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Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Reading Plan

Daily Bible Reading

October 16 - Old & New Testament


Zephaniah 1,2,3

1 The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah(a) son of Amon(b) king of Judah:

Judgment on the Whole Earth in the Day of the Lord

2 "I will sweep away everything
     from the face of the earth,"(c)
declares the Lord .
3 "I will sweep away both man and beast;(d)
     I will sweep away the birds in the sky(e)
     and the fish in the sea—
     and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble."[a]

"When I destroy all mankind
     on the face of the earth,"(f)
declares the Lord ,(g)
4 "I will stretch out my hand(h) against Judah
     and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,(i)
     the very names of the idolatrous priests(j)
5 those who bow down on the roofs
     to worship the starry host,(k)
those who bow down and swear by the Lord
     and who also swear by Molek,[b](l)
6 those who turn back from following(m) the Lord
     and neither seek(n) the Lord nor inquire(o) of him."

7 Be silent(p) before the Sovereign Lord ,
     for the day of the Lord (q) is near.
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice;(r)
     he has consecrated those he has invited.

8 "On the day of the Lord 's sacrifice
     I will punish(s) the officials
     and the king's sons(t)
and all those clad
     in foreign clothes.
9 On that day I will punish
     all who avoid stepping on the threshold,[c](u)
who fill the temple of their gods
     with violence and deceit.(v)

10 "On that day,(w)"
     declares the Lord ,
"a cry will go up from the Fish Gate,(x)
     wailing(y) from the New Quarter,
     and a loud crash from the hills.
11 Wail,(z) you who live in the market district[d];
     all your merchants will be wiped out,
     all who trade with[e] silver will be destroyed.(aa)
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps
     and punish those who are complacent,(ab)
     who are like wine left on its dregs,(ac)
who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing,(ad)
     either good or bad.'(ae)
13 Their wealth will be plundered,(af)
     their houses demolished.
Though they build houses,
     they will not live in them;
though they plant vineyards,
     they will not drink the wine."(ag)

14 The great day of the Lord (ah) is near(ai)
     near and coming quickly.
The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter;
     the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
15 That day will be a day of wrath—
     a day of distress and anguish,
         a day of trouble and ruin,
     a day of darkness(aj) and gloom,
         a day of clouds and blackness(ak)
16       a day of trumpet and battle cry(al)
against the fortified cities
     and against the corner towers.(am)

17 "I will bring such distress(an) on all people
     that they will grope about like those who are blind,(ao)
     because they have sinned against the Lord .
Their blood will be poured out(ap) like dust
     and their entrails like dung.(aq)
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
     will be able to save them
     on the day of the Lord 's wrath."(ar)

In the fire of his jealousy(as)
     the whole earth will be consumed,(at)
for he will make a sudden end
     of all who live on the earth.(au)

Judah and Jerusalem Judged Along With the Nations

Judah Summoned to Repent

1 Gather together,(a) gather yourselves together,
     you shameful(b) nation,
2 before the decree takes effect
     and that day passes like windblown chaff,(c)
before the Lord 's fierce anger(d)
     comes upon you,
before the day of the Lord 's wrath(e)
     comes upon you.
3 Seek(f) the Lord , all you humble of the land,
     you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness,(g) seek humility;(h)
     perhaps you will be sheltered(i)
     on the day of the Lord 's anger.


4 Gaza(j) will be abandoned
     and Ashkelon(k) left in ruins.
At midday Ashdod will be emptied
     and Ekron uprooted.
5 Woe to you who live by the sea,
     you Kerethite(l) people;
the word of the Lord is against you,(m)
     Canaan, land of the Philistines.
He says, "I will destroy you,
     and none will be left."(n)
6 The land by the sea will become pastures
     having wells for shepherds
     and pens for flocks.(o)
7 That land will belong
     to the remnant(p) of the people of Judah;
     there they will find pasture.
In the evening they will lie down
     in the houses of Ashkelon.
The Lord their God will care for them;
     he will restore their fortunes.[a](q)

Moab and Ammon

8 "I have heard the insults(r) of Moab(s)
     and the taunts of the Ammonites,(t)
who insulted(u) my people
     and made threats against their land.(v)
9 Therefore, as surely as I live,"
     declares the Lord Almighty,
     the God of Israel,
"surely Moab(w) will become like Sodom,(x)
     the Ammonites(y) like Gomorrah—
a place of weeds and salt pits,
     a wasteland forever.
The remnant of my people will plunder(z) them;
     the survivors(aa) of my nation will inherit their land.(ab)"

10 This is what they will get in return for their pride,(ac)
     for insulting(ad) and mocking
     the people of the Lord Almighty.(ae)
11 The Lord will be awesome(af) to them
     when he destroys all the gods(ag) of the earth.(ah)
Distant nations will bow down to him,(ai)
     all of them in their own lands.


12 "You Cushites,[b](aj) too,
     will be slain by my sword.(ak)"


13 He will stretch out his hand against the north
     and destroy Assyria,(al)
leaving Nineveh(am) utterly desolate
     and dry as the desert.(an)
14 Flocks and herds(ao) will lie down there,
     creatures of every kind.
The desert owl(ap) and the screech owl(aq)
     will roost on her columns.
Their hooting will echo through the windows,
     rubble will fill the doorways,
     the beams of cedar will be exposed.
15 This is the city of revelry(ar)
     that lived in safety.(as)
She said to herself,
     "I am the one! And there is none besides me."(at)
What a ruin she has become,
     a lair for wild beasts!(au)
All who pass by her scoff(av)
     and shake their fists.(aw)


1 Woe to the city of oppressors,(a)
     rebellious(b) and defiled!(c)
2 She obeys(d) no one,
     she accepts no correction.(e)
She does not trust(f) in the Lord ,
     she does not draw near(g) to her God.
3 Her officials within her
     are roaring lions;(h)
her rulers are evening wolves,(i)
     who leave nothing for the morning.(j)
4 Her prophets are unprincipled;
     they are treacherous people.(k)
Her priests profane the sanctuary
     and do violence to the law.(l)
5 The Lord within her is righteous;(m)
     he does no wrong.(n)
Morning by morning(o) he dispenses his justice,
     and every new day he does not fail,(p)
     yet the unrighteous know no shame.(q)

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

6 "I have destroyed nations;
     their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
     with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;(r)
     they are deserted and empty.
7 Of Jerusalem I thought,
     ‘Surely you will fear me
     and accept correction!'(s)
Then her place of refuge[a] would not be destroyed,
     nor all my punishments come upon[b] her.
But they were still eager
     to act corruptly(t) in all they did.
8 Therefore wait(u) for me,"
     declares the Lord ,
     "for the day I will stand up to testify.[c]
I have decided to assemble(v) the nations,(w)
     to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath(x) on them—
     all my fierce anger.(y)
The whole world will be consumed(z)
     by the fire of my jealous anger.

Restoration of Israel's Remnant

9 "Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
     that all of them may call(aa) on the name of the Lord (ab)
     and serve(ac) him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush[d](ad)
     my worshipers, my scattered people,
     will bring me offerings.(ae)
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame(af)
     for all the wrongs you have done to me,(ag)
because I will remove from you
     your arrogant boasters.(ah)
Never again will you be haughty
     on my holy hill.(ai)
12 But I will leave within you
     the meek(aj) and humble.
The remnant of Israel
     will trust(ak) in the name of the Lord .
13 They(al) will do no wrong;(am)
     they will tell no lies.(an)
A deceitful tongue
     will not be found in their mouths.(ao)
They will eat and lie down(ap)
     and no one will make them afraid.(aq)"

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;(ar)
     shout aloud,(as) Israel!
Be glad and rejoice(at) with all your heart,
     Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
     he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord , the King of Israel, is with you;(au)
     never again will you fear(av) any harm.(aw)
16 On that day
     they will say to Jerusalem,
"Do not fear, Zion;
     do not let your hands hang limp.(ax)
17 The Lord your God is with you,
     the Mighty Warrior who saves.(ay)
He will take great delight(az) in you;
     in his love he will no longer rebuke you,(ba)
     but will rejoice over you with singing."(bb)

18 "I will remove from you
     all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
     which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
     with all who oppressed(bc) you.
I will rescue the lame;
     I will gather the exiles.(bd)
I will give them praise(be) and honor
     in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
     at that time I will bring(bf) you home.
I will give you honor(bg) and praise(bh)
     among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[e](bi)
     before your very eyes,"
says the Lord .

Acts 24

Chapter 24

Paul's Trial Before Felix

1 Five days later the high priest Ananias(a) went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges(b) against Paul before the governor.(c) 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: "We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent(d) Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 "We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots(e) among the Jews(f) all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene(g) sect(h) 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple;(i) so we seized him. [7] [a] 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him."

9 The other Jews joined in the accusation,(j) asserting that these things were true.

10 When the governor(k) motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: "I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days(l) ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple,(m) or stirring up a crowd(n) in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.(o) 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors(p) as a follower of the Way,(q) which they call a sect.(r) I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,(s) 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection(t) of both the righteous and the wicked.(u) 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear(v) before God and man.

17 "After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor(w) and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean(x) when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance.(y) 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia,(z) who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me.(aa) 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.'"(ab)

22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way,(ac) adjourned the proceedings. "When Lysias the commander comes," he said, "I will decide your case." 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard(ad) but to give him some freedom(ae) and permit his friends to take care of his needs.(af)

24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.(ag) 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control(ah) and the judgment(ai) to come, Felix was afraid(aj) and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus,(ak) but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews,(al) he left Paul in prison.(am)

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