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Ezra 3

3:1 When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites were living in their towns, the people assembled in Jerusalem. 2Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his priestly colleagues and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his colleagues started to build the altar of the God of Israel so they could offer burnt offerings on it as required by the law of Moses the man of God. 3They established the altar on its foundations, even though they were in terror of the local peoples, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and the evening offerings. 4They observed the Feast of Shelters as required and offered the proper number of daily burnt offerings according to the requirement for each day. 5Afterward they offered the continual burnt offerings and those for the new moons and those for all the holy assemblies of the Lord and all those that were being voluntarily offered to the Lord. 6From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. However, the Lord’s temple was not at that time established.

7So they provided money for the masons and carpenters, and food, beverages, and olive oil for the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar timber from Lebanon to the seaport at Joppa, in accord with the edict of King Cyrus of Persia. 8In the second year after they had come to the temple of God in Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak initiated the work, along with the rest of their associates, the priests and the Levites, and all those who were coming to Jerusalem from the exile. They appointed the Levites who were at least twenty years old to take charge of the work on the Lord’s temple. 9So Jeshua appointed both his sons and his relatives, Kadmiel and his sons (the sons of Yehudah), to take charge of the workers in the temple of God, along with the sons of Henadad, their sons, and their relatives the Levites. 10When the builders established the Lord’s temple, the priests, ceremonially attired and with their clarions, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with their cymbals, stood to praise the Lord according to the instructions left by King David of Israel. 11With antiphonal response they sang, praising and glorifying the Lord:

“For he is good;

his loyal love toward Israel is forever.”

All the people gave a loud shout as they praised the Lord when the temple of the Lord was established. 12Many of the priests, the Levites, and the leaders—older people who had seen with their own eyes the former temple while it was still established—were weeping loudly, and many others raised their voice in a joyous shout. 13People were unable to tell the difference between the sound of joyous shouting and the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people were shouting so loudly that the sound was heard a long way off.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 108

108:1 A song, a psalm of David.

I am determined, O God.

I will sing and praise you with my whole heart.

2Awake, O stringed instrument and harp.

I will wake up at dawn.

3I will give you thanks before the nations, O Lord.

I will sing praises to you before foreigners.

4For your loyal love extends beyond the sky,

and your faithfulness reaches the clouds.

5Rise up above the sky, O God.

May your splendor cover the whole earth.

6Deliver by your power and answer me,

so that the ones you love may be safe.

7God has spoken in his sanctuary:

“I will triumph! I will parcel out Shechem;

the Valley of Sukkoth I will measure off.

8Gilead belongs to me,

as does Manasseh.

Ephraim is my helmet,

Judah my royal scepter.

9Moab is my washbasin.

I will make Edom serve me.

I will shout in triumph over Philistia.”

10Who will lead me into the fortified city?

Who will bring me to Edom?

11Have you not rejected us, O God?

O God, you do not go into battle with our armies.

12Give us help against the enemy,

for any help men might offer is futile.

13By God’s power we will conquer;

he will trample down our enemies.

(NET Bible)

James 1:1–18

1:1 From James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings!

2My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 5But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.

9Now the believer of humble means should take pride in his high position. 10But the rich person’s pride should be in his humiliation because he will pass away like a wildflower in the meadow. 11For the sun rises with its heat and dries up the meadow; the petal of the flower falls off and its beauty is lost forever. So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will wither away. 12Happy is the one who endures testing because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 15Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. 16Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. 17All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. 18By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

(NET Bible)

[Luther] had previously expressed himself in a similar fashion in his sermons on Genesis of the year 1527. In these he said: “I have often said that anyone who wishes to study Holy Scripture shall see to it that he sticks to the simple meaning of the words, as far as possible, and does not depart from them unless he be compelled to do so by some article of the faith that would demand another meaning than the literal one. For we must be sure that there is no plainer speech on earth than that which God has spoken. Therefore, when Moses writes that God in six days created heaven and earth and all that therein is, let it so remain that there were six days, and you dare not find an explanation that six days were one day. Give the Holy Ghost the honor of being wiser that yourself, for you should so deal with Scripture that you believe that God Himself is speaking. Since it is God who is speaking, it is not fitting frivolously to twist His words to mean what you want them to mean, unless necessity should compel a departure from their literal meaning, namely when faith does not permit the literal meaning.” (51)

–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures

This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.

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