Isaiah 32; Isaiah 33; Colossians 1

1 Some day there will be a king who rules with integrity, and national leaders who govern with justice. 2 Each of them will be like a shelter from the wind and a place to hide from storms. They will be like streams flowing in a desert, like the shadow of a giant rock in a barren land. 3 Their eyes and ears will be open to the needs of the people. 4 They will not be impatient any longer, but they will act with understanding and will say what they mean. 5 No one will think that a fool is honorable or say that a scoundrel is honest. 6 A fool speaks foolishly and thinks up evil things to do. What he does and what he says are an insult to the Lord, and he never feeds the hungry or gives thirsty people anything to drink. 7 A stupid person is evil and does evil things; he plots to ruin the poor with lies and to keep them from getting their rights. 8 But an honorable person acts honestly and stands firm for what is right. 9 You women who live an easy life, free from worries, listen to what I am saying. 10 You may be satisfied now, but this time next year you will be in despair because there will be no grapes for you to gather. 11 You have been living an easy life, free from worries; but now, tremble with fear! Strip off your clothes and tie rags around your waist. 12 Beat your breasts in grief because the fertile fields and the vineyards have been destroyed, 13 and thorn bushes and briers are growing on my people's land. Weep for all the houses where people were happy and for the city that was full of life. 14 Even the palace will be abandoned and the capital city totally deserted. Homes and the forts that guarded them will be in ruins forever. Wild donkeys will roam there, and sheep will find pasture there. 15 But once more God will send us his spirit. The wasteland will become fertile, and fields will produce rich crops. 16 Everywhere in the land righteousness and justice will be done. 17 Because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security forever. 18 God's people will be free from worries, and their homes peaceful and safe 19 (But hail will fall on the forests, and the city will be torn down.) 20 How happy everyone will be with plenty of water for the crops and safe pasture everywhere for the donkeys and cattle.
1 Our enemies are doomed! They have robbed and betrayed, although no one has robbed them or betrayed them. But their time to rob and betray will end, and they themselves will become victims of robbery and treachery. 2 Lord, have mercy on us. We have put our hope in you. Protect us day by day and save us in times of trouble. 3 When you fight for us, nations run away from the noise of battle. 4 Their belongings are pounced upon and taken as loot. 5 How great the Lord is! He rules over everything. He will fill Jerusalem with justice and integrity 6 and give stability to the nation. He always protects his people and gives them wisdom and knowledge. Their greatest treasure is their reverence for the Lord. 7 The brave are calling for help. The ambassadors who tried to bring about peace are crying bitterly. 8 The highways are so dangerous that no one travels on them. Treaties are broken and agreements are violated. No one is respected any more. 9 The land lies idle and deserted. The forests of Lebanon have withered, the fertile valley of Sharon is like a desert, and in Bashan and on Mount Carmel the leaves are falling from the trees. 10 The Lord says to the nations, "Now I will act. I will show how powerful I am. 11 You make worthless plans and everything you do is useless. My spirit is like a fire that will destroy you. 12 You will crumble like rocks burned to make lime, like thorns burned to ashes. 13 Let everyone near and far hear what I have done and acknowledge my power." 14 The sinful people of Zion are trembling with fright. They say, "God's judgment is like a fire that burns forever. Can any of us survive a fire like that?" 15 You can survive if you say and do what is right. Don't use your power to cheat the poor and don't accept bribes. Don't join with those who plan to commit murder or to do other evil things. 16 Then you will be safe; you will be as secure as if in a strong fortress. You will have food to eat and water to drink. 17 Once again you will see a king ruling in splendor over a land that stretches in all directions. 18 Your old fears of foreign tax collectors and spies will be only a memory. 19 You will no longer see any arrogant foreigners who speak a language that you can't understand. 20 Look at Zion, the city where we celebrate our religious festivals. Look at Jerusalem! What a safe place it will be to live in! It will be like a tent that is never moved, whose pegs are never pulled up and whose ropes never break. 21 The Lord will show us his glory. We will live beside broad rivers and streams, but hostile ships will not sail on them. 22 All the rigging on those ships is useless; the sails cannot be spread! We will seize all the wealth of enemy armies, and there will be so much that even the lame can get a share. The Lord himself will be our king; he will rule over us and protect us. 24 No one who lives in our land will ever again complain of being sick, and all sins will be forgiven.
1 From Paul, who by God's will is an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy - 2 To God's people in Colossae, who are our faithful friends in union with Christ: May God our Father give you grace and peace. 3 We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all God's people. 5 When the true message, the Good News, first came to you, you heard about the hope it offers. So your faith and love are based on what you hope for, which is kept safe for you in heaven. 6 The gospel keeps bringing blessings and is spreading throughout the world, just as it has among you ever since the day you first heard about the grace of God and came to know it as it really is. 7 You learned of God's grace from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is Christ's faithful worker on our behalf. 8 He has told us of the love that the Spirit has given you. 9 For this reason we have always prayed for you, ever since we heard about you. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. 10 Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. 13 He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14 by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. 15 Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things. 16 For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. 17 Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. 18 He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body's life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. 19 For it was by God's own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. 20 Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son's blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven. 21 At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. 22 But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. 23 You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel. It is of this gospel that I, Paul, became a servant - this gospel which has been preached to everybody in the world. 24 And now I am happy about my sufferings for you, for by means of my physical sufferings I am helping to complete what still remains of Christ's sufferings on behalf of his body, the church. 25 And I have been made a servant of the church by God, who gave me this task to perform for your good. It is the task of fully proclaiming his message, 26 which is the secret he hid through all past ages from all human beings but has now revealed to his people. 27 God's plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. 28 So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. 29 To get this done I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me.
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