Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 (Contemporary English Version): "What do we gain by all of our hard work? I have seen what difficult things God demands of us. God makes everything happen at the right time.
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"Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth - teach it to me - because you are the God who saves me. I put my hope in you all day long. Lord, remember your compassion and faithful love - they are forever! But don't remember the sins of my youth or my wrongdoing. Remember me only according to your faithful love for the sake of your goodness, Lord."
"And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body, you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful."
"As the Scriptures say, "People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever." And that word is the Good News that was preached to you."
"You must bring your entirely burned offerings, your sacrifices, your tenth-part gifts, your contributions, your payments for solemn promises, your spontaneous gifts, and the oldest offspring of your herds and flocks to that place. You will have a feast there, each of you and your families, in the Lord your God's presence, and you will celebrate all you have done because the Lord your God has blessed you."
"I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul."
"I'm reminded of your authentic faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. I'm sure that this faith is also inside you. Because of this, I'm reminding you to revive God's gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands. God didn't give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving and self-controlled."
For the Scriptures say, "If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it."
And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also."
They rushed at [Stephen] and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, "If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.
Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
May the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate father and God of all comfort. He's the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble.
Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.
Who can live in your tent, Lord? Who can dwell on your holy mountain? The person who lives free of blame, does what is right, and speaks the truth sincerely; who does no damage with their talk, does no harm to a friend, doesn't insult a neighbor; someone who despises those who act wickedly, but who honors those who honor the Lord; someone who keeps their promise even when it hurts.
This day will be a day of remembering for you. You will observe it as a festival to the Lord. You will observe it in every generation as a regulation for all time.