Do they not go astray who devise evil?
    Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.
23   In all toil there is profit,
    but mere talk tends only to poverty.
24   The crown of the wise is their wealth,
    but the folly of fools brings folly.
25   A truthful witness saves lives,
    but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
26   In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence,
    and his children will have a refuge.
27   The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
    that one may turn away from the snares of death.
28   In a multitude of people is the glory of a king,
    but without people a prince is ruined.
29   Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
    but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
30   A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
    but envy makes the bones rot.
31   Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,
    but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
32   The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing,
    but the righteous finds refuge in his death.
33   Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding,
    but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.
34   Righteousness exalts a nation,
    but sin is a reproach to any people.
35   A servant who deals wisely has the king's favor,
    but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.

(ESV)

Psalm 15 (Listen)

Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

A Psalm of David.

  O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
  He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
  who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
  in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the LORD;
  who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
  who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
  He who does these things shall never be moved.

(ESV)