Psalm 1-3 Living Bible (TLB)
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. 2 But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely.
3 They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper.
4 But for sinners, what a different story! They blow away like chaff before the wind. 5 They are not safe on Judgment Day; they shall not stand among the godly.
6 For the Lord watches over all the plans and paths of godly men, but the paths of the godless lead to doom.
2 What fools the nations are to rage[a] against the Lord! How strange that men should try to outwit God!* 2 For a summit conference of the nations has been called to plot against the Lord and his Messiah, Christ the King.[b] 3 “Come, let us break his chains,” they say, “and free ourselves from all this slavery to God.”
4 But God in heaven merely laughs! He is amused by all their puny plans. 5 And then in fierce fury he rebukes them and fills them with fear.
6 For the Lord declares,[c] “This is the King of my choice, and I have enthroned him in Jerusalem, my holy city.”*
7 His chosen one replies,[d] “I will reveal the everlasting purposes of God, for the Lord has said to me, ‘You are my Son. This is your Coronation Day.* Today I am giving you your glory.’” 8 “Only ask and I will give you all the nations of the world. 9 Rule them with an iron rod; smash them like clay pots!”
10 O kings and rulers of the earth, listen while there is time. 11 Serve the Lord with reverent fear; rejoice with trembling. 12 Fall down before his Son and kiss his feet[e] before his anger is roused and you perish. I am warning you—his wrath will soon begin. But oh, the joys of those who put their trust in him!
3 A psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom
O Lord, so many are against me. So many seek to harm me. I have so many enemies. 2 So many say that God will never help me. 3 But Lord, you are my shield, my glory, and my only hope. You alone can lift my head, now bowed in shame.[f]
4 I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me from his Temple in Jerusalem.[g] 5 Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the Lord was watching over me. 6 And now, although ten thousand enemies surround me on every side, I am not afraid. 7 I will cry to him, “Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!” And he will slap them in the face, insulting them and breaking off their teeth.[h]
8 For salvation comes from God. What joys he gives to all his people.
Psalm 4 Living Bible (TLB)
4 O God, you have declared me perfect in your eyes;[a] you have always cared for me in my distress; now hear me as I call again. Have mercy on me. Hear my prayer.
2 The Lord God asks, “Sons of men, will you forever turn my glory into shame by worshiping these silly idols, when every claim that’s made for them is false?”
3 Mark this well: The Lord has set apart the redeemed for himself. Therefore he will listen to me and answer when I call to him. 4 Stand before the Lord in awe,[b] and do not sin against him. Lie quietly upon your bed in silent meditation. 5 Put your trust in the Lord, and offer him pleasing sacrifices.
6 Many say that God will never help us. Prove them wrong,[c] O Lord, by letting the light of your face shine down upon us. 7 Yes, the gladness you have given me is far greater than their joys at harvest time as they gaze at their bountiful crops. 8 I will lie down in peace and sleep, for though I am alone, O Lord, you will keep me safe.
Psalm 7 Living Bible (TLB)
7 I am depending on you, O Lord my God, to save me from my persecutors. 2 Don’t let them pounce upon me as a lion would and maul me and drag me away with no one to rescue me. 3 It would be different, Lord, if I were doing evil things— 4 if I were paying back evil for good or unjustly attacking those I dislike. 5 Then it would be right for you to let my enemies destroy me, crush me to the ground, and trample my life in the dust.
6 But Lord! Arise in anger against the anger of my enemies. Awake! Demand justice for me, Lord! 7-8 Gather all peoples before you; sit high above them, judging their sins. But justify me publicly; establish my honor and truth before them all. 9 End all wickedness, O Lord, and bless all who truly worship God;[a] for you, the righteous God, look deep within the hearts of men and examine all their motives and their thoughts.
10 God is my shield; he will defend me. He saves those whose hearts and lives are true and right.[b]
11 God is a judge who is perfectly fair, and he is angry with the wicked every day. 12 Unless they repent, he will sharpen his sword and slay them.
He has bent and strung his bow 13 and fitted it with deadly arrows made from shafts of fire.
14 The wicked man conceives an evil plot, labors with its dark details, and brings to birth his treachery and lies; 15 let him fall into his own trap. 16 May the violence he plans for others boomerang upon himself; let him die.
17 Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because he is so good. I will sing praise to the name of the Lord who is above all lords.
Numbers 32:1-6 Living Bible (TLB)
32 When Israel arrived in the land of Jazar and Gilead, the tribes of Reuben and Gad (who had large flocks of sheep) noticed what wonderful sheep country it was. 2 So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the other tribal leaders and said, 3-4 “The Lord has used Israel to destroy the population of this whole countryside—Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon. And it is all wonderful sheep country, ideal for our flocks. 5 Please let us have this land as our portion instead of the land on the other side of the Jordan River.”
6 “You mean you want to sit here while your brothers go across and do all the fighting?” Moses demanded.
Numbers 32:16-27 Living Bible (TLB)
16 “Not at all!” they explained. “We will build sheepfolds for our flocks and cities for our little ones, 17 but we ourselves will go over armed, ahead of the rest of the people of Israel, until we have brought them safely to their inheritance. But first we will need to build walled cities here for our families, to keep them safe from attack by the local inhabitants. 18 We will not settle down here until all the people of Israel have received their inheritance. 19 We don’t want land on the other side of the Jordan; we would rather have it on this side, on the east.”
20 Then Moses said, “All right, if you will do what you have said and arm yourselves for Jehovah’s war, 21 and keep your troops across the Jordan until the Lord has driven out his enemies, 22 then, when the land is finally subdued before the Lord, you may return. Then you will have discharged your duty to the Lord and to the rest of the people of Israel. And the land on the eastern side shall be your possession from the Lord. 23 But if you don’t do as you have said, then you will have sinned against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will catch up with you. 24 Go ahead and build cities for your families and sheepfolds for your sheep, and do all you have said.”
25 “We will follow your instructions exactly,” the people of Gad and Reuben replied. 26 “Our children, wives, flocks, and cattle shall stay here in the cities of Gilead. 27 But all of us who are conscripted will go over to battle for the Lord, just as you have said.”
Romans 8:26-30 Living Bible (TLB)
26 And in the same way—by our faith[a]—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.
29 For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him—and all along he knew who would—should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers. 30 And having chosen us, he called us to come to him; and when we came, he declared us “not guilty,” filled us with Christ’s goodness, gave us right standing with himself, and promised us his glory.
Matthew 23:1-12 Living Bible (TLB)
23 Then Jesus said to the crowds, and to his disciples, 2 “You would think these Jewish leaders and these Pharisees were Moses, the way they keep making up so many laws![a] 3 And of course you should obey their every whim! It may be all right to do what they say, but above anything else, don’t follow their example. For they don’t do what they tell you to do. 4 They load you with impossible demands that they themselves don’t even try to keep.
5 “Everything they do is done for show. They act holy[b] by wearing on their arms little prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside,* and by lengthening the memorial fringes of their robes. 6 And how they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the reserved pews in the synagogue! 7 How they enjoy the deference paid them on the streets and to be called ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Master’! 8 Don’t ever let anyone call you that. For only God is your Rabbi and all of you are on the same level, as brothers. 9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven should be addressed like that. 10 And don’t be called ‘Master,’ for only one is your master, even the Messiah.
11 “The more lowly your service to others, the greater you are. To be the greatest, be a servant. 12 But those who think themselves great shall be disappointed and humbled; and those who humble themselves shall be exalted.