December 21

Isaiah 56

1The Lord says, Let your way of life be upright, and let your behaviour be rightly ordered: for my salvation is near, and my righteousness will quickly be seen.

2Happy is the man who does this, and the son of man whose behaviour is so ordered; who keeps the Sabbath holy, and his hand from doing any evil.

3And let not the man from a strange country, who has been joined to the Lord, say, The Lord will certainly put a division between me and his people: and let not the unsexed man say, See, I am a dry tree.

4For the Lord says, As for the unsexed who keep my Sabbaths, and give their hearts to pleasing me, and keep their agreement with me:

5I will give to them in my house, and inside my walls, a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an eternal name which will not be cut off.

6And as for those from a strange country, who are joined to the Lord, to give worship to him and honour to his name, to be his servants, even everyone who keeps the Sabbath holy, and keeps his agreement with me:

7I will make them come to my holy mountain, and will give them joy in my house of prayer; I will take pleasure in the burned offerings which they make on my altar: for my house will be named a house of prayer for all peoples.

8The Lord God, who gets together the wandering ones of Israel, says, I will get together others in addition to those of Israel who have come back.

9All you beasts of the field, come together for your meat, even all you beasts of the wood.

10His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dogs without tongues, unable to make a sound; stretched out dreaming, loving sleep.

11Yes, the dogs are for ever looking for food; while these, the keepers of the sheep, are without wisdom: they have all gone after their pleasure, every one looking for profit; they are all the same.

12Come, they say, I will get wine, and we will take strong drink in full measure; and tomorrow will be like today, full of pleasure.

Ezekiel 31

1Now in the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2Son of man, say to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and to his people; Whom are you like in your great power?

3See, a pine-tree with beautiful branches and thick growth, giving shade and very tall; and its top was among the clouds.

4It got strength from the waters and the deep made it tall: its streams went round about its planted land and it sent out its waterways to all the trees of the field.

5In this way it became taller than all the trees of the field; and its branches were increased and its arms became long because of the great waters.

6In its branches all the birds of heaven came to rest, and under its arms all the beasts of the field gave birth to their young, and great nations were living in its shade.

7So it was beautiful, being so tall and its branches so long, for its root was by great waters.

8No cedars were equal to it in the garden of God; the fir-trees were not like its branches, and plane-trees were as nothing in comparison with its arms; no tree in the garden of God was so beautiful.

9I made it beautiful with its mass of branches: so that all the trees in the garden of God were full of envy of it.

10For this cause the Lord has said: Because he is tall, and has put his top among the clouds, and his heart is full of pride because he is so high,

11I have given him up into the hands of a strong one of the nations; he will certainly give him the reward of his sin, driving him out.

12And men from strange lands, who are to be feared among the nations, after cutting him off, have let him be: on the mountains and in all the valleys his branches have come down; his arms are broken by all the waterways of the land; all the peoples of the earth have gone from his shade, and have let him be.

13All the birds of heaven have come to rest on his broken stem where it is stretched on the earth, and all the beasts of the field will be on his branches:

14In order that no trees by the waters may be lifted up in their growth, putting their tops among the clouds; and that no trees which are watered may take their place on high: for they are all given up to death, to the lowest parts of the earth among the children of men, with those who go down to the underworld.

15This is what the Lord has said: The day when he goes down to the underworld, I will make the deep full of grief for him; I will keep back her streams and the great waters will be stopped: I will make Lebanon dark for him, and all the trees of the field will be feeble because of him.

16I will send shaking on the nations at the sound of his fall, when I send him down to the underworld with those who go down into the deep: and on earth they will be comforting themselves, all the trees of Eden, the best of Lebanon, even all the watered ones.

17And they will go down with him to the underworld, to those who have been put to the sword; even those who were his helpers, living under his shade among the nations

18Whom then are you like? for you will be sent down with the trees of Eden into the lowest parts of the earth: there you will be stretched out among those without circumcision, with those who were put to the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his people, says the Lord.

Ezekiel 32

1And it came about in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2Son of man, make a song of grief for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say to him, Young lion of the nations, destruction has come on you; and you were like a sea-beast in the seas, sending out bursts of water, troubling the waters with your feet, making their streams dirty.

3This is what the Lord has said: My net will be stretched out over you, and I will take you up in my fishing-net.

4And I will let you be stretched on the land; I will send you out violently into the open field; I will let all the birds of heaven come to rest on you and will make the beasts of all the earth full of you.

5And I will put your flesh on the mountains, and make the valleys full of your blood.

6And the land will be watered with your blood, and the waterways will be full of you.

7And when I put out your life, the heaven will be covered and its stars made dark; I will let the sun be covered with a cloud and the moon will not give her light.

8All the bright lights of heaven I will make dark over you, and put dark night on your land, says the Lord.

9And the hearts of numbers of peoples will be troubled, when I send your prisoners among the nations, into a country which is strange to you.

10And I will make a number of peoples overcome with wonder at you, and their kings will be full of fear because of you, when my sword is waved before them: they will be shaking every minute, every man fearing for his life, in the day of your fall.

11For this is what the Lord has said: The sword of the king of Babylon will come on you.

12I will let the swords of the strong be the cause of the fall of your people; all of them men to be feared among the nations: and they will make waste the pride of Egypt, and all its people will come to destruction.

13And I will put an end to all her beasts which are by the great waters, and they will never again be troubled by the foot of man or by the feet of beasts.

14Then I will make their waters clear and their rivers will be flowing like oil, says the Lord.

15When I make Egypt an unpeopled waste, cutting off from the land all the things in it; when I send punishment on all those living in it, then it will be clear to them that I am the Lord.

16It is a song of grief, and people will give voice to it, the daughters of the nations will give voice to it, even for Egypt and all her people, says the Lord.

17And in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

18Son of man, let your voice be loud in sorrow for the people of Egypt and send them down, even you and the daughters of the nations; I will send them down into the lowest parts of the earth, with those who go down into the underworld.

19Are you more beautiful than any? go down, and take your rest among those without circumcision,

20Among those who have been put to the sword: they will give a resting-place with them to all their people.

21The strong among the great ones will say to him from the underworld, Are you more beautiful than any? go down, you and your helpers, and take your rest among those without circumcision, and those who have been put to the sword.

22There is Asshur and all her army, round about her last resting-place: all of them put to death by the sword:

23Whose resting-places are in the inmost parts of the underworld, who were a cause of fear in the land of the living.

24There is Elam and all her people, round about her last resting-place: all of them put to death by the sword, who have gone down without circumcision into the lowest parts of the earth, who were a cause of fear in the land of the living, and are put to shame with those who go down to the underworld:

25They have made a bed for her among the dead, and all her people are round about her resting-place: all of them without circumcision, put to death with the sword; for they were a cause of fear in the land of the living, and are put to shame with those who go down to the underworld: they have been given a place among those who have been put to the sword.

26There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her people, round about her last resting-place: all of them without circumcision, put to death by the sword; for they were a cause of fear in the land of the living.

27And they have been put to rest with the fighting men who came to their end in days long past, who went down to the underworld with their instruments of war, placing their swords under their heads, and their body-covers are over their bones; for their strength was a cause of fear in the land of the living.

28But you will have your bed among those without circumcision, and will be put to rest with those who have been put to death with the sword.

29There is Edom, her kings and all her princes, who have been given a resting-place with those who were put to the sword: they will be resting among those without circumcision, even with those who go down to the underworld.

30There are the chiefs of the north, all of them, and all the Zidonians, who have gone down with those who have been put to the sword: they are shamed on account of all the fear caused by their strength; they are resting there without circumcision, among those who have been put to the sword, and are put to shame with those who go down to the underworld.

31Pharaoh will see them and be comforted on account of all his people: even Pharaoh and all his army, put to death by the sword, says the Lord.

32For he put his fear in the land of the living: and he will be put to rest among those without circumcision, with those who have been put to death with the sword, even Pharaoh and all his people, says the Lord.

Colossians 3:18-25

18Wives, be under the authority of your husbands, as is right in the Lord.

19Husbands, have love for your wives, and be not bitter against them.

20Children, do the orders of your fathers and mothers in all things, for this is pleasing to the Lord.

21Fathers, do not be hard on your children, so that their spirit may not be broken.

22Servants, in all things do the orders of your natural masters; not only when their eyes are on you, as pleasers of men, but with all your heart, fearing the Lord:

23Whatever you do, do it readily, as to the Lord and not to men;

24Being certain that the Lord will give you the reward of the heritage: for you are the servants of the Lord Christ.

25For the wrongdoer will have punishment for the wrong he has done, without respect for any man’s position.

Colossians 4

1Masters, give your servants what is right and equal, conscious that you have a Master in heaven.

2Give yourselves to prayer at all times, keeping watch with praise;

3And making prayer for us, that God may give us an open door for the preaching of the word, the secret of Christ, for which I am now in chains;

4So that I may make it clear, as it is right for me to do.

5Be wise in your behaviour to those who are outside, making good use of the time.

6Let your talk be with grace, mixed with salt, so that you may be able to give an answer to everyone.

7Tychicus will give you news of all my business: he is a dear brother and true servant and helper in the word;

8And I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may have news of how we are, and so that he may give your hearts comfort;

9And with him I have sent Onesimus, the true and well-loved brother, who is one of you. They will give you word of everything which is taking place here.

10Aristarchus, my brother-prisoner, sends his love to you, and Mark, a relation of Barnabas (about whom you have been given orders: if he comes to you, be kind to him),

11And Jesus, whose other name is Justus; these are of the circumcision: they are my only brother-workers for the kingdom of God, who have been a comfort to me.

12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his love, ever taking thought for you in his prayers, that you may be complete and fully certain of all the purpose of God.

13For I give witness of him that he has undergone much trouble for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.

14Luke, our well-loved medical friend, and Demas, send you their love.

15Give my love to the brothers in Laodicea and to Nymphas and the church in their house.

16And when this letter has been made public among you, let the same be done in the church of Laodicea; and see that you have the letter from Laodicea.

17Say to Archippus, See that you do the work which the Lord has given you to do.

18I, Paul, give you this word of love in my handwriting. Keep in memory that I am a prisoner. Grace be with you.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Gratifying the Flesh 122211 « Mennonite Preacher

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