January 4 - Luke 7.1-17, Genesis 8-10 and Psalm 4
Jesus Heals an Army Officer's Servant
4The leaders went to Jesus and begged him to do something. They said, "This man deserves your help! 5He loves our nation and even built us a meeting place." 6So Jesus went with them.
When Jesus wasn't far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell him, "Lord, don't go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to come into my house. 7And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say the word, and my servant will get well. 8I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, 'Go!' and he goes. I can say to another, 'Come!' and he comes. I can say to my servant, 'Do this!' and he will do it."
9When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, "In all of Israel I've never found anyone with this much faith!"
10The officer's friends returned and found the servant well.
A Widow's Son11Soon Jesus and his disciples were on their way to the town of Nain, and a big crowd was going along with them. 12As they came near the gate of the town, they saw people carrying out the body of a widow's only son. Many people from the town were walking along with her.
13When the Lord saw the woman, he felt sorry for her and said, "Don't cry!"
14Jesus went over and touched the stretcher on which the people were carrying the dead boy. They stopped, and Jesus said, "Young man, get up!" 15The boy sat up and began to speak. Jesus then gave him back to his mother.
16Everyone was frightened and praised God. They said, "A great prophet is here with us! God has come to his people."
17News about Jesus spread all over Judea and everywhere else in that part of the country.
The Water Goes DownGenesis 8 God did not forget about Noah and the animals with him in the boat. So God made a wind blow, and the water started going down. 2God stopped up the places where the water had been gushing out from under the earth. He also closed up the sky, and the rain stopped. 3For one hundred fifty days the water slowly went down. 4Then on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the year, the boat came to rest somewhere in the Ararat mountains. 5The water kept going down, and the mountain tops could be seen on the first day of the tenth month.
6-7Forty days later Noah opened a window to send out a raven, but it kept flying around until the water had dried up. 8Noah wanted to find out if the water had gone down, and he sent out a dove. 9Deep water was still everywhere, and the dove could not find a place to land. So it flew back to the boat. Noah held out his hand and helped it back in.
10Seven days later Noah sent the dove out again. 11It returned in the evening, holding in its beak a green leaf from an olive tree. Noah knew that the water was finally going down. 12He waited seven more days before sending the dove out again, and this time it did not return.
13Noah was now six hundred one years old. And by the first day of that year, almost all the water had gone away. Noah made an opening in the roof of the boat and saw that the ground was getting dry. 14By the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the earth was completely dry.
15God said to Noah, 16"You, your wife, your sons, and your daughters-in-law may now leave the boat. 17Let out the birds, animals, and reptiles, so they can mate and live all over the earth." 18After Noah and his family had gone out of the boat, 19the living creatures left in groups of their own kind.
The LORD's Promise for the Earth20Noah built an altar where he could offer sacrifices to the LORD. Then he offered on the altar one of each kind of animal and bird that could be used for a sacrifice. 21The smell of the burning offering pleased God, and he said:
Never again will I punish the earth for the sinful things its people do. All of them have evil thoughts from the time they are young, but I will never destroy everything that breathes, as I did this time.
22As long as the earth remains,
there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat;
winter and summer, day and night.
God's Promise to NoahGenesis 9 God said to Noah and his sons:
I am giving you my blessing. Have a lot of children and grandchildren, so people will live everywhere on this earth. 2All animals, birds, reptiles, and fish will be afraid of you. I have placed them under your control, 3and I have given them to you for food. From now on, you may eat them, as well as the green plants that you have always eaten. 4But life is in the blood, and you must not eat any meat that still has blood in it. 5-6I created humans to be like me, and I will punish any animal or person that takes a human life. If an animal kills someone, that animal must die. And if a person takes the life of another, that person must be put to death.
7I want you and your descendants to have many children, so people will live everywhere on earth.
8Again, God said to Noah and his sons:
9I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. 10This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. 11I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood.
12-13The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. 14When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, 15I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let floodwaters destroy all life. 16When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise that I have made to every living creature. 17The rainbow will be the sign of that solemn promise.
Noah and His Family18Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, came out of the boat. Ham later had a son named Canaan. 19All people on earth are descendants of Noah's three sons.
20Noah farmed the land and was the first to plant a vineyard. 21One day he got drunk and was lying naked in his tent. 22Ham entered the tent and saw him naked, then went back outside and told his brothers. 23Shem and Japheth put a robe over their shoulders and walked backwards into the tent. Without looking at their father, they placed it over his body.
24When Noah woke up and learned what his youngest son Ham had done, 25he said,
"I now put a curse on Canaan!
He will be the lowest slave of his brothers.
26I ask the LORD my God to bless Shem
and make Canaan his slave.
27I pray that the LORD will give Japheth
more and more land
and let him take over the territory of Shem.
May Canaan be his slave."
28Noah lived three hundred fifty years after the flood 29and died at the age of nine hundred fifty.
The Descendants of NoahGenesis 10 After the flood Shem, Ham, and Japheth had many descendants.
The Descendants of Japheth2-5Japheth's descendants had their own languages, tribes, and land. They were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
Gomer was the ancestor of Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.
Javan was the ancestor of Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim, who settled along the coast.
The Descendants of Ham6-20Ham's descendants had their own languages, tribes, and land. They were Ethiopia, Egypt, Put, and Canaan.
Cush was the ancestor of Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca.
Raamah was the ancestor of Sheba and Dedan.
Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, a mighty warrior whose strength came from the LORD. Nimrod is the reason for the saying, "You hunt like Nimrod with the strength of the LORD!" Nimrod first ruled in Babylon, Erech, and Accad, all of which were in Babylonia. From there Nimrod went to Assyria and built the great city of Nineveh. He also built Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, as well as Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah.
Egypt was the ancestor of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim, the ancestor of the Philistines.
Canaan's sons were Sidon and Heth. He was also the ancestor of the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites.
Later the Canaanites spread from the territory of Sidon and went as far as Gaza in the direction of Gerar. They also went as far as Lasha in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim.
The Descendants of Shem21-31Shem's descendants had their own languages, tribes, and land. He was the older brother of Japheth and the ancestor of the tribes of Eber.
Shem was the ancestor of Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.
Aram was the ancestor of Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.
Arpachshad was the father of Shelah and the grandfather of Eber, whose first son was named Peleg, because it was during his time that tribes divided up the earth. Eber's second son was Joktan.
Joktan was the ancestor of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. Their land reached from Mesha in the direction of Sephar, the hill country in the east.
32This completes the list of Noah's descendants. After the flood their descendants became nations and spread all over the world.
1You are my God and protector. Please answer my prayer.
I was in terrible distress, but you set me free.
Now have pity and listen as I pray.
2How long will you people refuse to respect me?
You love foolish things,
and you run after what is worthless.
3The LORD has chosen everyone who is faithful
to be his very own,
and he answers my prayers.
4But each of you had better tremble
and turn from your sins.
Silently search your heart as you lie in bed.
5Offer the proper sacrifices and trust the LORD.
6There are some who ask, "Who will be good to us?"
Let your kindness, LORD, shine brightly on us.
7You brought me more happiness
than a rich harvest of grain and grapes.
8I can lie down and sleep soundly
because you, LORD, will keep me safe.
This reading is from The
Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American
Bible Society, 1995.
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