Read the Bible in a Year

Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year. This is part of The Colossians 13:16 Project, sponsored by Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia. You're invited to worship with us Sundays, at 11:00 a.m. or Saturdays, at 6:30 p.m. You may also want to consider joining one our adult Bible Studies: Thursdays at 12:00 noon and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. We also have a full range of programs for children. If you want more information about the church, check out the other blogs. And please feel free to leave any comments.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bible Readings for August 22, 2017


Today our passages are Job 4:1–7:21; 1 Corinthians 14:18-40; Psalm 37:30-40; and Proverbs 21:27. The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

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Job 4-7:21 (Contemporary English Version)

Job 4

Eliphaz's First Speech
Please Be Patient and Listen
 1Eliphaz from Teman [a] said: 2Please be patient and listen    to what I have to say.
    3Remember how your words
    4have guided and encouraged
   many in need.
    5But now you feel discouraged
   when struck by trouble.
    6You respect God and live right,
   so don't lose hope!
    7No truly innocent person
   has ever died young.
    8In my experience, only those
   who plant seeds of evil
   harvest trouble,
    9and then they are swept away
   by the angry breath of God.
    10They may roar and growl
   like powerful lions.
   But when God breaks their teeth,
    11they starve,
   and their children
   are scattered.
   
A Secret Was Told to Me
 12A secret was told to me    in a faint whisper--
    13I was overcome by sleep,
   but disturbed by dreams;
    14I trembled with fear,
    15and my hair stood on end,
   as a wind blew past my face.
    16It stopped and stood still.
   Then a form appeared--
   a shapeless form.
   And from the silence,
   I heard a voice say,
    17"No humans are innocent
   in the eyes of God
   their Creator.
    18He finds fault with his servants
   and even with his angels.
    19Humans are formed from clay
   and are fragile as moths,
   so what chance do you have?
    20Born after daybreak,
   you die before nightfall
   and disappear forever.
    21Your tent pegs are pulled up,
   and you leave this life,
   having gained no wisdom."
   

Job 5

Eliphaz Continues
Call Out for Help
 1Job, call out for help    and see if an angel comes!
    2Envy and jealousy
   will kill a stupid fool.
    3I have seen fools take root.
   But God sends a curse,
   suddenly uprooting them
    4and leaving their children
   helpless in court.
    5Then hungry and greedy people
   gobble down their crops
   and grab up their wealth. [b] 6Our suffering isn't caused
   by the failure of crops;
    7it's all part of life,
   like sparks shooting skyward.
    8Job, if I were you,
   I would ask God for help.
    9His miracles are marvelous,
   more than we can count.
    10God sends showers on earth
   and waters the fields.
    11He protects the sorrowful
   and lifts up those
   who have been disgraced.
    12God swiftly traps the wicked
    13in their own evil schemes,
   and their wisdom fails.
    14Darkness is their only companion,
   hiding their path at noon.
    15God rescues the needy
   from the words of the wicked
   and the fist of the mighty.
    16The poor are filled with hope,
   and injustice is silenced.
   
Consider Yourself Fortunate
 17Consider yourself fortunate    if God All-Powerful
   chooses to correct you.
    18He may cause injury and pain,
   but he will bandage and heal
   your cuts and bruises.
    19God will protect you from harm,
   no matter how often
   trouble may strike.
    20In times of war and famine,
   God will keep you safe.
    21You will be sheltered,
   without fear of hurtful words
   or any other weapon.
    22You will laugh at the threat
   of destruction and famine.
   And you won't be afraid
   of wild animals--
    23they will no longer be fierce,
   and your rocky fields
   will become friendly.
    24Your home will be secure,
   and your sheep will be safe.
    25You will have more descendants
   than there are blades of grass
   on the face of the earth.
    26You will live a long life,
   and your body will be strong
   until the day you die.
    27Our experience has proven
   these things to be true,
   so listen and learn.
   

Job 6

Job's Reply to Eliphaz
It's Impossible
 1Job said:     2It's impossible to weigh
   my misery and grief!
    3They outweigh the sand
   along the beach,
   and that's why I have spoken
   without thinking first.
    4The fearsome arrows
   of God All-Powerful
   have filled my soul
   with their poison.
    5Do oxen and wild donkeys
   cry out in distress
   unless they are hungry?
    6What is food without salt?
   What is more tasteless
   than the white of an egg? [c] 7That's how my food tastes,
   and my appetite is gone.
    8How I wish that God
   would answer my prayer
    9and do away with me.
    10Then I would be comforted,
   knowing that in all of my pain
   I have never disobeyed God.
    11Why should I patiently hope
   when my strength is gone?
    12I am not strong as stone
   or bronze,
    13and I have finally reached
   the end of my rope.
   
My Friends, I Am Desperate
 14My friends, I am desperate,    and you should help me,
   even if I no longer respect
   God All-Powerful. [d] 15But you are treacherous
    16as streams that swell
   with melting snow,
    17then suddenly disappear
   in the summer heat.
    18I am like a caravan,
   lost in the desert
   while searching for water.
    19Caravans from Tema and Sheba [e] 20thought they would find water.
   But they were disappointed,
    21just as I am with you. [f] Only one look at my suffering,
   and you run away scared.
   
What Have I Done Wrong?
 22Have I ever asked any of you    to give me a gift
    23or to purchase my freedom
   from brutal enemies?
    24What have I done wrong?
   Show me,
   and I will keep quiet.
    25The truth is always painful,
   but your arguments
   prove nothing.
    26Here I am desperate,
   and you consider my words
   as worthless as wind.
    27Why, you would sell an orphan
   or your own neighbor!
    28Look me straight in the eye;
   I won't lie to you.
    29Stop accusing me falsely;
   my reputation is at stake.
    30I know right from wrong,
   and I am not telling lies.
   

Job 7

Job Continues
Why Is Life So Hard?
 1Why is life so hard?    Why do we suffer?
    2We are slaves in search of shade;
   we are laborers longing
   for our wages.
    3God has made my days drag on
   and my nights miserable.
    4I pray for night to end,
   but it stretches out
   while I toss and turn.
    5My parched skin is covered
   with worms, dirt, and sores,
    6and my days are running out
   quicker than the thread
   of a fast-moving needle.
   
Don't Forget!
 7I beg you, God, don't forget!    My life is just a breath,
   and trouble lies ahead.
    8I will vanish from sight,
   and no one, including you,
   will ever see me again.
    9I will disappear in the grave
   or vanish from sight
   like a passing cloud.
    10Never will I return home;
   soon I will be forgotten.
    11And so, I cry out to you
   in agony and distress.
    12Am I the sea or a sea monster?
   Is that why you imprison me? [g] 13I go to bed, hoping for rest,
    14but you torture me
   with terrible dreams.
    15I'd rather choke to death
   than live in this body.
    16Leave me alone and let me die;
   my life has no meaning.
    17What makes you so concerned
   about us humans?
    18Why do you test us
   from sunrise to sunset?
    19Won't you look away
   just long enough
   for me to swallow?
    20Why do you watch us so closely?
   What's it to you, if I sin?
   Why am I your target
   and such a heavy burden?
    21Why do you refuse to forgive?
   Soon you won't find me,
   because I'll be dead.
   
Footnotes:
  1. Job 4:1 Teman: See the note at 2.11.
  2. Job 5:5 wealth: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 5.
  3. Job 6:6 What is more tasteless. . . egg: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Job 6:14 and you should help me. . . God All-Powerful: Or "and if you don't help me, you no longer respect God All-Powerful."
  5. Job 6:19 Tema and Sheba: Tema was a region in northwest Arabia, and Sheba was probably a region in southwest Arabia.
  6. Job 6:21 just. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. Job 7:12 sea monster. . . imprison me: "Sea monster" translates the Hebrew word "Tannin," which was possibly a sea monster similar to Leviathan (3.8), Rahab (9.13), and Behemoth (40.15). According to 38.8-11, God makes the sea his prisoner by setting its boundaries.

1 Corinthians 14:18-40 (Contemporary English Version)

18I thank God that I speak unknown languages more than any of you. 19But words that make sense can help the church. That's why in church I had rather speak five words that make sense than to speak ten thousand words in a language that others don't know.
    20My friends, stop thinking like children. Think like mature people and be as innocent as tiny babies. 21In the Scriptures the Lord says,
   "I will use strangers
   who speak unknown languages
   to talk to my people.
   They will speak to them
   in foreign languages,
   but still my people
   won't listen to me."
    22Languages that others don't know may mean something to unbelievers, but not to the Lord's followers. Prophecy, on the other hand, is for followers, not for unbelievers. 23Suppose everyone in your worship service started speaking unknown languages, and some outsiders or some unbelievers come in. Won't they think you are crazy? 24But suppose all of you are prophesying when those unbelievers and outsiders come in. They will realize that they are sinners, and they will want to change their ways because of what you are saying. 25They will tell what is hidden in their hearts. Then they will kneel down and say to God, "We are certain that you are with these people."
   
Worship Must Be Orderly
 26My friends, when you meet to worship, you must do everything for the good of everyone there. That's how it should be when someone sings or teaches or tells what God has said or speaks an unknown language or explains what the language means. 27No more than two or three of you should speak unknown languages during the meeting. You must take turns, and someone should always be there to explain what you mean. 28If no one can explain, you must keep silent in church and speak only to yourself and to God.     29Two or three persons may prophesy, and everyone else must listen carefully. 30If someone sitting there receives a message from God, the speaker must stop and let the other person speak. 31Let only one person speak at a time, then all of you will learn something and be encouraged. 32A prophet should be willing to stop and let someone else speak. 33God wants everything to be done peacefully and in order.
   When God's people meet in church, 34the women must not be allowed to speak. They must keep quiet and listen, as the Law of Moses teaches. 35If there is something they want to know, they can ask their husbands when they get home. It is disgraceful for women to speak in church. 36God's message did not start with you people, and you are not the only ones it has reached.
    37If you think of yourself as a prophet or a spiritual person, you will know that I am writing only what the Lord has commanded. 38So don't pay attention to anyone who ignores what I am writing. 39My friends, be eager to prophesy and don't stop anyone from speaking languages that others don't know. 40But do everything properly and in order.


Psalm 37:30-40 (Contemporary English Version)

30Words of wisdom come
   when good people speak
   for justice.
    31They remember God's teachings,
   and they never take
   a wrong step.
    32The wicked try to trap
   and kill good people,
    33but the LORD is on their side,
   and he will defend them
   when they are on trial.
    34Trust the LORD and follow him.
   He will give you the land,
   and you will see
   the wicked destroyed.
    35I have seen brutal people
   abuse others
   and grow strong
   like trees in rich soil. [a] 36Suddenly they disappeared!
   I looked, but they were gone
   and no longer there.
    37Think of the bright future
   waiting
   for all the families
   of honest
   and innocent
   and peace-loving people.
    38But not a trace will be left
   of the wicked
   or their families.
    39The LORD protects his people,
   and they can come to him
   in times of trouble.
    40The LORD helps them
   and saves them from the wicked
   because they run to him.
   
Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 37:35 like. . . soil: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 21:27 (Contemporary English Version)

27The Lord despises the offerings
   of wicked people
   with evil motives.


Verse of the Day

“God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else?” - Romans 8:32
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Jerry Lewis - 1960s.jpgThought for the Day

American actor, comedian, singer, producer, director, screenwriter, and humanitarian, Jerry Lewis wrote, “I learned from my dad that when you walk in front of an audience, they are the kings and queens, and you’re but the jester — and if you don’t think that way, you’re going to get very, very conceited.”

A Joke for Today

Related imageA middle aged woman has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she has a near death experience. During that experience she sees God and asks if this is it.

God says no and explains that she has another 30 years to live. Upon her recovery she decides to just stay in the hospital and have a face lift, liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, etc.

She even has someone come in and change her hair color. She figures since she's got another 30 years she might as well make the most of it. She walks out of the hospital after the last operation and is killed by an ambulance.

She arrives in front of God and complains: "I thought you said I had another 30 years!!

God replies, "Sorry, I didn't recognize you."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bible Readings for August 21, 2017


Today our passages are 
Today our passages are Job 1:1–3:26; 1 Corinthians 14:1-17; Psalm 37:12-29; and Proverbs 21:25-26. The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.


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Job 1-3:26 (Contemporary English Version)

Job 1

Job and His Family
 1Many years ago, a man named Job lived in the land of Uz. [a] He was a truly good person, who respected God and refused to do evil. 2Job had seven sons and three daughters. 3He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred pair of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants. He was the richest person in the East.     4Job's sons took turns having feasts in their homes, and they always invited their three sisters to join in the eating and drinking. 5After each feast, Job would send for his children and perform a ceremony, as a way of asking God to forgive them of any wrongs they may have done. He would get up early the next morning and offer a sacrifice for each of them, just in case they had sinned or silently cursed God.
   
Angels, the LORD, and Satan
 6One day, when the angels [b] had gathered around the LORD, and Satan [c] was there with them, 7the LORD asked, "Satan, where have you been?" Satan replied, "I have been going all over the earth."     8Then the LORD asked, "What do you think of my servant Job? No one on earth is like him--he is a truly good person, who respects me and refuses to do evil."
    9"Why shouldn't he respect you?" Satan remarked. 10"You are like a wall protecting not only him, but his entire family and all his property. You make him successful in whatever he does, and his flocks and herds are everywhere. 11Try taking away everything he owns, and he will curse you to your face."
    12The LORD replied, "All right, Satan, do what you want with anything that belongs to him, but don't harm Job."
   Then Satan left.
   
Job Loses Everything
 13Job's sons and daughters were having a feast in the home of his oldest son, 14when someone rushed up to Job and said, "While your servants were plowing with your oxen, and your donkeys were nearby eating grass, 15a gang of Sabeans [d] attacked and stole the oxen and donkeys! Your other servants were killed, and I was the only one who escaped to tell you." 16That servant was still speaking, when a second one came running up and saying, "God sent down a fire that killed your sheep and your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."     17Before that servant finished speaking, a third one raced up and said, "Three gangs of Chaldeans [e] attacked and stole your camels! All of your other servants were killed, and I am the only one who escaped to tell you." 18That servant was still speaking, when a fourth one dashed up and said, "Your children were having a feast and drinking wine at the home of your oldest son, 19when suddenly a windstorm from the desert blew the house down, crushing all of your children. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
    20When Job heard this, he tore his clothes and shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God 21and said:
   "We bring nothing at birth;
   we take nothing
   with us at death.
   The LORD alone gives and takes.
   Praise the name of the LORD!"
    22In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.
   

Job 2

Job Loses His Health
 1When the angels [f] gathered around the LORD again, Satan [g] was there with them, 2and the LORD asked, "Satan, where have you been?" Satan replied, "I have been going all over the earth."     3Then the LORD asked, "What do you think of my servant Job? No one on earth is like him--he is a truly good person, who respects me and refuses to do evil. And he hasn't changed, even though you persuaded me to destroy him for no reason."
    4Satan answered, "There's no pain like your own. [h] People will do anything to stay alive. 5Try striking Job's own body with pain, and he will curse you to your face." 6"All right!" the LORD replied. "Make Job suffer as much as you want, but just don't kill him." 7Satan left and caused painful sores to break out all over Job's body--from head to toe.
    8Then Job sat on the ash-heap to show his sorrow. And while he was scraping his sores with a broken piece of pottery, 9his wife asked, "Why do you still trust God? Why don't you curse him and die?"
    10Job replied, "Don't talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well." In all that happened, Job never once said anything against God.
   
Job's Three Friends
 11Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuah, and Zophar from Naamah [i] were three of Job's friends, and they heard about his troubles. So they agreed to visit Job and comfort him. 12When they came near enough to see Job, they could hardly recognize him. And in their great sorrow, they tore their clothes, then sprinkled dust on their heads and cried bitterly. 13For seven days and nights, they sat silently on the ground beside him, because they realized what terrible pain he was in.

Job 3

Job's First Speech
Blot Out the Day of My Birth
 1Finally, Job cursed the day    of his birth
    2by saying to God:
    3Blot out the day of my birth
   and the night when my parents
   created a son.
    4Forget about that day,
   cover it with darkness,
    5and send thick, gloomy shadows
   to fill it with dread.
    6Erase that night from the calendar
   and conceal it with darkness.
    7Don't let children be created
   or joyful shouts be heard
   ever again in that night.
    8Let those with magic powers [j] place a curse on that day.
    9Darken its morning stars
   and remove all hope of light,
    10because it let me be born
   into a world of trouble.
   
Why Didn't I Die at Birth?
 11Why didn't I die at birth?     12Why was I accepted [k] and allowed to nurse
   at my mother's breast?
    13Now I would be at peace
   in the silent world below
    14with kings and their advisors
   whose palaces lie in ruins,
    15and with rulers once rich
   with silver and gold.
    16I wish I had been born dead
   and then buried,
   never to see
   the light of day.
    17In the world of the dead,
   the wicked and the weary rest
   without a worry.
    18Everyone is there--
    19where captives and slaves
   are free at last.
   
Why Does God Let Me Live?
 20Why does God let me live    when life is miserable
   and so bitter?
    21I keep longing for death
   more than I would seek
   a valuable treasure.
    22Nothing could make me happier
   than to be in the grave.
    23Why do I go on living
   when God has me surrounded,
   and I can't see the road?
    24Moaning and groaning
   are my food and drink,
    25and my worst fears
   have all come true.
    26I have no peace or rest--
   only troubles and worries.
   
Footnotes:
  1. Job 1:1 Uz: The exact location of this place is unknown, though it was possibly somewhere in northwest Arabia.
  2. Job 1:6 angels: See the note at 15.8.
  3. Job 1:6 Satan: Hebrew "the accuser."
  4. Job 1:15 Sabeans: Perhaps the people of Sheba in what is now southwest Arabia (see Isaiah 60.6).
  5. Job 1:17 Chaldeans: People from the region of Babylonia, northeast of Palestine.
  6. Job 2:1 angels: See the note at 15.8.
  7. Job 2:1 Satan: See the note at 1.6.
  8. Job 2:4 There's no pain like your own: The Hebrew text has "Skin for skin," which was probably a popular saying.
  9. Job 2:11 Teman. . . Shuah. . . Naamah: Teman was a place in northern Edom; Shuah may have been a town on the Euphrates River or else further south, near the towns of Dedan and Sheba; Naamah may have been located on the road between Beirut and Damascus, though its exact location is unknown.
  10. Job 3:8 those with magic powers: The Hebrew text has "those who can place a curse on the day and rouse up Leviathan," which was some kind of sea monster. God's victory over this monster sometimes stood for God's power over all creation and sometimes for his defeat of his enemies (see Isaiah 27.1). In Job 41.1, Leviathan is either a sea monster or a crocodile with almost supernatural powers.
  11. Job 3:12 Why was I accepted: The Hebrew text has "Why were there knees to receive me," which may refer either to Job's mother or to his father, who would have placed Job on his knees to show that he had accepted him as his child.

 

1 Corinthians 14:1-17 (Contemporary English Version)

1 Corinthians 14

Speaking Unknown Languages and Prophesying
 1Love should be your guide. Be eager to have the gifts that come from the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy. 2If you speak languages that others don't know, God will understand what you are saying, though no one else will know what you mean. You will be talking about mysteries that only the Spirit understands. 3But when you prophesy, you will be understood, and others will be helped. They will be encouraged and made to feel better.     4By speaking languages that others don't know, you help only yourself. But by prophesying you help everyone in the church. 5I am glad for you to speak unknown languages, although I had rather for you to prophesy. In fact, prophesying does much more good than speaking unknown languages, unless someone can help the church by explaining what you mean.
    6My friends, what good would it do, if I came and spoke unknown languages to you and didn't explain what I meant? How would I help you, unless I told you what God had shown me or gave you some knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7If all musical instruments sounded alike, how would you know the difference between a flute and a harp? 8If a bugle call isn't clear, how would you know to get ready for battle?
    9That's how it is when you speak unknown languages. If no one can understand what you are talking about, you will only be talking to the wind. 10There are many different languages in this world, and all of them make sense. 11But if I don't understand the language that someone is using, we will be like foreigners to each other. 12If you really want spiritual gifts, choose the ones that will be most helpful to the church.
    13When we speak languages that others don't know, we should pray for the power to explain what we mean. 14For example, if I use an unknown language in my prayers, my spirit prays but my mind is useless. 15Then what should I do? There are times when I should pray with my spirit, and times when I should pray with my mind. Sometimes I should sing with my spirit, and at other times I should sing with my mind.
    16Suppose some strangers are in your worship service, when you are praising God with your spirit. If they don't understand you, how will they know to say, "Amen"? 17You may be worshiping God in a wonderful way, but no one else will be helped.


Psalm 37:12-29 (Contemporary English Version)

12Merciless people make plots
   against good people
   and snarl like animals,
    13but the Lord laughs and knows
   their time is coming soon.
    14The wicked kill with swords
   and shoot arrows
   to murder
   the poor and the needy
   and all who do right.
    15But they will be killed
   by their own swords,
   and their arrows
   will be broken.
    16It is better to live right
   and be poor
   than to be sinful and rich.
    17The wicked will lose all
   of their power,
   but the LORD gives strength
   to everyone who is good.
    18Those who obey the LORD
   are daily in his care,
   and what he has given them
   will be theirs forever.
    19They won't be in trouble
   when times are bad,
   and they will have plenty
   when food is scarce.
    20Wicked people are enemies
   of the LORD
   and will vanish like smoke
   from a field on fire.
    21An evil person borrows
   and never pays back;
   a good person is generous
   and never stops giving.
    22Everyone the LORD blesses
   will receive the land;
   everyone the LORD curses
   will be destroyed.
    23If you do what the LORD wants,
   he will make certain
   each step you take is sure.
    24The LORD will hold your hand,
   and if you stumble,
   you still won't fall.
    25As long as I can remember,
   good people have never
   been left helpless,
   and their children have never
   gone begging for food.
    26They gladly give and lend,
   and their children
   turn out good.
    27If you stop sinning
   and start doing right,
   you will keep living
   and be secure forever.
    28The LORD loves justice,
   and he won't ever desert
   his faithful people.
   He always protects them,
   but destroys the children
   of the wicked.
    29God's people will own the land
   and live here forever.


Proverbs 21:25-26 (Contemporary English Version)

25If you want too much
   and are too lazy to work,
   it could be fatal.
    26But people who obey God
   are always generous.


Verse of the Day

Every day, you are kind, and at night you give me a song as my prayer to you, the living LORD God.” - Psalm 42:8
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Related imageThought for the Day

Bishop of Geneva and is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church, Francis de Sales wrote, “The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.”

A Joke for Today

My son and his wife stopped by Sunday unannounced to visit.

I wouldn't answer the door but I did hold up my new medicine container and pointed to the instructions.

Instructions read: 'Take one tablet before bedtime and Keep away from children.'


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bible Readings for August 20, 2017


Today our passages are 
Esther 8:1–10:3; 1 Corinthians 12:27–13:13; Psalm 37:1-11; and Proverbs 21:23-24. The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

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Esther 8-10:3 (Contemporary English Version)

Esther 8

A Happy Ending for the Jews
 1Before the end of the day, King Xerxes gave Esther everything that had belonged to Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin. So the king made Mordecai one of his highest officials 2and gave him the royal ring that Haman had worn. Then Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman's property.     3Once again Esther went to speak to the king. This time she fell down at his feet, crying and begging, " Please stop Haman's evil plan to have the Jews killed!" 4King Xerxes held out the golden scepter to Esther, 5and she got up and said, " Your Majesty, I know that you will do the right thing and that you really love me. Please stop what Haman has planned. He has already sent letters demanding that the Jews in all your provinces be killed, 6and I can't bear to see my people and my own relatives destroyed."
    7King Xerxes then said to Esther and Mordecai, " I have already ordered Haman to be hanged and his house given to Esther, because of his evil plans to kill the Jews. 8I now give you permission to make a law that will save the lives of your people. You may use my ring to seal the law, so that it can never be changed."
    9On the twenty-third day of Sivan, [a] the third month, the king's secretaries wrote the law. They obeyed Mordecai and wrote to the Jews, the rulers, the governors, and the officials of all one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. [b] The letters were written in every language used in the kingdom, including the Jewish language. 10They were written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with his ring. Then they were taken by messengers who rode the king's finest and fastest horses. 11-13In these letters the king said:
   On the thirteenth day of Adar, [c] the twelfth month, the Jews in every city and province will be allowed to get together and defend themselves. They may destroy any army that attacks them, and they may kill all of their enemies, including women and children. They may also take everything that belongs to their enemies. A copy of this law is to be posted in every province and read by everyone.
    14-15Then the king ordered his messengers to take their fastest horses and deliver the law as quickly as possible to every province. When Mordecai left, he was wearing clothes fit for a king. He wore blue and white robes, a large gold crown, and a cape made of fine linen and purple cloth.
   After the law was announced in Susa, everyone shouted and cheered, 16and the Jews were no longer afraid. In fact, they were very happy and felt that they had won a victory.
    17In every province and city where the law was sent, the Jews had parties and celebrated. Many of the people in the provinces accepted the Jewish religion, because they were now afraid of the Jews.
   

Esther 9

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies
 1The first law that the king had made was to be followed on the thirteenth day of Adar, [d] the twelfth month. This was the very day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to do away with them. But the Jews turned things around, 2and in the cities of every province they came together to attack their enemies. Everyone was afraid of the Jews, and no one could do anything to oppose them. 3The leaders of the provinces, the rulers, the governors, and the court officials were afraid of Mordecai and took sides with the Jews. 4Everyone in the provinces knew that the king had promoted him and had given him a lot of power.     5The Jews took their swords and did away with their enemies, without showing any mercy. 6-10They killed five hundred people in Susa, [e] but they did not take anything that belonged to the ones they killed. Haman had been one of the worst enemies of the Jews, and ten of his sons were among those who were killed. Their names were Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. 11Later that day, someone told the king how many people had been killed in Susa. [f] 12Then he told Esther, " Five hundred people, including Haman's ten sons, have been killed in Susa alone. If that many were killed here, what must have happened in the provinces? Is there anything else you want done? Just tell me, and it will be done." 13Esther answered, " Your Majesty, please let the Jews in Susa fight to defend themselves tomorrow, just as they did today. And order the bodies of Haman's ten sons to be hanged in public."
    14King Xerxes did what Esther had requested, and the bodies of Haman's sons were hung in Susa. 15Then on the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of the city got together and killed three hundred more people. But they still did not take anything that belonged to their enemies.
    16-17On the thirteenth day of Adar, the Jews in the provinces had come together to defend themselves. They killed seventy-five thousand of their enemies, but the Jews did not take anything that belonged to the ones they killed. Then on the fourteenth day of the month the Jews celebrated with a feast.
    18On the fifteenth day of the month the Jews in Susa held a holiday and celebrated, after killing their enemies on the thirteenth and the fourteenth. 19This is why the Jews in the villages now celebrate on the fourteenth day of the month. It is a joyful holiday that they celebrate by feasting and sending gifts of food to each other.
   
The Festival of Purim
 20Mordecai wrote down everything that had happened. Then he sent letters to the Jews everywhere in the provinces 21and told them:    Each year you must celebrate on both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of Adar, 22the days when we Jews defeated our enemies. Remember this month as a time when our sorrow was turned to joy, and celebration took the place of crying. Celebrate by having parties and by giving to the poor and by sharing gifts of food with each other.
    23They followed Mordecai's instructions and set aside these two days every year as a time of celebration.
   
The Reason for the Festival of Purim
 24Haman was the son of Hammedatha and a descendant of Agag. He hated the Jews so much that he planned to destroy them, but he wanted to find out the best time to do it. So he cast lots. [g] 25Esther went to King Xerxes and asked him to save her people. Then the king gave written orders for Haman and his sons to be punished in the same terrible way that Haman had in mind for the Jews. So they were hanged. 26Mordecai's letter had said that the Jews must celebrate for two days because of what had happened to them. This time of celebration is called Purim, [h] which is the Hebrew word for the lots that were cast. 27Now every year the Jews set aside these two days for having parties and celebrating, just as they were told to do. 28From now on, all Jewish families must remember to celebrate Purim on these two days each year. 29Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, wanted to give full authority to Mordecai's letter about the Festival of Purim, and with his help she wrote a letter about the feast. 30Copies of this letter were sent to Jews in the one hundred twenty-seven provinces of King Xerxes. In the letter they said:    We pray that all of you will live in peace and safety.
    31You and your descendants must always remember to celebrate Purim at the time and in the way that we have said. You must also follow the instructions that we have given you about mourning and going without eating. [i] 32These laws about Purim are written by the authority of Queen Esther.
   

Esther 10

The Greatness of Xerxes and Mordecai
 1King Xerxes made everyone in his kingdom pay taxes, even those in lands across the sea. 2All the great and famous things that King Xerxes did are written in the record books of the kings of Media and Persia. These records also tell about the honors that the king gave to Mordecai. 3Next to the king himself, Mordecai was the highest official in the kingdom. He was a popular leader of the Jews, because he helped them in many ways and would even speak to the king for them.    
Footnotes:
  1. Esther 8:9 Sivan: The third month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-May to mid-June.
  2. Esther 8:9 Ethiopia: See the note at 1.1,2.
  3. Esther 8:11 Adar: See the note at 3.7.
  4. Esther 9:1 Adar: See the note at 3.7.
  5. Esther 9:6 in Susa: Or " in the royal fortress in Susa."
  6. Esther 9:11 in Susa: Or " in the royal fortress in Susa."
  7. Esther 9:24 cast lots: See the note at 3.7.
  8. Esther 9:26 Purim: The Jewish festival of Purim got its name from " purim," which is the Babylonian name for the lots that Haman used. Purim is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of Adar, which is about the first of March.
  9. Esther 9:31 going without eating: See the note at 4.3.

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13 (Contemporary English Version)

27Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to work miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can work miracles. 30Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31I want you to desire the best gifts. [a] So I will show you a much better way.

1 Corinthians 13

Love
 1What if I could speak    all languages
   of humans
   and of angels?
   If I did not love others,
   I would be nothing more
   than a noisy gong
   or a clanging cymbal.
    2What if I could prophesy
   and understand all secrets
   and all knowledge?
   And what if I had faith
   that moved mountains?
   I would be nothing,
   unless I loved others.
    3What if I gave away all
   that I owned
   and let myself
   be burned alive? [b] I would gain nothing,
   unless I loved others.
    4Love is kind and patient,
   never jealous, boastful,
   proud, or 5rude.
   Love isn't selfish
   or quick tempered.
   It doesn't keep a record
   of wrongs that others do.
    6Love rejoices in the truth,
   but not in evil.
    7Love is always supportive,
   loyal, hopeful,
   and trusting.
    8Love never fails!
   Everyone who prophesies
   will stop,
   and unknown languages
   will no longer
   be spoken.
   All that we know
   will be forgotten.
    9We don't know everything,
   and our prophecies
   are not complete.
    10But what is perfect
   will someday appear,
   and what isn't perfect
   will then disappear.
    11When we were children,
   we thought and reasoned
   as children do.
   But when we grew up,
   we quit our childish ways.
    12Now all we can see of God
   is like a cloudy picture
   in a mirror.
   Later we will see him
   face to face.
   We don't know everything,
   but then we will,
   just as God completely
   understands us.
    13For now there are faith,
   hope, and love.
   But of these three,
   the greatest is love.
   
Footnotes:
  1. 1 Corinthians 12:31 I want you to desire the best gifts: Or "You desire the best gifts."
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:3 and let myself be burned alive: Some manuscripts have "so that I could brag."

Psalm 37:1-11 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 37

(By David.)
Trust the LORD
 1Don't be annoyed by anyone    who does wrong,
   and don't envy them.
    2They will soon disappear
   like grass without rain.
    3Trust the LORD and live right!
   The land will be yours,
   and you will be safe.
    4Do what the LORD wants,
   and he will give you
   your heart's desire.
    5Let the LORD lead you
   and trust him to help.
    6Then it will be as clear
   as the noonday sun
   that you were right.
    7Be patient and trust the LORD.
   Don't let it bother you
   when all goes well for those
   who do sinful things.
    8Don't be angry or furious.
   Anger can lead to sin.
    9All sinners will disappear,
   but if you trust the LORD,
   the land will be yours.
    10Sinners will soon disappear,
   never to be found,
    11but the poor will take the land
   and enjoy a big harvest.


Proverbs 21:23-24 (Contemporary English Version)

23Watching what you say
   can save you
   a lot of trouble.
    24If you are proud and conceited,
   everyone will say,
   "You're a snob!"


Verse of the Day

“I will always look to you, as you stand beside me and protect me from fear.” - Psalm 16:8
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Paul TillichThought for the Day

German American Christian existentialist philosopher and theologian who is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century, Paul Tillich wrote, “Faith consists in being vitally concerned with that ultimate reality to which I give the symbolical name of God. Whoever reflects earnestly on the meaning of life is on the verge of an act of faith.”


A Joke for Today

Image result for a jewish beeTwo bees ran into each other. The first bee asked the other how things were going. 

"Really bad," said the second bee. "The weather has been really wet and damp and there aren't any flowers or pollen, so I can't make any honey." 

"No problem," said the first bee. "Just fly down five blocks and turn left. Keep going until you see all the cars. There's a Bar Mitzvah going on and there are all kinds of fresh flowers and fruit." 

"Thanks for the tip," said the second bee, and he flew away. 

A few hours later, the two bees ran into each other again. The first bee asked, "How'd it go?"

“Great!" said the second bee. "It was everything you said it would be." 

"Uh, what's that thing on your head?" asked the first bee. 

"That's my yarmulke," said the second bee. "I didn't want them to think I was a wasp."