May 11 - Acts 20.1-16, Judges 13 and Job 41

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Paul Goes through Macedonia and Greece

Acts 20 When the riot was over, Paul sent for the followers and encouraged them. He then told them good-by and left for Macedonia. 2As he traveled from place to place, he encouraged the followers with many messages. Finally, he went to Greece 3and stayed there for three months.
Paul was about to sail to Syria. But some of the Jewish leaders plotted against him, so he decided to return by way of Macedonia. 4With him were Sopater, son of Pyrrhus from Berea, and Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica. Gaius from Derbe was also with him, and so were Timothy and the two Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5They went on ahead to Troas and waited for us there. 6After the Festival of Thin Bread, we sailed from Philippi. Five days later we met them in Troas and stayed there for a week.

Paul's Last Visit to Troas

7On the first day of the week we met to break bread together. Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning. 8In the upstairs room where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps. 9A young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man got very sleepy. Finally, he went to sleep and fell three floors all the way down to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead.
10Paul went down and bent over Eutychus. He took him in his arms and said, "Don't worry! He's alive." 11After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with us. He then spoke until dawn and left. 12Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy.

The Voyage from Troas to Miletus

13Paul decided to travel by land to Assos. The rest of us went on ahead by ship, and we were to take him aboard there. 14When he met us in Assos, he came aboard, and we sailed on to Mitylene. 15The next day we came to a place near Chios, and the following day we reached Samos. The day after that we sailed to Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, because he did not want to spend too much time in Asia. He was in a hurry and wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost.

Samson Is Born

Judges 13 Once again the Israelites started disobeying the LORD. So he let the Philistines take control of Israel for forty years.
2Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was not able to have children, 3-5but one day an angel from the LORD appeared to her and said:
You have never been able to have any children, but very soon you will be pregnant and have a son. He will belong to God from the day he is born, so his hair must never be cut. And even before he is born, you must not drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God's laws.
Your son will begin to set Israel free from the Philistines.

6She went to Manoah and said, "A prophet who looked like an angel of God came and talked to me. I was so frightened, that I didn't even ask where he was from. He didn't tell me his name, 7but he did say that I'm going to have a baby boy. I'm not supposed to drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God's laws. Our son will belong to God for as long as he lives."
8Then Manoah prayed, "Our LORD, please send that prophet again and let him tell us what to do for the son we are going to have."
9God answered Manoah's prayer, and the angel went back to Manoah's wife while she was resting in the fields. Manoah wasn't there at the time, 10so she found him and said, "That same man is here again! He's the one I saw the other day."
11Manoah went with his wife and asked the man, "Are you the one who spoke to my wife?"
"Yes, I am," he answered.
12Manoah then asked, "When your promise comes true, what rules must he obey and what will be his work?"
13"Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her," the LORD's angel answered. 14"She must not eat or drink anything made from grapes. She must not drink wine or beer or eat anything forbidden by God's laws. I told her exactly what to do."
15"Please," Manoah said, "stay here with us for just a little while, and we'll fix a young goat for you to eat." 16Manoah didn't realize that he was really talking to one of the LORD's angels.
The angel answered, "I can stay for a little while, although I won't eat any of your food. But if you would like to offer the goat as a sacrifice to the LORD, that would be fine."
17Manoah said, "Tell us your name, so we can honor you after our son is born."
18"No," the angel replied. "You don't need to know my name. And if you did, you couldn't understand it."
19So Manoah took a young goat over to a large rock he had chosen for an altar, and he built a fire on the rock. Then he killed the goat, and offered it with some grain as a sacrifice to the LORD. But then an amazing thing happened. 20The fire blazed up toward the sky, and the LORD's angel went up toward heaven in the fire. Manoah and his wife bowed down low when they saw what happened.
21The angel was gone, but Manoah and his wife realized that he was one of the LORD's angels. 22Manoah said, "We have seen an angel. Now we're going to die."
23"The LORD isn't going to kill us," Manoah's wife responded. "The LORD accepted our sacrifice and grain offering, and he let us see something amazing. Besides, he told us that we're going to have a son."
24Later, Manoah's wife did give birth to a son, and she named him Samson. As the boy grew, the LORD blessed him. 25Then, while Samson was staying at Dan's Camp between the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol, the Spirit of the LORD took control of him.

The LORD Continues

Can You Catch a Sea Monster?

Job 41 Can you catch a sea monster by using a fishhook?
Can you tie its mouth shut with a rope?
2Can it be led around by a ring in its nose
or a hook in its jaw?
3Will it beg for mercy?
4Will it surrender as a slave for life?
5Can it be tied by the leg
like a pet bird for little girls?
6Is it ever chopped up and its pieces bargained for
in the fish-market?
7Can it be killed with harpoons or spears?
8Wrestle it just once-- that will be the end.
9Merely a glimpse of this monster makes all courage melt.
10And if it is too fierce for anyone to attack,
who would dare oppose me?
11I am in command of the world and in debt to no one.

12What powerful legs, what a stout body
this monster possesses!
13Who could strip off its armor
or bring it under control with a harness?
14Who would try to open its jaws, full of fearsome teeth?
*15Its back is covered with shield after shield,
16firmly bound and closer together 17than breath to breath.

When This Monster Sneezes

18When this monster sneezes, lightning flashes,
and its eyes glow like the dawn.
19Sparks and fiery flames explode from its mouth.
20And smoke spews from its nose
like steam from a boiling pot,
21while its blazing breath
scorches everything in sight.

22Its neck is so tremendous that everyone trembles,
23the weakest parts of its body are harder than iron,
24and its heart is stone.
25When this noisy monster appears, even the most powerful
turn and run in fear.
26No sword or spear can harm it,
27and weapons of bronze or iron are as useless
as straw or rotten wood.
28Rocks thrown from a sling cause it no more harm
than husks of grain.
This monster fears no arrows, 29it simply smiles at spears,
and striking it with a stick is like slapping it with straw.

30As it crawls through the mud, its sharp and spiny hide
tears the ground apart.
31And when it swims down deep,
the sea starts churning like boiling oil,
32and it leaves behind a trail of shining white foam.
33No other creature on earth is so fearless.
34It is king of all proud creatures,
and it looks upon the others as nothing.

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

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