May 25 - Romans 1.1-15, 1 Samuel 8 and Psalm 54

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Romans 1 From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus.
God chose me to be an apostle, and he appointed me to preach the good news 2that he promised long ago by what his prophets said in the holy Scriptures. 3-4This good news is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! As a human, he was from the family of David. But the Holy Spirit proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God, because he was raised from death.
5Jesus was kind to me and chose me to be an apostle, so that people of all nations would obey and have faith. 6You are some of those people chosen by Jesus Christ.
7This letter is to all of you in Rome. God loves you and has chosen you to be his very own people.
I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

A Prayer of Thanks

8First, I thank God in the name of Jesus Christ for all of you. I do this because people everywhere in the world are talking about your faith. 9God has seen how I never stop praying for you, while I serve him with all my heart and tell the good news about his Son.
10In all my prayers, I ask God to make it possible for me to visit you. 11I want to see you and share with you the same blessings that God's Spirit has given me. Then you will grow stronger in your faith. 12What I am saying is that we can encourage each other by the faith that is ours.
13My friends, I want you to know that I have often planned to come for a visit. But something has always kept me from doing it. I want to win followers to Christ in Rome, as I have done in many other places. 14-15It doesn't matter if people are civilized and educated, or if they are uncivilized and uneducated. I must tell the good news to everyone. That's why I am eager to visit all of you in Rome.

The People of Israel Want a King

1 Samuel 8 1-2Samuel had two sons. The older one was Joel, and the younger one was Abijah. When Samuel was getting old, he let them be leaders at Beersheba. 3But they were not like their father. They were dishonest and accepted bribes to give unfair decisions.
4One day the nation's leaders came to Samuel at Ramah 5and said, "You are an old man. You set a good example for your sons, but they haven't followed it. Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. Choose one for us!"
6Samuel was upset to hear the leaders say they wanted a king, so he prayed about it. 7The LORD answered:
Samuel, do everything they want you to do. I am really the one they have rejected as their king. 8Ever since the day I rescued my people from Egypt, they have turned from me to worship idols. Now they are turning away from you. 9Do everything they ask, but warn them and tell them how a king will treat them.

10Samuel told the people who were asking for a king what the LORD had said:
11If you have a king, this is how he will treat you. He will force your sons to join his army. Some of them will ride in his chariots, some will serve in the cavalry, and others will run ahead of his own chariot. 12Some of them will be officers in charge of a thousand soldiers, and others will be in charge of fifty. Still others will have to farm the king's land and harvest his crops, or make weapons and parts for his chariots. 13Your daughters will have to make perfume or do his cooking and baking.
14The king will take your best fields, as well as your vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his own officials. 15He will also take a tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and officials.
16The king will take your slaves and your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17He will also take a tenth of your sheep and goats. You will become the king's slaves, 18and you will finally cry out for the LORD to save you from the king you wanted. But the LORD won't answer your prayers.

19-20The people would not listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want to be like other nations. We want a king to rule us and lead us in battle."
21Samuel listened to them and then told the LORD exactly what they had said. 22"Do what they want," the LORD answered. "Give them a king."
Samuel told the people to go back to their homes.

Psalm 54
[For the music leader. Use with stringed instruments. A special psalm that David wrote when the people of Ziph went to Saul and said, "David is hiding here with us."]
Trusting God in Times of Trouble

1Save me, God, by your power and prove that I am right.
2Listen to my prayer and hear what I say.
3Cruel strangers have attacked and want me dead.
Not one of them cares about you.

4You will help me, Lord God, and keep me from falling;
5you will punish my enemies for their evil deeds.
Be my faithful friend and destroy them.

6I will bring a gift and offer a sacrifice to you, LORD.
I will praise your name because you are good.
7You have rescued me from all of my troubles,
and my own eyes have seen my enemies fall.

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

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