2 Corinthians 4 (Listen)

The Light of the Gospel

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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Ezra 1 (Listen)

The Proclamation of Cyrus

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

Then rose up the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem. And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered. Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the LORD that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 10 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels; 11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.

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Proverbs 30 (Listen)

The Words of Agur

The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.

  The man declares, I am weary, O God;
    I am weary, O God, and worn out.
  Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
    I have not the understanding of a man.
  I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
  Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
  Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
  What is his name, and what is his son's name?
    Surely you know!
  Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
  Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
  Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me before I die:
  Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
  lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the LORD?”
  or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.
10   Do not slander a servant to his master,
    lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
11   There are those who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers.
12   There are those who are clean in their own eyes
    but are not washed of their filth.
13   There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
    how high their eyelids lift!
14   There are those whose teeth are swords,
    whose fangs are knives,
  to devour the poor from off the earth,
    the needy from among mankind.
15   The leech has two daughters:
    Give and Give.
  Three things are never satisfied;
    four never say, “Enough”:
16   Sheol, the barren womb,
    the land never satisfied with water,
    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
17   The eye that mocks a father
    and scorns to obey a mother
  will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
    and eaten by the vultures.
18   Three things are too wonderful for me;
    four I do not understand:
19   the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a serpent on a rock,
  the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a virgin.
20   This is the way of an adulteress:
    she eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, “I have done no wrong.”
21   Under three things the earth trembles;
    under four it cannot bear up:
22   a slave when he becomes king,
    and a fool when he is filled with food;
23   an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
    and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.
24   Four things on earth are small,
    but they are exceedingly wise:
25   the ants are a people not strong,
    yet they provide their food in the summer;
26   the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
    yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27   the locusts have no king,
    yet all of them march in rank;
28   the lizard you can take in your hands,
    yet it is in kings' palaces.
29   Three things are stately in their tread;
    four are stately in their stride:
30   the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
    and does not turn back before any;
31   the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
    and a king whose army is with him.
32   If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
    or if you have been devising evil,
    put your hand on your mouth.
33   For pressing milk produces curds,
    pressing the nose produces blood,
    and pressing anger produces strife.

(ESV)

Psalm 32 (Listen)

Blessed Are the Forgiven

A Maskil of David.

  Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
  Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
  For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
  I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
  Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
  surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
  You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
  Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.
10   Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11   Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

(ESV)