Psalm 1 The Voice (VOICE)
Book One (Psalms 1–41) is attributed almost entirely to David; all but four of the psalms (1–2; 10; 33) are ascribed to him. In Hebrew Psalm 10 is a continuation of Psalm 9 because it was composed as an acrostic poem. Likewise, many Hebrew manuscripts combine Psalm 33 with 32. Only later are these divided into separate psalms. Psalm 1 sets the stage for the entire collection by explaining that the study of the Word of God is the foundation of a meaningful, prosperous life.
1 God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
4 For those who focus on sin, the story is different.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 The Voice (VOICE)
15 Look, I’ve given you two choices today: you can have life with all the good things it brings, or death and all the bad things it brings. 16 If you do what I’ve commanded you today and love the Eternal your God; if you live as He wants you to, if you obey His commands, regulations and judgments, then you’ll live and have many descendants. He will bless you in the land where you’re going to live. 17 But if your heart turns away and you don’t listen, if you go astray and you bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 then today I assure you you’ll be destroyed. You’ll cross the Jordan River into the land that’s going to belong to you, but you won’t live there very long at all.
Covenants between two people are typically witnessed by a third party. If one person doesn’t live up to his obligations and tries to argue that it was not necessary, the other person can then appeal to the witness to confirm the original terms of the agreement. Moses calls on the sky and the land to be the witnesses here. They will always be around to testify about the covenant terms that were offered to the people and how they agreed to them.
The formal treaty and its supplement have now been drawn up and witnessed. The only business remaining is to establish how the treaty will be carried on once the people who originally made it are gone. The Lord chooses Joshua to succeed Moses, to lead Israel into the land and represent them in their relationship with Him.
Moses: 19 I’m calling on the heavens and the earth to be the witnesses against you. I gave you the choice today between life and death, between being blessed or being cursed. Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live! 20 If you love the Eternal your God and listen to His voice and always remain loyal to Him, for He is your life, then you’ll be able to live a long time in the land the Eternal promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Philemon 1-21 The Voice (VOICE)
1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus the Anointed One, with our brother Timothy, to you, beloved Philemon, our fellow worker; and 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that gathers in your house. 3 May grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed surround you.
4 I am constantly thanking God for you in my prayers 5 because I keep hearing about your love and faith toward our Lord Jesus and all those set apart for His purposes. Here’s what I’ve been praying on your behalf:
6 Thank You, Father, for Philemon. I pray that as he goes and tells his story of faith, he would tell everyone so that they will know for certain all the good that comes to those who put their trust in the Anointed One.
7 My brother, because you are out there encouraging and reviving the hearts of fellow saints with such love, this brings great joy and comfort to me.
8 Although I am bold enough in the Anointed, our Liberating King, to insist you do the right thing, 9 instead I choose to appeal to you on account of love. I do this for my own sake since I, Paul, am an old man and am held prisoner because of my service to Jesus the Anointed. 10 I make this request on behalf of my child, Onesimus,[a] whom I brought to faith during my time in prison. 11 Before, he was useless to you; but now he is useful to both you and me. 12 Listen, I am sending my heart back to you as I send him to stand before you, although truly 13 I wished to keep him at my side to take your place as my helper while I am bound for the good news. 14 But I didn’t want to make this decision without asking for your permission. This way, any goodwill on your part wouldn’t be seen as forced, but as your true and free desire.
15 Maybe this is the reason why he was supposed to be away from you for this time: so that now you will have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but as more than a slave—as a dear brother. Yes, he is dear to me, but I suspect he will come to mean even more to you, both in the flesh as a servant and in the Lord as a brother.
The gospel is a powerful social force for good, capable of making rich and poor, slave and free into beloved brothers.
17 So if you look upon me as your partner in this mission, then I ask you to open your heart to him as you would welcome me. 18 And if he has wronged you or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 Look, I’ll put it here in my own handwriting: I, Paul, promise to repay you everything. (Should I remind you that you owe me your life?) 20 Indeed, brother, I want you to do me this favor out of obedience to our Lord. It will refresh my heart in Him. 21 This letter comes, written with the confidence that you will not only do what I ask, but will also go beyond all I have asked.
Luke 14:25-33 The Voice (VOICE)
Jesus continues to challenge Jewish ideas about who will be in the kingdom of God and how the Kingdom will work. Those who have been dishonored on earth will be honored in the Kingdom, and those in positions of economic and religious honor here will be dishonored there. He also challenges individuals to reconsider their personal value systems. They should not honor their own lives and family above Christ, but rather give them up for Him.
25 Great crowds joined Him on His journey, and He turned to them.
Jesus: 26 If any of you come to Me without hating your own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even your own life, you can’t be My disciple. 27 If you don’t carry your own cross as if to your own execution as you follow Me, you can’t be part of My movement. 28 Just imagine that you want to build a tower. Wouldn’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to be sure you have enough to finish what you start? 29 If you lay the foundation but then can’t afford to finish the tower, everyone will mock you: 30 “Look at that guy who started something that he couldn’t finish!”
31 Or imagine a king gearing up to go to war. Wouldn’t he begin by sitting down with his advisors to determine whether his 10,000 troops could defeat the opponent’s 20,000 troops? 32 If not, he’ll send a peace delegation quickly and negotiate a peace treaty. 33 In the same way, if you want to be My disciple, it will cost you everything. Don’t underestimate that cost!