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Daily Lectionary Readings for November 23, 2017

Daily Lectionary - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 22:00

Morning Psalm 143

1   Hear my prayer, O LORD;
          give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
          answer me in your righteousness.
2   Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
          for no one living is righteous before you.


3   For the enemy has pursued me,
          crushing my life to the ground,
          making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4   Therefore my spirit faints within me;
          my heart within me is appalled.


5   I remember the days of old,
          I think about all your deeds,
          I meditate on the works of your hands.
6   I stretch out my hands to you;
          my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.                    Selah


7   Answer me quickly, O LORD;
          my spirit fails.
     Do not hide your face from me,
          or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8   Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
          for in you I put my trust.
     Teach me the way I should go,
          for to you I lift up my soul.


9   Save me, O LORD, from my enemies;
          I have fled to you for refuge.
10  Teach me to do your will,
          for you are my God.
     Let your good spirit lead me
          on a level path.


11  For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life.
          In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12  In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
          and destroy all my adversaries,
          for I am your servant.

Morning Psalm 147:12-20

12  Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
          Praise your God, O Zion!
13  For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
          he blesses your children within you.
14  He grants peace within your borders;
          he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15  He sends out his command to the earth;
          his word runs swiftly.
16  He gives snow like wool;
          he scatters frost like ashes.
17  He hurls down hail like crumbs —
          who can stand before his cold?
18  He sends out his word, and melts them;
          he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19  He declares his word to Jacob,
          his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20  He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
          they do not know his ordinances.
     Praise the Lord!

First Reading Nehemiah 9:1-15 (16-25)

1Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. 2Then those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors. 3They stood up in their place and read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth part of the day, and for another fourth they made confession and worshiped the LORD their God. 4Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the LORD their God. 5Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.”

6And Ezra said: “You are the LORD, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you. 7You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham; 8and you found his heart faithful before you, and made with him a covenant to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite; and you have fulfilled your promise, for you are righteous.

9“And you saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea. 10You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted insolently against our ancestors. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. 11And you divided the sea before them, so that they passed through the sea on dry land, but you threw their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. 12Moreover, you led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the way in which they should go. 13You came down also upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, 14and you made known your holy sabbath to them and gave them commandments and statutes and a law through your servant Moses. 15For their hunger you gave them bread from heaven, and for their thirst you brought water for them out of the rock, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you swore to give them.

16“But they and our ancestors acted presumptuously and stiffened their necks and did not obey your commandments; 17they refused to obey, and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them; but they stiffened their necks and determined to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and you did not forsake them. 18Even when they had cast an image of a calf for themselves and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, 19you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud that led them in the way did not leave them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night that gave them light on the way by which they should go.20You gave your good spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and gave them water for their thirst. 21Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness so that they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. 22And you gave them kingdoms and peoples, and allotted to them every corner, so they took possession of the land of King Sihon of Heshbon and the land of King Og of Bashan. 23You multiplied their descendants like the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land that you had told their ancestors to enter and possess. 24So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the peoples of the land, to do with them as they pleased. 25And they captured fortress cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses filled with all sorts of goods, hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive orchards, and fruit trees in abundance; so they ate, and were filled and became fat, and delighted themselves in your great goodness.”

Second Reading Revelation 21:22-22:5

21:22I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25Its gates will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there. 26People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

22:1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Gospel Reading Matthew 18:1-9

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!

8“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.”

Evening Psalm 81

1   Sing aloud to God our strength;
          shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2   Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
          the sweet lyre with the harp.
3   Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
          at the full moon, on our festal day.
4   For it is a statute for Israel,
          an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5   He made it a decree in Joseph,
          when he went out over the land of Egypt.


     I hear a voice I had not known:
6   “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
          your hands were freed from the basket.
7   In distress you called, and I rescued you;
          I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
          I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8   Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
          O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9   There shall be no strange god among you;
          you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10  I am the LORD your God,
          who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
          Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.


11“But my people did not listen to my voice;
          Israel would not submit to me.
12  So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
          to follow their own counsels.
13  O that my people would listen to me,
          that Israel would walk in my ways!
14  Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
          and turn my hand against their foes.
15  Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,
          and their doom would last forever.
16  I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
          and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Evening Psalm 116

1   I love the LORD, because he has heard
          my voice and my supplications.
2   Because he inclined his ear to me,
          therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3   The snares of death encompassed me;
          the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
          I suffered distress and anguish.
4   Then I called on the name of the LORD:
          “O LORD, I pray, save my life!”


5   Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
          our God is merciful.
6   The LORD protects the simple;
          when I was brought low, he saved me.
7   Return, O my soul, to your rest,
          for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.


8   For you have delivered my soul from death,
          my eyes from tears,
          my feet from stumbling.
9   I walk before the LORD
          in the land of the living.
10  I kept my faith, even when I said,
          “I am greatly afflicted”;
11  I said in my consternation,
          “Everyone is a liar.”


12  What shall I return to the LORD
          for all his bounty to me?
13   I will lift up the cup of salvation
          and call on the name of the LORD,
14  I will pay my vows to the LORD
          in the presence of all his people.
15  Precious in the sight of the LORD
          is the death of his faithful ones.
16  O LORD, I am your servant;
          I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
          You have loosed my bonds.
17  I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
          and call on the name of the LORD.
18  I will pay my vows to the LORD
          in the presence of all his people,
19  in the courts of the house of the LORD,
          in your midst, O Jerusalem.
     Praise the LORD!

Young Adult Volunteer learns about the Presbyterian church’s role on the international stage

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 10:34

November 22, 2017

Simon Doong has always had an interest in international life. The Beltsville, Maryland native graduated from the College of Wooster with a major in International Relations and a focus on economics, minoring in Spanish and Latin American studies.

Youth endowment is ‘investment in the future’

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 08:08

November 22, 2017

Laura Sheldon was on her way to psychology class at North Carolina State University when her phone rang. It was Marvin Dickerson, a member of her church — Clemmons Presbyterian — calling with exciting news.

Mary’s valuable lesson

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 03:54

November 22, 2017

If anyone has the right to think she had an extra-special connection to Jesus, it’s Mary. After all, she carried him in her body, birthed him in the stable and nourished him with her breast milk. As he grew up and engaged his ministry, she scolded him when he disappeared, commanded him at Cana, stayed with him when he hung on the cross and rejoiced in him when he rose again. 

Daily Lectionary Readings for November 22, 2017

Daily Lectionary - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:00

Morning Psalm 65

1   Praise is due to you,
          O God, in Zion;
     and to you shall vows be performed,
2        O you who answer prayer!
     To you all flesh shall come.
3   When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
          you forgive our transgressions.
4   Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
          to live in your courts.
     We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
          your holy temple.


5   By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
          O God of our salvation;
     you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
          and of the farthest seas.
6   By your strength you established the mountains;
          you are girded with might.
7   You silence the roaring of the seas,
          the roaring of their waves,
          the tumult of the peoples.
8   Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
          you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.


9   You visit the earth and water it,
          you greatly enrich it;
     the river of God is full of water;
          you provide the people with grain,
          for so you have prepared it.
10  You water its furrows abundantly,
          settling its ridges,
     softening it with showers,
          and blessing its growth.
11  You crown the year with your bounty;
          your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12  The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
          the hills gird themselves with joy,
13  the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
          the valleys deck themselves with grain,
          they shout and sing together for joy.

Morning Psalm 147:1-11

1   Praise the Lord!
          How good it is to sing praises to our God;
          for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2   The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
          he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3   He heals the brokenhearted,
          and binds up their wounds.
4   He determines the number of the stars;
          he gives to all of them their names.
5   Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
          his understanding is beyond measure.
6   The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
          he casts the wicked to the ground.


7   Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
          make melody to our God on the lyre.
8   He covers the heavens with clouds,
          prepares rain for the earth,
          makes grass grow on the hills.
9   He gives to the animals their food,
          and to the young ravens when they cry.
10  His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
          nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11  but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
          in those who hope in his steadfast love.

First Reading Ezra 10:1-17

1While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him out of Israel; the people also wept bitterly. 2Shecaniah son of Jehiel, of the descendants of Elam, addressed Ezra, saying, “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3So now let us make a covenant with our God to send away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. 4Take action, for it is your duty, and we are with you; be strong, and do it.” 5Then Ezra stood up and made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear that they would do as had been said. So they swore.

6Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God, and went to the chamber of Jehohanan son of Eliashib, where he spent the night. He did not eat bread or drink water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. 7They made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, 8and that if any did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all their property should be forfeited, and they themselves banned from the congregation of the exiles.

9Then all the people of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days; it was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. All the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain. 10Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have trespassed and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. 11Now make confession to the LORD the God of your ancestors, and do his will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said. 13But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for many of us have transgressed in this matter. 14Let our officials represent the whole assembly, and let all in our towns who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every town, until the fierce wrath of our God on this account is averted from us.” 15Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levites supported them.

16Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men, heads of families, according to their families, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter. 17By the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

Second Reading Revelation 21:9-21

9Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. 12It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; 13on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. 17He also measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using. 18The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. 19The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.

Gospel Reading Matthew 17:22-27

22As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, 23and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed.

24When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?” 25He said, “Yes, he does.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?” 26When Peter said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the children are free. 27However, so that we do not give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.”

Evening Psalm 125

1   Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
          which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2   As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
          so the LORD surrounds his people,
          from this time on and forevermore.
3   For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
          on the land allotted to the righteous,
     so that the righteous might not stretch out
          their hands to do wrong.
4   Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
          and to those who are upright in their hearts.
5   But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways
          the LORD will lead away with evildoers.
          Peace be upon Israel!

Evening Psalm 91

1   You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
          who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
2   will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress;
          my God, in whom I trust.”
3   For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
          and from the deadly pestilence;
4   he will cover you with his pinions,
          and under his wings you will find refuge;
          his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5   You will not fear the terror of the night,
          or the arrow that flies by day,
6   or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
          or the destruction that wastes at noonday.


7   A thousand may fall at your side,
          ten thousand at your right hand,
          but it will not come near you.
8   You will only look with your eyes
          and see the punishment of the wicked.


9   Because you have made the LORD your refuge,
          the Most High your dwelling place,
10  no evil shall befall you,
          no scourge come near your tent.


11  For he will command his angels concerning you
          to guard you in all your ways.
12  On their hands they will bear you up,
          so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
13  You will tread on the lion and the adder,
          the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.


14  Those who love me, I will deliver;
          I will protect those who know my name.
15  When they call to me, I will answer them;
          I will be with them in trouble,
          I will rescue them and honor them.


16  With long life I will satisfy them,
          and show them my salvation.

Reformed faith and #GivingTuesday

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 09:48

November 21, 2017

Presbyterian theologian Chip Hardwick says #GivingTuesday is a good opportunity for Presbyterians to model “helpfulness for our neighbor,” a value that was prominent in the thought church reformer John Calvin.

Zimbabwe church leaders call for prayer, unity to birth a new nation

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 07:01

November 21, 2017

The heads of Christian Churches in Zimbabwe issued a pastoral message to the nation on Wednesday, November 15, urging calm, prayer and national dialogue. The ecumenical statement was released just hours after four armored personnel carriers rolled into Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, and military officers reportedly seized control of the state broadcaster and placed 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe under effective house arrest.

‘Melting Pot’ no longer!

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 03:52

November 21, 2017

I am an immigrant and a former refugee. I came from Cuba to the United States via Spain in the late ’60s. I belong to that group of people from the “Global South’’ who began migrating to this country by the millions after the liberalization of immigration laws in 1965.

Daily Lectionary Readings for November 21, 2017

Daily Lectionary - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 22:00

Morning Psalm 54

1   Save me, O God, by your name,
          and vindicate me by your might.
2   Hear my prayer, O God;
          give ear to the words of my mouth.


3   For the insolent have risen against me,
          the ruthless seek my life;
          they do not set God before them.                              Selah


4   But surely, God is my helper;
          the Lord is the upholder of my life.
5   He will repay my enemies for their evil.
          In your faithfulness, put an end to them.


6   With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
          I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
7   For he has delivered me from every trouble,
          and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Morning Psalm 146

1   Praise the LORD!
     Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2   I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
          I will sing praises to my God all my life long.


3   Do not put your trust in princes,
          in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4   When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
          on that very day their plans perish.


5   Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
          whose hope is in the LORD their God,
6   who made heaven and earth,
          the sea, and all that is in them;
     who keeps faith forever;
7        who executes justice for the oppressed;
          who gives food to the hungry.


     The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8        the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
     The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
          the LORD loves the righteous.
9   The LORD watches over the strangers;
          he upholds the orphan and the widow,
          but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.


10  The LORD will reign forever,
          your God, O Zion, for all generations.
     Praise the LORD!

First Reading Ezra 9:1-15

1After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons. Thus the holy seed has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands, and in this faithlessness the officials and leaders have led the way.” 3When I heard this, I tore my garment and my mantle, and pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat appalled. 4Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice.

5At the evening sacrifice I got up from my fasting, with my garments and my mantle torn, and fell on my knees, spread out my hands to the LORD my God, 6and said,
        “O my God, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. 7From the days of our ancestors to this day we have been deep in guilt, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as is now the case. 8But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, who has left us a remnant, and given us a stake in his holy place, in order that he may brighten our eyes and grant us a little sustenance in our slavery. 9For we are slaves; yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to give us new life to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judea and Jerusalem.

10“And now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering to possess is a land unclean with the pollutions of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations. They have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. 12Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, 14shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you destroy us without remnant or survivor? 15O LORD, God of Israel, you are just, but we have escaped as a remnant, as is now the case. Here we are before you in our guilt, though no one can face you because of this.”

Second Reading Revelation 21:1-8

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
     “See, the home of God is among mortals.
     He will dwell with them;
     they will be his peoples,
     and God himself will be with them;
4   he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
     Death will be no more;
     mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
     for the first things have passed away.”

5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Gospel Reading Matthew 17:14-21

14When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” 18And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Evening Psalm 28

1   To you, O LORD, I call;
          my rock, do not refuse to hear me,
     for if you are silent to me,
          I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
2   Hear the voice of my supplication,
          as I cry to you for help,
     as I lift up my hands
          toward your most holy sanctuary.


3   Do not drag me away with the wicked,
          with those who are workers of evil,
     who speak peace with their neighbors,
          while mischief is in their hearts.
4   Repay them according to their work,
          and according to the evil of their deeds;
     repay them according to the work of their hands;
          render them their due reward.
5   Because they do not regard the works of the LORD,
          or the work of his hands,
     he will break them down and build them up no more.


6   Blessed be the LORD,
          for he has heard the sound of my pleadings.
7   The LORD is my strength and my shield;
          in him my heart trusts;
     so I am helped, and my heart exults,
          and with my song I give thanks to him.


8   The LORD is the strength of his people;
          he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9   O save your people, and bless your heritage;
          be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

Evening Psalm 99

1   The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble!
          He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2   The LORD is great in Zion;
          he is exalted over all the peoples.
3   Let them praise your great and awesome name.
          Holy is he!
4   Mighty King, lover of justice,
          you have established equity;
     you have executed justice
          and righteousness in Jacob.
5   Extol the LORD our God;
          worship at his footstool.
          Holy is he!

6   Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
          Samuel also was among those who called on his name.
          They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.
7   He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
          they kept his decrees,
          and the statutes that he gave them.


8   O LORD our God, you answered them;
          you were a forgiving God to them,
          but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9   Extol the LORD our God,
          and worship at his holy mountain;
          for the LORD our God is holy.

Hands & Feet team from Iowa builds connections in St. Louis

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 13:55

Stated Clerk’s initiative pairs service with education on community issues

November 20, 2017

Mission team from the Presbytery of East Iowa during their service with Hands & Feet in partnership with AMEN|St. Louis

Eva Stimson

Correspondent

Office of the General Assembly Communications

LOUISVILLE

[한국어] The Presbytery of East Iowa mission team, which visited St. Louis November 2–5, is one of numerous groups expected to head to the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy over the next seven months as part of an initiative called “Hands & Feet” leading up to the 223rd General Assembly (2018) next June.

The goal of the Hands & Feet initiative is to strengthen local and national mission efforts of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by encouraging partnerships and mission involvement with cities hosting the biennial meeting of the General Assembly.

아이오와 출신의 핸즈& 피트 팀이 세인트 루이스에서 관계를 구축함

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 13:20

정서기의 제안은 지역 사회 문제에 대한 교육 서비스를 제공함

November 20, 2017

아멘/세인트 루이스와 파트너인 이스트 아이오와 노회의 선교팀이 핸즈&피트 봉사를 함

에바 스팀손

총회 사무국 통신부 통신원

루이빌

11월 2일부터 5일까지 세인트 루이스를 방문한 East Iowa 노회 선교팀은 "핸즈 & 피트"라는 이니셔티브의 일환으로 내년 6 월 223차 총회(2018)까지 다음 7개월 동안 Giddings-Lovejoy 노회에서 봉사할 것으로 예상하는 수많은 그룹들 중 하나이다.

Hands & Feet 이니셔티브의 목표는 총회의 격년 회의를 주최하는 도시들과의 파트너십과 선교 참여를 장려함으로써 미국장로교회의 지역 및 전국 선교 활동을 강화하는 것이다.

Agency employees to see changes in pay scales

United Methodist News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 12:13
The General Council on Finance and Administration board unanimously approved new pay ranges for agency staff, despite objections of agency top executives.

`Missio Dei’ proves challenging colloquy topic

United Methodist News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 08:41
Board of Higher Education and Ministry gathers United Methodist bishops, seminary scholars for discussion of God’s mission for the church

Call to action for the Democratic Republic of Congo

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 08:07

November 20, 2017

The humanitarian conditions in the conflict-ridden Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are rapidly deteriorating. There is a now a deepening hunger crisis and an estimated 3.2 million people are without reliable access to enough nutritious food.

Comfort women: The human face of war in Korea

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 06:23

November 20, 2017

War has a human face. Every shadow, every line, every wrinkle is part of the story. A PC(USA) peace delegation visited the War & Women’s Human Rights Museum during their recent visit to South Korea.

How churches use data to reveal mission and ministry opportunities

Presbyterian (PCUSA) News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 03:50

November 20, 2017

Presbyterians are known as belonging to a “thinking” denomination. Our Reformed theology emphasizes the importance of having an educated clergy and an informed laity, and we have a long tradition of involvement in education, with more than 50 Presbyterian colleges and universities.

Daily Lectionary Readings for November 20, 2017

Daily Lectionary - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:00

Morning Psalm 57

1   Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
          for in you my soul takes refuge;
     in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
          until the destroying storms pass by.
2   I cry to God Most High,
          to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3   He will send from heaven and save me,
          he will put to shame those who trample on me. Selah
     God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.


4   I lie down among lions
          that greedily devour human prey;
     their teeth are spears and arrows,
          their tongues sharp swords.


5   Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
          Let your glory be over all the earth.


6   They set a net for my steps;
          my soul was bowed down.
     They dug a pit in my path,
          but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
7   My heart is steadfast, O God,
          my heart is steadfast.
     I will sing and make melody.
8        Awake, my soul!
     Awake, O harp and lyre!
          I will awake the dawn.
9   I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
          I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10   For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;
          your faithfulness extends to the clouds.


11   Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
     Let your glory be over all the earth.

Morning Psalm 145

1   I will extol you, my God and King,
          and bless your name forever and ever.
2   Every day I will bless you,
          and praise your name forever and ever.
3   Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
          his greatness is unsearchable.


4   One generation shall laud your works to another,
          and shall declare your mighty acts.
5   On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
          and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6   The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
          and I will declare your greatness.
7   They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
          and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.


8   The Lord is gracious and merciful,
          slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9   The Lord is good to all,
          and his compassion is over all that he has made.


10  All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
          and all your faithful shall bless you.
11  They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
          and tell of your power,
12  to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
          and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
          and your dominion endures throughout all generations.


     The Lord is faithful in all his words,
          and gracious in all his deeds.
14  The Lord upholds all who are falling,
          and raises up all who are bowed down.
15  The eyes of all look to you,
          and you give them their food in due season.
16  You open your hand,
          satisfying the desire of every living thing.
17  The Lord is just in all his ways,
          and kind in all his doings.
18  The Lord is near to all who call on him,
          to all who call on him in truth.
19  He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
          he also hears their cry, and saves them.
20  The Lord watches over all who love him,
          but all the wicked he will destroy.


21  My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
          and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

First Reading Ezra 7:27-28, 8:21-36

7:27Blessed be the LORD, the God of our ancestors, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king to glorify the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, 28and who extended to me steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

8:21Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might deny ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and cavalry to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king that the hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him, but his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him. 23So we fasted and petitioned our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

24Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests: Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their kin with them. 25And I weighed out to them the silver and the gold and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God that the king, his counselors, his lords, and all Israel there present had offered; 26I weighed out into their hand six hundred fifty talents of silver, and one hundred silver vessels worth ... talents, and one hundred talents of gold, 27twenty gold bowls worth a thousand darics, and two vessels of fine polished bronze as precious as gold. 28And I said to them, “You are holy to the LORD, and the vessels are holy; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your ancestors. 29Guard them and keep them until you weigh them before the chief priests and the Levites and the heads of families in Israel at Jerusalem, within the chambers of the house of the LORD.” 30So the priests and the Levites took over the silver, the gold, and the vessels as they were weighed out, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.

31Then we left the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem; the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes along the way. 32We came to Jerusalem and remained there three days. 33On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed into the hands of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. 34The total was counted and weighed, and the weight of everything was recorded.

35At that time those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats; all this was a burnt offering to the LORD. 36They also delivered the king’s commissions to the king’s satraps and to the governors of the province Beyond the River; and they supported the people and the house of God.

Second Reading Revelation 20:7-15

7When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. 9They marched up over the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. 13And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Gospel Reading Matthew 17:1-13

1Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10And the disciples asked him, “Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; 12but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” 13Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.

Evening Psalm 85

1   LORD, you were favorable to your land;
          you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2   You forgave the iniquity of your people;
          you pardoned all their sin. Selah
3   You withdrew all your wrath;
          you turned from your hot anger.


4   Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
          and put away your indignation toward us.
5   Will you be angry with us forever?
          Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6   Will you not revive us again,
          so that your people may rejoice in you?
7   Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
          and grant us your salvation.


8   Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
          for he will speak peace to his people,
          to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9   Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
          that his glory may dwell in our land.


10  Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
          righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11  Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
          and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12  The LORD will give what is good,
          and our land will yield its increase.
13  Righteousness will go before him,
          and will make a path for his steps.

Evening Psalm 47

1   Clap your hands, all you peoples;
          shout to God with loud songs of joy.
2   For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome,
          a great king over all the earth.
3   He subdued peoples under us,
          and nations under our feet.
4   He chose our heritage for us,
          the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah


5   God has gone up with a shout,
          the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6   Sing praises to God, sing praises;
          sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7   For God is the king of all the earth;
          sing praises with a psalm.


8   God is king over the nations;
          God sits on his holy throne.
9   The princes of the peoples gather
          as the people of the God of Abraham.
     For the shields of the earth belong to God;
          he is highly exalted.

Daily Lectionary Readings for November 19, 2017

Daily Lectionary - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 22:00

Morning Psalm 67

1May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.


4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.


6The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
7May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Morning Psalm 150

1   Praise the Lord!
     Praise God in his sanctuary;
          praise him in his mighty firmament!
2   Praise him for his mighty deeds;
          praise him according to his surpassing greatness!


3   Praise him with trumpet sound;
          praise him with lute and harp!
4   Praise him with tambourine and dance;
          praise him with strings and pipe!
5   Praise him with clanging cymbals;
          praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6   Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
     Praise the Lord!

First Reading Ezra 7:(1-10) 11-26

1After this, in the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of the chief priest Aaron — 6this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the LORD the God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was upon him.

7Some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants also went up to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8They came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was begun, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the gracious hand of his God was upon him. 10For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.

11This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to the priest Ezra, the scribe, a scholar of the text of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel: 12“Artaxerxes, king of kings, to the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven: Peace. And now 13I decree that any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom who freely offers to go to Jerusalem may go with you. 14For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your hand, 15and also to convey the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, given willingly for the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, and their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18Whatever seems good to you and your colleagues to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which you are responsible for providing, you may provide out of the king’s treasury.

21”I, King Artaxerxes, decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred cors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and unlimited salt. 23Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, or wrath will come upon the realm of the king and his heirs. 24We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on any of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.

25“And you, Ezra, according to the God-given wisdom you possess, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River who know the laws of your God; and you shall teach those who do not know them. 26All who will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on them, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of their goods or for imprisonment.”

Second Reading Acts 28:14b-23

14bAnd so we came to Rome. 15The believers from there, when they heard of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.

16When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

17Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor — even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. 20For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21They replied, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you. 22But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

23After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.

Gospel Reading Luke 16:1-13

1Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ 3Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ 7Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ 8And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

10“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Evening Psalm 46

1   God is our refuge and strength,
          a very present help in trouble.
2   Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
          though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3   though its waters roar and foam,
          though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah


4   There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
          the holy habitation of the Most High.
5   God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
          God will help it when the morning dawns.
6   The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
          he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7   The LORD of hosts is with us;
          the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah


8   Come, behold the works of the LORD;
          see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9   He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
          he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
          he burns the shields with fire.
10  “Be still, and know that I am God!
          I am exalted among the nations,
          I am exalted in the earth.”
11  The LORD of hosts is with us;
          the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Evening Psalm 93

1   The LORD is king, he is robed in majesty;
          the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength.
     He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
2        your throne is established from of old;
          you are from everlasting.


3   The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
          the floods have lifted up their voice;
          the floods lift up their roaring.
4   More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
          more majestic than the waves of the sea,
          majestic on high is the LORD!


5   Your decrees are very sure;
          holiness befits your house,
          O LORD, forevermore.

Daily Lectionary Readings for November 18, 2017

Daily Lectionary - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:00

Morning Psalm 56

1   Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;
          all day long foes oppress me;
2   my enemies trample on me all day long,
          for many fight against me.
     O Most High, 3 when I am afraid,
          I put my trust in you.
4   In God, whose word I praise,
          in God I trust; I am not afraid;
          what can flesh do to me?


5   All day long they seek to injure my cause;
          all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6   They stir up strife, they lurk,
          they watch my steps.
     As they hoped to have my life,
7        so repay them for their crime;
          in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!


8   You have kept count of my tossings;
          put my tears in your bottle.
          Are they not in your record?
9   Then my enemies will retreat
          in the day when I call.
          This I know, that God is for me.
10  In God, whose word I praise,
          in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11  in God I trust; I am not afraid.
          What can a mere mortal do to me?


12  My vows to you I must perform, O God;
          I will render thank offerings to you.
13  For you have delivered my soul from death,
          and my feet from falling,
     so that I may walk before God
          in the light of life

Morning Psalm 149

1   Praise the Lord!
     Sing to the Lord a new song,
          his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
2   Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
          let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
3   Let them praise his name with dancing,
          making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
4   For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
          he adorns the humble with victory.
5   Let the faithful exult in glory;
          let them sing for joy on their couches.
6   Let the high praises of God be in their throats
          and two-edged swords in their hands,
7   to execute vengeance on the nations
          and punishment on the peoples,
8   to bind their kings with fetters
          and their nobles with chains of iron,
9   to execute on them the judgment decreed.
          This is glory for all his faithful ones.
     Praise the Lord!

First Reading Nehemiah 13:4-22

4Now before this, the priest Eliashib, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5prepared for Tobiah a large room where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6While this was taking place I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes of Babylon I went to the king. After some time I asked leave of the king 7and returned to Jerusalem. I then discovered the wrong that Eliashib had done on behalf of Tobiah, preparing a room for him in the courts of the house of God. 8And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the room. 9Then I gave orders and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.

10I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them; so that the Levites and the singers, who had conducted the service, had gone back to their fields. 11So I remonstrated with the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses the priest Shelemiah, the scribe Zadok, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan son of Zaccur son of Mattaniah, for they were considered faithful; and their duty was to distribute to their associates. 14Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.

15In those days I saw in Judah people treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys; and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day; and I warned them at that time against selling food. 16Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of merchandise and sold them on the sabbath to the people of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17Then I remonstrated with the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the sabbath day? 18Did not your ancestors act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring more wrath on Israel by profaning the sabbath.”

19When it began to be dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the sabbath. And I set some of my servants over the gates, to prevent any burden from being brought in on the sabbath day. 20Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you spend the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the sabbath. 22And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.

Second Reading Revelation 20:1-6

1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

4Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him a thousand years.

Gospel Reading Matthew 16:21-28

21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

27“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Evening Psalm 118

1   O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
          his steadfast love endures forever!


2   Let Israel say,
          “His steadfast love endures forever.”
3   Let the house of Aaron say,
          “His steadfast love endures forever.”
4   Let those who fear the LORD say,
          “His steadfast love endures forever.”


5   Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
          the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
6   With the LORD on my side I do not fear.
          What can mortals do to me?
7   The LORD is on my side to help me;
          I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8   It is better to take refuge in the LORD
          than to put confidence in mortals.
9   It is better to take refuge in the LORD
          than to put confidence in princes.


10  All nations surrounded me;
          in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
11  They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
          in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
12  They surrounded me like bees;
          they blazed like a fire of thorns;
          in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
13  I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
          but the LORD helped me.
14  The LORD is my strength and my might;
          he has become my salvation.


15  There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
     “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;
16       the right hand of the LORD is exalted;
          the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”
17  I shall not die, but I shall live,
          and recount the deeds of the LORD.
18  The LORD has punished me severely,
          but he did not give me over to death.


19  Open to me the gates of righteousness,
          that I may enter through them
          and give thanks to the LORD.


20  This is the gate of the LORD;
          the righteous shall enter through it.


21  I thank you that you have answered me
          and have become my salvation.
22  The stone that the builders rejected
          has become the chief cornerstone.
23  This is the LORD’s doing;
          it is marvelous in our eyes.
24  This is the day that the LORD has made;
          let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25  Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
          O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!


26  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
          We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27  The LORD is God,
          and he has given us light.
     Bind the festal procession with branches,
          up to the horns of the altar.


28  You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
          you are my God, I will extol you.


29  O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
          for his steadfast love endures forever.

Evening Psalm 111

1   Praise the LORD!
     I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
          in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2   Great are the works of the LORD,
          studied by all who delight in them.
3   Full of honor and majesty is his work,
          and his righteousness endures forever.
4   He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
          the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5   He provides food for those who fear him;
          he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6   He has shown his people the power of his works,
          in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7   The works of his hands are faithful and just;
          all his precepts are trustworthy.
8   They are established forever and ever,
          to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9   He sent redemption to his people;
          he has commanded his covenant forever.
          Holy and awesome is his name.
10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
          all those who practice it have a good understanding.
          His praise endures forever.

Guidelines and Policies of the General Assembly Exhibit Hall

Presbyterian Mission Resources - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 11:25

The purpose of the General Assembly Exhibit Hall is to display a wide range of resources and services that support the purpose of the General Assembly and advance its goals.

  • Oversight and management
  • Eligibility for Exhibit Space
  • Policies

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