Psalm 18 Living Bible (TLB)
18 This song of David was written at a time when the Lord had delivered him from his many enemies, including Saul.
Lord, how I love you! For you have done such tremendous things for me.
2 The Lord is my fort where I can enter and be safe; no one can follow me in and slay me. He is a rugged mountain where I hide; he is my Savior, a rock where none can reach me, and a tower of safety. He is my shield. He is like the strong horn of a mighty fighting bull. 3 All I need to do is cry to him—oh, praise the Lord—and I am saved from all my enemies!
4 Death bound me with chains, and the floods of ungodliness mounted a massive attack against me. 5 Trapped and helpless, I struggled against the ropes that drew me on to death.
6 In my distress I screamed to the Lord for his help. And he heard me from heaven;[a] my cry reached his ears. 7 Then the earth rocked and reeled, and mountains shook and trembled. How they quaked! For he was angry. 8 Fierce flames leaped from his mouth, setting fire to the earth;[b] smoke blew from his nostrils. 9 He bent the heavens down and came to my defense;[c] thick darkness was beneath his feet. 10 Mounted on a mighty angel,[d] he sped swiftly to my aid with wings of wind. 11 He enshrouded himself with darkness, veiling his approach with dense clouds dark as murky waters. 12 Suddenly the brilliance of his presence broke through the clouds with lightning[e] and a mighty storm of hail.
13 The Lord thundered in the heavens; the God above all gods has spoken—oh, the hailstones; oh, the fire! 14 He flashed his fearful arrows of lightning and routed all my enemies. See how they run! 15 Then at your command, O Lord, the sea receded from the shore. At the blast of your breath the depths were laid bare.
16 He reached down from heaven and took me and drew me out of my great trials. He rescued me from deep waters. 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me—I who was helpless in their hands.
18 On the day when I was weakest, they attacked. But the Lord held me steady. 19 He led me to a place of safety, for he delights in me.
20 The Lord rewarded me for doing right and being pure. 21 For I have followed his commands and have not sinned by turning back from following him. 22 I kept close watch on all his laws; I did not refuse a single one. 23 I did my best to keep them all, holding myself back from doing wrong. 24 And so the Lord has paid me with his blessings, for I have done what is right, and I am pure of heart. This he knows, for he watches my every step.
25 Lord, how merciful you are to those who are merciful. And you do not punish those who run from evil.[f] 26 You give blessings to the pure but pain to those who leave your paths. 27 You deliver the humble but condemn the proud and haughty ones. 28 You have turned on my light! The Lord my God has made my darkness turn to light. 29 Now in your strength I can scale any wall, attack any troop.
30 What a God he is! How perfect in every way! All his promises prove true. He is a shield for everyone who hides behind him. 31 For who is God except our Lord? Who but he is as a rock?
32 He fills me with strength and protects me wherever I go. 33 He gives me the surefootedness of a mountain goat upon the crags. He leads me safely along the top of the cliffs. 34 He prepares me for battle and gives me strength to draw an iron bow![g]
35 You have given me your salvation as my shield. Your right hand, O Lord, supports me; your gentleness has made me great. 36 You have made wide steps beneath my feet so that I need never slip. 37 I chased my enemies; I caught up with them and did not turn back until all were conquered. 38 I pinned them to the ground; all were helpless before me. I placed my feet upon their necks. 39 For you have armed me with strong armor for the battle. My enemies quail before me and fall defeated at my feet. 40 You made them turn and run; I destroyed all who hated me. 41 They shouted for help, but no one dared to rescue them; they cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer them. 42 So I crushed them fine as dust and cast them to the wind. I threw them away like sweepings from the floor. 43-45 You gave me victory in every battle. The nations came and served me. Even those I didn’t know before come now and bow before me. Foreigners who have never seen me submit instantly. They come trembling from their strongholds.
46 God is alive! Praise him who is the great rock of protection. 47 He is the God who pays back those who harm me and subdues the nations before me.
48 He rescues me from my enemies; he holds me safely out of their reach and saves me from these powerful opponents. 49 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations. 50 Many times you have miraculously rescued me, the king you appointed. You have been loving and kind to me and will be to my descendants.
Deuteronomy 3:18-28 Living Bible (TLB)
18 “At that time I reminded the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh that, although the Lord had given them the land, they could not begin settling down until their armed men led the other tribes across the Jordan to the land the Lord was giving them.
19 “‘But your wives and children,’ I told them, ‘may live here in the cities the Lord has given you, caring for your many cattle 20 until you return after the Lord has given victory to the other tribes too. When they conquer the land the Lord your God has given them across the Jordan River, then you may return here to your own land.’
21 “Then I said to Joshua, ‘You have seen what the Lord your God has done to those two kings. You will do the same to all the kingdoms on the other side of the Jordan. 22 Don’t be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.’
23-25 “At that time I made this plea to God: ‘O Lord God, please let me cross over into the Promised Land—the good land beyond the Jordan River with its rolling hills—and Lebanon. I want to see the result of all the greatness and power you have been showing us; for what God in all of heaven or earth can do what you have done for us?’
26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not let me cross over. ‘Speak of it no more,’ he ordered, 27 ‘but go to the top of Mount Pisgah where you can look out in every direction, and there you will see the land in the distance. But you shall not cross the Jordan River. 28 Commission Joshua to replace you, and then encourage him, for he shall lead the people across to conquer the land you will see from the mountaintop.’
Romans 9:19-33 Living Bible (TLB)
19 Well then, why does God blame them for not listening? Haven’t they done what he made them do?
20 No, don’t say that. Who are you to criticize God? Should the thing made say to the one who made it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 When a man makes a jar out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar beautiful, to be used for holding flowers, and another to throw garbage into? 22 Does not God have a perfect right to show his fury and power against those who are fit only for destruction, those he has been patient with for all this time? 23-24 And he has a right to take others such as ourselves, who have been made for pouring the riches of his glory into, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, and to be kind to us so that everyone can see how very great his glory is.
25 Remember what the prophecy of Hosea says? There God says that he will find other children for himself (who are not from his Jewish family) and will love them, though no one had ever loved them before. 26 And the heathen, of whom it once was said, “You are not my people,” shall be called “sons of the Living God.”[a]
27 Isaiah the prophet cried out concerning the Jews that though there would be millions[b] of them, only a small number would ever be saved. 28 “For the Lord will execute his sentence upon the earth, quickly ending his dealings, justly cutting them short.”[c]
29 And Isaiah says in another place that except for God’s mercy all the Jews would be destroyed—all of them—just as everyone in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah perished.[d]
30 Well then, what shall we say about these things? Just this, that God has given the Gentiles the opportunity to be acquitted by faith, even though they had not been really seeking God. 31 But the Jews, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping his laws, never succeeded. 32 Why not? Because they were trying to be saved by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith. They have stumbled over the great stumbling stone. 33 God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I have put a Rock in the path of the Jews, and many will stumble over him (Jesus). Those who believe in him will never be disappointed.”[e]
Matthew 24:1-14 Living Bible (TLB)
24 As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples came along and wanted to take him on a tour of the various Temple buildings.
2 But he told them, “All these buildings will be knocked down, with not one stone left on top of another!”
3 “When will this happen?” the disciples asked him later, as he sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. “What events will signal your return and the end of the world?”[a]
4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone fool you. 5 For many will come claiming to be the Messiah and will lead many astray. 6 When you hear of wars beginning, this does not signal my return; these must come, but the end is not yet. 7 The nations and kingdoms of the earth will rise against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many places. 8 But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.
9 “Then you will be tortured and killed and hated all over the world because you are mine, 10 and many of you shall fall back into sin and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and lead many astray. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere and will cool the love of many. 13 But those enduring to the end shall be saved.
14 “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come.