Saturday 27 October 2007 DAILY LECTIONARY

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Sat Oct 27 02:00:00 EDT 2007

Saturday 27 October 2007 

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Ezra 4:7,11-24

And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and Mithredath and Tabeel and the
rest of their associates wrote to King Artaxerxes of Persia; the letter
was written in Aramaic and translated.* 11this is a copy of the letter
that they sent):
'To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the people of the province Beyond
the River, send greeting. And now 12may it be known to the king that the
Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are
rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are finishing the walls
and repairing the foundations. 13Now may it be known to the king that,
if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay
tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be reduced. 14Now
because we share the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to
witness the king's dishonour, therefore we send and inform the king,
15so that a search may be made in the annals of your ancestors. You will
discover in the annals that this is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings
and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from long ago. On
that account this city was laid waste. 16We make known to the king that,
if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no
possession in the province Beyond the River.' 
17 The king sent an answer: 'To Rehum the royal deputy and Shimshai the
scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and in the
rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now 18the letter
that you sent to us has been read in translation before me. 19So I made
a decree, and someone searched and discovered that this city has risen
against kings from long ago, and that rebellion and sedition have been
made in it. 20Jerusalem has had mighty kings who ruled over the whole
province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid.
21Therefore issue an order that these people be made to cease, and that
this city be not rebuilt, until I make a decree. 22Moreover, take care
not to be slack in this matter; why should damage grow to the hurt of
the king?' 
23 Then when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum
and the scribe Shimshai and their associates, they hurried to the Jews
in Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease. 24At that time the
work on the house of God in Jerusalem stopped and was discontinued until
the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.
Philemon 1-25

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,*
To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2to Apphia our sister,* to
Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to the church in your house: 
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Philemon's Love and Faith4 When I remember you* in my prayers, I always
thank my God 5because I hear of your love for all the saints and your
faith towards the Lord Jesus. 6I pray that the sharing of your faith may
become effective when you perceive all the good that we* may do for
Christ. 7I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your
love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you,
my brother. 
Paul's Plea for Onesimus8 For this reason, though I am bold enough in
Christ to command you to do your duty, 9yet I would rather appeal to you
on the basis of love-and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as
a prisoner of Christ Jesus.* 10I am appealing to you for my child,
Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. 11Formerly
he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful* both to you and to
me. 12I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. 13I wanted
to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place
during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14but I preferred to do nothing
without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary
and not something forced. 15Perhaps this is the reason he was separated
from you for a while, so that you might have him back for ever, 16no
longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother-especially
to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 
17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome
me. 18If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge
that to my account. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will
repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 20Yes,
brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart
in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing
that you will do even more than I say. 
22 One thing more-prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through
your prayers to be restored to you. 
Final Greetings and Benediction23 Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ
Jesus, sends greetings to you,* 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas,
and Luke, my fellow-workers. 
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.*
Matthew 12:33-42

'Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad,
and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34You brood of
vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the
abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good person brings good
things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things
out of an evil treasure. 36I tell you, on the day of judgement you will
have to give an account for every careless word you utter; 37for by your
words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.' 
The Sign of Jonah38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him,
'Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.' 39But he answered them, 'An
evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be
given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For just as Jonah
was for three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so
for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of
the earth. 41The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgement with
this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the
proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!
42The queen of the South will rise up at the judgement with this
generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than
Solomon is here!
Morning Psalms:  Psalm 30, 32

Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
   and did not let my foes rejoice over me. 
2O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
   and you have healed me. 
3O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
   restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.* 

4Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
   and give thanks to his holy name. 
5For his anger is but for a moment;
   his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
   but joy comes with the morning. 

6As for me, I said in my prosperity,
   'I shall never be moved.' 
7By your favour, O Lord,
   you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
   I was dismayed. 

8To you, O Lord, I cried,
   and to the Lord I made supplication: 
9'What profit is there in my death,
   if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
   Will it tell of your faithfulness? 
10Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
   O Lord, be my helper!' 

11You have turned my mourning into dancing;
   you have taken off my sackcloth
   and clothed me with joy, 
12so that my soul* may praise you and not be silent.
   O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.

Psalm 32

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
   whose sin is covered. 
2Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
   and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 

3While I kept silence, my body wasted away
   through my groaning all day long. 
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
   my strength was dried up* as by the heat of summer.

5Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
   and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord',
   and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

6Therefore let all who are faithful
   offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress,* the rush of mighty waters
   shall not reach them. 
7You are a hiding-place for me;
   you preserve me from trouble;
   you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.

8I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
   I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 
9Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
   whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
   else it will not stay near you. 

10Many are the torments of the wicked,
   but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. 
11Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
   and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
Evening Psalms:  Psalm 42, 43

Psalm 42

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
   so my soul longs for you, O God. 
2My soul thirsts for God,
   for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
   the face of God? 
3My tears have been my food
   day and night,
while people say to me continually,
   'Where is your God?' 

4These things I remember,
   as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,*
   and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
   a multitude keeping festival. 
5Why are you cast down, O my soul,
   and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
   my help 6and my God. 

My soul is cast down within me;
   therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
   from Mount Mizar. 
7Deep calls to deep
   at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
   have gone over me. 
8By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
   and at night his song is with me,
   a prayer to the God of my life. 

9I say to God, my rock,
   'Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
   because the enemy oppresses me?' 
10As with a deadly wound in my body,
   my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
   'Where is your God?' 

11Why are you cast down, O my soul,
   and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
   my help and my God.

Psalm 43

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
   against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
   deliver me! 
2For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
   why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
   because of the oppression of the enemy? 

3O send out your light and your truth;
   let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
   and to your dwelling. 
4Then I will go to the altar of God,
   to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
   O God, my God. 

5Why are you cast down, O my soul,
   and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
   my help and my God.

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