Psalm 31; Psalm 32; Acts 23:16-35

1 I take refuge in you, LORD. Please never let me be put to shame. Rescue me by your righteousness! 2 Listen closely to me! Deliver me quickly; be a rock that protects me; be a strong fortress that saves me! 3 You are definitely my rock and my fortress. Guide me and lead me for the sake of your good name! 4 Get me out of this net that's been set for me because you are my protective fortress. 5 I entrust my spirit into your hands; you, LORD, God of faithfulness— you have saved me. 6 I hate those who embrace what is completely worthless. I myself trust the LORD. 7 I rejoice and celebrate in your faithful love because you saw my suffering— you were intimately acquainted with my deep distress. 8 You didn't hand me over to the enemy, but set my feet in wide-open spaces. 9 Have mercy on me, LORD, because I'm depressed. My vision fails because of my grief, as do my spirit and my body. 10 My life is consumed with sadness; my years are consumed with groaning. Strength fails me because of my suffering; my bones dry up. 11 I'm a joke to all my enemies, still worse to my neighbors. I scare my friends, and whoever sees me in the street runs away! 12 I am forgotten, like I'm dead, completely out of mind; I am like a piece of pottery, destroyed. 13 Yes, I've heard all the gossiping, terror all around; so many gang up together against me, they plan to take my life! 14 But me? I trust you, LORD! I affirm, "You are my God." 15 My future is in your hands. Don't hand me over to my enemies, to all who are out to get me! 16 Shine your face on your servant; save me by your faithful love! 17 LORD, don't let me be put to shame because I have cried out to you. Let the wicked be put to shame; let them be silenced in death's domain! 18 Let their lying lips be shut up whenever they speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt! 19 How great is the goodness that you've reserved for those who honor you, that you commit to those who take refuge in you— in the sight of everyone! 20 You hide them in the shelter of your wings, safe from human scheming. You conceal them in a shelter, safe from accusing tongues. 21 Bless the LORD, because he has wondrously revealed his faithful love to me when I was like a city under siege! 22 When I was panicked, I said, "I'm cut off from your eyes!" But you heard my request for mercy when I cried out to you for help. 23 All you who are faithful, love the LORD! The LORD protects those who are loyal, but he pays the proud back to the fullest degree. 24 All you who wait for the LORD, be strong and let your heart take courage.
1 The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy! 2 The one the LORD doesn't consider guilty— in whose spirit there is no dishonesty— that one is truly happy! 3 When I kept quiet, my bones wore out; I was groaning all day long— every day, every night!— 4 because your hand was heavy upon me. My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought. Selah 5 So I admitted my sin to you; I didn't conceal my guilt. "I'll confess my sins to the LORD, " is what I said. Then you removed the guilt of my sin. Selah 6 That's why all the faithful should pray to you during troubled times, so that a great flood of water won't reach them. 7 You are my secret hideout! You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of rescue! Selah 8 I will instruct you and teach you about the direction you should go. I'll advise you and keep my eye on you. 9 Don't be like some senseless horse or mule, whose movement must be controlled with a bit and a bridle. Don't be anything like that! 10 The pain of the wicked is severe, but faithful love surrounds the one who trusts the LORD. 11 You who are righteous, rejoice in the LORD and be glad! All you whose hearts are right, sing out in joy!
16 Paul's sister had a son who heard about the ambush and he came to the military headquarters and reported it to Paul. 17 Paul called for one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the commander because he has something to report to him." 18 He took him to the commander and said, "The prisoner Paul asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to tell you." 19 The commander took him by the hand and withdrew to a place where they could speak privately. He asked, "What do you have to report to me?" 20 He replied, "The Jewish leaders have conspired to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow. They will pretend that they want to investigate his case more closely. 21 Don't fall for it! More than forty of them are waiting to ambush him. They have solemnly promised not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, awaiting your consent." 22 The commander dismissed the young man, ordering him, "Don't tell anyone that you brought this to my attention." 23 The commander called two centurions and said, "Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to leave for Caesarea at nine o'clock tonight. 24 Have horses ready for Paul to ride, so they may take him safely to Governor Felix." 25 He wrote the following letter: 26 Claudius Lysias, to the most honorable Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was almost killed by them. I was nearby with a unit of soldiers, and I rescued him when I discovered that he was a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to find out why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their council. 29 I discovered that they were accusing him about questions related to their Law. I found no charge deserving of death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a conspiracy against his life, I sent him to you at once and ordered his accusers to bring their case against him before you. 31 Following their orders, the soldiers took Paul during the night and brought him to Antipatris. 32 The following day they let the horsemen continue on with Paul while they returned to the military headquarters in Jerusalem. 33 The horsemen entered Caesarea, delivered the letter to the governor, and brought Paul before him. 34 After he read the letter, he asked Paul about his home province. When he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 the governor said, "I will hear your case when your accusers arrive." Then he ordered that Paul be kept in custody in Herod's palace.
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