April 23 - Acts 9.26-43, Joshua 5.2-6.27 and Job 23

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Saul in Jerusalem

Acts 9 26When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the followers. But they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a true follower. 27Then Barnabas helped him by taking him to the apostles. He explained how Saul had seen the Lord and how the Lord had spoken to him. Barnabas also said that when Saul was in Damascus, he had spoken bravely in the name of Jesus.
28Saul moved about freely with the followers in Jerusalem and told everyone about the Lord. 29He was always arguing with the Jews who spoke Greek, and so they tried to kill him. 30But the followers found out about this and took Saul to Caesarea. From there they sent him to the city of Tarsus.
31The church in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria now had a time of peace and kept on worshiping the Lord. The church became stronger, as the Holy Spirit encouraged it and helped it grow.

Peter Heals Aeneas

32While Peter was traveling from place to place, he visited the Lord's followers who lived in the town of Lydda. 33There he met a man named Aeneas, who for eight years had been sick in bed and could not move. 34Peter said to Aeneas, "Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make up your bed." Right away he stood up.
35Many people in the towns of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas and became followers of the Lord.

Peter Brings Dorcas Back to Life

36In Joppa there was a follower named Tabitha. Her Greek name was Dorcas, which means "deer." She was always doing good things for people and had given much to the poor. 37But she got sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Joppa wasn't far from Lydda, and the followers heard that Peter was there. They sent two men to say to him, "Please come with us as quickly as you can!" 39Right away, Peter went with them.
The men took Peter upstairs into the room. Many widows were there crying. They showed him the coats and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was still alive.
40After Peter had sent everyone out of the room, he knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body of Dorcas and said, "Tabitha, get up!" The woman opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet.
Peter called in the widows and the other followers and showed them that Dorcas had been raised from death. 42Everyone in Joppa heard what had happened, and many of them put their faith in the Lord. 43Peter stayed on for a while in Joppa in the house of a man named Simon, who made leather.

Israel Gets Ready To Celebrate Passover

Joshua 5 2While Israel was camped at Gilgal, the LORD said, "Joshua, make some flint knives and circumcise the rest of the Israelite men and boys."
3Joshua made the knives, then circumcised those men and boys at Haaraloth Hill. 4-7This had to be done, because none of Israel's baby boys had been circumcised during the forty years that Israel had wandered through the desert after leaving Egypt.
And why had they wandered for forty years? It was because right after they left Egypt, the men in the army had disobeyed the LORD. And the LORD had said, "None of you men will ever live to see the land that I promised Israel. It is a land rich with milk and honey, and someday your children will live there, but not before you die here in the desert."
8Everyone who had been circumcised needed time to heal, and they stayed in camp.
9The LORD told Joshua, "It was a disgrace for my people to be slaves in Egypt, but now I have taken away that disgrace." So the Israelites named the place Gilgal, and it still has that name.
10Israel continued to camp at Gilgal in the desert near Jericho, and on the fourteenth day of the same month, they celebrated Passover.
11-12The next day, God stopped sending the Israelites manna to eat each morning, and they started eating food grown in the land of Canaan. They ate roasted grain and thin bread made of the barley they had gathered from nearby fields.

Israel Captures Jericho

13One day, Joshua was near Jericho when he saw a man standing some distance in front of him. The man was holding a sword, so Joshua walked up to him and asked, "Are you on our side or on our enemies' side?"
14"Neither," he answered. "I am here because I am the commander of the LORD's army."
Joshua fell to his knees and bowed down to the ground. "I am your servant," he said. "Tell me what to do."
15"Take off your sandals," the commander answered. "This is a holy place."
So Joshua took off his sandals.
Joshua 6 Meanwhile, the people of Jericho had been locking the gates in their town wall because they were afraid of the Israelites. No one could go out or come in.
2-3The LORD said to Joshua:
With my help, you and your army will defeat the king of Jericho and his army, and you will capture the town. Here is how to do it: March slowly around Jericho once a day for six days. 4Take along the sacred chest and have seven priests walk in front of it, carrying trumpets.
But on the seventh day, march slowly around the town seven times while the priests blow their trumpets. 5Then the priests will blast on their trumpets, and everyone else will shout. The wall will fall down, and your soldiers can go straight in from every side.

6Joshua called the priests together and said, "Take the chest and have seven priests carry trumpets and march ahead of it."
7-10Next, he gave the army their orders: "March slowly around Jericho. A few of you will go ahead of the chest to guard it, but most of you will follow it. Don't shout the battle cry or yell or even talk until the day I tell you to. Then let out a shout!"
As soon as Joshua finished giving the orders, the army started marching. One group of soldiers led the way, with seven priests marching behind them and blowing trumpets. Then came the priests carrying the chest, followed by the rest of the soldiers. 11They obeyed Joshua's orders and carried the chest once around the town before returning to camp for the night.
12-14Early the next morning, Joshua and everyone else started marching around Jericho in the same order as the day before. One group of soldiers was in front, followed by the seven priests with trumpets and the priests who carried the chest. The rest of the army came next. The seven priests blew their trumpets while everyone marched slowly around Jericho and back to camp. They did this once a day for six days.
15On the seventh day, the army got up at daybreak. They marched slowly around Jericho the same as they had done for the past six days, except on this day they went around seven times. 16Then the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua yelled:
Get ready to shout! The LORD will let you capture this town. 17But you must destroy it and everything in it, to show that it now belongs to the LORD. The woman Rahab helped the spies we sent, so protect her and the others who are inside her house. But kill everyone else in the town. 18-19The silver and gold and everything made of bronze and iron belong to the LORD and must be put in his treasury. Be careful to follow these instructions, because if you see something you want and take it, the LORD will destroy Israel. And it will be all your fault.

20The priests blew their trumpets again, and the soldiers shouted as loud as they could. The walls of Jericho fell flat. Then the soldiers rushed up the hill, went straight into the town, and captured it. 21-25They killed everyone, men and women, young and old, everyone except Rahab and the others in her house. They even killed every cow, sheep, and donkey.
Joshua said to the two men who had been spies, "Rahab kept you safe when I sent you to Jericho. We promised to protect her and her family, and we will keep that promise. Now go into her house and bring them out."
The two men went into Rahab's house and brought her out, along with her father and mother, her brothers, and her other relatives. Rahab and her family had to stay in a place just outside the Israelite army camp. But later they were allowed to live among the Israelites, and her descendants still do.
The Israelites took the silver and gold and the things made of bronze and iron and put them with the rest of the treasure that was kept at the LORD's house. Finally, they set fire to Jericho and everything in it.
26After Jericho was destroyed, Joshua warned the people, "Someday a man will rebuild Jericho, but the LORD will put a curse on him, and the man's oldest son will die when he starts to build the town wall. And by the time he finishes the wall and puts gates in it, all his children will be dead."
27The LORD helped Joshua in everything he did, and Joshua was famous everywhere in Canaan.

Job's Reply to Eliphaz

Today I Complain Bitterly

Job 23 Job said:
2Today I complain bitterly, because God has been cruel
and made me suffer.
3If I knew where to find God,
I would go there 4and argue my case.
5Then I would discover what he wanted to say.
6Would he overwhelm me with his greatness?
No! He would listen 7because I am innocent,
and he would say, "I now set you free!"

8I cannot find God anywhere-- in front or back of me,
9to my left or my right.
God is always at work, though I never see him.
10But he knows what I am doing, and when he tests me,
I will be pure as gold.
*11I have never refused to follow any of his commands,
12and I have always treasured his teachings.
13But he alone is God, and who can oppose him?
God does as he pleases, 14and he will do exactly
what he intends with me.
*15Merely the thought of God All-Powerful
16makes me tremble with fear.
17God has covered me with darkness,
but I refuse to be silent.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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