Leviticus 25-26 – Easy-to-Read Version

The Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai. He said, “Tell the Israelites: When you enter the land that I am giving to you, you must let the land have a special time of rest. This will be a special time of rest to honor the Lord. You will plant seed in your field for six years. You will trim your vineyards for six years and bring in its fruits. But during the seventh year, you will let the land rest. This will be a special time of rest to honor the Lord. You must not plant seed in your field or trim your vineyards. You must not cut the crops that grow by themselves after your harvest. You must not gather the grapes from your vines that are not trimmed. The land will have a year of rest.

“The land will have a year of rest, but you will still have enough food. There will be enough food for your men and women servants. There will be food for your hired workers and for the foreigners living in your country. And there will be enough food for your cattle and other animals to eat.

“You will also count seven groups of seven years. This will be 49 years. During that time there will be seven years of rest for the land. On the Day of Atonement, you must blow a ram’s horn. That will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the ram’s horn through the whole country. You will make the 50th year a special year. You will announce freedom for everyone living in your country. This time will be called ‘Jubilee.’ Each of you will go back to your own property. And each of you will go back to your own family. The 50th year will be a special celebration for you. Don’t plant seeds, don’t harvest the crops that grow by themselves, and don’t gather grapes from the vines that are not trimmed. That year is Jubilee. It will be a holy time for you. You will eat the crops that come from the field. In the year of Jubilee, you will go back to your own property.

“Don’t cheat your neighbors when you sell your land to them. Don’t cheat one another when you buy or sell land. If you want to buy your neighbor’s land, count the number of years since the last Jubilee, and use that number to decide the right price. You are only buying the rights for harvesting crops until the next Jubilee. If there are many years before the next Jubilee, the price will be high. If the years are few, the price will be lower. So your neighbor is really only selling a number of crops to you. At the next Jubilee, the land will again belong to that family. You must not cheat each other. You must honor your God. I am the Lord your God.

“Remember my laws and rules. Obey them and you will live safely in your country. And the land will produce good crops for you. Then you will have plenty of food, and you will live safely on the land.

“But maybe you will say, ‘If we don’t plant seeds or gather our crops, we will not have anything to eat during the seventh year.’ I will order my blessing to come to you during the sixth year. The land will continue growing crops for three years. When you plant in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the old crop. You will eat the old crop until the ninth year, when the crop you planted in the eighth year comes in.

“The land really belongs to me, so you cannot sell it permanently. You are only foreigners and travelers living on my land with me. People might sell their land, but the family will always get their land back. If someone in your country becomes very poor and must sell their property, a close relative must come and buy it back. If there is not a close relative to buy back the land, the person might get enough money to buy it back. Then the years must be counted since the land was sold. That number must be used to decide how much to pay for the land. The person must then buy back the land, and it will be their property again. But if this first owner cannot find enough money to buy the land back, it will stay in the hands of the one who bought it until the year of Jubilee. Then during that special celebration, the land will go back to the first owner’s family. So the property will again belong to the right family.

“Anyone who sells a home in a walled city still has the right to get it back until a full year after it was sold. Their right to get the house back will continue one year. But if the owner does not buy back the house before a full year is finished, the house that is in the walled city will belong to the one who bought it and to their descendants. The house will not go back to the first owner at the time of Jubilee. Towns without walls around them will be treated like open fields. So houses built in these small towns will go back to the first owners at the time of Jubilee.

“But about the cities of the Levites: The Levites can buy back at any time their houses in the cities that belong to them. If someone buys a house from a Levite, that house in the Levites’ city will again belong to the Levites at the time of Jubilee. This is because houses in Levite cities belong to those from the tribe of Levi. The Israelites gave these cities to the Levites. Also, the fields and pastures around the Levite cities cannot be sold. They belong to the Levites forever.

“If anyone from your own country becomes too poor to support themselves, you must let them live with you like a visitor. Don’t charge them any interest on money you might loan to them. Respect your God and let those from your own country live with you. Don’t charge them interest on any money you lend them. And don’t try to make a profit from the food you sell them. I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the land of Egypt to give the land of Canaan to you and to become your God.

“If anyone from your own country becomes so poor that they must sell themselves to you, don’t make them work like slaves. They will be like hired workers and visitors with you until the year of Jubilee. Then they can leave you, take their children, and go back to their family. They can go back to the property of their ancestors, because they are my servants. I brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They must not become slaves again. You must not be a cruel master to them. You must respect your God.

“About your men and women slaves: You may get men and women slaves from the other nations around you. Also, you may get children as slaves if they come from the families of the foreigners living in your land. These child slaves will belong to you. You may even pass these foreign slaves on to your children after you die so that they will belong to them. They will be your slaves forever. You may make slaves of these foreigners. But you must not be a cruel master over your own brothers, the Israelites.

“Maybe a foreigner or visitor among you becomes rich. Or maybe someone from your own country becomes so poor that they sell themselves as slaves to a foreigner living among you or to a member of a foreigner’s family. These people have the right to be bought back and become free. Someone from their own country can buy them back. Or their uncle, their cousin, or one of their close relatives from their family can buy him back. Or if they get enough money, they can pay the money themselves and become free again.

“You must count the years from the time they sold themselves to the foreigner up to the next year of Jubilee. Use that number to decide the price, because really the person only ‘hired’ them for a few years. If there are still many years before the year of Jubilee, the one sold must give back a large part of the price. It all depends on the number of years. If only a few years are left until the year of Jubilee, the one who was sold must pay a small part of the original price. But that person will live like a hired worker with the foreigner every year. Don’t let the foreigner be a cruel master over that person.

“Those who sold themselves will become free, even if no one buys them back. At the year of Jubilee, they and their children will become free. This is because the Israelites are my servants. They are the servants who I brought out of slavery in Egypt. I am the Lord your God!

“Don’t make idols for yourselves. Don’t set up statues or memorial stones in your land to bow down to, because I am the Lord your God!

“Remember my special days of rest and honor my holy place. I am the Lord.

“Remember my laws and commands, and obey them. If you do these things, I will give you rains at the time they should come. The land will grow crops and the trees of the field will grow their fruit. Your threshing will continue until it is time to gather grapes. And your grape gathering will continue until it is time to plant. Then you will have plenty to eat. And you will live safely in your land. I will give peace to your country. You will lie down in peace. No one will come to make you afraid. I will keep harmful animals out of your country. And armies will not come through your country.

“You will chase your enemies and defeat them. You will kill them with your swords. Five of you will chase 100 men, and 100 of you will chase 10,000 men. You will defeat your enemies and kill them with your sword.

“Then I will turn to you. I will let you have many children. I will keep my agreement with you. You will have enough crops to last for more than a year. You will harvest the new crops. But then you will have to throw out the old crops to make room for the new crops. Also, I will place my Holy Tent among you. I will not turn away from you. I will walk with you and be your God. And you will be my people. I am the Lord your God. You were slaves in Egypt, but I brought you out of Egypt. You were bent low from the heavy weights you carried as slaves, but I broke the poles that were on your shoulders. I let you walk proudly again.

“But if you don’t obey me and all my commands, bad things will happen to you. If you refuse to obey my laws and commands, you have broken my agreement. If you do that, I will cause terrible things to happen to you. I will cause you to have disease and fever. They will destroy your eyes and take away your life. You will not have success when you plant your seed. And your enemies will eat your crops. I will be against you, so your enemies will defeat you. These enemies will hate you and rule over you. You will run away even when no one is chasing you.

“After these things, if you still don’t obey me, I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will also destroy the great cities that make you proud. The skies will not give rain, and the earth will not produce crops. You will work hard, but it will not help. Your land will not give any crops, and your trees will not grow their fruit.

“If you still turn against me and refuse to obey me, I will beat you seven times harder! The more you sin, the more you will be punished. I will send wild animals against you. They will take your children away from you. They will destroy your animals. They will kill many of your people. The roads will all be empty.

“If you don’t learn your lesson after all this, and if you still turn against me, then I will also turn against you. I—yes, I myself—will punish you seven times for your sins. You will have broken my agreement, so I will punish you. I will bring armies against you. You will go into your cities for safety, but I will cause diseases to spread among you. And your enemies will defeat you. I will give you a share of the grain left in that city. But there will be very little food to eat. Ten women will be able to cook all their bread in one oven. They will measure each piece of bread. You will eat, but you will still be hungry.

“If you still refuse to listen to me, and if you still turn against me, then I will really show my anger! I—yes, I myself—will punish you seven times for your sins. You will become so hungry that you will eat the bodies of your sons and daughters. I will destroy your high places. I will cut down your incense altars. I will put your dead bodies on the dead bodies of your idols. You will be disgusting to me. I will destroy your cities. I will make your holy places empty. I will stop smelling your offerings. I will make your land empty. And your enemies who come to live there will be shocked at it. I will scatter you among the nations. I will pull out my sword and destroy you. Your land will become empty, and your cities will be destroyed.

“You will be taken to your enemy’s country. Your country will be empty. So your land will finally get its rest. The land will enjoy its time of rest. During the time that the land is empty, it will get the time of rest that you did not give it while you lived there. The survivors will lose their courage in the land of their enemies. They will be afraid of everything. They will run around like a leaf blown by the wind. They will run as if someone is chasing them with a sword. They will fall even when no one is chasing them. They will run as if someone is chasing them with a sword. They will fall over each other—even when no one is chasing them.

“You will not be strong enough to stand up against your enemies. You will be lost in other nations. You will disappear in the land of your enemies. So the survivors will rot away in their sin in their enemies’ countries. They will rot away in their sins just as their ancestors did.

“But maybe the people will confess their sins. And maybe they will confess the sins of their ancestors. Maybe they will admit that they turned against me. Maybe they will admit that they sinned against me. Maybe they will admit that I turned against them and brought them into the land of their enemies. These people will be like strangers to me. But maybe they will become humble and accept the punishment for their sin. If they do, I will remember my agreement with Jacob. I will remember my agreement with Isaac. I will remember my agreement with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

“The land will be empty. The land will enjoy its time of rest. Then the survivors will accept the punishment for their sins. They will learn that they were punished because they hated my laws and refused to obey my rules. They have sinned. But if they come to me for help, I will not turn away from them. I will listen to them, even if they are in the land of their enemies. I will not completely destroy them. I will not break my agreement with them, because I am the Lord their God. For them, I will remember the agreement with their ancestors. I brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt so that I could become their God. The other nations saw these things. I am the Lord.”

These are the laws, rules, and teachings that the Lord gave to the Israelites. These laws are the agreement between the Lord and the Israelites. The Lord gave these laws to Moses at Mount Sinai.

Mark 5 – Easy-to-Read Version

MONTHday (Year One)

Jesus and his followers went across the lake to the area where the Gerasene people lived. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man came to him from the caves where the dead are buried. This man had an evil spirit living inside him. He lived in the burial caves. No one could keep him tied up, even with chains. Many times people had put chains on his hands and feet, but he broke the chains. No one was strong enough to control him. Day and night he stayed around the burial caves and on the hills. He would scream and cut himself with rocks.

While Jesus was still far away, the man saw him. He ran to Jesus and bowed down before him. As Jesus was saying, “You evil spirit, come out of this man,” the man shouted loudly, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you in God’s name not to punish me!”

Then Jesus asked the man, “What is your name?”

The man answered, “My name is Legion, because there are many spirits inside me.” The spirits inside the man begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of that area.

A large herd of pigs was eating on a hill near there. The evil spirits begged Jesus, “Send us to the pigs. Let us go into them.” So Jesus allowed them to do this. The evil spirits left the man and went into the pigs. Then the herd of pigs ran down the hill and into the lake. They were all drowned. There were about 2000 pigs in that herd.

The men who had the work of caring for the pigs ran away. They ran to the town and to the farms and told everyone what happened. The people went out to see. They came to Jesus, and they saw the man who had the many evil spirits. He was sitting down and was wearing clothes. He was in his right mind again. When they saw this, they were afraid. Those who had seen what Jesus did told the others what happened to the man who had the demons living in him. And they also told about the pigs. Then the people began to beg Jesus to leave their area.

Jesus was preparing to leave in the boat. The man who was now free from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus did not allow the man to go. He said, “Go home to your family and friends. Tell them about all that the Lord did for you. Tell them how the Lord was good to you.”

So the man left and told the people in the Ten Towns about the great things Jesus did for him. Everyone was amazed.

Jesus went back to the other side of the lake in the boat. There, a large crowd of people gathered around him on the shore. A leader of the synagogue came. His name was Jairus. He saw Jesus and bowed down before him. He begged Jesus again and again, saying, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and lay your hands on her. Then she will be healed and will live.”

So Jesus went with Jairus. Many people followed Jesus. They were pushing very close around him.

There among the people was a woman who had been bleeding for the past twelve years. She had suffered very much. Many doctors had tried to help her, and all the money she had was spent, but she was not improving. In fact, her sickness was getting worse.

The woman heard about Jesus, so she followed him with the other people and touched his coat. She thought, “If I can just touch his clothes, that will be enough to heal me.” As soon as she touched his coat, her bleeding stopped. She felt that her body was healed from all the suffering. Jesus immediately felt power go out from him, so he stopped and turned around. “Who touched my clothes?” he asked.

The followers said to Jesus, “There are so many people pushing against you. But you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

But Jesus continued looking for the one who touched him. The woman knew that she was healed, so she came and bowed at Jesus’ feet. She was shaking with fear. She told Jesus the whole story. He said to her, “Dear woman, you are made well because you believed. Go in peace. You will not suffer anymore.”

While Jesus was still there speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. They said, “Your daughter is dead. There is no need to bother the Teacher.”

But Jesus did not care what the men said. He said to the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Jesus let only Peter, James, and John the brother of James go with him. They went to the synagogue leader’s house, where Jesus saw many people crying loudly. There was a lot of confusion. He entered the house and said, “Why are you people crying and making so much noise? This child is not dead. She is only sleeping.” But everyone laughed at him.

Jesus told the people to leave the house. Then he went into the room where the child was. He brought the child’s father and mother and his three followers into the room with him. Then Jesus held the girl’s hand and said to her, “Talitha, koum!” (This means “Little girl, I tell you to stand up!”) The girl immediately stood up and began walking. (She was twelve years old.) The father and mother and the followers were amazed. Jesus gave the father and mother very strict orders not to tell people about this. Then he told them to give the girl some food to eat.

Hosea 8 – Easy-to-Read Version

OCTOBER 28 (Year One)

“Put the trumpet to your lips and give the warning. Be like an eagle over the Lord’s house. The Israelites have broken my agreement. They have not obeyed my law. They yell out at me, ‘My God, we in Israel know you!’ But Israel refused the good things, so the enemy chases him. The Israelites chose their kings, but they didn’t come to me for advice. They chose leaders, but they didn’t choose men I knew. The Israelites used their silver and gold to make idols for themselves, so they will be destroyed. He has refused your calf, Samaria. God says, ‘I am very angry with the Israelites.’ The people of Israel will be punished for their sin. Some worker made those statues. They are not God. Samaria’s calf will be broken into pieces. The Israelites did a foolish thing—it was like trying to plant the wind. But they will get only troubles—they will harvest a whirlwind. The grain in the fields will grow, but it will give no food. Even if it grew something, strangers would eat it.

“Israel was destroyed;
    its people are scattered among the nations,
    like some dish that was thrown away because no one wanted it.
Ephraim went to his ‘lovers.’
    Like a stubborn donkey, they led him off to Assyria.
Yes, Israel was taken to the nations,
    but I will bring them back.
But first, they must suffer a little
    by carrying the burden of that mighty king.

“Ephraim built more and more altars,
    and that was a sin.
    They have been altars of sin for Ephraim.
Even if I wrote 10,000 laws for Ephraim,
    he would treat them as if they were for some stranger.
The Israelites love sacrifices.
    They offer the meat and eat it.
The Lord does not accept their sacrifices.
    He remembers their sins,
and he will punish them.
    They will be carried away as prisoners to Egypt.
Israel has built palaces for their kings,
    and now Judah builds fortresses.
But they have forgotten their Maker!
    So I will send a fire to destroy their cities and fortresses!”

Matthew 24 – Easy-to-Read Version

SEPTEMBER 16 (Year One)

Jesus left the Temple area and was walking away. But his followers came to him to show him the Temple’s buildings. He asked them, “Are you looking at these buildings? The fact is, they will be destroyed. Every stone will be thrown down to the ground. Not one stone will be left on another.”

Later, Jesus was sitting at a place on the Mount of Olives. The followers came to be alone with him. They said, “Tell us when these things will happen. And what will happen to prepare us for your coming and the end of time?”

Jesus answered, “Be careful! Don’t let anyone fool you. Many people will come and use my name. They will say, ‘I am the Messiah.’ And they will fool many people. You will hear about wars that are being fought. And you will hear stories about other wars beginning. But don’t be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes. Nations will fight against other nations. Kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat. And there will be earthquakes in different places. These things are only the beginning of troubles, like the first pains of a woman giving birth.

“Then you will be arrested and handed over to be punished and killed. People all over the world will hate you because you believe in me. During that time many believers will lose their faith. They will turn against each other and hate each other. Many false prophets will come and cause many people to believe things that are wrong. There will be so much more evil in the world that the love of most believers will grow cold. But the one who remains faithful to the end will be saved. And the Good News I have shared about God’s kingdom will be told throughout the world. It will be spread to every nation. Then the end will come.

“Daniel the prophet spoke about ‘the terrible thing that causes destruction.’ You will see this terrible thing standing in the holy place.” (You who read this should understand what it means.) “The people in Judea at that time should run away to the mountains. They should run away without wasting time to stop for anything. If they are on the roof of their house, they must not go down to get anything out of the house. If they are in the field, they must not go back to get a coat.

“During that time it will be hard for women who are pregnant or have small babies! Pray that it will not be winter or a Sabbath day when these things happen and you have to run away, because it will be a time of great trouble. There will be more trouble than has ever happened since the beginning of the world. And nothing as bad as that will ever happen again.

“But God has decided to make that terrible time short. If it were not made short, no one would continue living. But God will make that time short to help the people he has chosen.

“Someone might say to you at that time, ‘Look, there is the Messiah!’ Or someone else might say, ‘There he is!’ But don’t believe them. False messiahs and false prophets will come and do great miracles and wonders, trying to fool the people God has chosen, if that is possible. Now I have warned you about this before it happens.

“Someone might tell you, ‘The Messiah is there in the desert!’ But don’t go into the desert to look for him. Someone else might say, ‘There is the Messiah in that room!’ But don’t believe it. When the Son of Man comes, everyone will see him. It will be like lightning flashing in the sky that can be seen everywhere. It’s like looking for a dead body: You will find it where the vultures are gathering above.

“Right after the trouble of those days, this will happen:

‘The sun will become dark,
    and the moon will not give light.
The stars will fall from the sky,
    and everything in the sky will be changed.’

“Then there will be something in the sky that shows the Son of Man is coming. All the people of the world will cry. Everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in the sky. He will come with power and great glory. He will use a loud trumpet to send his angels all around the earth. They will gather his chosen people from every part of the earth.

“The fig tree teaches us a lesson: When its branches become green and soft, and new leaves begin to grow, then you know that summer is very near. In the same way, when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time is very near, already present. I assure you that all these things will happen while some of the people of this time are still living. The whole world, earth and sky, will be destroyed, but my words will last forever.

“No one knows when that day or time will be. The Son and the angels in heaven don’t know when it will be. Only the Father knows.

“When the Son of Man comes, it will be the same as what happened during Noah’s time. In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving their children to be married right up to the day Noah entered the boat. They knew nothing about what was happening until the flood came and destroyed them all.

“It will be the same when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field. One will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding grain with a mill. One will be taken and the other will be left.

“So always be ready. You don’t know the day your Lord will come. What would a homeowner do if he knew when a thief was coming? You know he would be ready and not let the thief break in. So you also must be ready. The Son of Man will come at a time when you don’t expect him.

“Who is the wise and trusted servant? The master trusts one servant to give the other servants their food at the right time. Who is the one the master trusts to do that work? When the master comes and finds that servant doing the work he gave him, it will be a day of blessing for that servant. I can tell you without a doubt, the master will choose that servant to take care of everything he owns.

“But what will happen if that servant is evil and thinks his master will not come back soon? He will begin to beat the other servants. He will eat and drink with others who are drunk. Then the master will come when the servant is not ready, at a time when the servant is not expecting him. Then the master will punish that servant. He will send him away to be with the hypocrites, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.

Amos 3-4 – Easy-to-Read Version

AUGUST 20 (Year One)

People of Israel, listen to this message! This is what the Lord said about you, Israel. This message is about all the families that I brought from the land of Egypt. “There are many families on earth, but you are the only family I chose to know in a special way. And you turned against me, so I will punish you for all your sins.”

Two people will not walk together
    unless they have agreed to do so.
A lion will roar in the forest
    only if it catches its prey.
A young lion roaring in his cave
    means he has caught something to eat.
A bird doesn’t fly into a trap
    unless there is food in it.
If a trap closes,
    it will catch the bird.
If people hear the warning blast of a trumpet,
    they shake with fear.
If trouble comes to a city,
    the Lord caused it to happen.

When the Lord God decides to do something, he will first tell his servants, the prophets. When a lion roars, people are frightened. When the Lord God speaks, a prophet must prophesy.

Go to the high towers in Ashdod and in Egypt and announce this message from the Lord: “Come together on the mountains of Samaria. See the great confusion there because the people don’t know how to live right. See how cruel they are to others. They take things from people to hide in their high towers. Their treasuries are filled with the things they have taken in war.”

So the Lord God says, “An enemy will surround your land. They will break down your strong walls and take the things you have hidden in your high towers.”

The Lord says,

“A lion might attack a lamb,
    and a shepherd might try to save the lamb.
But the shepherd will save
    only a part of that lamb.
He might pull two legs
    or a part of an ear from the lion’s mouth.
In the same way, most of the people of Israel will not be saved.
    Those who live in Samaria will save only a corner from a bed,
    or a piece of cloth from a couch.”

This is what the Lord God All-Powerful says: “Warn the family of Jacob about these things. Israel sinned, and I will punish them for their sins. And when I do, I will also destroy the altars at Bethel. The horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. I will destroy the winter house with the summer house. The houses of ivory will be destroyed. Many houses will be destroyed.” This is what the Lord said.

Listen to me, you cows of Bashan on Samaria’s mountain. You hurt the poor and crush those in need. You tell your husbands, “Bring us something to drink!”

The Lord God made a promise. He promised by his holiness that troubles will come to you. People will use hooks and take you away as prisoners. They will use fishhooks to take away your children. Your city will be destroyed. The women will rush out through cracks in the wall and throw themselves onto the pile of dead bodies.

This is what the Lord says: “Go to Bethel and sin. Go to Gilgal and sin even more. Offer your sacrifices in the morning. Bring a tenth of your crops for the three-day festival. And offer a thank offering made with yeast. Tell everyone about the freewill offerings. Israel, you love to do those things. So go and do them.” This is what the Lord God said.

“I didn’t give you any food to eat. There was no food in any of your cities, but you didn’t come back to me.” This is what the Lord said.

“I also stopped the rain, and it was three months before harvest time. So no crops grew. Then I let it rain on one city, but not on another city. Rain fell on one part of the country, but on the other part of the country, the land became very dry. So the people from two or three cities staggered to another city to get water, but there was not enough water for everyone. Still you didn’t come to me for help.” This is what the Lord said.

“I made your crops die from heat and disease. I destroyed your gardens and your vineyards. Locusts ate your fig trees and olive trees. But you still didn’t come to me for help.” This is what the Lord said.

“I sent diseases against you, as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with swords. I took away your horses. I made your camp smell very bad from all the dead bodies, but still you didn’t come back to me for help.” This is what the Lord said.

“I destroyed you as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. And those cities were completely destroyed. You were like a burned stick pulled from a fire, but still you didn’t come back to me for help.” This is what the Lord says.

“So, Israel, this is what I will do to you. You people of Israel, prepare to meet your God.”

He is the one who made the mountains.
    He created the wind.
    He lets people know his thoughts.
He changes the darkness into dawn.
    He walks over the mountains of the earth.
    His name is Yahweh, Lord God All-Powerful.

Exodus 34-35 – Easy-to-Read Version

AUGUGST 10 (Year One)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make two more stone tablets like the first two that were broken. I will write the same words on these stones that were written on the first two stones. Be ready tomorrow morning and come up on Mount Sinai. Stand before me there on the top of the mountain. No one will be allowed to come with you. No one should even be seen anywhere on the mountain. Even your herds of animals or flocks of sheep will not be allowed to eat grass at the bottom of the mountain.”

So Moses made two more stone tablets like the first ones. Early the next morning Moses went up Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded. Moses carried the two stone tablets with him. Then the Lord came down to him in a cloud, stood there with Moses, and spoke his own name. That is, the Lord passed in front of Moses and said, “Yahweh, the Lord, is a kind and merciful God. He is slow to become angry. He is full of great love. He can be trusted. He shows his faithful love to thousands of people. He forgives people for the wrong things they do, but he does not forget to punish guilty people. Not only will he punish the guilty people, but their children, their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren will also suffer for the bad things these people do.”

Then Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped the Lord. Moses said, “Lord, if you are pleased with me, please go with us. I know that these are stubborn people, but forgive us for the bad things we did. Accept us as your people.”

Then the Lord said, “I am making this agreement with all of your people. I will do amazing things that have never before been done for any other nation on earth. The people with you will see that I, the Lord, am very great. They will see the wonderful things that I will do for you. Obey what I command you today, and I will force your enemies to leave your land. I will force out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Be careful! Don’t make any agreement with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you make an agreement with them, it will bring you trouble. So destroy their altars, break the stones they worship, and cut down their idols. Don’t worship any other god. I am Yahweh Kanah—the jealous Lord. That is my name. I hate for my people to worship other gods.

“Be careful not to make any agreements with the people who live in that land. If you do this, you might join them when they worship their gods. They will invite you to join them, and you will eat their sacrifices. You might choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons. Those daughters serve false gods. They might lead your sons to do the same thing.

“Don’t make idols.

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days, eat the bread made without yeast as I commanded you before. Do this during the month I have chosen, the month of Abib, because that is the month you came out of Egypt.

“A woman’s first baby always belongs to me. Even the first animals that are born from your cattle or sheep belong to me. If you want to keep a donkey that is the first born, then you can buy it with a lamb. But if you don’t buy that donkey with a lamb, you must break the donkey’s neck. You must buy back all of your firstborn sons from me. No one should come before me without a gift.

“You will work for six days, but on the seventh day you must rest. You must rest even during the times of planting and harvesting.

“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest. Use the first grain from the wheat harvest for this festival. And in the fall celebrate the Festival of Shelters.

“Three times each year all your men must go to be with the Lord God, the God of Israel.

“When you go into your land, I will force your enemies out of that land. I will expand your borders—you will get more and more land. You will go before the Lord your God three times each year. At that time no one will try to take your land from you.

“When you kill an animal and offer its blood as a sacrifice, you must not include anything that has yeast in it.

“Don’t let any of the meat from the Passover meal remain until morning.

“Give the Lord the very first crops that you harvest. Bring them to the house of the Lord your God.

“Never cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write everything that I have told you. This is the agreement that I made with you and the Israelites.”

Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses did not eat any food or drink any water. And he wrote the words of the agreement (the Ten Commandments) on the two stone tablets.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he carried the two stone tablets of the agreement. Because he had talked with the Lord, his face was shining, but he did not know it. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw that Moses’ face was shining bright. So they were afraid to go near him. But Moses called to them. So Aaron and all the leaders of the people went to him. Moses talked with them. After that all the Israelites came near Moses, and he gave them the commands that the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

When Moses finished speaking to the people, he put a covering over his face. Any time Moses went before the Lord to speak with him, Moses took off the covering. Then Moses would come out and tell the Israelites what the Lord commanded. The people would see that Moses’ face was shining bright, so he would cover his face again. He kept his face covered until the next time he went in to speak with the Lord.

Moses gathered all the Israelites together and said to them, “I will tell you what the Lord has commanded you to do:

“There are six days for working, but the seventh day will be a very special day of rest for you. You will honor the Lord by resting on that special day. Anyone who works on the seventh day must be killed. On the Sabbath you should not even light a fire in any of the places where you live.”

Moses said to all the Israelites, “This is what the Lord commanded: Gather special gifts for the Lord. Each of you should decide in your heart what you will give. And then you should bring that gift to the Lord. Bring gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and red yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and fine leather; acacia wood; oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and spices for the sweet-smelling incense. Also, bring onyx stones and other jewels to be put on the ephod and the judgment pouch.

“All of you who are skilled workers should make all the things the Lord commanded: the Holy Tent, its outer tent, and its covering; the hooks, boards, braces, posts, and bases; the Holy Box, its poles, the mercy-cover, and the curtain that covers the area where the Box stays; the table and its poles, all the things on the table, and the special bread on the table; the lampstand that is used for light and the things used with the lampstand, the lamps, and oil for the light; the altar for burning incense and its poles; the anointing oil and the sweet-smelling incense; the curtain that covers the door at the entrance to the Holy Tent; the altar for burning offerings and its bronze grating, the poles, and all the things used at the altar; the bronze bowl and its base; the curtains around the yard, their posts and bases, and the curtain that covers the entrance to the yard; the pegs used to support the Tent and the wall of curtains around the courtyard, and the ropes that tie to the pegs; and the special woven clothes for the priest to wear in the Holy Place. These are the special clothes for Aaron the priest and his sons to wear when they serve as priests.”

Then all the Israelites went away from Moses. All the people who wanted to give came and brought a gift to the Lord. These gifts were used for making the Meeting Tent, everything in the Tent, and the special clothes. All the men and women who wanted to give brought gold jewelry of all kinds. They brought pins, earrings, rings, and other jewelry. They all gave their jewelry as a special offering to the Lord.

Everyone who had fine linen and blue, purple, and red yarn brought it to the Lord. Anyone who had goat hair or ram skins dyed red or fine leather brought it to the Lord. Everyone who wanted to give silver or bronze brought that as a gift to the Lord. Everyone who had acacia wood came and gave it to the Lord. Every skilled woman made fine linen and blue, purple, and red yarn. And all the women who were skilled and wanted to help made cloth from the goat hair.

The leaders brought onyx stones and other jewels. These stones and jewels were put on the ephod and judgment pouch of the priest. The people also brought spices and olive oil. These things were used for the sweet-smelling incense, the anointing oil, and the oil for the lamps.

All the Israelites who wanted to help brought gifts to the Lord. They gave these gifts freely, because they wanted to. These gifts were used to make everything the Lord had commanded Moses and the people to make.

Then Moses said to the Israelites, “Look, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, from the tribe of Judah. (Uri was the son of Hur.) And he has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God—he gave Bezalel special skill and knowledge to do all kinds of things. He can design and make things with gold, silver, and bronze. He can cut and set stones and jewels. He can work with wood and make all kinds of things. The Lord has given Bezalel and Oholiab special skills to teach other people. (Oholiab was the son of Ahisamach from the tribe of Dan.) He has given both of these men special skills to do all kinds of work. They are able to do the work of carpenters and metalworkers. They can weave cloth with designs in it from blue, purple, and red yarn and fine linen. And they are able to weave things with wool.

Psalm 17 – Easy-to-Read Version

AUGUST 2 (Year One)

A prayer of David.

Lord, hear my prayer for justice.
    I am calling loudly to you.
I am being honest in what I say,
    so please listen to my prayer.
You will make the right decision,
    because you can see the truth.
You were with me all night
    and looked deep into my heart.
You questioned me and found that
    I did not say or do anything wrong.
Unlike most people, I have obeyed your commands,
    so I have never been like those who are cruel and evil.
I have followed your way.
    My feet never left your path.
Every time I call to you, God, you answer me.
    So listen to me now, and hear what I say.
Show your amazing kindness
    and rescue those who depend on you.
Use your great power
    and protect them from their enemies.
Protect me like the pupil of your eye.
    Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Save me from the wicked people who are trying to destroy me.
Protect me from those who come to hurt me.
They think only of themselves
    and brag about what they will do.
They have been following me,
    and now they are all around me.
They watch me, waiting to throw me to the ground.
Like hungry lions, they want to kill and eat.
    Like young lions, they hide, ready to attack.

Lord, get up and face the enemy.
    Make them surrender.
    Use your sword and save me from these wicked people.
Use your power, Lord,
    and remove them from this life.
But as for the people you treasure,
    fill them with food.
    Give them plenty for their children and their grandchildren.

I have done only what is right, so I will see your face.
    And seeing you, I will be fully satisfied.

Exodus 4 – Easy-to-Read Version

May 26 (Year One)

Then Moses said to God, “But the Israelites will not believe me when I tell them that you sent me. They will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”

But the Lord said to Moses, “What is that you have in your hand?”

Moses answered, “It is my walking stick.”

Then God said, “Throw your walking stick on the ground.”

So Moses threw his walking stick on the ground, and it became a snake. Moses ran from it, but the Lord said to him, “Reach out and grab the snake by its tail.”

When Moses reached out and caught the snake’s tail, the snake became a walking stick again. Then God said, “Use your stick in this way, and the people will believe that you saw the Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will give you another proof. Put your hand under your robe.”

So Moses opened his robe and put his hand inside. Then he brought his hand out of the robe and it was changed. His hand was covered with spots that were white like snow.

Then God said, “Now put your hand into your robe again.” So Moses put his hand into his robe again. Then he brought his hand out, and his hand was changed. Now his hand was good again, as it was before.

Then God said, “If the people don’t believe you when you use your walking stick, then they will believe you when you show them this sign. If they still refuse to believe after you show them both of these signs, then take some water from the Nile River. Pour the water on the ground, and as soon as it touches the ground, it will become blood.”

Then Moses said to the Lord, “But, Lord, I am telling you, I am not a good speaker. I have never been able to speak well. And that hasn’t changed since you started talking to me. I am still not a good speaker. You know that I speak slowly and don’t use the best words.”

Then the Lord said to him, “Who made a person’s mouth? And who can make someone deaf or not able to speak? Who can make a person blind? Who can make a person able to see? I am the one. I am the Lord. So go. I will be with you when you speak. I will give you the words to say.”

But Moses said, “My Lord, I beg you to send someone else, not me.”

Then the Lord became angry with Moses and said, “All right! I’ll give you someone to help you. Aaron the Levite is your brother, isn’t he? He is a good speaker. In fact, Aaron is already coming to meet you, and he will be happy to see you. I will tell you what to say. Then you will tell Aaron, and I will help him say it well. I will tell both of you what to do. So Aaron will speak for you. Like God, you will speak to him, and he will tell the people what you say. So go and carry your walking stick with you. Use it and the other miracles to show the people that I am with you.”

Then Moses went back to Jethro, his father-in-law. Moses said to him, “Please let me go back to Egypt. I want to see if my people are still alive.”

Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

Then, while Moses was still in Midian, the Lord said to him, “It is safe for you to go back to Egypt now. The men who wanted to kill you are now dead.”

So Moses put his wife and children on the donkey and returned to Egypt. He carried his walking stick with him—the walking stick with the power of God.

While Moses was traveling back to Egypt, the Lord spoke to him, “When you talk to Pharaoh remember to show him all the miracles that I have given you the power to do. But I will cause Pharaoh to be very stubborn. He will not let the people go. Then you should say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son. And I am telling you to let my son go and worship me. If you refuse to let Israel go, then I will kill your firstborn son.’”

On the way to Egypt, Moses stopped at a place to spend the night. The Lord met Moses at that place and tried to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She took the skin and touched his feet. Then she said to Moses, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me.” Zipporah said this because she had to circumcise her son. So God let Moses live.

The Lord had spoken to Aaron and told him, “Go out into the desert and meet Moses.” So Aaron went and met Moses at the Mountain of God. He saw Moses and kissed him. Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had commanded him to say and all the miracles he must do to prove that God had sent him.

So Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the Israelites. Then Aaron spoke to the people and told them everything the Lord had told Moses. Then Moses did the miracles for all the people to see, and they believed what they had heard. Then the Israelites understood that the Lord had seen their troubles and had come to help them. So they bowed down and worshiped God.

Exodus 22 – Easy-to-Read Version

June 14 (Year One)

“How should you punish a man who steals a bull or a sheep? If the man kills the animal or sells it, then he cannot give it back. So he must pay five bulls for the one he stole. Or he must pay four sheep for the one he stole. He must pay for stealing. If he owns nothing, then he will be sold as a slave. But if the man still has the animal and you find it, that man must give the owner two animals for every animal he stole. It doesn’t matter if the animal was a bull, a donkey, or a sheep.

“If a thief is killed while trying to break into a house at night, then no one will be guilty for killing him. But if this happens during the day, the one who killed him will be guilty of murder.

“A man might let his animal loose to graze in his field or vineyard. If the animal wanders into another person’s field or vineyard, then the owner must pay. The payment must come from the best of his crop.

“A man might start a fire to burn thornbushes on his field. But if the fire grows and burns his neighbor’s crops or the grain growing on the neighbor’s field, the man who started the fire must pay for what he burned.

“Someone might give some money or tools to a neighbor for safekeeping. What should you do if someone steals those things from the neighbor’s house? If you find the one who stole them, then that thief must pay twice as much as the things are worth. If you don’t find the thief, then the owner of the house must go before the judges who will decide if that person is guilty.

“What should you do if two men disagree about a bull or a donkey or sheep or clothing or something that is lost? One man says, ‘This is mine,’ and the other says, ‘No, it is mine.’ Both men should go before the judges who will decide who is guilty. The one who was wrong must pay the other man twice as much as the thing is worth.

“A man might ask his neighbor to take care of an animal for a short time. It might be a donkey, a bull, or a sheep. But what should you do if that animal is hurt or dies or someone takes the animal while no one is looking? That neighbor must explain that he did not steal the animal. If this is true, the neighbor will promise to the Lord that he did not steal it. The owner of the animal must accept this promise. The neighbor does not have to pay the owner for the animal. But if the neighbor stole the animal, then he must pay the owner for the animal. If wild animals killed the animal, then the neighbor should bring the body as proof. The neighbor will not have to pay the owner for the animal that was killed.

“If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor, and the animal is hurt or dies, then the neighbor must pay the owner for the animal. The neighbor is responsible, because the owner was not there himself. But if the owner was there, then the neighbor does not have to pay. Or if the neighbor was paying money to use the animal for work, he will not have to pay if the animal dies or is hurt. The money he paid to use the animal will be enough payment.

“If a man has sexual relations with a virgin who he is not engaged to, then he must pay her father the full amount necessary to marry her. If the father refuses to allow his daughter to marry him, then the man must still pay the full amount for her.

“You must not allow any woman to do evil magic. If she does magic, you must not let her live.

“You must not allow anyone to have sexual relations with an animal. If this happens, that person must be killed.

“Whoever makes a sacrifice to a false god should be destroyed. The Lord is the only one you should make sacrifices to.

“Remember, in the past you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. So you should not cheat or hurt anyone who is a foreigner in your land.

“You must never do anything bad to women whose husbands are dead or to orphans. If you do anything wrong to these widows or orphans, I will know it. I will hear about their suffering. And I will be very angry. I will kill you with a sword. Then your wives will become widows, and your children will become orphans.

“If you loan money to any of my people, that is, the poor among you, don’t be like a moneylender and charge them interest. You might take their cloak to make sure they pay the money back, but you must give that cloak back to them before sunset. That cloak might be their only protection against the cold when they lie down to sleep. If they call to me for help, I will listen because I am kind.

“You must not curse God or the leaders of your people.

“At harvest time you should give me the first grain and the first juice from your fruit. Don’t wait until late in the year.

“Give me your firstborn sons. Also, give me your firstborn cattle and sheep. Let the firstborn stay with its mother for seven days. Then on the eighth day, give him to me.

“You are my special people. So don’t eat the meat from something that was killed by wild animals. Let the dogs eat that dead animal.

Genesis 48 – Easy-to-Read Version

May 14 (Year One)

Some time later Joseph learned that his father was very sick. So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to his father. When Joseph arrived, someone told Israel, “Your son Joseph has come to see you.” Israel was very weak, but he tried hard and sat up in his bed.

Then Israel said to Joseph, “God All-Powerful appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan. God blessed me there. He said to me, ‘I will make you a great family. I will give you many children and you will be a great people. Your family will own this land forever.’ Now you have two sons. These two sons were born here in the country of Egypt before I came. Your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will be like my own sons. They will be like Reuben and Simeon to me. So these two boys will be my sons. They will share in everything I own. But if you have other sons, they will be your sons. But they will also be like sons to Ephraim and Manasseh—that is, in the future, they will share in everything that Ephraim and Manasseh own. On the trip from Paddan Aram, Rachel died in the land of Canaan. This made me very sad. We were still traveling toward Ephrath. I buried her there on the road to Ephrath.” (Ephrath is Bethlehem.)

Then Israel saw Joseph’s sons. Israel said, “Who are these boys?”

Joseph said to his father, “These are my sons. These are the boys God gave me.”

Israel said, “Bring your sons to me. I will bless them.”

Israel was old and his eyes were not good. So Joseph brought the boys close to his father. Israel kissed and hugged the boys. Then Israel said to Joseph, “I never thought I would see your face again. But look! God has let me see you and your children.”

Then Joseph took the boys off Israel’s lap, and they bowed down in front of his father. Joseph put Ephraim on his right side and Manasseh on his left side. (So Ephraim was on Israel’s left side, and Manasseh was on Israel’s right side.) But Israel crossed his hands and put his right hand on the head of the younger boy Ephraim. Then he put his left hand on Manasseh, even though Manasseh was the firstborn. And Israel blessed Joseph and said,

“My ancestors, Abraham and Isaac, worshiped our God,
    and that God has led me all my life.
He was the Angel who saved me from all my troubles.
    And I pray that he will bless these boys.
Now they will have my name
    and the name of our ancestors, Abraham and Isaac.
I pray that they will grow to become great families and nations
    on earth.”

Joseph saw that his father put his right hand on Ephraim’s head. This didn’t make Joseph happy. Joseph took his father’s hand because he wanted to move it from Ephraim’s head and put it on Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, “You have your right hand on the wrong boy. Manasseh is the firstborn. Put your right hand on him.”

But his father refused and said, “I know, son. I know. Manasseh is the firstborn. He will be great and will be the father of many people. But his younger brother will be greater than he is. And the younger brother’s family will be much larger.”

So Israel blessed them that day. He said,

“The Israelites will use your names
    whenever they bless someone.
They will say, ‘May God make you
    like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”

In this way Israel made Ephraim greater than Manasseh.

Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look, my time to die is almost here, but God will still be with you. He will lead you back to the land of your ancestors. I have given you one portion more than I gave to your brothers. I gave you the land that I won from the Amorites. I used my sword and bow to take that land.”