Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background
First Reading: Proverbs Chapter 17 and 18
1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, Than a house full of feasting with strife.
2 A servant that dealeth wisely shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, And shall have part in the inheritance among the brethren.
3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; But Jehovah trieth the hearts.
4 An evil-doer giveth heed to wicked lips; `And' a liar giveth ear to a mischievous tongue.
5 Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker; `And' he that is glad at calamity shall not be unpunished.
6 Children's children are the crown of old men; And the glory of children are their fathers.
7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool; Much less do lying lips a prince.
8 A bribe is `as' a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it; Whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; But he that harpeth on a matter separateth chief friends.
10 A rebuke entereth deeper into one that hath understanding Than a hundred stripes into a fool.
11 An evil man seeketh only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, Rather than a fool in his folly.
13 Whoso rewardeth evil for good, Evil shall not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is `as' when one letteth out water: Therefore leave off contention, before there is quarrelling.
15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to Jehovah.
16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, Seeing he hath no understanding?
17 A friend loveth at all times; And a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, And becometh surety in the presence of his neighbor.
19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: He that raiseth high his gate seeketh destruction.
20 He that hath a wayward heart findeth no good; And he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
21 He that begetteth a fool `doeth it' to his sorrow; And the father of a fool hath no joy.
22 A cheerful heart is a good medicine; But a broken spirit drieth up the bones.
23 A wicked man receiveth a bribe out of the bosom, To pervert the ways of justice.
24 Wisdom is before the face of him that hath understanding; But the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, And bitterness to her that bare him.
26 Also to punish the righteous is not good, `Nor' to smite the noble for `their' uprightness.
27 He that spareth his words hath knowledge; And he that is of a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; When he shutteth his lips, he is `esteemed as' prudent.
1 He that separateth himself seeketh `his own' desire, And rageth against all sound wisdom.
2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, But only that his heart may reveal itself.
3 When the wicked cometh, there cometh also contempt, And with ignominy `cometh' reproach.
4 The words of a man's mouth are `as' deep waters; The wellspring of wisdom is `as' a flowing brook.
5 To respect the person of the wicked is not good, `Nor' to turn aside the righteous in judgment.
6 A fool's lips enter into contention, And his mouth calleth for stripes.
7 A fool's mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts.
9 He also that is slack in his work Is brother to him that is a destroyer.
10 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; The righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
11 The rich man's wealth is his strong city, And as a high wall in his own imagination.
12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty; And before honor `goeth' humility.
13 He that giveth answer before he heareth, It is folly and shame unto him.
14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; But a broken spirit who can bear?
15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; And the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
16 A man's gift maketh room for him, And bringeth him before great men.
17 He that pleadeth his cause first `seemeth' just; But his neighbor cometh and searcheth him out.
18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, And parteth between the mighty.
19 A brother offended `is harder to be won' than a strong city; And `such' contentions are like the bars of a castle.
20 A man's belly shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; With the increase of his lips shall he be satisfied.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, And obtaineth favor of Jehovah.
23 The poor useth entreaties; But the rich answereth roughly.
24 He that maketh many friends `doeth it' to his own destruction; But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Second Reading: Mark Chapter 13
1 And as he went forth out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Teacher, behold, what manner of stones and what manner of buildings!
2 And Jesus said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left here one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat on the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what `shall be' the sign when these things are all about to be accomplished?
5 And Jesus began to say unto them, Take heed that no man lead you astray.
6 Many shall come in my name, saying, I am `he'; and shall lead many astray.
7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be not troubled: `these things' must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be earthquakes in divers places; there shall be famines: these things are the beginning of travail.
9 But take ye heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in synagogues shall ye be beaten; and before governors and kings shall ye stand for my sake, for a testimony unto them.
10 And the gospel must first be preached unto all the nations.
11 And when they lead you `to judgment', and deliver you up, be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit.
12 And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children shall rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death.
13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
14 But when ye see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not (let him that readeth understand), then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains:
15 and let him that is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to take anything out his house:
16 and let him that is in the field not return back to take his cloak.
17 But woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days!
18 And pray ye that it be not in the winter.
19 For those days shall be tribulation, such as there hath not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never shall be.
20 And except the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved; but for the elect's sake, whom he chose, he shortened the days.
21 And then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ; or, Lo, there; believe `it' not:
22 for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, the elect.
23 But take ye heed: behold, I have told you all things beforehand.
24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
25 and the stars shall be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens shall be shaken.
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send forth the angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
28 Now from the fig tree learn her parable: when her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh;
29 even so ye also, when ye see these things coming to pass, know ye that he is nigh, `even' at the doors.
30 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, until all these things be accomplished.
31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
32 But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
34 `It is' as `when' a man, sojourning in another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, to each one his work, commanded also the porter to watch.
35 Watch therefore: for ye know not when the lord of the house cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning;
36 lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
LIFE AND DEATH IN THE BIBLE
Part 2 of 3
The beginning of life is described in the Bible as God forming the dust of the ground and breathing into it the breath of life. Death is described as the opposite process: "When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust." Psalm 104:29 (NIV) and "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalm 142:3-4 (KJV)
In the beginning everything God had made was deemed "very good." However, God did give one simple law to Adam and Eve in the garden: "...but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you wil surely die." Genesis 2:17 (NIV) That promise was kept following the eating of the fruit by Adam and Eve. The curse of death was pronounced upon them by God in Genesis 3:15-19. Note especially the end of verse 19 where we have the familiar words, "for dust you are and unto dust you will return." Death was the punishment for disobedience. The serpent said in chapter 3 to Eve "You will not surely die." but that was a lie. Death, the punishment for sin, passed to all the descendants of Adam and Eve:
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and this way death came to all men, because all sinned...." Romans 5:12 (NIV)
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23 (NIV)