Psalm 25:1-10 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of David.
1 ALWAYS I will lift up my soul to You, Eternal One,
4 DEMONSTRATE Your ways, O Eternal One.
6 GRACIOUS Eternal One, remember Your compassion; rekindle Your concern and love,
8 IMMENSELY good and honorable is the Eternal;
Genesis 41:14-36 The Voice (VOICE)
14 Pharaoh sent for Joseph, hoping he could also interpret Pharaoh’s dream. His officers rushed to the dungeon to get Joseph ready to meet the king. After he had been allowed to shave and change his clothes, he was brought before Pharaoh.
Pharaoh (to Joseph): 15 I’ve had a dream, and I can’t find anyone who can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that when someone tells you a dream, you are able to interpret it.
Joseph: 16 I cannot do this, but God will answer Pharaoh’s request and relieve your concerns.
Pharaoh: 17 In my dream, I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, 18 and seven healthy, fat cows came up out of the Nile River and grazed in the grassy reeds at the river’s edge. 19 Then seven other cows came up after them. They were miserable, very ugly and thin. Never had I seen such horrible-looking cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 Anyway, the thin, ugly cows ate the first seven fat cows. 21 But after they had eaten them, no one would have known they had done so because they were still as ugly as before. Then I woke up. 22 I fell asleep and dreamed a second time. I saw in this dream seven ears of grain, all plump and fine, growing on one stalk. 23 And then seven ears that were withered, shriveled up, and burnt by the east wind sprouted after them. 24 The thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. When I told the magicians about these dreams, there was no one who could explain them to me.
Joseph (to Pharaoh): 25 Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same. God is revealing to Pharaoh what He is going to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years and the seven good ears are the same seven years—years of plenty. Both dreams tell one story. 27 The seven thin and ugly cows that came up after them are also seven years, as are the seven thin ears burnt by the east wind. These are seven years of famine. 28 As I told Pharaoh, God is showing Pharaoh what He means to do and what will come. 29 There will be seven years of great abundance throughout all the land of Egypt. 30 But after that, there will be seven years of famine. Whatever abundance was once enjoyed will be totally forgotten, because the famine will consume the land. 31 The famine will be so severe that no one will know what it is like to have enough of anything. 32 The doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means this future is fixed by God, and He will make it happen very soon.
33 My advice is that Pharaoh should select someone who is wise and discerning and put him in charge of the land of Egypt during this time. 34 Pharaoh should appoint officers over the land and direct them to take one-fifth of all that the land of Egypt produces during the seven abundant years, 35 gather it together, store it up, and guard it under Pharaoh’s authority. That way each city will have a supply of food. 36 The food would then be held in reserve for the people during the seven years of famine that are sure to come to Egypt. In this way, the people of Egypt will not starve to death during the famine.
James 2:14-26 The Voice (VOICE)
James’ focus on works is frequently cited as a contradiction to other messages in the Bible. On the one hand, it appears James is saying that salvation is achieved by works; on the other, writers such as Paul emphasize that salvation comes by faith alone, not works of the law (Galatians 2).
Look carefully and you’ll see that Paul and James are talking about different issues. Paul is in the middle of a debate with Jewish Christians over whether Gentiles must live like Jews to enter the family of faith. He says that no one is made right with God by performing the works of the law. Instead, all people are made right by faith, thanks to God’s grace. For James the situation is entirely different. The works he is talking about refer to God’s people helping the poor, not whether non-Jews must live like Jews. He’s concerned about a shallow, insincere, and hypocritical faith.
Paul describes the root of salvation; a person is saved by God’s grace received through faith. James is explaining the fruit of salvation; saving faith is a faith that works.
14 Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t make any sense to say you have faith and act in a way that denies that faith. Mere talk never gets you very far, and a commitment to Jesus only in words will not save you. 15 It would be like seeing a brother or sister without any clothes out in the cold and begging for food, and 16 saying, “Shalom, friend, you should get inside where it’s warm and eat something,” but doing nothing about his needs—leaving him cold and alone on the street. What good would your words alone do? 17 The same is true with faith. Without actions, faith is useless. By itself, it’s as good as dead. 18 I know what you’re thinking: “OK, you have faith. And I have actions. Now let’s see your faith without works, and I’ll show you a faith that works.”
Don’t you realize that faith without works is useless, like a glove without a hand or a hat without a head?
19 Do you think that just believing there’s one God is going to get you anywhere? The demons believe that, too, and it terrifies them! 20 The fact is, faith has to show itself through works performed in faith. If you don’t recognize that, then you’re an empty soul. 21 Wasn’t our father Abraham made right with God by laying his son Isaac on the altar? 22 The faith in his heart was made known in his behavior. In fact, his commitment was perfected by his obedience. 23 That’s what Scripture means when it says, “Abraham entrusted himself to God, and God credited him with righteousness.”[a] And living a faithful life earned Abraham the title of “God’s friend.”[b] 24 Just like our father in the faith, we are made right with God through good works, not simply by what we believe or think. 25 Even Rahab the prostitute was made right with God by hiding the spies and aiding in their escape.[c] 26 Removing action from faith is like removing breath from a body. All you have left is a corpse.
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