Bible in one year

July 25

Nehemiah 1:1-11
1. These are the words of Nehemiah. He was the son of Hacaliah. I was in the safest place in Susa. I was there in the 20th year that Artaxerxes was king. It was in the month of Kislev.
2. At that time Hanani came from Judah with some other men. He was one of my brothers. I asked him and the other men about the Jews who were left alive in Judah. They had returned from Babylonia. I also asked him about Jerusalem.
3. He and the men who were with him said to me, "Some of the people who returned are still alive. They are back in the land of Judah. But they are having a hard time. People are making fun of them. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down. Its gates have been burned with fire."
4. When I heard about those things, I sat down and sobbed. For several days I was very sad. I didn't eat any food. And I prayed to the God of heaven.
5. I said, "Lord, you are the God of heaven. You are a great and wonderful God. You keep the covenant you made with those who love you and obey your commands. You show them your love.
6. "Please pay careful attention to my prayer. See how your people are suffering. Please listen to me. I'm praying to you day and night. I'm praying for the people of Israel. We Israelites have committed sins against you. All of us admit it. I and my family have also sinned against you.
7. We've done some very evil things. We haven't obeyed the commands, rules and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8. "Remember what you told him. You said, 'If you people are not faithful, I will scatter you among the nations.
9. But if you return to me, I will bring you back. If you obey my commands, I will gather you together again. I will bring you back from the farthest places on earth. I will bring you to the special place where I have chosen to put my Name.'
10. "Lord, they are your people. They serve you. You used your great strength and mighty hand to set them free from Egypt.
11. Lord, please pay careful attention to my prayer. Listen to the prayers of all of us. We take delight in bringing honor to your name. Give me success today. Help King Artaxerxes show me his favor." I was the king's wine taster.

Nehemiah 2:1-20
1. Wine was brought in for King Artaxerxes. It was the month of Nisan in the 20th year of his rule. I got the wine and gave it to him. I hadn't been sad in front of him before. But now I was.
2. So the king asked me, "Why are you looking so sad? You aren't sick. You must be feeling sad deep down inside." I was really afraid.
3. But I said to the king, "May you live forever! Why shouldn't I look sad? The city where my people of long ago are buried has been destroyed. And fire has burned up its gates."
4. The king said to me, "What do you want?" I prayed to the God of heaven.
5. Then I answered the king, "Are you pleased with me, King Artaxerxes? If it pleases you, send me to Judah. Let me go to the city of Jerusalem. That's where my people are buried. I want to rebuild it."
6. The queen was sitting beside the king. He turned and asked me, "How long will your journey take? When will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me. So I chose a certain time.
7. I also said to him, "If it pleases you, may I take some letters with me? I want to give them to the governors of the land west of the Euphrates River. Then they'll help me travel safely through their territory until I arrive in Judah.
8. "May I also have a letter to Asaph? He takes care of your forest. I want him to give me some logs so I can make beams out of them. I want to use them for the gates of the fort that is by the temple. Some of the logs will be used in the city wall. And I'll need some for the house I'm going to live in." The gracious hand of my God helped me. So the king gave me what I asked for.
9. Then I went to the governors of the land west of the Euphrates. I gave them the king's letters. He had also sent army officers and horsemen along with me.
10. Sanballat and Tobiah heard about what was happening. They were very upset that someone had come to work for the good of Israel's people. Sanballat was a Horonite. Tobiah was an official from Ammon.
11. I went to Jerusalem. I stayed there for three days.
12. Then at night I took a few men with me to check out the walls. I hadn't told anyone what my God wanted me to do for Jerusalem. There weren't any donkeys with me except the one I was riding on.
13. That night I went out through the Valley Gate. I went toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate. I checked out the walls of Jerusalem. They had been broken down. I also checked the city gates. Fire had burned them up.
14. I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool. But there wasn't enough room for my donkey to get through.
15. It was still night. I went up the Kidron Valley. I kept checking the wall. Finally, I turned back. I went back in through the Valley Gate.
16. The officials didn't know where I had gone. They didn't know what I had done either. That's because I hadn't said anything to anyone yet. I hadn't told the priests or nobles or officials. And I hadn't spoken to any others who would be rebuilding the wall.
17. I said to them, "You can see the trouble we're in. Jerusalem has been destroyed. Fire has burned up its gates. Come on. Let's rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Then people won't make fun of us anymore."
18. I also told them how the gracious hand of my God was helping me. And I told them what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let's start rebuilding." So they began that good work.
19. But Sanballat, the Horonite, heard about it. So did Tobiah, the official from Ammon. Geshem, the Arab, heard about it too. All of them laughed at us. They made fun of us. "What do you think you are doing?" they asked. "Are you turning against the king?"
20. I answered, "The God of heaven will give us success. We serve him. So we'll start rebuilding the walls. But you don't have any share in Jerusalem. You don't have any claim to it. You don't have any right to worship here."

Psalms 88:11-18
11. Do those who are dead speak about your love? Do those who are in the grave tell how faithful you are?
12. Are your miracles known in that dark place? Are your holy acts known in that land where the dead are forgotten?
13. Lord, I cry out to you for help. In the morning I pray to you.
14. Lord, why do you say no to me? Why do you turn your face away from me?
15. I've been in pain ever since I was young. I've been close to death. You have made me suffer terrible things. I have lost all hope.
16. Your burning anger has swept over me. Your terrors have destroyed me.
17. All day long they surround me like a flood. They have closed in all around me.
18. You have taken my companions and loved ones away from me. The darkness is my closest friend.

Proverbs 21:25-26
25. Some people will die while they are still hungry. That's because their hands refuse to work.
26. All day long they hunger for more. But godly people give without holding back.

Acts 25:1-27
1. Three days after Festus arrived, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
2. There the chief priests and Jewish leaders came to him and brought their charges against Paul.
3. They tried to get Festus to have Paul taken to Jerusalem. They asked for this as a favor. They were planning to hide and attack Paul along the way. They wanted to kill him.
4. Festus answered, "Paul is being held at Caesarea. Soon I'll be going there myself.
5. Let some of your leaders come with me. If the man has done anything wrong, they can bring charges against him there."
6. Festus spent eight or ten days in Jerusalem with them. Then he went down to Caesarea. The next day he called the court together. He ordered Paul to be brought to him.
7. When Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many strong charges against him. But they couldn't prove them.
8. Then Paul spoke up for himself. He said, "I've done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple. I've done nothing wrong against Caesar."
9. But Festus wanted to do the Jews a favor. So he said to Paul, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem? Are you willing to go on trial there? Are you willing to face these charges in my court?"
10. Paul answered, "I'm already standing in Caesar's court. This is where I should go on trial. I haven't done anything wrong to the Jews. You yourself know that very well.
11. If I am guilty of anything worthy of death, I'm willing to die. But the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true. No one has the right to hand me over to them. I make my appeal to Caesar!"
12. Festus talked it over with the members of his court. Then he said, "You have made an appeal to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!"
13. A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea. They came to pay a visit to Festus.
14. They were spending many days there. So Festus talked with the king about Paul's case. He said, "There's a man here that Felix left as a prisoner.
15. When I went to Jerusalem, the Jewish chief priests and the elders brought charges against the man. They wanted him to be found guilty.
16. "I told them that this is not the way Romans do things. We don't judge people before they have faced those bringing charges against them. They must have a chance to speak up for themselves.
17. When the Jews came back with me, I didn't waste any time. I called the court together the next day. I ordered the man to be brought in.
18. Those bringing charges against him got up to speak. But they didn't charge him with any of the crimes I had expected.
19. Instead, they argued with him about their own beliefs. They didn't agree about a dead man named Jesus. Paul claimed Jesus was alive.
20. "I had no idea how to look into such matters. So I asked Paul if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem. There he could be tried on these charges.
21. But Paul made an appeal to have the Emperor decide his case. So I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar."
22. Then Agrippa said to Festus, "I would like to hear this man myself." Festus replied, "Tomorrow you will hear him."
23. The next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived. They acted like very important people. They entered the courtroom. The most important officers and the leading men of the city came with them. When Festus gave the command, Paul was brought in.
24. Festus said, "King Agrippa, and all who are here with us, take a good look at this man! Both in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea a large number of Jews have come to me about him. They keep shouting that he shouldn't live any longer.
25. I have found that he hasn't done anything worthy of death. But he made his appeal to the Emperor. So I decided to send him to Rome.
26. "I don't have anything certain to write about him to His Majesty. So I have brought him here today. Now all of you will be able to hear him. King Agrippa, it will also be very good for you to hear him. As a result of this hearing, I will have something to write.
27. It doesn't make sense to send a prisoner to Rome without listing the charges against him."