Psalm 86:1-10 The Voice (VOICE)
A prayer of David.
1 O Eternal One, lend an ear to my prayer and answer me,
8 O Lord, You stand alone among the other gods;
Psalm 86:16-17 The Voice (VOICE)
16 Look at me, and grant me Your favor.
Genesis 21:8-21 The Voice (VOICE)
8 Time went on, and Isaac grew and was weaned from his mother. Abraham prepared a special feast in Isaac’s honor, to celebrate the day he was weaned. 9 But a damper was put on the day when Sarah saw the son Hagar (the Egyptian girl) bore for Abraham laughing and teasing her son. 10 She became jealous and demanded of Abraham:
Sarah: Throw this slave woman and her son out right now! The son of this slave is not going to share the inheritance along with my son, Isaac, if I have anything to do with it![a]
11 Sarah’s demand was extremely distressing to Abraham, since Ishmael was also his son. 12 But God assured Abraham.
Eternal One: Don’t worry about the young man and your servant. Go along with whatever Sarah says, for through Isaac your covenant children will be named.[b] 13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will take care of him. I will raise up a nation through him as well because he is also your son.
14 So Abraham got up early in the morning, took bread and a container of water, and gave them to Hagar. He placed them on her shoulder, gave her the child—his firstborn—and sent her away. She left and wandered in the wilderness near Beersheba. 15 When the water in the container was all gone, in desperation she left the child under the shade of one of the bushes. 16 Then she walked off and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away.
Hagar: I can’t bear to watch my child die.
Though Ishmael is about 16 years old at this time, she still considers him her child.
As she sat there, she cried loudly. 17 God heard the voice of young Ishmael, and a messenger of God called out to Hagar from heaven.
Messenger: Why are you so upset, Hagar? Don’t be afraid. God has heard the voice of young Ishmael. 18 Come now, lift him up, and take him by the hand. I have plans to make a great nation from his descendants!
19 Then God opened Hagar’s eyes. She looked up from her grief and saw a well of water not far away. She went over to it, filled the container she carried with water, and gave the young man a drink. 20 God watched over him for the rest of his life. Ishmael grew up, lived in the wilderness, and became an expert archer. 21 So Ishmael went on to live out his life in the wilderness of Paran. When the time was right, his mother obtained a wife for him from her homeland Egypt.
Romans 6:1-11 The Voice (VOICE)
We arrive here, children of a common ancestor, Adam. As such, we have inherited his traits, physically and spiritually. Although our sin may be of a different sort than his, we sin no less than Adam. The proof of that is death. Adam opens the way for sin and death to pursue us and run rampant across the earth. But from the beginning, God has a plan to reverse the curse. At just the right moment in human history, Jesus arrives, a son of Adam and the Son of God. Through His faithful obedience to His Father, He challenges the twin powers of sin and death and defeats them. Sin no longer reigns unchecked. Death no longer has the last word.
6 How should we respond to all of this? Is it good to persist in a life of sin so that grace may multiply even more? 2 Absolutely not! How can we die to a life where sin ruled over us and then invite sin back into our lives? 3 Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing,[a] we entered into His death? 4 Therefore, we were buried with Him through this baptism into death so that just as God the Father, in all His glory, resurrected the Anointed One, we, too, might walk confidently out of the grave into a new life. 5 To put it another way: if we have been united with Him to share in a death like His, don’t you understand that we will also share in His resurrection? 6 We know this: whatever we used to be with our old sinful ways has been nailed to His cross. So our entire record of sin has been canceled, and we no longer have to bow down to sin’s power. 7 A dead man, you see, cannot be bound by sin. 8 But if we have died with the Anointed One, we believe that we shall also live together with Him. 9 So we stand firm in the conviction that death holds no power over God’s Anointed, because He was resurrected from the dead never to face death again. 10 When He died, He died to whatever power sin had, once and for all, and now He lives completely to God. 11 So here is how to picture yourself now that you have been initiated into Jesus the Anointed: you are dead to sin’s power and influence, but you are alive to God’s rule.
Matthew 10:24-39 The Voice (VOICE)
24 A student is no greater than his teacher, and a servant is never greater than his master. 25 It is sufficient if the student is like his teacher and the servant like his master. If people call the head of a house “Beelzebul,” which means “devil,” just imagine what they’re calling the members of his household.
26 Do not be afraid of those who may taunt or persecute you. Everything they do—even if they think they are hiding behind closed doors—will come to light. All their secrets will eventually be made known. 27 And you should proclaim in the bright light of day everything that I have whispered to you in the dark. Whatever whispers you hear—shout them from the rooftops of houses.
28 Don’t fear those who aim to kill just the body but are unable to touch the soul. The One to fear is He who can destroy you, soul and body, in the fires of hell. 29 Look, if you sold a few sparrows, how much money would you get? A copper coin apiece, perhaps? And yet your Father in heaven knows when those small sparrows fall to the ground. 30-31 You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear.
32 Whoever knows Me here on earth, I will know him in heaven. And whoever proclaims faith in Me here on earth, I will proclaim faith in him before My Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns Me here, I will disown before My Father in heaven.
34 Do not imagine that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I have come to turn men against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. 36 You will find you have enemies even in your own household.[a] 37 If you love your father or mother more than you love Me, then you are not worthy of Me. If you love your son or daughter more than you love Me, then you are not worthy of Me. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me on the narrow road, then you are not worthy of Me. 39 To find your life, you must lose your life—and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
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