I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my Savior, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold.
The LORD should be praised. I called on him, and I was saved from my enemies.
The ropes of death had become tangled around me. The torrents of destruction had overwhelmed me.
The ropes of the grave had surrounded me. The clutches of death had confronted me.
I called on the LORD in my distress. I cried to my God for help. He heard my voice from his temple, and my cry for help reached his ears.
Then the earth shook and quaked. Even the foundations of the mountains trembled. They shook violently because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils, and a raging fire came out of his mouth. Glowing coals flared up from it.
He spread apart the heavens and came down with a dark cloud under his feet.
He rode on one of the angels as he flew, and he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made the darkness his hiding place, the dark rain clouds his covering.
Out of the brightness in front of him, those rain clouds passed by with hailstones and lightning.
The LORD thundered in the heavens. The Most High made his voice heard with hailstones and lightning.
He shot his arrows and scattered them. He flashed streaks of lightning and threw them into confusion.
Then the ocean floor could be seen. The foundations of the earth were laid bare at your stern warning, O LORD, at the blast of the breath from your nostrils.
He reached down from high above and took hold of me. He pulled me out of the raging water.
He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, because they were too strong for me.
On the day when I faced disaster, they confronted me, but the LORD came to my defense.
He brought me out to a wide-open place. He rescued me because he was pleased with me.
The LORD rewarded me because of my righteousness, because my hands are clean. He paid me back
because I have kept the ways of the LORD and I have not wickedly turned away from my God,
because all his judgments are in front of me and I have not turned away from his laws.
I was innocent as far as he was concerned. I have kept myself from guilt.
The LORD paid me back because of my righteousness, because he can see that my hands are clean.
[In dealing] with faithful people you are faithful, with innocent people you are innocent,
with pure people you are pure. [In dealing] with devious people you are clever.
You save humble people, but you bring down a conceited look.
O LORD, you light my lamp. My God turns my darkness into light.
With you I can attack a line of soldiers. With my God I can break through barricades.
God's way is perfect! The promise of the LORD has proven to be true. He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him.
Who is God but the LORD? Who is a rock except our God?
God arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like those of a deer and gives me sure footing on high places.
He trains my hands for battle so that my arms can bend an [archer's] bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand supports me. Your gentleness makes me great.
You make a wide path for me to walk on so that my feet do not slip.
I chased my enemies and caught up with them. I did not return until I had ended their lives.
I wounded them so badly that they were unable to get up. They fell under my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle. You made my opponents bow at my feet.
You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and I destroyed those who hated me.
They cried out for help, but there was no one to save them. They cried out to the LORD, but he did not answer them.
I beat them into a powder as fine as the dust blown by the wind. I threw them out as though they were dirt on the streets.
You rescued me from my conflicts with the people. You made me the leader of nations. A people I did not know will serve me:
As soon as they hear of me, they will obey me. Foreigners will cringe in front of me.
Foreigners will lose heart, and they will tremble when they come out of their fortifications.
The LORD lives! Thanks be to my rock! May God my Savior be honored.
God gives me vengeance! He brings people under my authority.
He saves me from my enemies. You lift me up above my opponents. You rescue me from violent people.
That is why I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the nations and make music to praise your name.
He gives great victories to his king. He shows mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his descendant forever.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky displays what his hands have made.
One day tells a story to the next. One night shares knowledge with the next
without talking, without words, without their voices being heard.
[Yet,] their sound has gone out into the entire world, their message to the ends of the earth. He has set up a tent in the heavens for the sun,
which comes out of its chamber like a bridegroom. Like a champion, it is eager to run its course.
It rises from one end of the heavens. It circles around to the other. Nothing is hidden from its heat.
The teachings of the LORD are perfect. They renew the soul. The testimony of the LORD is dependable. It makes gullible people wise.
The instructions of the LORD are correct. They make the heart rejoice. The command of the LORD is radiant. It makes the eyes shine.
The fear of the LORD is pure. It endures forever. The decisions of the LORD are true. They are completely fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even the drippings from a honeycomb.
As your servant I am warned by them. There is a great reward in following them.
Who can notice every mistake? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep me from sinning. Do not let anyone gain control over me. Then I will be blameless, and I will be free from any great offense.
May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my defender.
From Miletus Paul sent messengers to the city of Ephesus and called the spiritual leaders of the church to meet with him [in Miletus].
When they were with him, he said to them, "You know how I spent all my time with you from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia.
I humbly served the Lord, often with tears in my eyes. I served the Lord during the difficult times I went through when the Jews plotted against me.
I didn't avoid telling you anything that would help you, and I didn't avoid teaching you publicly and from house to house.
I warned Jews and Greeks to change the way they think and act and to believe in our Lord Jesus.
"I am determined to go to Jerusalem now. I don't know what will happen to me there.
However, the Holy Spirit warns me in every city that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me.
But I don't place any value on my own life. I want to finish the race I'm running. I want to carry out the mission I received from the Lord Jesus--the mission of testifying to the Good News of God's kindness.
"Now I know that none of you whom I told about the kingdom [of God]will see me again.
Therefore, I declare to you today that I am not responsible for the [spiritual] death of any of you.
I didn't avoid telling you the whole plan of God.
Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops to be shepherds for God's church which he acquired with his own blood.
I know that fierce wolves will come to you after I leave, and they won't spare the flock.
Some of your own men will come forward and say things that distort the truth. They will do this to lure disciples into following them.
So be alert! Remember that I instructed each of you for three years, day and night, at times with tears in my eyes.
"I am now entrusting you to God and to his message that tells how kind he is. That message can help you grow and can give you the inheritance that is shared by all of God's holy people.
"I never wanted anyone's silver, gold, or clothes.
You know that I worked to support myself and those who were with me.
I have given you an example that by working hard like this we should help the weak. We should remember the words that the Lord Jesus said, 'Giving gifts is more satisfying than receiving them.'"
When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down and prayed with all of them.
Everyone cried a lot as they put their arms around Paul and kissed him.
The thought of not seeing Paul again hurt them most of all. Then they took Paul to the ship.