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Verse of the Day…I Will Make of You a Great Nation

i will make of you a great nation

Genesis 12:2-3

Amplified Bible (AMP)

2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].

3 And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and [a]curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].


Hebrews 11…What Faith Is

hebrews 11

Hebrews 11

Amplified Bible (AMP)

11 Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

2 For by [faith—[b]trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.

3 By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.

4 [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.

5 Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.

6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].

7 [Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world’s unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness ([c]that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith).

8 [Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.

9 [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise.

10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.

11 Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.

12 So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.

13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.

14 Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country).

15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.

16 But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was [d]still in progress], [e]had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God’s] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son,

18 Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned.

19 For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead.

20 [With eyes of] faith Isaac, looking far into the future, invoked blessings upon Jacob and Esau.

21 [Prompted] by faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in prayer over the top of his staff.

22 [Actuated] by faith Joseph, when nearing the end of his life, referred to [the promise of God for] the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his own bones.

23 [Prompted] by faith Moses, after his birth, was kept concealed for three months by his parents, because they saw how comely the child was; and they were not overawed and terrified by the king’s decree.

24 [Aroused] by faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and [f]become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,

25 Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.

26 He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked forward and away to the reward (recompense).

27 [Motivated] by faith he left Egypt behind him, being unawed and undismayed by the wrath of the king; for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on Him Who is invisible.

28 By faith (simple trust and confidence in God) he instituted and carried out the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts], so that the destroyer of the firstborn (the angel) might not touch those [of the children of Israel].

29 [Urged on] by faith the people crossed the Red Sea as [though] on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do the same thing they were swallowed up [by the sea].

30 Because of faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encompassed for seven days [by the Israelites].

31 [Prompted] by faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along with those who refused to believe and obey, because she had received the spies in peace [without enmity].

32 And what shall I say further? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,

33 Who by [the help of] faith subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions,

34 Extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts.

35 [Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured [g]to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life.

36 Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment.

37 They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated—

38 [Men] of whom the world was not worthy—roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth.

39 And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,

40 Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].


Acts 7…Stephen’s Sermon

acts 7

Acts 7

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Stephen’s Sermon

7 “Is this true?”[a] the high priest asked.

2 “Brothers and fathers,” he said, “listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 3 and said to him:

Get out of your country and away from your relatives, and come to the land that I will show you.[b]

4 “Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this land you now live in. 5 He didn’t give him an inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, but He promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he was childless. 6 God spoke in this way:

His descendants would be strangers in a foreign country, and they would enslave and oppress them 400 years. 7 I will judge the nation that they will serve as slaves, God said. After this, they will come out and worship Me in this place.[c]

8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision. After this, he fathered Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; Isaac did the same with Jacob, and Jacob with the 12 patriarchs.

The Patriarchs in Egypt

9 “The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt, but God was with him 10 and rescued him out of all his troubles. He gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over his whole household. 11 Then a famine and great suffering came over all of Egypt and Canaan, and our ancestors could find no food. 12 When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors the first time. 13 The second time, Joseph was revealed to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14 Joseph then invited his father Jacob and all his relatives, 75 people in all, 15 and Jacob went down to Egypt. He and our ancestors died there, 16 were carried back to Shechem, and were placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

Moses, a Rejected Savior

17 “As the time was drawing near to fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people flourished and multiplied in Egypt 18 until a different king who did not know Joseph ruled over Egypt.[d] 19 He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our ancestors by making them leave their infants outside, so they wouldn’t survive.[e] 20 At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful in God’s sight. He was cared for in his father’s home three months, 21 and when he was left outside, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted and raised him as her own son. 22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his speech and actions.

23 “As he was approaching the age of 40, he decided[f] to visit his brothers, the Israelites. 24 When he saw one of them being mistreated, he came to his rescue and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He assumed his brothers would understand that God would give them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26 The next day he showed up while they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating each other?’

27 “But the one who was mistreating his neighbor pushed him[g] away, saying:

Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me, the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?[h]

29 “At this disclosure, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he fathered two sons. 30 After 40 years had passed, an angel[i] appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he was approaching to look at it, the voice of the Lord came: 32 I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.[j] So Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look.

33 “Then the Lord said to him:

Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have observed the oppression of My people in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to rescue them. And now, come, I will send you to Egypt.[k]

35 “This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, Who appointed you a ruler and a judge?[l]—this one God sent as a ruler and a redeemer by means of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 This man led them out and performed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 40 years.

Israel’s Rebellion against God

37 “This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, God[m] will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your brothers.[n] 38 He is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors. He received living oracles to give to us. 39 Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him away, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron:

Make us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what’s happened to him.[o]

41 They even made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to the idol, and were celebrating what their hands had made. 42 Then God turned away and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:

House of Israel, did you bring Me offerings and sacrifices 40 years in the wilderness? 43 No, you took up the tent of Moloch[p] and the star of your god Rephan,[q] the images that you made to worship. So I will deport you beyond Babylon![r]

God’s Real Tabernacle

44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Our ancestors in turn received it and with Joshua brought it in when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers, until the days of David. 46 He found favor in God’s sight and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God[s] of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built Him a house. 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in sanctuaries made with hands, as the prophet says:

49 Heaven is My throne, and earth My footstool. What sort of house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is My resting place? 50 Did not My hand make all these things?[t]

Resisting the Holy Spirit

51 “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit; as your ancestors did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They even killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. 53 You received the law under the direction of angels and yet have not kept it.”

The First Christian Martyr

54 When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts[u] and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God’s glory, with[v] Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, 56 “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

57 Then they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him. 58 They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 They were stoning Stephen as he called out: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!” And saying this, he fell asleep.


Romans 11…A Hymn of Praise

Romans 11

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Israel’s Rejection Not Total

11 I ask, then, has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he pleads with God against Israel?

3 Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars. I am the only one left, and they are trying to take my life![a]

4 But what was God’s reply to him? I have left 7,000 men for Myself who have not bowed down to Baal.[b] 5 In the same way, then, there is also at the present time a remnant chosen by grace. 6 Now if by grace, then it is not by works; otherwise grace ceases to be grace.[c]

7 What then? Israel did not find what it was looking for, but the elect did find it. The rest were hardened, 8 as it is written:

God gave them a spirit of insensitivity,[d] eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear, to this day.[e]

9 And David says:

Let their feasting[f] become a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a retribution to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent continually.[g]

Israel’s Rejection Not Final

11 I ask, then, have they stumbled in order to fall? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling,[h] salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their stumbling[i] brings riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full number bring!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. In view of the fact that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if I can somehow make my own people[j] jealous and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brings reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 Now if the firstfruits offered up are holy, so is the whole batch. And if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root[k] of the cultivated olive tree, 18 do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. 22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from your native wild olive and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these—the natural branches—be grafted into their own olive tree?

25 So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: A partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all[l] Israel will be saved, as it is written:

The Liberator will come from Zion; He will turn away godlessness from Jacob. 27 And this will be My covenant with them[m] when I take away their sins.[n]

28 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the patriarchs, 29 since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.[o] 30 As you once disobeyed God, but now have received mercy through their disobedience, 31 so they too have now disobeyed, resulting in mercy to you, so that they also now[p] may receive mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned all in disobedience, so that He may have mercy on all.

A Hymn of Praise

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? 35 Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid?[q] 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.


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