Psalms 33; Psalms 34; Acts 24

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Psalms 33

1 Joyfully sing to the LORD, you righteous people. Praising [the LORD] is proper for decent people.
2 Give thanks with a lyre to the LORD. Make music for him on a ten-stringed harp.
3 Sing a new song to him. Play beautifully and joyfully on stringed instruments.
4 The word of the LORD is correct, and everything he does is trustworthy.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice. His mercy fills the earth.
6 The heavens were made by the word of the LORD and all the stars by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathers the water in the sea like a dam and puts the oceans in his storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD. Let all who live in the world stand in awe of him.
9 He spoke, and it came into being. He gave the order, and there it stood.
10 The LORD blocks the plans of the nations. He frustrates the schemes of the people of the world.
11 The LORD's plan stands firm forever. His thoughts stand firm in every generation.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. Blessed are the people he has chosen as his own.
13 The LORD looks down from heaven. He sees all of Adam's descendants.
14 From the place where he sits enthroned, he looks down upon all who live on earth.
15 The one who formed their hearts understands everything they do.
16 No king achieves a victory with a large army. No warrior rescues himself by his own great strength.
17 Horses are not a guarantee for victory. Their great strength cannot help someone escape.
18 The LORD's eyes are on those who fear him, on those who wait with hope for his mercy
19 to rescue their souls from death and keep them alive during a famine.
20 We wait for the LORD. He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts find joy. In his holy name we trust.
22 Let your mercy rest on us, O LORD, since we wait with hope for you.

Psalms 34

1 I will thank the LORD at all times. My mouth will always praise him.
2 My soul will boast about the LORD. Those who are oppressed will hear it and rejoice.
3 Praise the LORD's greatness with me. Let us highly honor his name together.
4 I went to the LORD for help. He answered me and rescued me from all my fears.
5 All who look to him will be radiant. Their faces will never be covered with shame.
6 Here is a poor man who called out. The LORD heard him and saved him from all his troubles.
7 The Messenger of the LORD camps around those who fear him, and he rescues them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the person who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you holy people who belong to him. Those who fear him are never in need.
10 Young lions go hungry and may starve, but those who seek the LORD's help have all the good things they need.
11 Come, children, listen to me. I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Which of you wants a full life? Who would like to live long enough to enjoy good things?
13 Keep your tongue from saying evil things and your lips from speaking deceitful things.
14 Turn away from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it!
15 The LORD's eyes are on righteous people. His ears hear their cry for help.
16 The LORD confronts those who do evil in order to wipe out all memory of them from the earth.
17 [Righteous people] cry out. The LORD hears and rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to those whose hearts are humble. He saves those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person has many troubles, but the LORD rescues him from all of them.
20 The LORD guards all of his bones. Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil will kill wicked people, and those who hate righteous people will be condemned.
22 The LORD protects the souls of his servants. All who take refuge in him will never be condemned.

Acts 24

1 Five days later the chief priest Ananias went to the city of Caesarea with some leaders of the people and an attorney named Tertullus. They reported to the governor their charges against Paul.
2 When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him. He said to Felix, "Your Excellency, through your wise leadership we have lasting peace and reforms that benefit the people.
3 We appreciate what you've done in every way and in every place, and we want to thank you very much.
4 I don't want to keep you too long. Please listen to us. We will be brief.
5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker. He starts quarrels among all Jews throughout the world. He's a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.
6 He also entered the temple courtyard in a way that violates our tradition. So we arrested him.
8 When you cross-examine him, you'll be able to find out from him that our accusations are true."
9 The Jews supported Tertullus' accusations and asserted that everything Tertullus said was true.
10 The governor motioned for Paul to speak. Paul responded, "I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years. So I'm pleased to present my case to you.
11 You can verify for yourself that I went to Jerusalem to worship no more than twelve days ago.
12 No one found me having a discussion with anyone in the temple courtyard or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues throughout the city.
13 These people cannot even prove their accusations to you.
14 But I'll admit to you that I'm a follower of the way [of Christ], which they call a sect. This means that I serve our ancestors' God and believe everything written in Moses' Teachings and the Prophets.
15 I hope for the same thing my accusers do, that people with God's approval and those without it will come back to life.
16 With this belief I always do my best to have a clear conscience in the sight of God and people.
17 After many years I have come back to my people and brought gifts for the poor and offerings [for God].
18 My accusers found me in the temple courtyard doing these things after I had gone through the purification ceremony. No crowd or noisy mob was present.
19 But some Jews from the province of Asia were there. They should be here in front of you to accuse me if they have anything against me.
20 Otherwise, these men who are accusing me should tell what I was charged with when I stood in front of their council.
21 They could accuse me of only one thing. As I stood among them, I shouted, 'I'm being tried in front of you because [I believe that] the dead will come back to life.'"
22 Felix knew the way [of Christ] rather well, so he adjourned the trial. He told them, "When the officer Lysias arrives, I'll decide your case."
23 Felix ordered the sergeant to guard Paul but to let him have some freedom and to let his friends take care of his needs.
24 Some days later Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him talk about faith in Christ Jesus.
25 As Paul discussed the subjects of God's approval, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became afraid and said, "That's enough for now. You can go. When I find time, I'll send for you again."
26 At the same time, Felix was hoping that Paul would give him some money. For that reason, Felix would send for Paul rather often to have friendly conversations with him.
27 Two years passed. Then Porcius Festus took Felix's place. (Since Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison.)