Weekly Spiritual Readings

November 21, 2014



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To let God be God, of course, means climbing down from my own executive chair of control.  --Philip Yancey

Be obedient in the painful times, and trust that God is up to something more grand and wonderful than you can imagine. --Susie Larson

For those of us who know God, pain is a process with a certain purpose. We don’t make it through tough times. We are made through tough times—made into the beauty of Christ Jesus. And in that perspective, the pain is worth the gain. --Joseph Stowell

I'm taking the Lord at His word, and I'm trusting Him to prove His Word. It's kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket, but we've already put our trust in Him for salvation, so why not do it as far as our life is concerned? --Ed McCully

May God give us a pure heart so we may see Him; a humble heart so we may hear Him; a loving heart so we may serve Him; a faithful heart so we may live Him. --Dag Hammarskjold

God has created both the mother's milk and the child's desire to drink it. But the milk does not flow of itself into the child's mouth. No, the child must lie in its mother bosom and suck the milk diligently. God has created the spiritual food which we need. He has filled the soul of man with desire for this food, with an impulse to cry out for it and to drink it in. The spiritual milk, the nourishment of our souls, we receive through prayer. By means of fervent prayer we must receive it into our souls. As we do this we become stronger day by day, just like the infant at the breast. --Sadhu Sundar Singh

I've noticed something. Nowhere in the bible does God ever say. "Oh no! I wasn't expecting them to do that! Now what am I going to do!" Nothing catches God by surprise and no circumstance is beyond his power to redeem. --Katherine Walden

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God's Timetable, Not Ours Author Unknown
I heard a story which illustrates how we often confuse God's timing with ours. A country newspaper had been running a series of articles on the value of church attendance.
One day, a letter to the editor was received in the newspaper office. It read, "Print this if you dare. I have been trying an experiment. I have a field of corn which I plowed on Sunday. I planted it on Sunday. I did all the cultivating on Sunday. I gathered the harvest on Sunday and hauled it to my barn on Sunday. I find that my harvest this October is just as great as any of my neighbors' who went to church on Sunday. So where was God all this time?"
The editor printed the letter, but added his reply at the bottom. "Your mistake was in thinking that God always settles his accounts in October."
That's often our mistake as well, isn't it - thinking that God should act when and how we want him to act, according to our timetable rather than his. The fact that our vision is limited, finite, unable to see the end from the beginning, somehow escapes our mind. So we complain; we get frustrated; we accuse God of being indifferent to us.
That's when God gently reminds us that... "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts". (Isaiah 55:8-9)
God's timetable is perfect. He will do exactly what is best for us - in His own time - according to his wonderful plans for us, because He loves us so much. Wait! Be patient! His clock may show a different time than our clock, but it's the right one.

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The Attitude A Norvell Thought
Relationships! Whew! To say relationships are difficult to cultivate and maintain is a major understatement.
A significant portion of lives are consumed with trying to create, understand and improve our relationships. We read books. We attend lectures and seminars. We ask friends for advice. We seek the wisdom of experienced. We lose sleep over relationships. We stress over relationships. We cry over broken relationships and we shed tears of joy when relationships mature and last for years.
Marriage relationships are difficult. Parent and child relationships stretch us to our limits. Friendships keep us perplexed. Spiritual relationships can be extremely disappointing due to our expectations that come from the fact that we are dealing with people of like faith and similar thinking.
Relationship gurus offer a variety of suggestions for improving our relationships. Better communication. Spend more time together. Spend better time together. For men: talk more. For women: talk less. For both: listen more and better. For parents: ask the right questions, ask questions in the right way, watch your tone when asking questions, and don’t ask too many questions.
In writing to a group of Christians who were dealing with some critical relationship matters that were threatening the spiritual harmony of the community, Paul offered simple but profound advice:
“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.” (Philippians 2:5, The Message)
That’s easy, isn’t it? Just think about yourself the way Christ thought about himself. No problem.
Another version called it an attitude,“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:5, NAS)
Another calls it a mindset: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
The mindset, the attitude of thinking like Christ involves becoming a servant. The original language indicates it is the lowliest of the servants. To live like Jesus, to treat others like Jesus treated people, requires us to empty ourselves of our natural tendencies and replace them with the tendencies of God.
To be like Jesus we must replace our arrogance with humility. To be like Jesus we must practice a level of obedience and submission beyond anything that would come to us naturally. It requires an obedience that would enable us to give our very life should it come to that.
Here is how Paul described it: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11, NIV) Relationships! Whew! What do you do? Start here: Have the attitude of Jesus.

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Muddy Path by Sally I. Kennedy
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us. Psalm 67:1
What a perfect day for a fall hike. We were excited to get outdoors in crisp air and bright sunshine. The path was just wide enough to have been well-traveled when it was a stagecoach trail. I squeezed my fists, trying to capture a little of the wonderful cool dry air.
Barely over the rickety wooden bridge the path began to change from a little bit rocky and dusty to slightly muddy. Shade and shadows from the skinny-trunked aspen trees cast dark coolness onto the path. By the time we were a bit farther, the path became with squishy mud.
On the return, I glimpsed at the brook to the left, humming happily along. From there on back, the path reverted from muddy to dusty but solid and easy to walk on.
The muddy part of the path was not in sunlight: the other was. I thought, "Just a little sunshine makes such a difference."
Sometimes my life begins to resemble a muddy path. It's good for me to remember that a little Son-light on it could make all the difference.
Prayer: When my path gets muddy, Lord, from cares and concerns and stuff in my life, I pray that You will shine on them all, and restore my path. Thank you, Lord. in Jesus' name, amen.

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My Plans by Sally I. Kennedy
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 20:24)
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and he delights in his way. (Psalm 37:23)
You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:21)
I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I had the day all planned out. Just enough time to do everything on my list.
Not too far into the morning that got entirely rearranged. I was fussing and fuming about it to myself when all of a sudden I realized that I had given the day to God, as I do most mornings, giving him free reign for whatever would take place that day.
God is never early, and He's never late; He is always right on time. When He orchestrates a day's schedule and plans, He has a reason. We can trust that it is for good, and remember there's always a bigger picture.
As I write this, I am thinking, "I hope I can remember this the next time my plans get bumped and the day's activities get totally shuffled around!", and be thankful.

 
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EYE OPENER Author Unknown
I saw him in the church building for the first time on Wednesday. He was in his mid-70's, with thinning silver hair and a neat brown suit. Many times in the past I had invited him to come. Several other Christian friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to share the good news with him.
He was a well-respected, honest man with so many characteristics a Christian should have, but he had never put on Christ, nor entered the doors of the church.
"Have you ever been to a church service in your life?" I had asked him a few years ago. We had just finished a pleasant day of visiting and talking.
He hesitated. Then with a bitter smile he told me of his childhood experience some fifty years ago. He was one of many children in a large impoverished family. His parents had struggled to provide food, with little left for housing and clothing. When he was about ten, some neighbors invited him to worship with them.
The Sunday School class had been very exciting! He had never heard such songs and stories before!
He had never heard anyone read from the Bible! After class was over, the teacher took him aside and said, "Son, please don't come again dressed as you are now. We want to look our best when we come into God's house."
He stood in his ragged, unpatched overalls. Then looking at his dirty bare feet, he answered softly, "No, ma'am, I won't ever."
"And I never did," he said, abruptly ending our conversation.
There must have been other factors to have hardened him so, but this experience formed a significant part of the bitterness in his heart.
I'm sure that Sunday School teacher meant well. But did she really understand the love of Christ? Had she studied and accepted the teachings found in the second chapter of James?
What if she had put her arms around the dirty, ragged little boy and said, "Son, I am so glad you are here, and I hope you will come every chance you get to hear more about Jesus."
I reflected on the awesome responsibility a teacher or pastor or a parent has to welcome little ones in His name. How far reaching her influence was!
I prayed that I might be ever open to the tenderness of a child's heart, and that I might never fail to see beyond the appearance and behavior of a child to the eternal possibilities within.
Yes, I saw him in the church house for the first time on Wednesday. As I looked at that immaculately dressed old gentleman lying in his casket, I thought of the little boy of long ago. I could almost hear him say, "No, ma'am, I won't ever."
And I wept.


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Rely Not On Yourselves Author Unknown
"Rely not on yourselves, but on God...
He delivered us...
He will deliver us...
He will continue to deliver us..." (2 Corinthians 1:9-11 NIV)
I quit!
I've tried my best to live
...as God expects me to
....as my family expects me to
I want to do the best, but I always fail.
I give up!
There's no use trying!
I just fail...
I?
"Rely not on yourselves, but on God...
He delivered us
He will deliver us
He will continue to deliver us"
Again and again and again
like food,
like sleep,
God will give us strength every day.
"Rely not on yourselves, but on God"

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THE POWER OF SALT!
Salt has a marvelous effect on a lot of things and more uses than "you can shake a stick at," as my mother says. Most of us are familiar with Matthew 5:13 regarding salt. In this passage God uses salt in his description of man, his religion and his relationship to the world. Notice what he says, "You are the salt of the earth; but if its taste goes from the salt, how will you make it salt again? it is then good for nothing but to be put out and crushed under foot by men."
Have you ever had food that was bland, with no taste, missing something.... maybe just a little salt would help bring out the flavor, I have and you probably have too. What do we begin to do? Generally we look for or ask for some salt. I have been in some situations though where I haven't asked for or added salt. It may be that I am in a strange place and don't know where it is or it is unavailable, maybe I don't want to hurt the cooks feelings. But you know what, the food just isn't as enjoyable without the salt. I have tried the "salt substitutes," that are supposed replacements for the real thing. I can tell you, they aren't! I don't care what the advertisers try to tell you, there is no substitute for real "made by God" salt. It brings the flavor to life and there simply nothing better that can replace it.
I had to laugh when I read the following little story. It seems a five-year-old was watching his mother change the baby. When she overlooked sprinkling the baby's backside with talcum powder and hurried him into his diaper, the five-year-old chimed in, "Hey, Mom, you forgot to salt him!"
You see the point of the passage above is that we are the salt of the world. If your life is not spicy enough, doesn't zing your taste buds maybe it's because your salt has lost its taste. What does that mean? Simply, maybe you need re-salted or your saltshaker needs refilled with a good dose of God and not a salt substitute.
We are the "salt of the earth." How many of your friends are looking for a better more fulfilling life? Could you share "a little salt," with them? You can't unless your own salt-shaker (your life) is filled with "the real thing," a strong relationship with the source of all things, our God!
Have a great tasting day! --Russ Lawson

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
It is good to have a plan, but you must also be willing to scrap your good ideas and change course for the sake of staying in the flow of the Spirit, says the Lord. Be sensitive to My leading as I take you on a path that you have not known nor understood. There are things that you must experience in order to learn more of My kingdom and purposes, says the Lord. Be flexible. 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

When you face life's dilemmas refuse to allow frustration or discouragement to have any part in your process of finding solutions. Rather, quiet your thoughts and emotions and seek Me for wisdom. You can accomplish nothing when you find yourself in turmoil. But, I will show you the way out of impossibility, says the Lord. Put your trust in Me, for I am the God of possibilities. Psalms 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Take a moment to look back and gain perspective of how far you have come and how much you have grown. Enjoy that moment, but use it as a measuring line of how much further you can go if you set your heart again on your spiritual journey on the earth. There is much for you to do in the days ahead, and I am preparing you to fulfill your kingdom purpose, says the Lord. Psalms 84:5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

In a vision I saw a man clearing the rubble from a brick wall that had been destroyed, and when I looked beyond the wall I saw a city in ruins and a few people working to clear the rubble. And, I heard the Lord say, "This is a picture of the church, which has been ravaged and lies in ruins. I call to the remnant to clean up the mess and rebuild according to My plumbline and standards. It will be a great and lasting work."
Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.

Beloved, your prayers for wisdom, direction, and breakthrough have come up before Me, says the Lord. I have heard and answered your request, and you will soon see your situation become more transparent and understandable. Things will begin to unfold and what you need to do next will suddenly become obvious as I make a way where there seemed to be no way. Isaiah 42:16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
Rise up, My people, this is your finest hour. This is due season and time to receive the anointing of this day. It’s time to stand up and walk on the path of the new beginning that I have prepared and that I am sending you on. Your advance will be more glorious than it ever has been and your adventures will be greater than anything you have experienced in the past. I will go with you and walk with you. I will empower you for this season. So, rise up in faith believing that which I am speaking to you.

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HEALED AND WHOLE Author Unknown
One day I dug a little hole,
and put my hurt inside
I thought that I could just forget
I'd put it there to hide.
But that little hurt began to grow,
I covered it every day
I couldn't leave it and go on
It seemed the price I had to pay.
My joy was gone,
my heart was sad,
pain was all I knew.
My wounded soul enveloped me
Loving seemed too hard to do.
One day, while standing by my hole,
I cried to God above
And said, "If You are really there,
They say, You're a God of Love!"
And just like that,
He was right there,
And just put His arms around me
He wiped my tears,
his hurting child there was no safer place to be.
I told Him all about my hurt,
I opened up my heart
He listened to each and every word
to every sordid part.
I dug down deep and got my hurt
I brushed the dirt away
And placed it in the Master's hand
and healing came that day.
He took the blackness of my soul
and set my spirit FREE!
Something beautiful began to grow
where the hurt used to be.
And when I look at what has grown
Out of my tears and pain
I remember every day
to give my hurts to GOD
And never bury them again.
Have faith in our Loving God.
There is nothing in this world
too big for our LORD.
May GOD bless you each and every one.

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God's Promise by Vi B. Chevalier
Whenever your heart is hurting,
And you're filled with much despair,
Wherever you turn, friend, for solace,
Remember that God's always there.
Whatever fate brings without warning,
Whatever the trials that you bear,
God's love and grace will enfold you,
If you turn to Him in prayer.
For He is the rainbow above us,
Awesome for all to see,
Reflecting His promise and glory
When we seek Him implicitly.


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On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:37-38

"We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
Acts 13:32-33; 38-39

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2; 8-10; 15-21

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. 2 Timothy 4:16-18; 22

Praise the LORD , O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:1-6

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." John 14:1-4

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Psalm 95:1-7

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Thaw out!
John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
We're in the midst of freezing weather in the Northern U.S. as temperatures have dropped significantly over the past few days. It reminded of a story of a time when the Niagara Falls froze over.
An estimated 500,000 tons of water go over Niagara Falls every minute. On March 29, 1948, the falls suddenly stopped. Those who lived near enough heard the overwhelming silence, and immediately they thought it was a sign – the end of the world had come! However, after thirty hours had passed – the flow of water resumed.
What happened? Heavy winds had set the ice fields of Lake Erie in motion and tons of ice had jammed the Niagara River entrance near Buffalo. The ice blocked the flow of water until finally, there was a shift in the blockage and the river began flowing again.
The river had stopped flowing because of ice.
If we really want the flow of God’s love, peace, joy, and anointing in our lives – we cannot allow our hearts to become like ice.
Let the Lord search your heart for those areas where the ice has built up and needs to thaw out. He will show you where they are if you ask. Our hearts should be burning for Him, so let the river flow.... once again... be faithful to the end!


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"Thank You, Lord, for the love, the laughter, the love You give us all our lives. May we always, at whatever age, celebrate Your goodness and live fully for You, In Jesus' Name, Amen."

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Read Through The Bible
Nehemiah 3
Rebuilding the Wall
1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the Tower of the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2 Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built. 3 Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars. 4 And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, made repairs. Next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok the son of Baana made repairs. 5 Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord. 6 Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and bars. 7 And next to them Melatiah the Gibeonite, Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, repaired the residence of the governor of the region beyond the River. 8 Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Also next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs; and they fortified Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9 And next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. 10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs in front of his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabniah made repairs. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section, as well as the Tower of the Ovens. 12 And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Refuse Gate.14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars. 15 Shallun the son of Col-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he built it, covered it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired the wall of the Pool of Shelah by the King’s Garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beth Zur, made repairs as far as the place in front of the tombs of David, to the man-made pool, and as far as the House of the Mighty. 17 After him the Levites, under Rehum the son of Bani, made repairs. Next to him Hashabiah, leader of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. 18 After him their brethren, under Bavai the son of Henadad, leader of the other half of the district of Keilah, made repairs. 19 And next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the leader of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the Ascent to the Armory at the buttress. 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai carefully repaired the other section, from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, repaired another section, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib.22 And after him the priests, the men of the plain, made repairs. 23 After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs
opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house. 24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress, even as far as the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the buttress, and on the tower which projects from the king’s upper house that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh made repairs. 26 Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east, and on the projecting tower. 27 After them the Tekoites repaired another section, next to the great projecting tower, and as far as the wall of Ophel.28 Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer made repairs in front of his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his dwelling. 31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the Miphkad Gate, and as far as the upper room at the corner. 32 And between the upper room at the corner, as far as the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.

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Lord, in your word you said, “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I thank you that we can experience your joy, regardless of our circumstances. May the way your joy shines through us in the midst of difficulties glorify you, and point others to your salvation!
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