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1 Corinthians 9; 2 Kings 1; 2 Kings 2; Amos 7

1 Corinthians 9

Paul's Example as an Apostle

1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Don't we have the right to eat and drink? 5 Don't we have the right to be accompanied by a Christian wife, like the other apostles, the Lord's brothers, and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? 7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not drink the milk from the flock? 8 Am I saying this from a human perspective? Doesn't the law also say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Do not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain. Is God really concerned with oxen? 10 Or isn't He really saying it for us? Yes, this is written for us, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes should do so in hope of sharing the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this authority over you, don't we even more? However, we have not used this authority; instead we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform the temple services eat the food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the offerings of the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these rights, and I have not written this to make it happen that way for me. For it would be better for me to die than for anyone to deprive me of my boast! 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because an obligation is placed on me. And woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? To preach the gospel and offer it free of charge, and not make full use of my authority in the gospel. 19 For although I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, in order to win more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law-though I myself am not under the law-to win those under the law. 21 To those who are outside the law, like one outside the law-not being outside God's law, but under the law of Christ-to win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some. 23 Now I do all this because of the gospel, that I may become a partner in its benefits. 24 Do you not know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. 26 Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly, or box like one who beats the air. 27 Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

2 Kings 1

Ahaziah's Sickness and Death

1 After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Ahaziah had fallen through the latticed window of his upper room in Samaria and was injured. So he sent messengers instructing them: "Go inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, if I will recover from this injury." 3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Go and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?' 4 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: 'You will not get up from your sickbed-you will certainly die.' " Then Elijah left. 5 The messengers returned to the king, who asked them, "Why have you come back?" 6 They replied, "A man came to meet us and said, 'Go back to the king who sent you and declare to him: This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you're sending [these men] to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore, you will not get up from your sickbed-you will certainly die.' " 7 The king asked them: "What sort of man came up to meet you and spoke those words to you?" 8 They replied, "A hairy man with a leather belt around his waist." He said, "It's Elijah the Tishbite." 9 So King Ahaziah sent a captain of 50 with his 50 [men] to Elijah. When the captain went up to him, he was sitting on top of the hill. He announced, "Man of God, the king declares, 'Come down!' " 10 Elijah responded to the captain of the 50, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50 [men]." Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his 50 [men]. 11 So the king sent another captain of 50 with his 50 [men] to Elijah. He took in the situation and announced, "Man of God, this is what the king says: 'Come down immediately!' " 12 Elijah responded, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50 [men]." So a divine fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his 50 [men]. 13 Then the king sent a third captain of 50 with his 50 [men]. The third captain of 50 went up and fell on his knees in front of Elijah and begged him, "Man of God, please let my life and the lives of these 50 servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Already fire has come down from heaven and consumed the first two captains of 50 with their fifties, but this time let my life be precious in your sight." 15 The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, "Go down with him. Don't be afraid of him." So he got up and went down with him to the king. 16 Then Elijah said to King Ahaziah, "This is what the Lord says: 'Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron-is it because there is no God in Israel for you to inquire of His will? You will not get up from your sickbed; you will certainly die.' " 17 Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken. Since he had no son, Joram became king in his place. [This happened] in the second year of Judah's King Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat. 18 The rest of the events of Ahaziah's [reign], along with his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Israel's Kings.

2 Kings 2

Elijah in the Whirlwind

1 The time had come for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal, 2 and Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the Lord is sending me on to Bethel." But Elisha replied, "As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" He said, "Yes, I know. Be quiet." 4 Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here; the Lord is sending me to Jericho." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went to Jericho. 5 Then the sons of the prophets who were in Jericho came up to Elisha and said, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" He said, "Yes, I know. Be quiet." 6 Elijah said to him, "Stay here; the Lord is sending me to the Jordan." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men from the sons of the prophets came and stood facing them from a distance while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the waters, which parted to the right and left. Then the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell [me] what I can do for you before I am taken from you." So Elisha answered, "Please, let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." 10 Elijah replied, "You have asked for something difficult. If you see me being taken from you, you will have it. If not, you won't." 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire suddenly appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up into heaven in the whirlwind. 12 As Elisha watched, he kept crying out, "My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!" Then he never saw Elijah again. He took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.

Elisha Succeeds Elijah

13 Elisha picked up the mantle that had fallen off Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle Elijah had dropped and struck the waters. "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" he asked. He struck the waters himself, and they parted to the right and the left, and Elisha crossed over. 15 When the sons of the prophets from Jericho, who were facing him, saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." They came to meet him and bowed down to the ground in front of him. 16 Then the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "Since there are 50 strong men here with your servants, please let them go and search for your master. Maybe the Spirit of the Lord has carried him away and put him on one of the mountains or into one of the valleys." He answered, "Don't send [them]." 17 However, they urged him to the point of embarrassment, so he said, "Send [them]." They sent 50 men, who looked for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to him in Jericho where he was staying, he said to them, "Didn't I tell you not to go?" 19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, "Even though our lord can see that the city's location is good, the water is bad and the land unfruitful." 20 He replied, "Bring me a new bowl and put salt in it." After they had brought him one, 21 Elisha went out to the spring of water, threw salt in it, and said, "This is what the Lord says: 'I have healed this water. No longer will death or unfruitfulness result from it.' " 22 Therefore, the water remains healthy to this very day according to the word that Elisha spoke. 23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking up the path, some small boys came out of the city and harassed him, chanting, "Go up, baldy! Go up, baldy!" 24 He turned around, looked at them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the youths. 25 From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel, and then he returned to Samaria.

Amos 7

First Vision: Locusts

1 The Lord God showed me this: He was forming a swarm of locusts at the time the spring crop first began to sprout-after the cutting of the king's hay. 2 When the locusts finished eating the vegetation of the land, I said, "Lord God , please forgive! How will Jacob survive since he is so small?" 3 The Lord relented concerning this. "It will not happen," He said.

Second Vision: Fire

4 The Lord God showed me this: The Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire. It consumed the great deep and devoured the land. 5 Then I said, "Lord God , please stop! How will Jacob survive since he is so small?" 6 The Lord relented concerning this. "This will not happen either," said the Lord God .

Third Vision: A Plumb Line

7 He showed me this: The Lord was standing there by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand. 8 The Lord asked me, "What do you see, Amos?" I replied, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said, "I am setting a plumb line among My people Israel; I will no longer spare them: 9 Isaac's high places will be deserted, and Israel's sanctuaries will be in ruins; I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with a sword."

Amaziah's Opposition

10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent [word] to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, "Amos has conspired against you [right here] in the house of Israel. The land cannot endure all his words, 11 for Amos has said this: 'Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will certainly go into exile from its homeland.' " 12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, "Go away, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah. Earn your living and give [your] prophecies there, 13 but don't ever prophesy at Bethel again, for it is the king's sanctuary and a royal temple." 14 So Amos answered Amaziah, "I was not a prophet or the son of a prophet; rather, I was a herdsman, and I took care of sycamore figs. 15 But the Lord took me from following the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to My people Israel.' " 16 Now hear the word of the Lord. You say: Do not prophesy against Israel; do not preach against the house of Isaac. 17 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: Your wife will be a prostitute in the city, your sons and daughters will fall by the sword, and your land will be divided up with a measuring line. You yourself will die on pagan soil, and Israel will certainly go into exile from its homeland.
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