Wednesday, June 23, 2021
 I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit,
 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race.
 They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
 to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.
 But it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.”
 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants.
 For this is what the promise said, “About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.”
 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call,
 she was told, “The elder will serve the younger.”
 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
 So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy.
 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach.
 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.
 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,
 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away.
 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America