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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We announce to you what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have seen and our hands handled, about the word of life. The life was revealed, and we have seen, and we testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. What we have seen and heard, we also announce it to you so that you can have fellowship with us. Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that ...
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
After they arrested Jesus, they led him away and brought him to the high priest's house. Peter followed from a distance.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, and you are in fact dead. 2 Wake up and strengthen whatever you have left, teetering on the brink of death, for I've found that your works are far from complete in the eyes of my God.
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.
Once you were far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.
"I'm talking to you like you are sensible people. Think about what I'm saying. Isn't the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn't the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread."
"And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ."
"Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him! Only God is my rock and my salvation- my stronghold!-I will not be shaken. My deliverance and glory depend on God. God is my strong rock. My refuge is in God. All you people: Trust in God at all times! Pour out your hearts before the Lord! God is our refuge!"
"Look! I'm standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me."
"The LORD's voice is over the waters; the glorious God thunders; the LORD is over the mighty waters. The LORD's voice is strong; the LORD's voice is majestic."
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Lots of old expressions sneak into our lives and conversations every day. Ever heard the expression, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"? I seem to use that expression a lot these days. It's a handy expression that means the son or the daughter is a lot like the parent. So when a child exhibits a behavior or similarity to one of the parents, I will likely say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.