1 Timothy 3 (Listen)

Qualifications for Overseers

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Qualifications for Deacons

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Godliness

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

  He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
      seen by angels,
  proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
      taken up in glory.

(ESV)

Isaiah 41 (Listen)

Fear Not, for I Am with You

  Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
    let the peoples renew their strength;
  let them approach, then let them speak;
    let us together draw near for judgment.
  Who stirred up one from the east
    whom victory meets at every step?
  He gives up nations before him,
    so that he tramples kings underfoot;
  he makes them like dust with his sword,
    like driven stubble with his bow.
  He pursues them and passes on safely,
    by paths his feet have not trod.
  Who has performed and done this,
    calling the generations from the beginning?
  I, the LORD, the first,
    and with the last; I am he.
  The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
    the ends of the earth tremble;
    they have drawn near and come.
  Everyone helps his neighbor
    and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
  The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
    and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
  saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
    and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
  But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
  you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
    and called from its farthest corners,
  saying to you, “You are my servant,
    I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10   fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
  I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
11   Behold, all who are incensed against you
    shall be put to shame and confounded;
  those who strive against you
    shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12   You shall seek those who contend with you,
    but you shall not find them;
  those who war against you
    shall be as nothing at all.
13   For I, the LORD your God,
    hold your right hand;
  it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.”
14   Fear not, you worm Jacob,
    you men of Israel!
  I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD;
    your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15   Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
    new, sharp, and having teeth;
  you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16   you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
    and the tempest shall scatter them.
  And you shall rejoice in the LORD;
    in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
17   When the poor and needy seek water,
    and there is none,
    and their tongue is parched with thirst,
  I the LORD will answer them;
    I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18   I will open rivers on the bare heights,
    and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
  I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
    and the dry land springs of water.
19   I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
    the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
  I will set in the desert the cypress,
    the plane and the pine together,
20   that they may see and know,
    may consider and understand together,
  that the hand of the LORD has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The Futility of Idols

21   Set forth your case, says the LORD;
    bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22   Let them bring them, and tell us
    what is to happen.
  Tell us the former things, what they are,
    that we may consider them,
  that we may know their outcome;
    or declare to us the things to come.
23   Tell us what is to come hereafter,
    that we may know that you are gods;
  do good, or do harm,
    that we may be dismayed and terrified.
24   Behold, you are nothing,
    and your work is less than nothing;
    an abomination is he who chooses you.
25   I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
    from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name;
  he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
    as the potter treads clay.
26   Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
    and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”?
  There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
    none who heard your words.
27   I was the first to say to Zion, “Behold, here they are!”
    and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28   But when I look, there is no one;
    among these there is no counselor
    who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29   Behold, they are all a delusion;
    their works are nothing;
    their metal images are empty wind.

(ESV)

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.

(ESV)

Psalm 133 (Listen)

When Brothers Dwell in Unity

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

  Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity!
  It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down on the beard,
  on the beard of Aaron,
    running down on the collar of his robes!
  It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion!
  For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
    life forevermore.

(ESV)