Psalm 37; Psalm 38; Psalm 39; Acts 26

1 Don't be worried on account of the wicked; don't be jealous of those who do wrong. 2 They will soon disappear like grass that dries up; they will die like plants that wither. 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and be safe. 4 Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desire. 5 Give yourself to the Lord; trust in him, and he will help you; 6 he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun. 7 Be patient and wait for the Lord to act; don't be worried about those who prosper or those who succeed in their evil plans. 8 Don't give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. 9 Those who trust in the Lord will possess the land, but the wicked will be driven out. 10 Soon the wicked will disappear; you may look for them, but you won't find them; 11 but the humble will possess the land and enjoy prosperity and peace. 12 The wicked plot against good people and glare at them with hate. 13 But the Lord laughs at wicked people, because he knows they will soon be destroyed. 14 The wicked draw their swords and bend their bows to kill the poor and needy, to slaughter those who do what is right; 15 but they will be killed by their own swords, and their bows will be smashed. 16 The little that a good person owns is worth more than the wealth of all the wicked, 17 because the Lord will take away the strength of the wicked, but protect those who are good. 18 The Lord takes care of those who obey him, and the land will be theirs forever. 19 They will not suffer when times are bad; they will have enough in time of famine. 20 But the wicked will die; the enemies of the Lord will vanish like wild flowers; they will disappear like smoke. 21 The wicked borrow and never pay back, but good people are generous with their gifts. 22 Those who are blessed by the Lord will possess the land, but those who are cursed by him will be driven out. 23 The Lord guides us in the way we should go and protects those who please him. 24 If they fall, they will not stay down, because the Lord will help them up. 25 I am old now; I have lived a long time, but I have never seen good people abandoned by the Lord or their children begging for food. 26 At all times they give freely and lend to others, and their children are a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil and do good, and your descendants will always live in the land; 28 for the Lord loves what is right and does not abandon his faithful people. He protects them forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be driven out. 29 The righteous will possess the land and live in it forever. 30 The words of good people are wise, and they are always fair. 31 They keep the law of their God in their hearts and never depart from it. 32 Wicked people watch good people and try to kill them; 33 but the Lord will not abandon them to their enemy's power or let them be condemned when they are on trial. 34 Put your hope in the Lord and obey his commands; he will honor you by giving you the land, and you will see the wicked driven out. 35 I once knew someone wicked who was a tyrant; he towered over everyone like a cedar of Lebanon; 36 but later I passed by, and he wasn't there; I looked for him, but couldn't find him. 37 Notice good people, observe the righteous; peaceful people have descendants, 38 but sinners are completely destroyed, and their descendants are wiped out. 39 The Lord saves the righteous and protects them in times of trouble. 40 He helps them and rescues them; he saves them from the wicked, because they go to him for protection.
1 O Lord, don't punish me in your anger! 2 You have wounded me with your arrows; you have struck me down. 3 Because of your anger, I am in great pain; my whole body is diseased because of my sins. 4 I am drowning in the flood of my sins; they are a burden too heavy to bear. 5 Because I have been foolish, my sores stink and rot. 6 I am bent over, I am crushed; I mourn all day long. 7 I am burning with fever and I am near death. 8 I am worn out and utterly crushed; my heart is troubled, and I groan with pain. 9 O Lord, you know what I long for; you hear all my groans. 10 My heart is pounding, my strength is gone, and my eyes have lost their brightness. 11 My friends and neighbors will not come near me, because of my sores; even my family keeps away from me. 12 Those who want to kill me lay traps for me, and those who want to hurt me threaten to ruin me; they never stop plotting against me. 13 I am like the deaf and cannot hear, like the dumb and cannot speak. 14 I am like those who do not answer, because they cannot hear. 15 But I trust in you, O Lord; and you, O Lord my God, will answer me. 16 Don't let my enemies gloat over my distress; don't let them boast about my downfall! 17 I am about to fall and am in constant pain. 18 I confess my sins; they fill me with anxiety. 19 My enemies are healthy and strong; there are many who hate me for no reason. 20 Those who pay back evil for good are against me because I try to do right. 21 Do not abandon me, O Lord; do not stay away, my God! 22 Help me now, O Lord my savior!
1 I said, "I will be careful about what I do and will not let my tongue make me sin; I will not say anything while evil people are near." 2 I kept quiet, not saying a word, not even about anything good! But my suffering only grew worse, 3 and I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled I became; I could not keep from asking: 4 "Lord, how long will I live? When will I die? Tell me how soon my life will end." 5 How short you have made my life! In your sight my lifetime seems nothing. Indeed every living being is no more than a puff of wind, 6 no more than a shadow. All we do is for nothing; we gather wealth, but don't know who will get it. 7 What, then, can I hope for, Lord? I put my hope in you. 8 Save me from all my sins, and don't let fools make fun of me. 9 I will keep quiet, I will not say a word, for you are the one who made me suffer like this. 10 Don't punish me any more! I am about to die from your blows. 11 You punish our sins by your rebukes, and like a moth you destroy what we love. Indeed we are no more than a puff of wind! 12 Hear my prayer, Lord, and listen to my cry; come to my aid when I weep. Like all my ancestors I am only your guest for a little while. 13 Leave me alone so that I may have some happiness before I go away and am no more.
1 Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak on your own behalf." Paul stretched out his hand and defended himself as follows: 2 "King Agrippa! I consider myself fortunate that today I am to defend myself before you from all the things these Jews accuse me of, 3 particularly since you know so well all the Jewish customs and disputes. I ask you, then, to listen to me with patience. 4 "All the Jews know how I have lived ever since I was young. They know how I have spent my whole life, at first in my own country and then in Jerusalem. 5 They have always known, if they are willing to testify, that from the very first I have lived as a member of the strictest party of our religion, the Pharisees. 6 And now I stand here to be tried because of the hope I have in the promise that God made to our ancestors - 7 the very thing that the twelve tribes of our people hope to receive, as they worship God day and night. And it is because of this hope, Your Majesty, that I am being accused by these Jews! 8 Why do you who are here find it impossible to believe that God raises the dead? 9 "I myself thought that I should do everything I could against the cause of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 That is what I did in Jerusalem. I received authority from the chief priests and put many of God's people in prison; and when they were sentenced to death, I also voted against them. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues and tried to make them deny their faith. I was so furious with them that I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. 12 "It was for this purpose that I went to Damascus with authority and orders from the chief priests. 13 It was on the road at midday, Your Majesty, that I saw a light much brighter than the sun, coming from the sky and shining around me and the men traveling with me. 14 All of us fell to the ground, and I heard a voice say to me in Hebrew, "Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me? You are hurting yourself by hitting back, like an ox kicking against its owner's stick.' 15 "Who are you, Lord?' I asked. And the Lord answered, "I am Jesus, whom you persecute. 16 But get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant. You are to tell others what you have seen of me today and what I will show you in the future. 17 I will rescue you from the people of Israel and from the Gentiles to whom I will send you. 18 You are to open their eyes and turn them from the darkness to the light and from the power of Satan to God, so that through their faith in me they will have their sins forgiven and receive their place among God's chosen people.' 19 "And so, King Agrippa, I did not disobey the vision I had from heaven. 20 First in Damascus and in Jerusalem and then in the whole country of Israel and among the Gentiles, I preached that they must repent of their sins and turn to God and do the things that would show they had repented. 21 It was for this reason that these Jews seized me while I was in the Temple, and they tried to kill me. 22 But to this very day I have been helped by God, and so I stand here giving my witness to all, to small and great alike. What I say is the very same thing which the prophets and Moses said was going to happen: 23 that the Messiah must suffer and be the first one to rise from death, to announce the light of salvation to the Jews and to the Gentiles." 24 As Paul defended himself in this way, Festus shouted at him, "You are mad, Paul! Your great learning is driving you mad!" 25 Paul answered, "I am not mad, Your Excellency! I am speaking the sober truth. 26 King Agrippa! I can speak to you with all boldness, because you know about these things. I am sure that you have taken notice of every one of them, for this thing has not happened hidden away in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do!" 28 Agrippa said to Paul, "In this short time do you think you will make me a Christian?" 29 "Whether a short time or a long time," Paul answered, "my prayer to God is that you and all the rest of you who are listening to me today might become what I am - except, of course, for these chains!" 30 Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others got up, 31 and after leaving they said to each other, "This man has not done anything for which he should die or be put in prison." 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been released if he had not appealed to the Emperor."
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