Daily Bible Readinghttp://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/Luke 1:26-38http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/297http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/297<div class="ExternalClass0F6B0117693E4FCD90DEC08D66D81C2D"><strong>Fourth Sunday of Advent<br></strong><br>​In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, &quot;Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.&quot; But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, &quot;Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.&quot; Mary said to the angel, &quot;How can this be, since I am a virgin?&quot; The angel said to her, &quot;The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.&quot; Then Mary said, &quot;Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.&quot; Then the angel departed from her.</div>12/21/2014Judges 13:2-24http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/296http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/296<div class="ExternalClassBB172C291FBF45D7922D34D859D66533">​There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren, having borne no children. And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, &quot;Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean, for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.&quot; Then the woman came and told her husband, &quot;A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like that of an angel of God, most awe-inspiring; I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name; but he said to me, 'You shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death.'&quot;<br> <br>Then Manoah entreated the LORD, and said, &quot;O LORD, I pray, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and teach us what we are to do concerning the boy who will be born.&quot; God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, &quot;The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.&quot; Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the man and said to him, &quot;Are you the man who spoke to this woman?&quot; And he said, &quot;I am.&quot; Then Manoah said, &quot;Now when your words come true, what is to be the boy's rule of life; what is he to do?&quot; The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, &quot;Let the woman give heed to all that I said to her. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine. She is not to drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. She is to observe everything that I commanded her.&quot;<br> <br>Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, &quot;Allow us to detain you, and prepare a kid for you.&quot; The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, &quot;If you detain me, I will not eat your food; but if you want to prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.&quot; (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.) Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, &quot;What is your name, so that we may honor you when your words come true?&quot; But the angel of the LORD said to him, &quot;Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful.&quot;<br> <br>So Manoah took the kid with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to him who works wonders. When the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar while Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. The angel of the LORD did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD. And Manoah said to his wife, &quot;We shall surely die, for we have seen God.&quot; But his wife said to him, &quot;If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.&quot;<br> <br>The woman bore a son, and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the LORD blessed him.</div>12/20/2014Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/295http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/295<div class="ExternalClass29DF9F9F9A074B999329CB517AFEF85C">​I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.<br> I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.<br> You said, &quot;I have made a covenant with my chosen one,<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; I have sworn to my servant David&#58;<br> 'I will establish your descendants forever,<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; and build your throne for all generations.'&quot;<br> Selah<br> <br>Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said&#58;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &quot;I have set the crown on one who is mighty,<br> &#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;I have exalted one chosen from the people.<br> I have found my servant David;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; with my holy oil I have anointed him;<br> my hand shall always remain with him;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; my arm also shall strengthen him.<br> The enemy shall not outwit him,<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; the wicked shall not humble him.<br> I will crush his foes before him<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; and strike down those who hate him.<br> My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; and in my name his horn shall be exalted.<br> I will set his hand on the sea<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; and his right hand on the rivers.<br> He shall cry to me, 'You are my Father,<br> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; my God, and the Rock of my salvation!'</div>12/19/2014Hebrews 1:1-4http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/294http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/294<div class="ExternalClassAD60AD6EF33E4F8783F3A1E2388DD488">​Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.</div>12/18/2014Malachi 3:16--4:6http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/293http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/293<div class="ExternalClassD738A0FFF9AD47F69A20BD51E28BF77C">Then those who revered the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the LORD and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.<br> <br>See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.<br> <br>Remember the teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.<br> <br>Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.</div>12/17/20142 Kings 2:9-22http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/292http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/292<div class="ExternalClassE60E802DC14B485A967839017B119D2C">When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, &quot;Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.&quot; Elisha said, &quot;Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.&quot; He responded, &quot;You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.&quot; As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, &quot;Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!&quot; But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.<br> <br>[Then Elisha] picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, &quot;Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?&quot; When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.<br> <br>When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him at a distance, they declared, &quot;The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.&quot; They came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. They said to him, &quot;See now, we have fifty strong men among your servants; please let them go and seek your master; it may be that the spirit of the LORD has caught him up and thrown him down on some mountain or into some valley.&quot; He responded, &quot;No, do not send them.&quot; But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, &quot;Send them.&quot; So they sent fifty men who searched for three days but did not find him. When they came back to him (he had remained at Jericho), he said to them, &quot;Did I not say to you, Do not go?&quot;<br> <br>Now the people of the city said to Elisha, &quot;The location of this city is good, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.&quot; He said, &quot;Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.&quot; So they brought it to him. Then he went to the spring of water and threw the salt into it, and said, &quot;Thus says the LORD, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.&quot; So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.</div>12/16/2014