Luke 12:22-34 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
22 Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you not to worry about your life! Don’t worry about having something to eat or wear. 23 Life is more than food or clothing. 24 Look at the crows! They don’t plant or harvest, and they don’t have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25 Can worry make you live longer?[a] 26 If you don’t have power over small things, why worry about everything else?
27 Look how the wild flowers grow! They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth[b] wasn’t as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28 God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won’t he do even more for you? You have such little faith!
29 Don’t keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31 But put God’s work first, and these things will be yours as well.
Treasures in Heaven
32 My little group of disciples, don’t be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves moneybags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34 Your heart will always be where your treasure is.
Luke 12:22-34 Expanded Bible (EXB)
22 Jesus said to his ·followers [disciples], “So I tell you, don’t worry about the food you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. 23 [L For] Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. 24 ·Look at [Consider; Think of] the ·birds [L ravens]. They don’t ·plant [sow] or ·harvest [reap], they don’t have storerooms or barns, but God feeds them. And you are worth much more than birds. 25 ·You cannot [L Who of you can…?] add ·any time [or a step; L a cubit; C about eighteen inches] to your ·life [or height; C the Greek is ambiguous, but probably refers to time instead of stature] by worrying about it. 26 If you cannot ·do [change] even the little things [by worrying], then why worry about the ·big things [L the rest]? 27 ·Consider [Look; Think] how the lilies grow; they don’t ·work [toil] or ·make clothes for themselves [L spin thread]. But I tell you that even Solomon ·with his riches [L in all his glory] was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. 28 God clothes [L If God clothes…?] the ·grass [wildflower] in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the ·fire [L furnace; oven]. So how much more will God clothe you? ·Don’t have so little faith [or You people of little faith; or How little faith you have]! 29 Don’t always think about what you will eat or what you will drink, and don’t keep worrying. 30 All the ·people [nations; Gentiles; pagans] in the world are trying to get these things, and your Father knows you need them. 31 But seek God’s kingdom, and ·all your other needs will be met as well [L these things will be given to you].
Don’t Trust in Money
32 “Don’t fear, little flock, because your Father ·wants [is glad/pleased] to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give ·to the poor [alms]. ·Get [Make] for yourselves ·purses [moneybags] that will not wear out, the treasure in heaven that never ·runs out [fails you], where thieves can’t ·steal [L come near] and moths can’t destroy. 34 ·Your heart will be where your treasure is [L For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also; Matt. 6:19–21].
Luke 3:7-18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
7 Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? 8 Do something to show that you really have given up your sins. Don’t start saying that you belong to Abraham’s family. God can turn these stones into children for Abraham.[a] 9 An ax is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”
10 The crowds asked John, “What should we do?”
11 John told them, “If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have any. If you have food, share it with someone else.”
12 When tax collectors[b] came to be baptized, they asked John, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 John told them, “Don’t make people pay more than they owe.”
14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us? What do we have to do?”
John told them, “Don’t force people to pay money to make you leave them alone. Be satisfied with your pay.”
15 Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?”
16 John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.[c] He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His threshing fork[d] is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in his barn and burn the husks with a fire that never goes out.”
18 In many different ways John preached the good news to the people.
Luke 3:7-18 Expanded Bible (EXB)
7 [L So; Therefore] To the crowds of people who came to be baptized by John, he said, “You ·are all snakes [T brood/offspring of vipers]! Who warned you to ·run [slither; L flee] away from God’s coming ·punishment [wrath; retribution]? 8 ·Do the things [L Produce the fruit] ·that show you really have changed your hearts and lives [that prove your repentance; L of repentance]. Don’t begin to say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father [C a claim to be God’s special people, since their ancestor Abraham was chosen and blessed by God; Gen. 12:1–3].’ [L For] I tell you that God could ·make [L raise up] children for Abraham from these rocks. 9 The ax ·is now ready to cut down [L already lies at the root of] the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire [C a metaphor for judgment against those who disobey God].”
10 The ·people [crowd] asked John, “Then what should we do?”
11 John answered, “If you have two ·shirts [tunics], share with the person who does not have one. If you have food, share that also [Is. 58:7].”
12 Even tax collectors came to John to be baptized [C tax collectors were despised because they worked for the Roman rulers and were notorious for corruption and extortion]. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 John said to them, “Don’t take more taxes from people than ·you have been ordered to take [is prescribed/authorized].”
14 The soldiers asked John, “What about us? What should we do?”
John said to them, “Don’t ·force people to give you [extort] money, and don’t ·lie about them [make false accusations]. Be satisfied with the pay you get.”
15 Since the people were ·hoping [waiting expectantly] for the ·Christ [Messiah] to come, they [L all] wondered if John might be the ·one [L Christ; Messiah].
16 John answered everyone, “I baptize you with water, but there is one coming who is ·greater [more powerful; mightier] than I am. I am not ·good enough [fit; qualified] to untie [L the thong/strap of] his sandals [C a task of a servant or slave]. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 ·He will come ready [L The winnowing fork is in his hand] to ·clean the grain, separating the good grain from the chaff [L clear his threshing floor]. He will put ·the good part of the grain [L the grain/wheat] into his ·barn [storehouse], but he will burn the chaff with ·a fire that cannot be put out [never-ending/unquenchable fire; C a metaphor for judgment, when Jesus will separate the righteous from the wicked].” 18 And John continued to preach the ·Good News [Gospel], saying many other things to ·encourage [exhort] the people.
Philippians 4:10-20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Paul Gives Thanks for the Gifts He Was Given
10 The Lord has made me very grateful that at last you have thought about me once again. Actually, you were thinking about me all along, but you didn’t have any chance to show it. 11 I am not complaining about having too little. I have learned to be satisfied with[a] whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. 13 Christ gives me the strength to face anything.
14 It was good of you to help me when I was having such a hard time. 15 My friends at Philippi, you remember what it was like when I started preaching the good news in Macedonia.[b] After I left there, you were the only church that became my partner by giving blessings and by receiving them in return. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica, you helped me more than once. 17 I am not trying to get something from you, but I want you to receive the blessings that come from giving.
18 I have been paid back everything, and with interest. I am completely satisfied with the gifts that you had Epaphroditus bring me. They are like a sweet-smelling offering or like the right kind of sacrifice that pleases God. 19 I pray that God will take care of all your needs with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus! 20 May God our Father be praised forever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:10-20 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Paul Thanks the Christians
10 I ·am very happy [L rejoiced greatly] in the Lord that you have ·shown [renewed; revived] your ·care [concern] for me again. You continued to ·care [be concerned] about me, but ·there was no way for you [you had no opportunity] to show it. 11 I am not telling you this because I need anything. [L For] I have learned to be ·satisfied [content] ·whatever the circumstances [or with whatever I have]. 12 I know how to live when I am ·poor [in humble circumstances], and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the ·secret of being happy [L secret] ·at any time in everything that happens [or in any and all circumstances], when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have ·more than I need [plenty; an abundance] and when I do not have enough. 13 I can do all things through ·Christ, because he [L the one who] gives me strength.
14 ·But [However; Nevertheless] it was good that you ·helped [shared/partnered with] me ·when I needed it [L in my trouble/trial]. 15 You Philippians remember ·when I first preached the Good News there [or when you first believed the Good News/Gospel; L in the beginning of the Good News/Gospel; Acts 16:11–40]. When I left Macedonia [C the northern part of present-day Greece; Acts 17:14–15], ·you were the only church that [L no church except you alone] ·gave me help [L shared/partnered with me in matters of giving and receiving; C business terminology; the Philippians “invested” in Paul’s ministry and received back spiritual blessings]. 16 [L For] Even when I was in Thessalonica [C shortly after leaving Philippi; Thessalonica is southwest of Philippi; Acts 17:1–9] ·several times [L both once and twice] you sent me things I needed. 17 Really, it is not that I ·want to receive gifts from you [L seek the gift], but I ·want you to have the good that comes from giving [L seek the profit/fruit that increases to your account; C more business terminology; v. 15]. 18 And now I have ·everything [or received full payment], and more. I ·have all I need [or am fully supplied/filled up], because Epaphroditus [2:25] brought your gifts to me. They are ·like a sweet-smelling offering to God [L a fragrant aroma], a sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to him. 19 [L And] My God will ·meet [supply; fulfill] all of your needs ·from [L according to] his ·wonderful riches [glorious riches; or riches in heaven/glory] in Christ Jesus. 20 Glory to our God and Father forever and ever! Amen.
Hebrews 13:1-6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Service That Pleases God
13 Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord’s followers should.
2 Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it.
3 Remember the Lord’s people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don’t forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.
4 Have respect for marriage. Always be faithful to your partner, because God will punish anyone who is immoral or unfaithful in marriage.
5 Don’t fall in love with money. Be satisfied with what you have. The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us. 6 That should make you feel like saying,
“The Lord helps me!
Hebrews 13:1-6 Expanded Bible (EXB)
13 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 ·Remember [Do not forget/neglect] to ·welcome [show hospitality to] strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it [Gen. 18:1–16; 19:1–22]. 3 Remember those who are in prison as if you were in prison with them. Remember those who are ·suffering [mistreated] ·as if you were suffering with them [or since you are vulnerable to the same treatment; L being in a/the body yourselves].
4 Marriage should be honored by everyone, and ·husband and wife should keep their marriage [L the marriage bed should be kept] ·pure [undefiled]. God will ·judge as guilty [L judge] ·those who take part in sexual sins [L the sexually immoral and adulterers]. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be ·satisfied [content] with what you have. [L For] God has said,
“I will never leave you;
6 So we can be ·sure [confident; bold] when we say,
“I will not be afraid, because the Lord is my helper.
Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
10 If you love money and wealth, you will never be satisfied with what you have. This doesn’t make sense either. 11 The more you have, the more everyone expects from you. Your money won’t do you any good—others will just spend it for you. 12 If you have to work hard for a living, you can rest well at night, even if you don’t have much to eat. But if you are rich, you can’t even sleep.
13 I have seen something terribly unfair. People get rich, but it does them no good. 14 Suddenly they lose everything in a bad business deal, then have nothing to leave for their children. 15 They came into this world naked, and when they die, they will be just as naked. They can’t take anything with them, and they won’t have anything to show for all their work. 16 That’s terribly unfair. They leave the world just as they came into it. They gained nothing from running after the wind. 17 Besides all this, they are always gloomy at mealtime, and they are troubled, sick, and bitter.[a]
18 What is the best thing to do in the short life that God has given us? I think we should enjoy eating, drinking, and working hard. This is what God intends for us to do. 19 Suppose you are very rich and able to enjoy everything you own. Then go ahead and enjoy working hard—this is God’s gift to you. 20 God will keep you so happy that you won’t have time to worry about each day.
Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Wealth Cannot Buy Happiness
10 Whoever loves money
13 ·I have seen real misery here [L There is a sickening evil I have seen] ·on earth [L under the sun; 1:3]:
Enjoy Your Life’s Work
18 I have ·seen [observed] what is ·best [good] for people ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3]. ·They [L It is fitting/appropriate that they] should eat and drink and enjoy their ·work [toil], because ·the life God has given them on earth is short [L that is their reward during the few days God has given to this person under the sun; 1:3]. 19 God gives some people the ability to enjoy the wealth and ·property [possessions] he gives them, as well as the ability to accept their ·state in life [reward] and ·enjoy [take pleasure in] their work. 20 They do not ·worry about how short life is [L remember much about the days of their life], because God keeps them busy with ·what they love to do [L the pleasure of their heart; 2:24–26; 3:12–14, 22; 8:15; 9:7–10; C the little pleasures are distractions from the meaningless world].
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
7 Of course, I am now referring to the wonderful things I saw. One of Satan’s angels was sent to make me suffer terribly, so that I would not feel too proud.[a]
8 Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. 9 But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 10 Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Expanded Bible (EXB)
7 So that I would not become too proud ·of the wonderful things that were shown to me [or because of these extraordinary revelations; C this phrase may be part of the previous sentence], a ·painful physical problem [L thorn in the flesh] was given to me. This problem was a messenger from Satan, sent to ·beat [torment; harrass; trouble] me and keep me from being too proud. 8 I ·begged [pleaded with] the Lord three times ·to take this problem away from [L that it might leave] me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is ·enough for you [sufficient for you; all you need]. ·When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you [L For (my) power is perfected in weakness].” So I am very happy to ·brag [boast] about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can ·live [reside; or rest] in me. 10 For this reason I am ·happy [pleased; content] when I have weaknesses, insults, ·hard times [times of need], ·sufferings [persecutions], and ·all kinds of troubles [distress] ·for [for the sake of] Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.