March 25 (Daily Scripture)

Wisdom 3:1-8
The Destiny of the Righteous
1 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.
2 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster,
3 and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.
4 For though in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality.
5 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
6 like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt-offering he accepted them.
7 In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble.
8 They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever.

Nahum 2:1-4
The Destruction of the Wicked City
1 A shatterer has come up against you. Guard the ramparts; watch the road; gird your loins; collect all your strength.
2 (For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob, as well as the majesty of Israel, though ravagers have ravaged them and ruined their branches.)
3 The shields of his warriors are red; his soldiers are clothed in crimson. The metal on the chariots flashes on the day when he musters them; the chargers prance.
4 The chariots race madly through the streets, they rush to and fro through the squares; their appearance is like torches, they dart like lightning.

Isaiah 43:1-3
Restoration and Protection Promised
1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

Ephesians 6:10-18
The Whole Armour of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Matthew 13:43-52
43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
Three Parables
44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;
46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;
48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad.
49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous
50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Treasures New and Old
51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’
52 And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’

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March 24 (Daily Scripture)

Deuteronomy 9:11-23
11 At the end of forty days and forty nights the Lord gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant.
12 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have been quick to turn from the way that I commanded them; they have cast an image for themselves.’
13 Furthermore, the Lord said to me, ‘I have seen that this people is indeed a stubborn people.
14 Let me alone that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and more numerous than they.’
15 So I turned and went down from the mountain, while the mountain was ablaze; the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 Then I saw that you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God, by casting for yourselves an image of a calf; you had been quick to turn from the way that the Lord had commanded you.
17 So I took hold of the two tablets and flung them from my two hands, smashing them before your eyes.
18 Then I lay prostrate before the Lord as before, for forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin you had committed, provoking the Lord by doing what was evil in his sight.
19 For I was afraid that the anger that the Lord bore against you was so fierce that he would destroy you. But the Lord listened to me that time also.
20 The Lord was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him, but I interceded also on behalf of Aaron at that same time.
21 Then I took the sinful thing you had made, the calf, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it thoroughly, until it was reduced to dust; and I threw the dust of it into the stream that runs down the mountain.
22 At Taberah also, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah, you provoked the Lord to wrath.
23 And when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and occupy the land that I have given you’, you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God, neither trusting him nor obeying him.

Job 16:1-17:16
Job Reaffirms His Innocence
1 Then Job answered:
2 ‘I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all.
3 Have windy words no limit? Or what provokes you that you keep on talking?
4 I also could talk as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you, and shake my head at you.
5 I could encourage you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
6 ‘If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
7 Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company.
8 And he has shrivelled me up, which is a witness against me; my leanness has risen up against me,
and it testifies to my face.
9 He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
10 They have gaped at me with their mouths; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me.
11 God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
12 I was at ease, and he broke me in two; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;
he set me up as his target;
13 his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy; he pours out my gall on the ground.
14 He bursts upon me again and again; he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have laid my strength in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids,
17 though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure.
18 ‘O earth, do not cover my blood; let my outcry find no resting-place.
19 Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high.
20 My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God,
21 that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God, as one does for a neighbour.
22 For when a few years have come, I shall go the way from which I shall not return.
Job Prays for Relief
1 My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me.
2 Surely there are mockers around me, and my eye dwells on their provocation.
3 ‘Lay down a pledge for me with yourself; who is there that will give surety for me?
4 Since you have closed their minds to understanding, therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 Those who denounce friends for reward—the eyes of their children will fail.
6 ‘He has made me a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom people spit.
7 My eye has grown dim from grief, and all my members are like a shadow.
8 The upright are appalled at this, and the innocent stir themselves up against the godless.
9 Yet the righteous hold to their way, and they that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger.
10 But you, come back now, all of you, and I shall not find a sensible person among you.
11 My days are past, my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.
12 They make night into day; “The light”, they say, “is near to the darkness.”
13 If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness,
14 if I say to the Pit, “You are my father”, and to the worm, “My mother”, or “My sister”,
15 where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?
16 Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?’

Isaiah 43:22-44:8
22 Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt-offerings, or honoured me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense.
24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.
25 I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
26 Accuse me, let us go to trial; set forth your case, so that you may be proved right.
27 Your first ancestor sinned, and your interpreters transgressed against me.
28 Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary, I delivered Jacob to utter destruction, and Israel to reviling.
God’s Blessing on Israel
1 But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!
2 Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you in the womb and will help you: Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.
4 They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams.
5 This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’, another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, ‘The Lord’s’, and adopt the name of Israel.
6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
7 Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be.
8 Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.

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March 23 (Daily Scripture)

1 Corinthians 8:5-9:23
5 Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords—
6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
8 ‘Food will not bring us close to God.’ We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.
9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak.
10 For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols?
11 So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed.
12 But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
13 Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
The Rights of an Apostle
1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
2 If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defence to those who would examine me.
4 Do we not have the right to our food and drink?
5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?
7 Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?
8 Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.’ Is it for oxen that God is concerned?
10 Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever ploughs should plough in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop.
11 If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?
12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar?
14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be applied in my case. Indeed, I would rather die than that—no one will deprive me of my ground for boasting!
16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe betide me if I do not proclaim the gospel!
17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.
18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.
19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.
21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some.
23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

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March 22 (Daily Scripture)

Exodus 3:16-22
16 Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt.
17 I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
18 They will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.”
19 I know, however, that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.
20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go.
21 I will bring this people into such favour with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed;
22 each woman shall ask her neighbour and any woman living in the neighbour’s house for jewellery of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians.’

Joel 3:1-8
1 For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgement with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land,
3 and cast lots for my people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine, and drunk it down.
4 What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads swiftly and speedily.
5 For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples.
6 You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border.
7 But now I will rouse them to leave the places to which you have sold them, and I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads.
8 I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away; for the Lord has spoken.

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March 21 (Daily Scripture)

Job 38:1-39:36
The Lord Answers Job
1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
2 ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
4 ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone
7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?
8 ‘Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?—
9 when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors,
11 and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped”?
12 ‘Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place,
13 so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It is changed like clay under the seal, and it is dyed like a garment.
15 Light is withheld from the wicked, and their uplifted arm is broken.
16 ‘Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.
19 ‘Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness,
20 that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21 Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!
22 ‘Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?
24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
25 ‘Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt,
26 to bring rain on a land where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life,
27 to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass?
28 ‘Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoar-frost of heaven?
30 The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
31 ‘Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion?
32 Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?
33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?
34 ‘Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you?
35 Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, “Here we are”?
36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind?
37 Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
38 when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together?
39 ‘Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert?
41 Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?
1 ‘Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer?
2 Can you number the months that they fulfil, and do you know the time when they give birth,
3 when they crouch to give birth to their offspring, and are delivered of their young?
4 Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open; they go forth, and do not return to them.
5 ‘Who has let the wild ass go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass,
6 to which I have given the steppe for its home, the salt land for its dwelling-place?
7 It scorns the tumult of the city; it does not hear the shouts of the driver.
8 It ranges the mountains as its pasture, and it searches after every green thing.
9 ‘Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will it spend the night at your crib?
10 Can you tie it in the furrow with ropes, or will it harrow the valleys after you?
11 Will you depend on it because its strength is great, and will you hand over your labour to it?
12 Do you have faith in it that it will return, and bring your grain to your threshing-floor?
13 ‘The ostrich’s wings flap wildly, though its pinions lack plumage.
14 For it leaves its eggs to the earth, and lets them be warmed on the ground,
15 forgetting that a foot may crush them, and that a wild animal may trample them.
16 It deals cruelly with its young, as if they were not its own; though its labour should be in vain, yet it has no fear;
17 because God has made it forget wisdom, and given it no share in understanding.
18 When it spreads its plumes aloft, it laughs at the horse and its rider.
19 ‘Do you give the horse its might?  Do you clothe its neck with mane?
20 Do you make it leap like the locust? Its majestic snorting is terrible.
21 It paws violently, exults mightily; it goes out to meet the weapons.
22 It laughs at fear, and is not dismayed; it does not turn back from the sword.
23 Upon it rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24 With fierceness and rage it swallows the ground; it cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25 When the trumpet sounds, it says “Aha!” From a distance it smells the battle, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
26 ‘Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings towards the south?
27 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes its nest on high?
28 It lives on the rock and makes its home in the fastness of the rocky crag.
29 From there it spies the prey; its eyes see it from far away.
30 Its young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there it is.’

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March 20 (Daily Scripture)

Jeremiah 32:19-44
19 Great in counsel and mighty in deed; whose eyes are open to all the ways of mortals, rewarding all according to their ways and according to the fruit of their doings.
20 You showed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all humankind, and have made yourself a name that continues to this very day.
21 You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror;
22 and you gave them this land, which you swore to their ancestors to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;
23 and they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or follow your law; of all you commanded them to do, they did nothing. Therefore you have made all these disasters come upon them.
24 See, the siege-ramps have been cast up against the city to take it, and the city, faced with sword, famine, and pestilence, has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has happened, as you yourself can see.
25 Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, ‘Buy the field for money and get witnesses’—though the city has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans.
God’s Assurance of the People’s Return
26 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:
27 See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me?
28 Therefore, thus says the Lord: I am going to give this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, and he shall take it.
29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall come, set it on fire, and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and libations have been poured out to other gods, to provoke me to anger.
30 For the people of Israel and the people of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; the people of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, says the Lord.
31 This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built until this day, so that I will remove it from my sight
32 because of all the evil of the people of Israel and the people of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—they, their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the citizens of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
33 They have turned their backs to me, not their faces; though I have taught them persistently, they would not listen and accept correction.
34 They set up their abominations in the house that bears my name, and defiled it.
35 They built the high places of Baal in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter my mind that they should do this abomination, causing Judah to sin.
36 Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is being given into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence’:
37 See, I am going to gather them from all the lands to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation; I will bring them back to this place, and I will settle them in safety.
38 They shall be my people, and I will be their God.
39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for all time, for their own good and the good of their children after them.
40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them, never to draw back from doing good to them; and I will put the fear of me in their hearts, so that they may not turn from me.
41 I will rejoice in doing good to them, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.
42 For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good fortune that I now promise them.
43 Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, It is a desolation, without human beings or animals; it has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans.
44 Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, of the hill country, of the Shephelah, and of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, says the Lord.

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March 19 (Daily Scripture)

MATINS
Luke 12:32-48
32 ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Watchful Slaves
35 ‘Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit;
36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.
37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them.
38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
39 ‘But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.
40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’
The Faithful or the Unfaithful Slave
41 Peter said, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?’
42 And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time?
43 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives.
44 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions.
45 But if that slave says to himself, “My master is delayed in coming”, and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk,
46 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful.
47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating.
48 But one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

DIVINE LITURGY
Isaiah 56:1-57:21
The Covenant Extended to All Who Obey
1 Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.
2 Happy is the mortal who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
and refrains from doing any evil.
3 Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will surely separate me from his people’;
and do not let the eunuch say, ‘I am just a dry tree.’
4 For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5 I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
8 Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.
The Corruption of Israel’s Rulers
9 All you wild animals, all you wild animals in the forest, come to devour!
10 Israel’s sentinels are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs that cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. The shepherds also have no understanding;
they have all turned to their own way, to their own gain, one and all.
12 ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink. And tomorrow will be like today, great beyond measure.’
Israel’s Futile Idolatry
1 The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous are taken away from calamity,
2 and they enter into peace; those who walk uprightly will rest on their couches.
3 But as for you, come here, you children of a sorceress, you offspring of an adulterer and a whore.
4 Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit—
5 you that burn with lust among the oaks, under every green tree; you that slaughter your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they, are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink-offering, you have brought a grain-offering. Shall I be appeased for these things?
7 Upon a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed, and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your symbol; for, in deserting me, you have uncovered your bed, you have gone up to it, you have made it wide; and you have made a bargain for yourself with them, you have loved their bed, you have gazed on their nakedness.
9 You journeyed to Molech with oil, and multiplied your perfumes; you sent your envoys far away, and sent down even to Sheol.
10 You grew weary from your many wanderings,  but you did not say, ‘It is useless.’ You found your desire rekindled, and so you did not weaken.
11 Whom did you dread and fear so that you lied, and did not remember me or give me a thought?
Have I not kept silent and closed my eyes, and so you do not fear me?
12 I will concede your righteousness and your works, but they will not help you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But whoever takes refuge in me shall possess the land and inherit my holy mountain.
A Promise of Help and Healing
14 It shall be said, ‘Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.’
15 For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not continually accuse, nor will I always be angry; for then the spirits would grow faint before me, even the souls that I have made.
17 Because of their wicked covetousness I was angry; I struck them, I hid and was angry; but they kept turning back to their own ways.
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort,
creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips.
19 Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss up mire and mud.
21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

Ephesians 4:17-5:14
The Old Life and the New
17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds.
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart.
19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practise every kind of impurity.
20 That is not the way you learned Christ!
21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus.
22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts,
23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Rules for the New Life
25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another.
26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27 and do not make room for the devil.
28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy.
29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.
31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice,
32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children,
2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Renounce Pagan Ways
3 But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints.
4 Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving.
5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient.
7 Therefore do not be associated with them.
8 For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—
9 for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.
10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly;
13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.’

Luke 16:1-31
The Parable of the Dishonest Manager
1 Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property.
2 So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.”
3 Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.
4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.”
5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?”
6 He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.”
7 Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.”
8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.
9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
10 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?
13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’
The Law and the Kingdom of God
14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him.
15 So he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.
16 ‘The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force.
17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one stroke of a letter in the law to be dropped.
18 ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 ‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.
22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.
24 He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.”
25 But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.
26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.”
27 He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—
28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.”
29 Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.”
30 He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”
31 He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ’

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