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First Reading: Jeremiah Chapter 24 and 25 and 26
24:1 After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the
craftsmen and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to
Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the LORD showed me two baskets of
figs placed in front of the temple of the LORD. 2 One basket had very good figs,
like those that ripen early; the other basket had very poor figs, so bad they
could not be eaten.
3 Then the LORD asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
"Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good, but the poor ones are so bad they cannot be eaten."
4 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 5 "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
8 "'But like the poor figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,' says the LORD, 'so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9 I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, an object of ridicule and cursing, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their fathers.'"
25:1 The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth
year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar
king of Babylon. 2 So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and
to all those living in Jerusalem: 3 For twenty-three years from the thirteenth
year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day the word
of the LORD has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you
have not listened.
4 And though the LORD has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, "Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not provoke me to anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you."
7 "But you did not listen to me," declares the LORD, "and you have provoked me with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves."
8 Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: "Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon," declares the LORD, "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 "But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever. 13 I will bring upon that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. 14 They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands."
15 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them."
17 So I took the cup from the LORD's hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a ruin and an object of horror and scorn and cursing, as they are today; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials and all his people, 20 and all the foreign people there; all the kings of Uz; all the kings of the Philistines (those of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab and Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the coastlands across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who are in distant places; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the foreign people who live in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media; 26 and all the kings of the north, near and far, one after the other all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. And after all of them, the king of Sheshach will drink it too.
27 "Then tell them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more because of the sword I will send among you.' 28 But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, tell them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: You must drink it! 29 See, I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears my Name, and will you indeed go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, for I am calling down a sword upon all who live on the earth, declares the LORD Almighty.'
30 "Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them:
"'The LORD will roar from on high;he will thunder from his holy dwelling and roar mightily against his land.He will shout like those who tread the grapes,shout against all who live on the earth. 31 The tumult will resound to the ends of the earth,for the LORD will bring charges against the nations;he will bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword,'" declares the LORD.
32 This is what the LORD Almighty says:"Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation;a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth."
33 At that time those slain by the LORD will be everywhere from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.
34 Weep and wail, you shepherds;roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock.For your time to be slaughtered has come;you will fall and be shattered like fine pottery. 35 The shepherds will have nowhere to flee,the leaders of the flock no place to escape. 36 Hear the cry of the shepherds,the wailing of the leaders of the flock,for the LORD is destroying their pasture. 37 The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the LORD. 38 Like a lion he will leave his lair,and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the LORD's fierce anger.
26:1 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word
came from the LORD: 2 "This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard
of the LORD's house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come
to worship in the house of the LORD. Tell them everything I command you; do
not omit a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil
way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because
of the evil they have done. 4 Say to them, 'This is what the LORD says: If you
do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if
you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent
to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this
house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of
7 The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD. 8 But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die! 9 Why do you prophesy in the LORD's name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?" And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
10 When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the LORD and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD's house. 11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, "This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!"
12 Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: "The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. 13 Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. 14 As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. 15 Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing."
16 Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, "This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God."
17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, 18 "Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says:
"'Zion will be plowed like a field,Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.'
19 "Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the LORD and seek his favor? And did not the LORD relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!"
20(Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. 22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt, along with some other men. 23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)
24 Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
Second Reading: James Chapter 5
5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is
coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.
3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you
and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look!
The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out
against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves
in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who
were not opposing you.
7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear-not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
SUPER HEROES OF THE BIBLE
Actually there are 3 James' in the New Testament that were followers of Jesus:
James, the brother of John, was a son of Zebedee and named by Jesus along with his brother John as Sons of Thunder. He was one of the 12 apostles, one of the three who went up the mountain with Jesus when he was transfigured, and one who was a witness to Jesus' resurrection. He was also beheaded by Herod very early on according to Acts 12.
James, the son of Alphaeus, was also called "The Little." He was one of the 12 apostles but very little is known about him. It is believed that he preached the gospel in Palestine and Egypt.
James, the oldest brother of Jesus, was the James who became one of the leaders of the Church in Jerusalem. It is not clear when James became a converted follower of Jesus. He is believed to be the writer of the letter of James. According to tradition he was stoned to death by the Jews when he refused to deny Jesus but instead proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God and Judge of the World.
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