Jeremiah 30; Jeremiah 31; Philemon 1

1 The Lord, the God of Israel, 2 said to me, "Write down in a book everything that I have told you, 3 because the time is coming when I will restore my people, Israel and Judah. I will bring them back to the land that I gave their ancestors, and they will take possession of it again. I, the Lord, have spoken." 4 The Lord says to the people of Israel and Judah, 5 "I heard a cry of terror, a cry of fear and not of peace. 6 Now stop and think! Can a man give birth to a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why is everyone so pale? 7 A terrible day is coming; no other day can compare with it - a time of distress for my people, but they will survive." 8 The Lord Almighty says, "When that day comes, I will break the yoke that is around their neck and remove their chains, and they will no longer be the slaves of foreigners. 9 Instead, they will serve me, the Lord their God, and a descendant of David, whom I will enthrone as king. 10 "My people, do not be afraid; people of Israel, do not be terrified. I will rescue you from that faraway land, from the land where you are prisoners. You will come back home and live in peace; you will be secure, and no one will make you afraid. 11 I will come to you and save you. I will destroy all the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not destroy you. I will not let you go unpunished; but when I punish you, I will be fair. I, the Lord, have spoken." 12 The Lord says to his people, "Your wounds are incurable, your injuries cannot be healed. 13 There is no one to take care of you, no remedy for your sores, no hope of healing for you. 14 All your lovers have forgotten you; they no longer care about you. I have attacked you like an enemy; your punishment has been harsh because your sins are many and your wickedness is great. 15 Complain no more about your injuries; there is no cure for you. I punished you like this because your sins are many and your wickedness is great. 16 But now, all who devour you will be devoured, and all your enemies will be taken away as prisoners. All who oppress you will be oppressed, and all who plunder you will be plundered. 17 I will make you well again; I will heal your wounds, though your enemies say, "Zion is an outcast; no one cares about her.' I, the Lord, have spoken." 18 The Lord says, "I will restore my people to their land and have mercy on every family; Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its palace restored. 19 The people who live there will sing praise; they will shout for joy. By my blessing they will increase in numbers; my blessing will bring them honor. 20 I will restore the nation's ancient power and establish it firmly again; I will punish all who oppress them. 21 Their ruler will come from their own nation, their prince from their own people. He will approach me when I invite him, for who would dare come uninvited? They will be my people, and I will be their God. I, the Lord, have spoken." 23 The Lord's anger is a storm, a furious wind that will rage over the heads of the wicked. It will not end until he has done all that he intends to do. In days to come his people will understand this clearly.
1 The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, and they will be my people. 2 In the desert I showed mercy to those people who had escaped death. When the people of Israel longed for rest, 3 I appeared to them from far away. People of Israel, I have always loved you, so I continue to show you my constant love. 4 Once again I will rebuild you. Once again you will take up your tambourines and dance joyfully. 5 Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria, and those who plant them will eat what the vineyards produce. 6 Yes, the time is coming when sentries will call out on the hills of Ephraim, "Let's go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.' " 7 The Lord says, "Sing with joy for Israel, the greatest of the nations. Sing your song of praise, "The Lord has saved his people; he has rescued all who are left.' 8 I will bring them from the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. The blind and the lame will come with them, pregnant women and those about to give birth. They will come back a great nation. 9 My people will return weeping, praying as I lead them back. I will guide them to streams of water, on a smooth road where they will not stumble. I am like a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my oldest son." 10 The Lord says, "Nations, listen to me and proclaim my words on the far-off shores. I scattered my people, but I will gather them and guard them as a shepherd guards his flock. 11 I have set Israel's people free and have saved them from a mighty nation. 12 They will come and sing for joy on Mount Zion and be delighted with my gifts - gifts of grain and wine and olive oil, gifts of sheep and cattle. They will be like a well-watered garden; they will have everything they need. 13 Then the young women will dance and be happy, and men, young and old, will rejoice. I will comfort them and turn their mourning into joy, their sorrow into gladness. 14 I will fill the priests with the richest food and satisfy all the needs of my people. I, the Lord, have spoken." 15 The Lord says, "A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping. Rachel is crying for her children; they are gone, and she refuses to be comforted. 16 Stop your crying and wipe away your tears. All that you have done for your children will not go unrewarded; they will return from the enemy's land. 17 There is hope for your future; your children will come back home. I, the Lord, have spoken. 18 "I hear the people of Israel say in grief, "Lord, we were like an untamed animal, but you taught us to obey. Bring us back; we are ready to return to you, the Lord our God. 19 We turned away from you, but soon we wanted to return. After you had punished us, we hung our heads in grief. We were ashamed and disgraced because we sinned when we were young.' 20 "Israel, you are my dearest child, the one I love best. Whenever I mention your name, I think of you with love. My heart goes out to you; I will be merciful. 21 Set up signs and mark the road; find again the way by which you left. Come back, people of Israel, come home to the towns you left. 22 How long will you hesitate, faithless people? I have created something new and different, as different as a woman protecting a man." 23 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, "When I restore the people to their land, they will once again say in the land of Judah and in its towns, "May the Lord bless the sacred hill of Jerusalem, the holy place where he lives.' 24 People will live in Judah and in all its towns, and there will be farmers, and shepherds with their flocks. 25 I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food everyone who is weak from hunger. 26 So then, people will say, "I went to sleep and woke up refreshed.' 27 "I, the Lord, say that the time is coming when I will fill the land of Israel and Judah with people and animals. 28 And just as I took care to uproot, to pull down, to overthrow, to destroy, and to demolish them, so I will take care to plant them and to build them up. 29 When that time comes, people will no longer say, "The parents ate the sour grapes, But the children got the sour taste.' 30 Instead, those who eat sour grapes will have their own teeth set on edge; and everyone will die because of their own sin." 31 The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. Although I was like a husband to them, they did not keep that covenant. 33 The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the Lord, because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs. I, the Lord, have spoken." 35 The Lord provides the sun for light by day, the moon and the stars to shine at night. He stirs up the sea and makes it roar; his name is the Lord Almighty. 36 He promises that as long as the natural order lasts, so long will Israel be a nation. 37 If one day the sky could be measured and the foundations of the earth explored, only then would he reject the people of Israel because of all they have done. The Lord has spoken. 38 "The time is coming," says the Lord, "when all of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my city, from Hananel Tower west to the Corner Gate. 39 And the boundary line will continue from there on the west to the hill of Gareb and then around to Goah. 40 The entire valley, where the dead are buried and garbage is dumped, and all the fields above Kidron Brook as far as the Horse Gate to the east, will be sacred to me. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed."
1 From Paul, a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy - To our friend and fellow worker Philemon, 2 and the church that meets in your house, and our sister Apphia, and our fellow soldier Archippus: 3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 Brother Philemon, every time I pray, I mention you and give thanks to my God. 5 For I hear of your love for all of God's people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. 6 My prayer is that our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ. 7 Your love, dear brother, has brought me great joy and much encouragement! You have cheered the hearts of all of God's people. 8 For this reason I could be bold enough, as your brother in Christ, to order you to do what should be done. 9 But because I love you, I make a request instead. I do this even though I am Paul, the ambassador of Christ Jesus, and at present also a prisoner for his sake. 10 So I make a request to you on behalf of Onesimus, who is my own son in Christ; for while in prison I have become his spiritual father. 11 At one time he was of no use to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back to you now, and with him goes my heart. 13 I would like to keep him here with me, while I am in prison for the gospel's sake, so that he could help me in your place. 14 However, I do not want to force you to help me; rather, I would like for you to do it of your own free will. So I will not do anything unless you agree. 15 It may be that Onesimus was away from you for a short time so that you might have him back for all time. 16 And now he is not just a slave, but much more than a slave: he is a dear brother in Christ. How much he means to me! And how much more he will mean to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord! 17 So, if you think of me as your partner, welcome him back just as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to my account. 19 Here, I will write this with my own hand: [I, Paul, will pay you back.] (I should not have to remind you, of course, that you owe your very self to me.) 20 So, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord's sake; as a brother in Christ, cheer me up! 21 I am sure, as I write this, that you will do what I ask - in fact I know that you will do even more. 22 At the same time, get a room ready for me, because I hope that God will answer the prayers of all of you and give me back to you. 23 Epaphras, who is in prison with me for the sake of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings, 24 and so do my co-workers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke. 25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
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