Bible in one year

July 21

Ezra 3:1-13
1. The people of Israel had settled down in their towns. In the seventh month all of them gathered together in Jerusalem.
2. Then Jeshua began to build the altar for burnt offerings to honor the God of Israel. Jeshua was the son of Jehozadak. The other priests helped Jeshua. So did Zerubbabel and his men. They built the altar in keeping with what is written in the Law of Moses. Moses was a man of God. Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel.
3. The people who built the altar were afraid of the nations that were around them. But they built it anyway. They set it up where it had stood before. They sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord. They offered the morning and evening sacrifices on it.
4. Then they celebrated the Feast of Booths. They did it in keeping with what is written in the Law. They sacrificed the number of burnt offerings that were required for each day.
5. After they celebrated the Feast of Booths, they sacrificed the regular burnt offerings. They offered the New Moon sacrifices. They also offered the sacrifices for all of the appointed sacred feasts of the Lord. And they sacrificed the offerings the people chose to give him.
6. On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. They did it even though the foundation of the Lord's temple hadn't been finished yet.
7. The people gave money to those who worked with stone and those who worked with wood. They gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre. Then those people brought cedar logs down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea. They floated them down to Joppa. Cyrus, the king of Persia, authorized them to do it.
8. It was the second month of the second year after they had arrived at the house of God in Jerusalem. Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, began the work. Jeshua, the son of Jehozadak, helped him. So did everyone else. That included the priests and Levites. It also included the rest of those who had returned to Jerusalem. They had been prisoners in Babylonia. Levites who were 20 years old or more were appointed to be in charge of building the Lord's house.
9. Those who joined together to direct the work included Jeshua and his sons and brothers. They also included Kadmiel and his sons. And they included the sons of Henadad and all of their sons and brothers. All of those men were Levites. Kadmiel and his sons were members of the family line of Hodaviah.
10. The builders laid the foundation of the Lord's temple. Then the priests came. They were wearing their special clothes. They brought their trumpets with them. The Levites who belonged to the family line of Asaph also came. They brought their cymbals with them. The priests and Levites took their places to praise the Lord. They did everything just as King David had required them to.
11. They sang to the Lord. They praised him. They gave thanks to him. They said, "The Lord is good. His faithful love to Israel continues forever." All of the people gave a loud shout. They praised the Lord. They were glad because the foundation of the Lord's temple had been laid.
12. But many of the older priests and Levites and family leaders sobbed out loud. They had seen the first temple. So when they saw the foundation of the second temple being laid, they sobbed. Others shouted with joy.
13. No one could tell the difference between the shouts of joy and the sounds of sobbing. That's because the people made so much noise. The sound was heard far away.

Ezra 4:1-24
1. The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard about what the people who had returned from Babylonia were doing. They heard that they were building a temple to honor the Lord. He is the God of Israel.
2. The enemies came to Zerubbabel. The family leaders of Israel were with him. The enemies said, "We want to help you build. We're just like you. We worship your God. We offer sacrifices to him. We've been doing that ever since the time of Esarhaddon. He was king of Assyria. He brought our people here."
3. Zerubbabel and Jeshua answered them. So did the rest of the family leaders of Israel. They said, "You can't help us build a temple to honor our God. You aren't part of us. We'll build it ourselves. We'll do it to honor the Lord. He is the God of Israel. Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us to build it."
4. Then the nations that were around Judah tried to make its people lose hope. They wanted to make them afraid to go on building.
5. So they hired advisers to work against them. They wanted their plans to fail. They did it during the whole time Cyrus was king of Persia. They kept doing it until Darius became king.
6. The enemies of the Jews brought charges against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. It happened when Xerxes began to rule over Persia.
7. Then Artaxerxes became king of Persia. During his rule, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and their friends wrote a letter to him. It was written in the Aramaic language. And it used the Aramaic alphabet.
8. Rehum and Shimshai also wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes. Rehum was the commanding officer. Shimshai was the secretary. Their letter was against the people of Jerusalem. It said,
9. We, Rehum and Shimshai, are writing this letter. Rehum is the commanding officer. Shimshai is the secretary. Our friends join us in writing. They include the judges and officials who are in charge of the people from Tripolis, Persia, Erech and Babylon. They are also over the Elamites from Susa.
10. And they are over those who were forced to leave their countries. The great King Ashurbanipal, who is worthy of honor, forced them to leave. He settled them in the city of Samaria. He also settled them in other places west of the Euphrates River.
11. Here is a copy of the letter that was sent to Artaxerxes. We are sending this letter to you, King Artaxerxes. It is from your servants who live west of the Euphrates River.
12. We want you to know that the Jews who left you and came up to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that evil city. It has caused trouble for a long time. The Jews are making its walls like new again. They are repairing the foundations.
13. Here is something else we want you to know. Suppose this city is rebuilt. And suppose its walls are made like new again. Then no more taxes, gifts or fees will be collected. And there will be less money for you.
14. We owe a lot to you. We don't want to see dishonor brought on you. So we're sending this letter to tell you what is going on.
15. Then you can have a search made in the official records. Have someone check the records of the kings who ruled before you. If you do, you will find out that Jerusalem is an evil city. It causes trouble for kings and countries. For a long time the city has refused to let anyone rule over it. That's why it was destroyed.
16. We want you to know that this city shouldn't be rebuilt. Its walls shouldn't be made like new again. If that happens, you won't have anything left west of the Euphrates River.
17. The king replied, I am writing this letter to Rehum, the commanding officer. I am also writing it to Shimshai, the secretary. And I am writing it to your friends who are living in Samaria and in other places west of the Euphrates River. I give you my greetings.
18. The letter you sent us has been read to me. It has been explained to me in my language.
19. I gave an order. I had a search made. We found out that Jerusalem has a long history of turning against the kings of the countries that have ruled over it. It has refused to remain under their control. It is always stirring up trouble.
20. Jerusalem has had powerful kings. Some of them ruled over everything west of the Euphrates. Taxes, gifts and fees were paid to them.
21. So give an order to those men. Make them stop their work. Then the city won't be rebuilt until I give the order.
22. Pay careful attention to this matter. Why should we let this danger grow? That would not be in our best interests.
23. The copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum and the secretary Shimshai. It was also read to their friends. Right away they went to the Jews in Jerusalem. They forced them to stop their work.
24. And so the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to an end. Nothing more was done on it until the second year that Darius was king of Persia.

Psalms 86:11-17
11. Lord, teach me how you want me to live. Then I will follow your truth. Give me a heart that doesn't want anything more than to worship you.
12. Lord my God, I will praise you with all my heart. I will bring glory to you forever.
13. Great is your love for me. You have kept me from going down into the grave.
14. God, proud people are attacking me. A gang of mean people is trying to kill me. They don't care about you.
15. But Lord, you are a God who is tender and kind. You are gracious. You are slow to get angry. You are faithful and full of love.
16. Turn to me and show me your favor. Give me strength and save me.
17. Prove your goodness to me. Then my enemies will see it and be put to shame. Lord, you have helped me and given me comfort.

Proverbs 21:17-18
17. Anyone who loves pleasure will become poor. Anyone who loves wine and oil will never be rich.
18. Those who do what is evil pay the price for setting godly people free. Those who aren't faithful pay the price for honest people.

Acts 22:1-30
1. "Brothers and fathers," Paul began, "listen to me now. I want to speak up for myself."
2. When they heard that he was speaking to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said,
3. "I am a Jew. I was born in Tarsus in Cilicia. But I grew up here in Jerusalem. I was well trained by Gamaliel in the law of our people. I wanted to serve God as much as any of you do today.
4. I hurt the followers of the Way of Jesus. I sent many of them to their death. I arrested men and women. I threw them into prison.
5. The high priest and the whole Council can give witness to this. I even had some official letters they had written to their friends in Damascus. So I went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
6. "I had almost reached Damascus. About noon a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me.
7. I fell to the ground and heard a voice speak to me. 'Saul! Saul!' it said. 'Why are you opposing me?'
8. " 'Who are you, Lord?' I asked. " 'I am Jesus of Nazareth,' he replied. 'I am the one you are opposing.'
9. "The light was seen by my companions. But they didn't understand the voice of the one speaking to me.
10. " 'What should I do, Lord?' I asked. " 'Get up,' the Lord said. 'Go into Damascus. There you will be told everything you have been given to do.'
11. The brightness of the light had blinded me. So my companions led me by the hand into Damascus.
12. "A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a godly Jew who obeyed the law. All the Jews living there respected him very much.
13. He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' At that very moment I was able to see him.
14. "Then he said, 'The God of our people has chosen you. He wanted to tell you his plans for you. You have seen the Blameless One. You have heard words from his mouth.
15. Now you will give witness to all people about what you have seen and heard.
16. So what are you waiting for? Get up and call on his name. Be baptized. Have your sins washed away.'
17. "I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple. Then it seemed to me that I was dreaming.
18. I saw the Lord speaking to me. 'Quick!' he said. 'Leave Jerusalem at once. These people will not accept your witness about me.'
19. " 'Lord,' I replied, 'these people know what I used to do. I went from one synagogue to another and put believers in prison. I also beat them.
20. Stephen was a man who gave witness to others about you. I stood there when he was killed. I had agreed that he should die. I even guarded the coats of those who were killing him.'
21. "Then the Lord said to me, 'Go. I will send you far away to people who are not Jews.' "
22. The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they shouted, "Kill him! He isn't fit to live!"
23. They shouted and threw off their coats. They threw dust into the air.
24. So the commanding officer ordered Paul to be taken into the fort. He gave orders for Paul to be whipped and questioned. He wanted to find out why the people were shouting at him like this.
25. A commander was standing there as they stretched Paul out to be whipped. Paul said to him, "Does the law allow you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?"
26. When the commander heard this, he went to the commanding officer and reported it. "What are you going to do?" the commander asked. "This man is a Roman citizen."
27. So the commanding officer went to Paul. "Tell me," he asked. "Are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes, I am," Paul answered.
28. Then the officer said, "I had to pay a lot of money to become a citizen." "But I was born a citizen," Paul replied.
29. Right away those who were about to question him left. Even the officer was alarmed. He realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
30. The commanding officer wanted to find out exactly what the Jews had against Paul. So the next day he let Paul out of prison. He ordered a meeting of the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin. Then he brought Paul and had him stand in front of them.