June 23 - Mark 6.30-56, 2 Samuel 16 and Daniel 10.1-11.1

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Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
(Matthew 14.13-21; Luke 9.10-17; John 6.1-14)

Mark 6 30After the apostles returned to Jesus, they told him everything they had done and taught. 31But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, "Let's go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest." 32They left in a boat for a place where they could be alone. 33But many people saw them leave and figured out where they were going. So people from every town ran on ahead and got there first.
34When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd that was like sheep without a shepherd. He felt sorry for the people and started teaching them many things.
35That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, "This place is like a desert, and it is already late. 36Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the farms and villages near here and buy something to eat."
37Jesus replied, "You give them something to eat."
But they asked him, "Don't you know that it would take almost a year's wages to buy all of these people something to eat?"
38Then Jesus said, "How much bread do you have? Go and see!"
They found out and answered, "We have five small loaves of bread and two fish." 39Jesus told his disciples to have the people sit down on the green grass. 40They sat down in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty.
41Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples to give to the people. He also divided the two fish, so that everyone could have some.
42After everyone had eaten all they wanted, 43Jesus' disciples picked up twelve large baskets of leftover bread and fish.
44There were five thousand men who ate the food.

Jesus Walks on the Water
(Matthew 14.22-33; John 6.15-21)

45Right away, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and start back across to Bethsaida. But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. 46Then he told them good-by and went up on the side of a mountain to pray.
47Later that evening he was still there by himself, and the boat was somewhere in the middle of the lake. 48He could see that the disciples were struggling hard, because they were rowing against the wind. Not long before morning, Jesus came toward them. He was walking on the water and was about to pass the boat.
49When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost, and they started screaming. 50All of them saw him and were terrified. But at that same time he said, "Don't worry! I am Jesus. Don't be afraid." 51He then got into the boat with them, and the wind died down. The disciples were completely confused. 52Their minds were closed, and they could not understand the true meaning of the loaves of bread.

Jesus Heals Sick People in Gennesaret
(Matthew 14.34-36)

53Jesus and his disciples crossed the lake and brought the boat to shore near the town of Gennesaret. 54As soon as they got out of the boat, the people recognized Jesus. 55So they ran all over that part of the country to bring their sick people to him on mats. They brought them each time they heard where he was. 56In every village or farm or marketplace where Jesus went, the people brought their sick to him. They begged him to let them just touch his clothes, and everyone who did was healed.

Ziba Gives Food to David

2 Samuel 16 David had started down the other side of the Mount of Olives, when he was met by Ziba, the chief servant of Mephibosheth. Ziba had two donkeys that were carrying two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred handfuls of raisins, a hundred figs, and some wine.
2"What's all this?" David asked.
Ziba said, "The donkeys are for your family to ride. The bread and fruit are for the people to eat, and the wine is for them to drink in the desert when they are tired out."
3"And where is Mephibosheth?" David asked.
Ziba answered, "He stayed in Jerusalem, because he thinks the people of Israel want him to rule the kingdom of his grandfather Saul."
4David then told him, "Everything that used to belong to Mephibosheth is now yours."
Ziba said, "Your Majesty, I am your humble servant, and I hope you will be pleased with me."

Shimei Curses David

5David was near the town of Bahurim when a man came out and started cursing him. The man was Shimei the son of Gera, and he was one of Saul's distant relatives. 6He threw stones at David, at his soldiers, and at everyone else, including the bodyguards who walked on each side of David.
7Shimei was yelling at David, "Get out of here, you murderer! You good-for-nothing, 8the LORD is paying you back for killing so many in Saul's family. You stole his kingdom, but now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. You're a murderer, and that's why you're in such big trouble!"
9Abishai said, "Your Majesty, this man is as useless as a dead dog! He shouldn't be allowed to curse you. Let me go over and chop off his head."
10David replied, "What will I ever do with you and your brother Joab? If Shimei is cursing me because the LORD has told him to, then who are you to tell him to stop?"
11Then David said to Abishai and all his soldiers:
My own son is trying to kill me! Why shouldn't this man from the tribe of Benjamin want me dead even more? Let him curse all he wants. Maybe the LORD did tell him to curse me. 12But if the LORD hears these curses and sees the trouble I'm in, maybe he will have pity on me instead.

13David and the others went on down the road. Shimei went along the hillside by the road, cursing and throwing rocks and dirt at them. 14When David and those with him came to the Jordan River, they were tired out. But after they rested, they felt much better.

Hushai Meets Absalom

15By this time, Absalom, Ahithophel, and the others had reached Jerusalem. 16David's friend Hushai came to Absalom and said, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"
17But Absalom asked Hushai, "Is this how you show loyalty to your friend David? Why didn't you go with him?"
18Hushai answered, "The LORD and the people of Israel have chosen you to be king. I can't leave. I have to stay and serve the one they've chosen. 19Besides, it seems right for me to serve you, just as I served your father."

Ahithophel's Advice

20Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, "Give us your advice! What should we do?"
21Ahithophel answered, "Some of your father's wives were left here to take care of the palace. You should have sex with them. Then everyone will find out that you have publicly disgraced your father. This will make you and your followers even more powerful."
22Absalom had a tent set up on the flat roof of the palace, and everyone watched as he went into the tent with his father's wives.
23Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from God.

Daniel's Vision beside the Tigris River

Daniel 10 In the third year of Cyrus the king of Persia, a message came to Daniel from God, and it was explained in a vision. The message was about a horrible war, and it was true. 2Daniel wrote:
For three weeks I was in sorrow. 3I ate no fancy food or meat, I drank no wine, and I put no olive oil on my face or hair. 4Then, on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, I was standing on the banks of the great Tigris River, 5when I looked up and saw someone dressed in linen and wearing a solid gold belt. 6His body was like a precious stone, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming fires, his arms and legs like polished bronze, and his voice like the roar of a crowd. 7Although the people who were with me did not see the vision, they became so frightened that they scattered and hid. 8Only I saw this great vision. I became weak and pale, 9and at the sound of his voice, I fell facedown in a deep sleep.
10He raised me to my hands and knees 11and then said, "Daniel, your God thinks highly of you, and he has sent me. So stand up and pay close attention." I stood trembling, while the angel said:
12Daniel, don't be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the first day you humbly asked for understanding, and he has sent me here. 13But the guardian angel of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, who is one of the strongest guardian angels, came to rescue me from the kings of Persia. 14Now I have come here to give you another vision about what will happen to your people in the future.

15While this angel was speaking to me, I stared at the ground, speechless. 16Then he appeared in human form and touched my lips. I said, "Sir, this vision has brought me great pain and has drained my strength. 17I am merely your servant. How can I possibly speak with someone so powerful, when I am almost too weak to get my breath?"
18-19The angel touched me a second time and said, "Don't be frightened! God thinks highly of you, and he intends this for your good, so be brave and strong."
At this, I regained my strength and replied, "Please speak! You have already made me feel much better."
20Then the angel said:
Now do you understand why I have come? Soon I must leave to fight against the guardian angel of Persia. Then after I have defeated him, the guardian angel of Greece will attack me. 21I will tell you what is written in The Book of Truth. But first, you must realize that no one except Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, is on my side.

Daniel 11 1You also need to know that I protected and helped Darius the Mede in his first year as king.

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

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