June 28 - Mark 9.2-50, 2 Samuel 22 and Hosea 2.2-23

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The True Glory of Jesus
(Matthew 17.1-13; Luke 9.28-36)

Mark 9 2Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him. They went up on a high mountain, where they could be alone. There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. 3And his clothes became much whiter than any bleach on earth could make them. 4Then Moses and Elijah were there talking with Jesus.
5Peter said to Jesus, "Teacher, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6But Peter and the others were terribly frightened, and he did not know what he was talking about.
7The shadow of a cloud passed over and covered them. From the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, and I love him. Listen to what he says!" 8At once the disciples looked around, but they saw only Jesus.
9As Jesus and his disciples were coming down the mountain, he told them not to say a word about what they had seen, until the Son of Man had been raised from death. 10So they kept it to themselves. But they wondered what he meant by the words "raised from death."
11The disciples asked Jesus, "Don't the teachers of the Law of Moses say that Elijah must come before the Messiah does?"
12Jesus answered:
Elijah certainly will come to get everything ready. But don't the Scriptures also say that the Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected? 13I can assure you that Elijah has already come. And people treated him just as they wanted to, as the Scriptures say they would.

Jesus Heals a Boy
(Matthew 17.14-20; Luke 9.37-43a)

14When Jesus and his three disciples came back down, they saw a large crowd around the other disciples. The teachers of the Law of Moses were arguing with them.
15The crowd was really surprised to see Jesus, and everyone hurried over to greet him.
16Jesus asked, "What are you arguing about?"
17Someone from the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought my son to you. A demon keeps him from talking. 18Whenever the demon attacks my son, it throws him to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth and grit his teeth in pain. Then he becomes stiff. I asked your disciples to force out the demon, but they couldn't do it."
19Jesus said, "You people don't have any faith! How much longer must I be with you? Why do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20They brought the boy, and as soon as the demon saw Jesus, it made the boy shake all over. He fell down and began rolling on the ground and foaming at the mouth.
21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
The man answered, "Ever since he was a child. 22The demon has often tried to kill him by throwing him into a fire or into water. Please have pity and help us if you can!"
23Jesus replied, "Why do you say 'if you can'? Anything is possible for someone who has faith!"
24Right away the boy's father shouted, "I do have faith! Please help me to have even more."
25When Jesus saw that a crowd was gathering fast, he spoke sternly to the evil spirit that had kept the boy from speaking or hearing. He said, "I order you to come out of the boy! Don't ever bother him again."
26The spirit screamed and made the boy shake all over. Then it went out of him. The boy looked dead, and almost everyone said he was. 27But Jesus took hold of his hand and helped him stand up.
28After Jesus and the disciples had gone back home and were alone, they asked him, "Why couldn't we force out that demon?"
29Jesus answered, "Only prayer can force out that kind of demon."

Jesus Again Speaks about His Death
(Matthew 17.22, 23; Luke 9.43b-45)

30Jesus left with his disciples and started through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know about it, 31because he was teaching the disciples that the Son of Man would be handed over to people who would kill him. But three days later he would rise to life. 32The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant, and they were afraid to ask.

Who Is the Greatest?
(Matthew 18.1-5; Luke 9.46-48)

33Jesus and his disciples went to his home in Capernaum. After they were inside the house, Jesus asked them, "What were you arguing about along the way?" 34They had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest, and so they did not answer.
35After Jesus sat down and told the twelve disciples to gather around him, he said, "If you want the place of honor, you must become a slave and serve others!"
36Then Jesus had a child stand near him. He put his arm around the child and said, 37"When you welcome even a child because of me, you welcome me. And when you welcome me, you welcome the one who sent me."

For or against Jesus
(Luke 9.49, 50)

38John said, "Teacher, we saw a man using your name to force demons out of people. But he wasn't one of us, and we told him to stop."
39Jesus said to his disciples:
Don't stop him! No one who works miracles in my name will soon turn and say something bad about me. 40Anyone who isn't against us is for us. 41And anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name, just because you belong to me, will surely be rewarded.

Temptations To Sin
(Matthew 18.6-9; Luke 17.1, 2)

42It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks. 43-44So if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! You would be better off to go into life crippled than to have two hands and be thrown into the fires of hell that never go out. 45-46If your foot causes you to sin, chop it off. You would be better off to go into life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47If your eye causes you to sin, get rid of it. You would be better off to go into God's kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. 48The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning.
49Everyone must be salted with fire.
50Salt is good. But if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made salty again? Have salt among you and live at peace with each other.

David Sings to the LORD
(Psalm 18.1-50)

2 Samuel 22 David sang a song to the LORD after the LORD had rescued him from his enemies, especially Saul. These are the words to David's song:
2Our LORD and our God, you are my mighty rock,
my fortress, my protector.
3You are the rock where I am safe.
You are my shield, my powerful weapon,
and my place of shelter.

You rescue me and keep me from being hurt.
4I praise you, our LORD! I prayed to you,
and you rescued me from my enemies.
5Death, like ocean waves, surrounded me,
and I was almost swallowed by its flooding waters.

6Ropes from the world of the dead had coiled around me,
and death had set a trap in my path.
7I was in terrible trouble when I called out to you,
but from your temple you heard me
and answered my prayer.
8Earth shook and shivered!
The columns supporting the sky rocked back and forth.
You were angry 9and breathed out smoke.
Scorching heat and fiery flames
spewed from your mouth.

10You opened the heavens like curtains,
and you came down with storm clouds under your feet.
11You rode on the backs of flying creatures.
You appeared with the wind as wings.
12Darkness was your tent! Thunderclouds filled the sky,
hiding you from sight.
13Fiery coals lit up the sky in front of you.

14LORD Most High, your voice thundered from the heavens.
15You scattered your enemies with arrows of lightning.
16You roared at the sea,
and its deepest channels could be seen.
You snorted, and the earth shook to its foundations.

17You reached down from heaven,
and you lifted me from deep in the ocean.
18You rescued me from enemies
who were hateful and too powerful for me.
19On the day disaster struck, they came and attacked,
but you defended me.
20When I was fenced in,
you freed and rescued me because you love me.
21You are good to me, LORD, because I do right,
and you reward me because I am innocent.
22I do what you want and never turn to do evil.
23I keep your laws in mind
and never turn away from your teachings.
24I obey you completely and guard against sin.
25You have been good to me because I do right;
you have rewarded me
for being innocent by your standards.

26You are always loyal to your loyal people,
and you are faithful to the faithful.
27With all who are sincere you are sincere,
but you treat the unfaithful as their deeds deserve.
28You rescue the humble,
but you look for ways to put down the proud.

29Our LORD and God, you are my lamp.
You turn darkness to light.
30You help me defeat armies and capture cities.

31Your way is perfect, LORD, and your word is correct.
You are a shield for those who run to you for help.
32You alone are God!
Only you are a mighty rock.
33You are my strong fortress, and you set me free.
34You make my feet run as fast as those of a deer,
and you help me stand on the mountains.

35You teach my hands to fight
and my arms to use a bow of bronze.
36You alone are my shield, and by coming to help me,
you have made me famous.
37You clear the way for me, and now I won't stumble.

38I kept chasing my enemies
until I caught them and destroyed them.
39I destroyed them! I stuck my sword through my enemies,
and they were crushed under my feet.
40You helped me win victories
and forced my attackers to fall victim to me.

41You made my enemies run, and I killed them.
42They cried out for help, but no one saved them;
they called out to you, but there was no answer.
43I ground them to dust,
and I squashed them like mud in the streets.

44You rescued me from my stubborn people
and made me the leader of foreign nations,
who are now my slaves.
45They obey and come crawling.
46They have lost all courage
and from their fortresses they come trembling.

47You are the living LORD! I will praise you!
You are a mighty rock.
I will honor you for keeping me safe.
48You took revenge for me,
and you put nations in my power.
49You protected me from violent enemies,
and you made me much greater than all of them.

50I will praise you, LORD,
and I will honor you among the nations.
51You give glorious victories to your chosen king.
Your faithful love for David and for his descendants
will never end.

The LORD Promises To Punish Israel

Hosea 2 2Accuse! Accuse your mother!
She is no longer my wife,
and now I, the LORD, am not her husband.
Beg her to give up prostitution and stop being unfaithful,
3or I will strip her naked like the day she was born.
I will make her barren like a desert,
and she will die of thirst.
4You children are the result of her unfaithfulness,
and I'll show you no pity.
5Your mother was unfaithful. She was disgraceful and said,
"I'll run after my lovers.
Everything comes from them-- my food and drink,
my linen and wool, my olive oil and wine."

6I, the LORD, will build a fence of thorns to block her path.
7She will run after her lovers, but not catch them;
she will search, but not find them.
Then she will say, "I'll return to my first husband.
Life was better then."
8She didn't know that her grain, wine, and olive oil
were gifts from me, as were the gold and silver
she used in worshiping Baal.

9So I'll hold back the harvest of grain and grapes.
I'll take back my wool and my linen that cover her body.
10Then I'll strip her naked in the sight of her lovers.
No one can rescue her.

11I'll stop Israel's celebrations--
no more New Moon Festivals, Sabbaths, or other feasts.
12She said, "My lovers gave me vineyards and fig trees
as payment for sex."

Now I, the LORD, will ruin her vineyards and fig trees;
they will become clumps of weeds eaten by wild animals.

13I'll punish her for the days she worshiped Baal
and burned incense to him.
I'll punish her for the times she forgot about me
and wore jewelry and rings to attract her lovers.
I, the LORD, have spoken!

The LORD Will Help Israel

14Israel, I, the LORD, will lure you into the desert
and speak gently to you.
15I will return your vineyards, and then Trouble Valley
will become Hopeful Valley.
You will say "Yes" to me as you did in your youth,
when leaving Egypt.
16I promise that from that day on, you will call me your husband instead of your master. 17I will no longer even let you mention the names of those pagan gods that you called "Master." 18And I will agree to let you live in peace--you will no longer be attacked by wild animals and birds or by weapons of war. 19I will accept you as my wife forever, and instead of a bride price I will give you justice, fairness, love, kindness, 20and faithfulness. Then you will truly know who I am.
21I will command the sky to send rain on the earth, 22and it will produce grain, grapes, and olives in Jezreel Valley. 23I will scatter the seeds and show mercy to Lo-Ruhamah. I will say to Lo-Ammi, "You are my people," and they will answer, "You are our God."

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

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