Day 257 September 14
17 Haven’t you brought this on yourself
by abandoning the Lord your God,
who has directed your paths?
18 So why take the path to Egypt
to drink water from the Nile?
Why travel the path to Assyria
to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wrongdoing will punish you.
Your acts of unfaithfulness will find you out.
Don’t you understand how terribly bitter
it is to abandon the Lord your God
and not fear me?
declares the Lord of heavenly forces.
20 Long ago I broke your yoke;
I shattered your chains.
But even then you said, “I won’t serve you.”
On every high hill and under every lush tree,
you have acted like a prostitute.
21 Yet it was I who planted you, a precious vine of fine quality;
how could you turn into a wild vine
and become good for nothing?
22 Even though you scrub yourself with soap or strong powder,
the stain of your sin is still before me,
declares the Lord God.
23 How can you say,
“I’m not dirty;
I haven’t gone after Baals.”
Look what you have done in the valley;
consider what you have done there.
You are like a frenzied young camel,
24 a wild donkey in the wilderness,
lustfully sniffing the wind.
Who can restrain such passion?
Those who desire her need not give up;
with little effort they will find her in heat.
25 Don’t run about until your feet are blistered
and your throat is parched.
But you say, “What’s the use?
I have fallen in love with foreign gods,
and I must pursue them.”
One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” 2-4 So he said, “When you pray, say,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”
5-6 Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’
7 “The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’
8 “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.
9 “Here’s what I’m saying:
Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.
10-13 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”
Comment: sometimes Eugene Peterson’s The Message translation of the Bible is just the right fit!
11 See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which[c] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16 As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body. 18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
Prayer: (share the grace of our Lord Jesus with someone today as your prayer.) Amen.