LECTIO DIVINA

There are lots of ways to read the Bible, this is one way that we like to stop and reflect on scripture.


READ THE SCRIPTURE

what is the text saying?


MEDITATE ON ITS MEANING FOR YOU

what jumps out to me personally?


PRAY, BASED ON YOUR MEDITATION

what do I say to the Lord?


CONTEMPLATE ON THE PRESENCE OF GOD

allow His Spirit to wash over you


WHAT ARE THE STEPS FORWARD?

what action plan do I plan to take?

    • Genesis 12:1-7

      1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

      4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.

      7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

    • Hebrews 11:13-22

      13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

      17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

      20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.

      21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.

    • Psalm 72

      1 Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son.

      2 Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.

      3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful.

      4 Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors.

      5 May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever!

      6 May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth.

      7 May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.

      8 May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.

      9 Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust.

      10 The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts.

      11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.

      12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.

      13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.

      14 He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.

      15 Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long.

      16 May there be abundant grain throughout the land, flourishing even on the hilltops. May the fruit trees flourish like the trees of Lebanon, and may the people thrive like grass in a field.

      17 May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise.

      18 Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things.

      19 Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen!

      20 (This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)

    • MATTHEW 1:1-17

      1 This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham.

      2 Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. 4 Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. 5 Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). 7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. 8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram. Jehoram was the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon. Amon was the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin[g] and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon). 12 After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. 14 Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud. 15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah. 17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

    • Proverbs 1:1-7

      1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

      2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.

      3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.

      4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.

      5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance.

      6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.

      7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

    • Genesis 35:1-15

      1 Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”

      2 So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. 3 We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”

      4 So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem. 5 As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.

      6 Eventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan. 7 Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau.

      8 Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means “oak of weeping”).

      9 Now that Jacob had returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at Bethel. God blessed him, 10 saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel.” So God renamed him Israel.

      11 Then God said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants! 12 And I will give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from the place where he had spoken to Jacob.

      14 Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil. 15 And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means “house of God”), because God had spoken to him there.

    • Acts 8:9-25

      9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.

      12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.

      14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.

      18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”

      20 But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21 You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22 Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23 for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”

      24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!”

      25 After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News.

    • Psalm 89:5-37

      5 All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness. 

      6 For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord? What mightiest angel is anything like the   Lord? 

      7 The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. 

      8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord? You are entirely faithful.

      9 You rule the oceans. You subdue their storm-tossed waves.

      10 You crushed the great sea monster. You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.

      11 The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all.

      12 You created north and south. Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon praise your name.

      13 Powerful is your arm! Strong is your hand! Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength.

      14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.

      15 Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.

      16 They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness.

      17 You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong.

      18 Yes, our protection comes from the Lord, and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king. 

      19 Long ago you spoke in a vision to your faithful people. You said, “I have raised up a warrior. I have selected him from the common people to be king.

      20 I have found my servant David. I have anointed him with my holy oil. 

      21 I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong.

      22 His enemies will not defeat him, nor will the wicked overpower him.

      23 I will beat down his adversaries before him and destroy those who hate him.

      24 My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him, and by my authority he will grow in power.

      25 I will extend his rule over the sea, his dominion over the rivers.

      26 And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’

      27 I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth.

      28 I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end.

      29 I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.

      30 But if his descendants forsake my instructions and fail to obey my regulations.

      31 if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands,

      32 then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating.

      33 But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him.

      34 No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said.

      35 I have sworn an oath to David, and in my holiness I cannot lie:

      36 His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun.

      37 It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!” 

    • Matthew 1:18-25

      18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

      20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[b] for he will save his people from their sins.”

      22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

      23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

      24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

    • Proverbs 1:8-19

      8 My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.

      9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

      10 My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them!

      11 They may say, “Come and join us; Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! 

      12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.

      13 Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.

      14 Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.”

      15 My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.

      16 They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder. 

      17 If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away.

      18 But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed.

      19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.

    • Exodus 12:1-13

      1 While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the Lord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: 2 “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. 3 Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. 4 If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. 5 The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects.

      6 “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. 8 That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal—including the head, legs, and internal organs—must be roasted over a fire. 10 Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not eaten before morning.

      11 “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed,[a] wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover. 12 On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! 13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

    • Hebrews 10:1-4

      1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

      3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

    • Psalm 40:6-17

      6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.

      7 Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures. 

      8 I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”

      9 I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord, well know.

      10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. 

      11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.

      12 For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. 

      13 Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me.

      14 May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace.

      15 Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”

      16 But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”

      17 As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.

    • Matthew 2:1-12

      1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

      3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

      5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 

      6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities[c] of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’

      7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

      9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

      12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

    • Proverbs 1:20-33

      20 Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square.

      21 She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: 

      22 “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge?

      23 Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.

      24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. 

      25 You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered.

      26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—

      27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you.

      28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.

      29 For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord.

      30 They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them.

      31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. 

      32 For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.

      33 But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

    • Judges 7:12-22

      12 The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! 13 Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”

      14 His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”

      15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” 16 He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it.

      17 Then he said to them, “Keep your eyes on me. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do. 18 As soon as I and those with me blow the rams’ horns, blow your horns, too, all around the entire camp, and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”

      19 It was just after midnight, after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the rams’ horns and broke their clay jars. 20 Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

      21 Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. 22 When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the Lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.

    • Philippians 2:12-18

      12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

      14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

    • Psalm 27:7-14

      7 Be merciful and answer me! 

      8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

      9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation!

      10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

      11 Teach me how to live, O Lord Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. 

      12 Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence.

      13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

      14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

    • Matthew 2:13-23

      13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

      14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

      16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. 17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

      18 “A cry was heard in Ramah— weeping and great mourning.Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.”

      19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”

      21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. 23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

    • Proverbs 2

      1 My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.

      2 Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.

      3 Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

      4 Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.

      5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord and you will gain knowledge of God.

      6 For the Lord grants wisdom!

          From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

      7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.

          He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

      8 He guards the paths of the just

          and protects those who are faithful to him.

      9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,

          and you will find the right way to go.

      10 For wisdom will enter your heart,

          and knowledge will fill you with joy.

      11 Wise choices will watch over you.

          Understanding will keep you safe.

      12 Wisdom will save you from evil people,

          from those whose words are twisted.

      13 These men turn from the right way

          to walk down dark paths.

      14 They take pleasure in doing wrong,

          and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.

      15 Their actions are crooked,

          and their ways are wrong.

      16 Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman,

          from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.

      17 She has abandoned her husband

          and ignores the covenant she made before God.

      18 Entering her house leads to death;

          it is the road to the grave.

      19 The man who visits her is doomed.

          He will never reach the paths of life.

      20 So follow the steps of the good,

          and stay on the paths of the righteous.

      21 For only the godly will live in the land,

          and those with integrity will remain in it.

      22 But the wicked will be removed from the land,

          and the treacherous will be uprooted.

    • Ruth 1:1-18

      1 In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. 2 The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.

      3 Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. 4 The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband.

      6 Then Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.

      8 But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage.” Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.

      10 “No,” they said. “We want to go with you to your people.”

      11 But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? 12 No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? 13 Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me.”

      14 And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. 15 “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”

      16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

    • James 5:1-6

      1 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

      5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people,[a] who do not resist you.

    • Psalm 37:1-17

      1 Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.

      2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

      3 Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

      4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

      5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

      6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

      7 Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

      8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.

      9 For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.

      10 Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.

      11 The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.

      12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance.

      13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.

      14 The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right.

      15 But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

      16 It is better to be godly and have little

          than to be evil and rich.

      17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly.

    • Matthew 3:1-17

      1 In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 2 “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” 3 The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,

      “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 

      ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!

          Clear the road for him!’”

      4 John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. 5 People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. 6 And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

      7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize,[c] he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 

      9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

      11 “I baptize with[d] water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 

      12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

      13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”

      15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
      16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
    • Proverbs 3:1-18

      1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart.

      2 If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.

      3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.

      4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.

      5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

      6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

      7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

      8 Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.

      9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.

      10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

      11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.

      12 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

      13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.

      14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.

      15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

      16 She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.

      17 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.

      18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.