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Old Testament:  Proverbs 22-24

Proverbs 22

 1  Choose a good reputation over great riches;
  being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.

 2  The rich and poor have this in common:
  The LORD made them both.

 3  A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

 4  True humility and fear of the LORD
  lead to riches, honor, and long life.

 5  Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road;
  whoever values life will avoid it.

 6  Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.  7  Just as the rich rule the poor,
  so the borrower is servant to the lender.

 8  Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster,
  and their reign of terror will come to an end. [8] 

 9  Blessed are those who are generous,
  because they feed the poor.

 10  Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too.
  Quarrels and insults will disappear.

 11  Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.  12  The LORD preserves those with knowledge,
  but he ruins the plans of the treacherous.

 13  The lazy person claims, "There's a lion out there!
  If I go outside, I might be killed!"

 14  The mouth of an immoral woman is a dangerous trap;
  those who make the LORD angry will fall into it.

 15  A youngster's heart is filled with foolishness,
  but physical discipline will drive it far away.

 16  A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor
  or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.

Sayings of the Wise
 17  Listen to the words of the wise;
  apply your heart to my instruction.
 18  For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart
  and always ready on your lips.
 19  I am teaching you today—yes, you—
  so you will trust in the LORD.
 20  I have written thirty sayings [20]  for you,
  filled with advice and knowledge.
 21  In this way, you may know the truth
  and take an accurate report to those who sent you.

 22  Don't rob the poor just because you can,
  or exploit the needy in court.
 23  For the LORD is their defender.
  He will ruin anyone who ruins them.

 24  Don't befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, ...  25  or you will learn to be like them
  and endanger your soul.

 26  Don't agree to guarantee another person's debt
  or put up security for someone else.
 27  If you can't pay it,
  even your bed will be snatched from under you.

 28  Don't cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers
  set up by previous generations.

 29  Do you see any truly competent workers?
  They will serve kings
  rather than working for ordinary people.

Proverbs 23

 1  While dining with a ruler,
  pay attention to what is put before you.
 2  If you are a big eater,
  put a knife to your throat;
 3  don't desire all the delicacies,
  for he might be trying to trick you.

 4  Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich.
  Be wise enough to know when to quit.
 5  In the blink of an eye wealth disappears,
  for it will sprout wings
  and fly away like an eagle.

 6  Don't eat with people who are stingy;
  don't desire their delicacies.
 7  They are always thinking about how much it costs. "Eat and drink," they say, but they don't mean it.  8  You will throw up what little you've eaten,
  and your compliments will be wasted.

 9  Don't waste your breath on fools,
  for they will despise the wisest advice.

 10  Don't cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers;
  don't take the land of defenseless orphans.
 11  For their Redeemer [11]  is strong;
  he himself will bring their charges against you.

 12  Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.  13  Don't fail to discipline your children.
  They won't die if you spank them.
 14  Physical discipline
  may well save them from death. [14] 

 15  My child, [15]  if your heart is wise,
  my own heart will rejoice!
 16  "Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right."  17  Don't envy sinners,
  but always continue to fear the LORD.
 18  You will be rewarded for this;
  your hope will not be disappointed.

 19  My child, listen and be wise:
  Keep your heart on the right course.
 20  Do not carouse with drunkards
  or feast with gluttons,
 21  for they are on their way to poverty,
  and too much sleep clothes them in rags.

 22  Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don't despise your mother when she is old.  23  Get the truth and never sell it;
  also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.
 24  The father of godly children has cause for joy.
  What a pleasure to have children who are wise. [24] 
 25  So give your father and mother joy!
  May she who gave you birth be happy.

 26  O my son, give me your heart.
  May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
 27  A prostitute is a dangerous trap;
  a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well.
 28  She hides and waits like a robber,
  eager to make more men unfaithful.

 29  Who has anguish? Who has sorrow?
  Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining?
  Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
 30  It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns,
  trying out new drinks.
 31  Don't gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is,
  how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.
 32  For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake;
  it stings like a viper.
 33  You will see hallucinations,
  and you will say crazy things.
 34  You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea,
  clinging to a swaying mast.
 35  And you will say, "They hit me, but I didn't feel it.
  I didn't even know it when they beat me up.
When will I wake up
  so I can look for another drink?"

Proverbs 24

 1  Don't envy evil people
  or desire their company.
 2  For their hearts plot violence,
  and their words always stir up trouble.

 3  A house is built by wisdom
  and becomes strong through good sense.
 4  Through knowledge its rooms are filled
  with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

 5  The wise are mightier than the strong, [5] 
  and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
 6  So don't go to war without wise guidance;
  victory depends on having many advisers.

 7  Wisdom is too lofty for fools.
  Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.

 8  A person who plans evil
  will get a reputation as a troublemaker.
 9  The schemes of a fool are sinful;
  everyone detests a mocker.

 10  If you fail under pressure,
  your strength is too small.

 11  Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
  save them as they stagger to their death.
 12  Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know."
  For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
  He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

 13  My child, [13]  eat honey, for it is good,
  and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.
 14  In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.  15  Don't wait in ambush at the home of the godly,
  and don't raid the house where the godly live.
 16  The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
  But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

 17  Don't rejoice when your enemies fall;
  don't be happy when they stumble.
 18  For the LORD will be displeased with you
  and will turn his anger away from them.

 19  Don't fret because of evildoers;
  don't envy the wicked.
 20  For evil people have no future;
  the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.

 21  My child, fear the LORD and the king.
Don't associate with rebels,
 22    for disaster will hit them suddenly.
Who knows what punishment will come
  from the LORD and the king?

More Sayings of the Wise
 23  Here are some further sayings of the wise:

It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.
 24  A judge who says to the wicked, "You are innocent,"
  will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations.
 25  But it will go well for those who convict the guilty;
  rich blessings will be showered on them.

 26  An honest answer
  is like a kiss of friendship.

 27  Do your planning and prepare your fields
  before building your house.

 28  Don't testify against your neighbors without cause;
  don't lie about them.
 29  And don't say, "Now I can pay them back for what they've done to me!
  I'll get even with them!"

 30  I walked by the field of a lazy person,
  the vineyard of one with no common sense.
 31  I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
  It was covered with weeds,
  and its walls were broken down.
 32  Then, as I looked and thought about it,
  I learned this lesson:
 33  A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
  a little folding of the hands to rest—
 34  then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
  scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
<<  22:8 The Greek version includes an additional proverb: God blesses a man who gives cheerfully, / but his worthless deeds will come to an end. Compare 2 Cor 9:7.
<<  22:20 Or excellent sayings; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
<<  23:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
<<  23:11 Or redeemer.
<<  23:14 Hebrew from Sheol.
<<  23:15 Hebrew My son; also in 23:19.
<<  23:24 Hebrew to have a wise son.
<<  24:5 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads A wise man is strength.
<<  24:13 Hebrew My son; also in 24:21.

New Testament:  2 Corinthians 8

2 Corinthians 8

A Call to Generous Giving
 1  Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, [1]  what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.  2  They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.    3  For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.  4  They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers [4]  in Jerusalem.  5  They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
   6  So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving.  7  Since you excel in so many ways - in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us - I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.    8  I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.
   9  You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.    10  Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it.  11  Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.  12  Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don't have.  13  Of course, I don't mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality.  14  Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.  15  As the Scriptures say,

"Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
  and those who gathered only a little had enough." [15] 

Titus and His Companions
 16  But thank God! He has given Titus the same enthusiasm for you that I have.  17  Titus welcomed our request that he visit you again. In fact, he himself was very eager to go and see you.  18  We are also sending another brother with Titus. All the churches praise him as a preacher of the Good News.  19  He was appointed by the churches to accompany us as we take the offering to Jerusalem [19] —a service that glorifies the Lord and shows our eagerness to help.
   20  We are traveling together to guard against any criticism for the way we are handling this generous gift.  21  We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.
   22  We are also sending with them another of our brothers who has proven himself many times and has shown on many occasions how eager he is. He is now even more enthusiastic because of his great confidence in you.  23  If anyone asks about Titus, say that he is my partner who works with me to help you. And the brothers with him have been sent by the churches, [23]  and they bring honor to Christ.  24  So show them your love, and prove to all the churches that our boasting about you is justified.
<<  8:1 Greek brothers.
<<  8:4 Greek for God's holy people.
<<  8:7 Some manuscripts read your love for us.
<<  8:15 Exod 16:18.
<<  8:19 See 1 Cor 16:3-4.
<<  8:23 Greek are apostles of the churches.

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