Bible in one year

July 21

Ezra 3:1-13
1. So by the seventh month, the Israelites had moved back to their own hometowns. At that time all the people met together in Jerusalem. They were all united as one people.
2. Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and the priests with him, along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the people with him, built the altar of the God of Israel. They built the altar of the God of Israel so that they could offer sacrifices on it. They built it just as it says in the Law of Moses. Moses was God's special servant.
3. They were afraid of the other people living near them, but that didn't stop them. They built the altar on its old foundation and offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord. They offered sacrifices in the morning and in the evening.
4. Then they celebrated the Festival of Shelters just as the Law of Moses said. They offered the right number of burnt offerings for each day of the festival.
5. After that, they began offering the continual burnt offerings each day and the offerings for the New Moon and all the other festivals that were commanded by the Lord. The people also began giving any other gifts they wanted to give to the Lord.
6. So on the first day of the seventh month, these Israelites again began offering sacrifices to the Lord. This was done even though the Temple had not been rebuilt.
7. Then those who had come back from captivity gave money to the stonecutters and carpenters. They also gave food, wine, and olive oil. They used these things to pay the people of Tyre and Sidon to bring cedar logs from Lebanon. They wanted to bring the logs in ships to the seacoast town of Joppa as they did for the first Temple. King Cyrus of Persia gave permission for them to do this.
8. So in the second month of the second year after they came to the Temple in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began the work. Their brothers, the priests, Levites, and everyone who came back to Jerusalem from captivity began working with them. They chose Levites who were 20 years old and older to be the leaders in the building of the Lord's Temple.
9. These were the men who supervised the work of building the Lord's Temple: Jeshua and his sons, Kadmiel and his sons (the descendants of Judah), the sons of Henadad and their brothers, the Levites.
10. The builders finished laying the foundation for the Lord's Temple. When the foundation was finished, the priests put on their special clothing. Then they got their trumpets, and the sons of Asaph got their cymbals. They all took their places to praise the Lord. This was done the way King David of Israel had ordered in the past.
11. They sang the response songs, Songs of Praise and Praise the Lord Because He is Good. His Faithful Love Will Last Forever. Then all the people cheered—they gave a loud shout and praised the Lord. They did this because the foundation of the Lord's Temple had been laid.
12. But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders cried, because the older people had seen the first Temple—{and they remembered how beautiful it was}. They cried out when they saw the new Temple. They cried while many of the other people were happy and shouting.
13. The sound could be heard far away. All of them made so much noise that no one could tell the difference between the shouts of joy and the crying.

Ezra 4:1-24
1. Many people living in the area were against the people of Judah and Benjamin. These enemies heard that the people who had come from captivity were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. So they came to Zerubbabel and to the family leaders and said, "Let us help you build. We are the same as you, we ask your God for help. We have offered sacrifices to your God since the time King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here."
3. But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other family leaders of Israel answered, "No, you people cannot help us build a temple for our God. Only we can build the Temple for the Lord. He is the God of Israel. This is what King Cyrus of Persia commanded us to do."
4. So the enemies began to discourage them and tried to frighten them in order to stop them from building the Temple.
5. These enemies hired government officials to work against the people of Judah. The officials constantly did things to stop the Jews' plans to build the Temple. This continued the whole time that Cyrus was the king until Darius became the king of Persia.
6. These enemies even wrote letters to the king of Persia trying to stop the Jews. They wrote a letter the year that Xerxes became the king of Persia.
7. Later, when Artaxerxes became the new king of Persia, some of these men wrote another letter complaining about the Jews. The men who wrote the letter were Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the other people in their group. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated.
8. Then Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary wrote a letter against the people of Jerusalem. They wrote the letter to Artaxerxes the king. This is what they wrote:
9. From Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary, and from the judges and important officials over the men from Tripolis, Persia, Erech, and Babylon, and from the Elamites from Susa,
10. and from the other people who the great and powerful Ashurbanipal moved to the city of Samaria and other places in the country west of the Euphrates River.
11. This is the copy of the letter sent to King Artaxerxes: From your servants living in the area west of the Euphrates River.
12. King Artaxerxes, we wish to inform you that the Jews you sent from there are now in Jerusalem. They are trying to rebuild that terrible city. The people there have always rebelled against other kings. Now they have almost finished repairing the foundations and building the walls.
13. Also, King Artaxerxes, you should know that if Jerusalem and its walls are rebuilt, the people of Jerusalem will stop paying their taxes. They will stop sending money to honor you. They also will stop paying customs fees, and the king will lose all that money.
14. We have a responsibility to the king. We don't want to see this happen, so we are sending this letter to inform the king.
15. King Artaxerxes, we suggest that you search the writings of the kings who ruled before you. You will see in the writings that Jerusalem always rebelled against other kings. It has caused much trouble for other kings and nations. Many rebellions have started in this city since ancient times. That is why Jerusalem was destroyed.
16. King Artaxerxes, we wish to inform you that if this city and its walls are rebuilt, you will lose control of the area west of the Euphrates River.
17. Then King Artaxerxes sent this answer: To Rehum the commanding officer, Shimshai the secretary, and all the people with them living in Samaria and other places west of the Euphrates River. Greetings:
18. The letter you sent us has been translated and read to me.
19. I gave an order for the writings of the kings before me to be searched. The writings were read, and we found out that Jerusalem has a long history of rebellion against kings. Jerusalem has been a place where rebellion and revolt has happened often.
20. Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over it and over the whole area west of the Euphrates River. Their kings received taxes, customs, fees, and tribute.
21. Now, you must give an order for these men to stop work. That order must be given to keep Jerusalem from being rebuilt until I say so.
22. Be careful not to overlook this matter. We should not let the building of Jerusalem continue. If that work continues, I will not get any more money from Jerusalem.
23. So a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes sent was read to Rehum, Shimshai the secretary, and the people with them. They went very quickly to the Jews in Jerusalem and forced them to stop building.
24. So the work stopped on God's Temple in Jerusalem. The work did not continue until the second year that Darius was king of Persia.

Psalms 86:11-17
11. Lord, teach me your ways, and I will live and obey your truths. Help me make worshiping your name the most important thing in my life.
12. My Lord God, I praise you with all my heart. I will honor your name forever!
13. You have such great love for me. You save me from the place of death.
14. Proud people are attacking me, God. A gang of cruel men is trying to kill me. They don't respect you.
15. My Lord, you are a kind and merciful God. You are patient, loyal, and full of love.
16. Show that you hear me and be kind to me. I am your servant, so give me strength. I am your slave, as my mother was, so save me!
17. Lord, show me a sign that you care for me. My enemies will see it and be disappointed, because you helped and comforted me.

Proverbs 21:17-18
17. Loving pleasure leads to poverty. Wine and luxury will never make you wealthy.
18. The wicked must pay for what happens to good people—the cheaters will be taken in exchange for the honest.

Acts 22:1-30
1. Paul said, "My brothers and fathers, listen to me! I will make my defense to you."
2. When the Jews heard Paul speaking Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said,
3. "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in the country of Cilicia. I grew up in this city. I was a student of Gamaliel, who carefully taught me everything about the law of our fathers. I was very serious about serving God, the same as all of you here today.
4. I persecuted the people who followed the Way. Some of them were killed because of me. I arrested men and women and put them in jail.
5. "The high priest and the whole council of older Jewish leaders can tell you that this is true. One time these leaders gave me some letters. The letters were to the Jewish brothers in the city of Damascus. I was going there to arrest the followers of Jesus and bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.
6. "But something happened to me on my way to Damascus. It was about noon when I came close to Damascus. Suddenly a bright light from heaven shined all around me.
7. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
8. "I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' The voice said, 'I am Jesus from Nazareth, the one you are persecuting.'
9. The men who were with me did not understand the voice, but they saw the light.
10. "I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' The Lord answered, 'Get up and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that I have planned for you to do.'
11. I could not see, because the bright light had made me blind. So the men led me into Damascus.
12. "In Damascus a man named Ananias came to me. He was a man who was devoted to God and obeyed the Law of Moses. All the Jews who lived there respected him.
13. He came to me and said, 'Saul, my brother, look up and see again!' Immediately I was able to see him.
14. "Ananias told me, 'The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know his plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from him.
15. You will be his witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.
16. Now, don't wait any longer. Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, trusting in Jesus to save you. '
17. "Later, I came back to Jerusalem. I was praying in the Temple area, and I saw a vision.
18. I saw Jesus, and he said to me, 'Hurry and leave Jerusalem now! The people here will not accept the truth you tell them about me.'
19. "I said, 'But, Lord, the people know that I was the one who put the believers in jail and beat them. I went through all the synagogues to find and arrest the people who believe in you.
20. The people also know that I was there when Stephen, your witness, was killed. I stood there and agreed that they should kill him. I even held the coats of the men who were killing him!'
21. "But Jesus said to me, 'Leave now. I will send you far away to the non-Jewish people.'"
22. The people stopped listening when Paul said this last thing. They all shouted, "Get rid of this man! He doesn't deserve to live."
23. They shouted and threw off their coats. They threw dust into the air.
24. Then the commander told the soldiers to take Paul into the army building and beat him. He wanted to make Paul tell why the people were shouting against him like this.
25. So the soldiers were tying Paul, preparing to beat him. But he said to an army officer there, "Do you have the right to beat a Roman citizen who has not been proven guilty?"
26. When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and told him about it. The officer said, "Do you know what you are doing? This man is a Roman citizen!"
27. The commander came to Paul and said, "Tell me, are you really a Roman citizen?" He answered, "Yes."
28. The commander said, "I paid a lot of money to become a Roman citizen." But Paul said, "I was born a citizen."
29. The men who were preparing to question Paul moved away from him immediately. The commander was afraid because he had already put Paul in chains, and he was a Roman citizen.
30. The next day the commander decided to learn why the Jews were accusing Paul. So he ordered the leading priests and the whole high council to meet together. He had Paul's chains taken off and had him brought in to face the council.