Monday 25 September 2023 DAILY LECTIONARY

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Mon Sep 25 02:00:02 EDT 2023

Monday 25 September 2023

Email Evangelism, forward to a friend:
2 Kings 5:1-19

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and
in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given
victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from
leprosy.* Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young
girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.
She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who
is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’* So Naaman* went
in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had
said. And the king of Aram said, ‘Go then, and I will send along a
letter to the king of Israel.’

He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels
of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king
of Israel, which read, ‘When this letter reaches you, know that I
have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his
leprosy.’* When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his
clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to give death or life, that this man
sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?* Just look and see how
he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.’

 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had
torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, ‘Why have you torn
your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a
prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and
halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to
him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh
shall be restored and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman became angry
and went away, saying, ‘I thought that for me he would surely come
out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would
wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!* Are not Abana* and
Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ He turned and went away in
a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, ‘Father, if the
prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not
have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, “Wash, and
be clean”?’ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in
the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was
restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came
and stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in
all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your
servant.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will
accept nothing!’ He urged him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman
said, ‘If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your
servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt-offering or
sacrifice to any god except the Lord. But may the Lord pardon your
servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to
worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of
Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon
your servant on this one count.’ He said to him, ‘Go in peace.’

But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance,
1 Corinthians 4:8-21

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite
apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had
become kings, so that we might be kings with you! For I think that God
has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to
death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and
to mortals. We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in
Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but
we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are
poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the
work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we
endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the
rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.
 I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my
beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in
Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became
your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of
me. For this reason I sent* you Timothy, who is my beloved and
faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus,
as I teach them everywhere in every church. But some of you, thinking
that I am not coming to you, have become arrogant. But I will come to
you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these
arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God depends not on
talk but on power. What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a
stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
Matthew 5:21-26
‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You
shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to
judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or
sister,* you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult* a brother
or sister,* you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You
fool”, you will be liable to the hell* of fire. So when you are
offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or
sister* has something against you, leave your gift there before the
altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,* and then
come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser
while you are on the way to court* with him, or your accuser may hand
you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be
thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you
have paid the last penny.
Morning Psalms: Psalm 80

Psalm 80

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
   you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth 
   before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
   and come to save us! 

Restore us, O God;
   let your face shine, that we may be saved. 

O Lord God of hosts,
   how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? 
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
   and given them tears to drink in full measure. 
You make us the scorn* of our neighbours;
   our enemies laugh among themselves. 

Restore us, O God of hosts;
   let your face shine, that we may be saved. 

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
   you drove out the nations and planted it. 
You cleared the ground for it;
   it took deep root and filled the land. 
The mountains were covered with its shade,
   the mighty cedars with its branches; 
it sent out its branches to the sea,
   and its shoots to the River. 
Why then have you broken down its walls,
   so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? 
The boar from the forest ravages it,
   and all that move in the field feed on it. 

Turn again, O God of hosts;
   look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine, 
   the stock that your right hand planted.* 
They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;*
   may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance. 
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
   the one whom you made strong for yourself. 
Then we will never turn back from you;
   give us life, and we will call on your name. 

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
   let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Evening Psalms: Psalm 77

Psalm 77

I cry aloud to God,
   aloud to God, that he may hear me. 
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
   in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
   my soul refuses to be comforted. 
I think of God, and I moan;
   I meditate, and my spirit faints.

You keep my eyelids from closing;
   I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 
I consider the days of old,
   and remember the years of long ago. 
I commune* with my heart in the night;
   I meditate and search my spirit:* 
‘Will the Lord spurn for ever,
   and never again be favourable? 
Has his steadfast love ceased for ever?
   Are his promises at an end for all time? 
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
   Has he in anger shut up his compassion?’
And I say, ‘It is my grief
   that the right hand of the Most High has changed.’ 

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
   I will remember your wonders of old. 
I will meditate on all your work,
   and muse on your mighty deeds. 
Your way, O God, is holy.
   What god is so great as our God? 
You are the God who works wonders;
   you have displayed your might among the peoples. 
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
   the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

When the waters saw you, O God,
   when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
   the very deep trembled. 
The clouds poured out water;
   the skies thundered;
   your arrows flashed on every side. 
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
   your lightnings lit up the world;
   the earth trembled and shook. 
Your way was through the sea,
   your path, through the mighty waters;
   yet your footprints were unseen. 
You led your people like a flock
   by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

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