Psalm 5-6 Living Bible (TLB)
5 1-2 O Lord, hear me praying; listen to my plea, O God my King, for I will never pray to anyone but you. 3 Each morning I will look to you in heaven and lay my requests before you, praying earnestly.
4 I know you get no pleasure from wickedness and cannot tolerate the slightest sin. 5 Therefore, proud sinners will not survive your searching gaze, for how you hate their evil deeds. 6 You will destroy them for their lies; how you abhor all murder and deception.
7 But as for me, I will come into your Temple protected by your mercy and your love; I will worship you with deepest awe.
8 Lord, lead me as you promised me you would; otherwise my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do, which way to turn. 9 For they cannot speak one truthful word. Their hearts are filled to the brim with wickedness. Their suggestions are full of the stench of sin and death. Their tongues are filled with flatteries to gain their wicked ends. 10 O God, hold them responsible. Catch them in their own traps; let them fall beneath the weight of their own transgressions, for they rebel against you.
11 But make everyone rejoice who puts his trust in you. Keep them shouting for joy because you are defending them. Fill all who love you with your happiness. 12 For you bless the godly man, O Lord; you protect him with your shield of love.
6 No, Lord! Don’t punish me in the heat of your anger. 2 Pity me, O Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, for my body is sick, 3 and I am upset and disturbed. My mind is filled with apprehension and with gloom. Oh, restore me soon.
4 Come, O Lord, and make me well. In your kindness save me. 5 For if I die, I cannot give you glory by praising you before my friends.[a] 6 I am worn out with pain; every night my pillow is wet with tears. 7 My eyes are growing old and dim with grief because of all my enemies.
8 Go, leave me now, you men of evil deeds, for the Lord has heard my weeping 9 and my pleading. He will answer all my prayers. 10 All my enemies shall be suddenly dishonored, terror-stricken, and disgraced. God will turn them back in shame.
Psalm 10-11 Living Bible (TLB)
10 Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?
2 Come and deal with all these proud and wicked men who viciously persecute the poor. Pour upon these men the evil they planned for others! 3 For these men brag of all their evil lusts; they revile God and congratulate those the Lord abhors, whose only goal in life is money.
4 These wicked men, so proud and haughty, seem to think that God is dead.[a] They wouldn’t think of looking for him! 5 Yet there is success in everything they do, and their enemies fall before them. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. 6 They boast that neither God nor man can ever keep them down—somehow they’ll find a way!
7 Their mouths are full of profanity and lies and fraud. They are always boasting of their evil plans. 8 They lurk in dark alleys of the city and murder passersby. 9 Like lions they crouch silently, waiting to pounce upon the poor. Like hunters they catch their victims in their traps. 10 The unfortunate are overwhelmed by their superior strength and fall beneath their blows. 11 “God isn’t watching,” they say to themselves; “he’ll never know!”
12 O Lord, arise! O God, crush them! Don’t forget the poor or anyone else in need. 13 Why do you let the wicked get away with this contempt for God? For they think that God will never call them to account. 14 Lord, you see what they are doing. You have noted each evil act. You know what trouble and grief they have caused. Now punish them. O Lord, the poor man trusts himself to you; you are known as the helper of the helpless. 15 Break the arms of these wicked men. Go after them until the last of them is destroyed.
16 The Lord is King forever and forever. Those who follow other gods shall be swept from his land.
17 Lord, you know the hopes of humble people. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort their hearts by helping them. 18 You will be with the orphans and all who are oppressed, so that mere earthly man will terrify them no longer.
11 How dare you tell me, “Flee[b] to the mountains for safety,” when I am trusting in the Lord?
2 For the wicked have strung their bows, drawn their arrows tight against the bowstrings, and aimed from ambush at the people of God. 3 “Law and order have collapsed,”[c] we are told. “What can the righteous do but flee?”
4 But the Lord is still in his holy temple; he still rules from heaven. He closely watches everything that happens here on earth. 5 He puts the righteous and the wicked to the test; he hates those loving violence. 6 He will rain down fire and brimstone on the wicked and scorch them with his burning wind.
7 For God is good, and he loves goodness; the godly shall see his face.[d]
Numbers 35:1-3 Living Bible (TLB)
35 While Israel was camped beside the Jordan on the plains of Moab, opposite Jericho, the Lord said to Moses,
2 “Instruct the people of Israel to give to the Levites as their inheritance certain cities and surrounding pasturelands. 3 These cities are for their homes, and the surrounding lands for their cattle, flocks, and other livestock.
Numbers 35:9-15 Living Bible (TLB)
9-10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people that when they arrive in the land, 11 Cities of Refuge shall be designated for anyone to flee into if he has killed someone accidentally. 12 These cities will be places of protection from the dead man’s relatives who want to avenge his death; for the slayer must not be killed unless a fair trial establishes his guilt. 13-14 Three of these six Cities of Refuge are to be located in the land of Canaan, and three on the east side of the Jordan River. 15 These are not only for the protection of Israelites, but also for foreigners and travelers.
Numbers 35:30-34 Living Bible (TLB)
30 “All murderers must be executed, but only if there is more than one witness; no man shall die with only one person testifying against him. 31 Whenever anyone is judged guilty of murder, he must die—no ransom may be accepted for him. 32 Nor may a payment be accepted from a refugee in a City of Refuge, permitting him to return to his home before the death of the High Priest. 33 In this way the land will not be polluted, for murder pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for murder except by the execution of the murderer. 34 You shall not defile the land where you are going to live, for I, Jehovah, will be living there.”
Romans 8:31-39 Living Bible (TLB)
31 What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?
33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has forgiven us and given us right standing with himself.
34 Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven.
35 Who then can ever keep Christ’s love from us? When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because he doesn’t love us anymore? And if we are hungry or penniless or in danger or threatened with death, has God deserted us?
36 No, for the Scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day—we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; 37 but despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. 38 For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, 39 or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.
Matthew 23:13-26 Living Bible (TLB)
13-14 “Woe to you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders. Hypocrites! For you won’t let others enter the Kingdom of Heaven and won’t go in yourselves. And you pretend to be holy, with all your long, public prayers in the streets, while you are evicting widows from their homes. Hypocrites! 15 Yes, woe upon you hypocrites. For you go to all lengths to make one convert, and then turn him into twice the son of hell you are yourselves. 16 Blind guides! Woe upon you! For your rule is that to swear ‘By God’s Temple’ means nothing—you can break that oath, but to swear ‘By the gold in the Temple’ is binding! 17 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold, or the Temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And you say that to take an oath ‘By the altar’ can be broken, but to swear ‘By the gifts on the altar’ is binding! 19 Blind! For which is greater, the gift on the altar, or the altar itself that sanctifies the gift? 20 When you swear ‘By the altar,’ you are swearing by it and everything on it, 21 and when you swear ‘By the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God who lives in it. 22 And when you swear ‘By heavens,’ you are swearing by the Throne of God and by God himself.
23 “Yes, woe upon you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders—hypocrites! For you tithe down to the last mint leaf in your garden, but ignore the important things—justice and mercy and faith. Yes, you should tithe, but you shouldn’t leave the more important things undone. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.
25 “Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders—hypocrites! You are so careful to polish the outside of the cup, but the inside is foul with extortion and greed. 26 Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup, and then the whole cup will be clean.