Daily Bible Readinghttp://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/Hebrews 13:7-17http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1818http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1818<div class="ExternalClass5A205F059B92400480C8641DF33B1026"><p>Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.</p><p>Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing — for that would be harmful to you.</p></div>12/17/2018Zephaniah 3:14-20http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1817http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1817<div class="ExternalClass01B968CF3C0F4C678856E86ED0D1D9F9"><p>​<strong>Third Sunday of Advent</strong></p><p>Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;<br> shout, O Israel!<br> Rejoice and exult with all your heart,<br> O daughter Jerusalem!<br> The LORD has taken away the judgments against you,<br> he has turned away your enemies.<br> The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;<br> you shall fear disaster no more.<br> On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem&#58;<br> Do not fear, O Zion;<br> do not let your hands grow weak.<br> The LORD, your God, is in your midst,<br> a warrior who gives victory;<br> he will rejoice over you with gladness,<br> he will renew you in his love;<br> he will exult over you with loud singing<br> as on a day of festival.<br> I will remove disaster from you,<br> so that you will not bear reproach for it.<br> I will deal with all your oppressors<br> at that time.<br> And I will save the lame<br> and gather the outcast,<br> and I will change their shame into praise<br> and renown in all the earth.<br> At that time I will bring you home,<br> at the time when I gather you;<br> for I will make you renowned and praised<br> among all the peoples of the earth,<br> when I restore your fortunes<br> before your eyes, says the LORD.<br></p></div>12/16/2018Luke 1:57-66http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1816http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1816<div class="ExternalClassF82F8941BA8E47CCB3BAF7E244272B37"><p>Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.</p><p>On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, &quot;No; he is to be called John.&quot; They said to her, &quot;None of your relatives has this name.&quot; Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, &quot;His name is John.&quot; And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, &quot;What then will this child become?&quot; For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.</p></div>12/15/20182 Corinthians 9:1-15http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1815http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1815<div class="ExternalClassF4F56E5188D44327AB0390F49C535477"><p>Now it is not necessary for me to write you about the ministry to the saints, for I know your eagerness, which is the subject of my boasting about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not prove to have been empty in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated — to say nothing of you — in this undertaking. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.</p><p>The point is this&#58; the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written,<br> &#160;&quot;He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;<br> &#160;his righteousness endures forever.&quot;</p><p>He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!</p></div>12/14/20182 Corinthians 8:1-15http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1814http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1814<div class="ExternalClass0CE9F8C873354F6590FC73278E6EB6AB"><p>We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints — and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you — so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.</p><p>I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice&#58; it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something — now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has — not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,<br> &#160;&quot;The one who had much did not have too much,<br> &#160;and the one who had little did not have too little.&quot;</p></div>12/13/2018Luke 7:18-30http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1811http://elca.org/Faith/DailyBible/1811<div class="ExternalClass84D712B7A4644A80A143F0E3E9B2EBA2"><p>The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, &quot;Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?&quot; When the men had come to him, they said, &quot;John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?'&quot; Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, &quot;Go and tell John what you have seen and heard&#58; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.&quot;</p><p>When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John&#58; &quot;What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who put on fine clothing and live in luxury are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,<br> &#160;'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,<br> &#160;who will prepare your way before you.'</p><p>I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.&quot; (And all the people who heard this, including the tax collectors, acknowledged the justice of God, because they had been baptized with John's baptism. But by refusing to be baptized by him, the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves.)</p></div>12/12/2018