Isaiah 8 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Coming Assyrian Invasion
8 Then the Lord said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz.[a]” 2 I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.
3 Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz. 4 For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.”
5 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 6 “My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to[b] King Rezin and King Pekah.[c] 7 Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River[d]—the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels 8 and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
9 “Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified.
A Call to Trust the Lord
11 The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12 “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
16 Preserve the teaching of God;
18 I and the children the Lord has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion.
19 Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?
20 Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. 21 They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven 22 and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.
Isaiah 9 New Living Translation (NLT)
Hope in the Messiah
9 [a]Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2 [b]The people who walk in darkness
6 For a child is born to us,
The Lord’s Anger against Israel
8 The Lord has spoken out against Jacob;
11 But the Lord will bring Rezin’s enemies against Israel
13 For after all this punishment, the people will still not repent.
18 This wickedness is like a brushfire.
2 Corinthians 1 New Living Translation (NLT)
Greetings from Paul
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.
I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece.[a]
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
God Offers Comfort to All
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters,[b] about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
Paul’s Change of Plans
12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness[c] and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you. 13 Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us, 14 even if you don’t understand us now. Then on the day when the Lord Jesus[d] returns, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.
15 Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice— 16 first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia.[e] Then you could send me on my way to Judea.
17 You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” 19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas,[f] Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. 20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.
21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
23 Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. 24 But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 New Living Translation (NLT)
Paul’s Vision and His Thorn in the Flesh
12 This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I[a] was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up[b] to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.
5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Psalm 55 New Living Translation (NLT)
For the choir director: A psalm[a] of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.
1 Listen to my prayer, O God.
4 My heart pounds in my chest.
9 Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans,
12 It is not an enemy who taunts me—
15 Let death stalk my enemies;
16 But I will call on God,
20 As for my companion, he betrayed his friends;
22 Give your burdens to the Lord,
23 But you, O God, will send the wicked
Proverbs 23:4-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.