2 Corinthians 10 (Listen)

Paul Defends His Ministry

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!—I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. 12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, 16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence. 17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

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Jeremiah 23 (Listen)

The Righteous Branch

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”

Lying Prophets

Concerning the prophets:

  My heart is broken within me;
    all my bones shake;
  I am like a drunken man,
    like a man overcome by wine,
  because of the LORD
    and because of his holy words.
10   For the land is full of adulterers;
    because of the curse the land mourns,
    and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up.
  Their course is evil,
    and their might is not right.
11   “Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
    even in my house I have found their evil,
      declares the LORD.
12   Therefore their way shall be to them
    like slippery paths in the darkness,
    into which they shall be driven and fall,
  for I will bring disaster upon them
    in the year of their punishment,
      declares the LORD.
13   In the prophets of Samaria
    I saw an unsavory thing:
  they prophesied by Baal
    and led my people Israel astray.
14   But in the prophets of Jerusalem
    I have seen a horrible thing:
  they commit adultery and walk in lies;
    they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
    so that no one turns from his evil;
  all of them have become like Sodom to me,
    and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
15   Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets:
  “Behold, I will feed them with bitter food
    and give them poisoned water to drink,
  for from the prophets of Jerusalem
    ungodliness has gone out into all the land.”

16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

18   For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD
    to see and to hear his word,
    or who has paid attention to his word and listened?
19   Behold, the storm of the LORD!
    Wrath has gone forth,
  a whirling tempest;
    it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
20   The anger of the LORD will not turn back
    until he has executed and accomplished
    the intents of his heart.
  In the latter days you will understand it clearly.
21   “I did not send the prophets,
    yet they ran;
  I did not speak to them,
    yet they prophesied.
22   But if they had stood in my council,
    then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
  and they would have turned them from their evil way,
    and from the evil of their deeds.

23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. 25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ 26 How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, 27 who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. 29 Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’ 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD.

33 “When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.’ 34 And as for the prophet, priest, or one of the people who says, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ I will punish that man and his household. 35 Thus shall you say, every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother, ‘What has the LORD answered?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ 36 But ‘the burden of the LORD’ you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man's own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the LORD answered you?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ 38 But if you say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have said these words, “The burden of the LORD,” when I sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’” 39 therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers. 40 And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’”

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Proverbs 9 (Listen)

The Way of Wisdom

  Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
  She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
  She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    To him who lacks sense she says,
  “Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
  Leave your simple ways, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”
  Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
  Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10   The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11   For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12   If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

The Way of Folly

13   The woman Folly is loud;
    she is seductive and knows nothing.
14   She sits at the door of her house;
    she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
15   calling to those who pass by,
    who are going straight on their way,
16   “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    And to him who lacks sense she says,
17   “Stolen water is sweet,
    and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18   But he does not know that the dead are there,
    that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

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Psalm 40 (Listen)

My Help and My Deliverer

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

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

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