If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face.

Luke 14:1-24

1 One time when Jesus went for a Sabbath meal with one of the top leaders of the Pharisees, all the guests had their eyes on him, watching his every move. 2 Right before him there was a man hugely swollen in his joints. 3 So Jesus asked the religion scholars and Pharisees present, “Is it permitted to heal on the Sabbath? Yes or no?” 4 They were silent. So he took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way. 5 Then he said, “Is there anyone here who, if a child or animal fell down a well, wouldn’t rush to pull him out immediately, not asking whether or not it was the Sabbath?” 6 They were stumped. There was nothing they could say to that.

7 He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, 8 “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. 9 Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left. 10 “When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! 11 What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” 12 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. 13 Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. 14 You’ll be – and experience – a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned – oh, how it will be returned! – at the resurrection of God’s people.”

15 That triggered a response from one of the guests: “How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God’s kingdom!” 16 Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. 17 When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’ 18 “Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’ 20 “And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’ 21 “The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’ 22 “The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded – and there’s still room.’ 23 “The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! 24 Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.'”

Genesis 25

1 Abraham married a second time; his new wife was named Keturah. 2 She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan had Sheba and Dedan. Dedan’s descendants were the Asshurim, the Letushim, and the Leummim. 4 Midian had Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah – all from the line of Keturah. 5 But Abraham gave everything he possessed to Isaac. 6 While he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons he had by his concubines, but then sent them away to the country of the east, putting a good distance between them and his son Isaac. 7 Abraham lived 175 years. 8 Then he took his final breath. He died happy at a ripe old age, full of years, and was buried with his family. 9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, next to Mamre. 10 It was the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites. Abraham was buried next to his wife Sarah.

11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac. Isaac lived at Beer Lahai Roi. The Family Tree of Ishmael 12 This is the family tree of Ishmael son of Abraham, the son that Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maid, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of Ishmael’s sons in the order of their births: Nebaioth, Ishmael’s first-born, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa 15 , Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah – 16 all the sons of Ishmael. Their settlements and encampments were named after them. Twelve princes with their twelve tribes. 17 Ishmael lived 137 years. When he breathed his last and died he was buried with his family. 18 His children settled down all the way from Havilah near Egypt eastward to Shur in the direction of Assyria. The Ishmaelites didn’t get along with any of their kin. Jacob and Rachel

19 This is the family tree of Isaac son of Abraham: Abraham had Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan Aram. She was the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Isaac prayed hard to God for his wife because she was barren. God answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant. 22 But the children tumbled and kicked inside her so much that she said, “If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living?” She went to God to find out what was going on. 23 God told her, Two nations are in your womb, two peoples butting heads while still in your body. One people will overpower the other, and the older will serve the younger. 24 When her time to give birth came, sure enough, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out reddish, as if snugly wrapped in a hairy blanket; they named him Esau (Hairy). 26 His brother followed, his fist clutched tight to Esau’s heel; they named him Jacob (Heel). Isaac was sixty years old when they were born. 27 The boys grew up. Esau became an expert hunter, an outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors among the tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he loved his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew – I’m starved!” That’s how he came to be called Edom (Red). 31 Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” 32 Esau said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?” 33 Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. 34 Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.

Psalms 18

1 I love you, God – you make me strong. 2 God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God – the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout. 3 I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved. 4 The hangman’s noose was tight at my throat; devil waters rushed over me. 5 Hell’s ropes cinched me tight; death traps barred every exit. 6 A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence – a private audience! 7 Earth wobbles and lurches; huge mountains shake like leaves, Quake like aspen leaves because of his rage. 8 His nostrils flare, bellowing smoke; his mouth spits fire. Tongues of fire dart in and out; 9 he lowers the sky. He steps down; under his feet an abyss opens up. 10 He’s riding a winged creature, swift on wind-wings. 11 Now he’s wrapped himself in a trenchcoat of black-cloud darkness. 12 But his cloud-brightness bursts through, spraying hailstones and fireballs. 13 Then God thundered out of heaven; the High God gave a great shout, spraying hailstones and fireballs. 14 God shoots his arrows – pandemonium! He hurls his lightnings – a rout! 15 The secret sources of ocean are exposed, the hidden depths of earth lie uncovered The moment you roar in protest, let loose your hurricane anger. 16 But me he caught – reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out 17 that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. 18 They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. 19 He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved – surprised to be loved!

20 God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. 21 Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. 22 Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. 23 I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. 24 God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. 25 The good people taste your goodness, The whole people taste your health, 26 The true people taste your truth, The bad ones can’t figure you out. 27 You take the side of the down-and-out, But the stuck-up you take down a peg. 28 Suddenly, God, you floodlight my life; I’m blazing with glory, God’s glory!

29 I smash the bands of marauders, I vault the highest fences. 30 What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him Makes it. 31 Is there any god like God? Are we not at bedrock? 32 Is not this the God who armed me, then aimed me in the right direction? 33 Now I run like a deer; I’m king of the mountain. 34 He shows me how to fight; I can bend a bronze bow! 35 You protect me with salvation-armor; you hold me up with a firm hand, caress me with your gentle ways. 36 You cleared the ground under me so my footing was firm. 37 When I chased my enemies I caught them; I didn’t let go till they were dead men. 38 I nailed them; they were down for good; then I walked all over them. 39 You armed me well for this fight, you smashed the upstarts. 40 You made my enemies turn tail, and I wiped out the haters. 41 They cried “uncle” but Uncle didn’t come; They yelled for God and got no for an answer. 42 I ground them to dust; they gusted in the wind. I threw them out, like garbage in the gutter. 43 You rescued me from a squabbling people; you made me a leader of nations. People I’d never heard of served me; 44 the moment they got wind of me they listened. 45 they came on their bellies, crawling from their hideouts. 46 Live, God! Blessings from my Rock, my free and freeing God, towering! 47 This God set things right for me and shut up the people who talked back. 48 He rescued me from enemy anger, he pulled me from the grip of upstarts, He saved me from the bullies. 49 That’s why I’m thanking you, God, all over the world. That’s why I’m singing songs that rhyme your name. 50 God’s king takes the trophy; God’s chosen is beloved. I mean David and all his children – always.


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