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Old Testament:  Psalms 18-19

Psalms 18

For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the LORD. He sang this song to the LORD on the day the LORD rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:
 1  I love you, LORD; you are my strength.  2  The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.  3  I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
  and he saved me from my enemies.

 4  The ropes of death entangled me;
  floods of destruction swept over me.
 5  The grave [5]  wrapped its ropes around me;
  death laid a trap in my path.
 6  But in my distress I cried out to the LORD;
  yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
  my cry to him reached his ears.

 7  Then the earth quaked and trembled.
  The foundations of the mountains shook;
  they quaked because of his anger.
 8  Smoke poured from his nostrils;
  fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
  Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
 9  He opened the heavens and came down;
  dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
 10  Mounted on a mighty angelic being, [10]  he flew,
  soaring on the wings of the wind.
 11  He shrouded himself in darkness,
  veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
 12  Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him
  and rained down hail and burning coals. [12] 
 13  The LORD thundered from heaven;
  the voice of the Most High resounded
  amid the hail and burning coals.
 14  He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
  his lightning flashed, and they were greatly confused.
 15  Then at your command, O LORD,
  at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
  and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

 16  He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
  he drew me out of deep waters.
 17  He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
  from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
 18  They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
  but the LORD supported me.
 19  He led me to a place of safety;
  he rescued me because he delights in me.
 20  The LORD rewarded me for doing right;
  he restored me because of my innocence.
 21  For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
  I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
 22  I have followed all his regulations;
  I have never abandoned his decrees.
 23  I am blameless before God;
  I have kept myself from sin.
 24  The LORD rewarded me for doing right.
  He has seen my innocence.

 25  To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
  to those with integrity you show integrity.
 26  To the pure you show yourself pure,
  but to the wicked you show yourself hostile.
 27  You rescue the humble,
  but you humiliate the proud.
 28  You light a lamp for me.
  The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.
 29  In your strength I can crush an army;
  with my God I can scale any wall.

 30  God's way is perfect.
  All the LORD's promises prove true.
  He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
 31  For who is God except the LORD?
  Who but our God is a solid rock?
 32  God arms me with strength,
  and he makes my way perfect.
 33  He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
  enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
 34  He trains my hands for battle;
  he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
 35  You have given me your shield of victory.
  Your right hand supports me;
  your help has made me great.
 36  You have made a wide path for my feet
  to keep them from slipping.

 37  I chased my enemies and caught them;
  I did not stop until they were conquered.
 38  I struck them down so they could not get up;
  they fell beneath my feet.
 39  You have armed me with strength for the battle;
  you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
 40  You placed my foot on their necks.
  I have destroyed all who hated me.
 41  They called for help, but no one came to their rescue.
  They even cried to the LORD, but he refused to answer.
 42  I ground them as fine as dust in the wind.
  I swept them into the gutter like dirt.
 43  You gave me victory over my accusers.
  You appointed me ruler over nations;
  people I don't even know now serve me.
 44  As soon as they hear of me, they submit;
  foreign nations cringe before me.
 45  They all lose their courage
  and come trembling from their strongholds.

 46  The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock!
  May the God of my salvation be exalted!
 47  He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
  he subdues the nations under me
 48    and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
  you save me from violent opponents.
 49  For this, O LORD, I will praise you among the nations;
  I will sing praises to your name.
 50  You give great victories to your king;
  you show unfailing love to your anointed,
  to David and all his descendants forever.

Psalms 19

For the choir director: A psalm of David.
 1  The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.  2  Day after day they continue to speak;
  night after night they make him known.
 3  They speak without a sound or word;
  their voice is never heard. [3] 
 4  Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
  and their words to all the world.

God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
 5  It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
  It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
 6  The sun rises at one end of the heavens
  and follows its course to the other end.
  Nothing can hide from its heat.

 7  The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  8  The commandments of the LORD are right,
  bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are clear,
  giving insight for living.
 9  Reverence for the LORD is pure,
  lasting forever.
The laws of the LORD are true;
  each one is fair.
 10  They are more desirable than gold,
  even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
  even honey dripping from the comb.
 11  They are a warning to your servant,
  a great reward for those who obey them.

 12  How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
  Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
 13  Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
  Don't let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
  and innocent of great sin.

 14  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
<<  18:5 Hebrew Sheol.
<<  18:10 Hebrew a cherub.
<<  18:12 Or and lightning bolts; also in 18:13.
<<  19:3 Or There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

New Testament:  Acts 20:17-38

Acts 20 : 17-38

 17  But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.
   18  When they arrived he declared, "You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now  19  I have done the Lord's work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.  20  I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.  21  I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
   22  "And now I am bound by the Spirit [22]  to go to Jerusalem. I don't know what awaits me,  23  except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.  24  But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
   25  "And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again.  26  I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it's not my fault, [26]   27  for I didn't shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
   28  "So guard yourselves and God's people. Feed and shepherd God's flock—his church, purchased with his own blood [28] —over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. [28]   29  I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock.  30  Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.  31  Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.
   32  "And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself."    33  "I have never coveted anyone's silver or gold or fine clothes.  34  You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.  35  And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'    36  When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them.  37  They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye.  38  They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.
<<  20:22 Or by my spirit, or by an inner compulsion; Greek reads by the spirit.
<<  20:26 Greek I am innocent of the blood of all.
<<  20:28a Or with the blood of his own [Son]. 20:28b Greek overseers.

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