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.

The Bible in a Year is a ministry of Cove Presbyterian Church. We need your support to keep posting. If you find it helpful, you can support this blog by your contributions. They may be sent to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062. You can also use the PayPal link below:

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bible Readings for November 22, 2017

Today our passages are Ezekiel 44:1– 45:12; 1 Peter 1:1-12; Psalm 119:17-32; and Proverbs 28:8-10.  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.

Ezekiel 44-45:12 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 44

The East Gate Must Remain Closed
 1The man took me back to the outer courtyard, near the east gate of the temple area. I saw that the doors to this gate were closed. 2The LORD said:
   I, the LORD God of Israel, came through this gate, so it must remain closed forever! No one must ever use it. 3The ruler of Israel may come here to eat a sacrificial meal that has been offered to me, but he must use only the entrance room of this gate.
People Who Are Not Allowed in the Temple
 4Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the temple. I saw that the brightness of the LORD's glory had filled the temple, and I immediately bowed with my face to the ground.
    5The LORD said:
   Ezekiel, son of man, I am going to give you the laws for my temple. So pay attention and listen carefully to what kind of people are allowed to come in the temple, and what kind are not. 6Tell those rebellious people of Israel:
   I, the LORD God, command you to stop your evil ways! 7My temple has been disgraced, because you have let godless, stubborn foreigners come here when sacrifices are being offered to me. You have sinned and have broken our solemn agreement. 8Instead of following the proper ways to worship me, you have put foreigners in charge of worship at my temple.
    9And so I, the LORD God, say that no godless foreigner who disobeys me will be allowed in my temple. This includes any foreigner living in Israel.
The Levites Are Punished
The LORD said:
 10Some of the Levites turned their backs on me and joined the other people of Israel in worshiping idols. So these Levites must be punished! 11They will still be allowed to serve me as temple workers by guarding the gates and by killing the animals to be sacrificed and by helping the worshipers. 12But because these Levites served the people of Israel when they worshiped idols, I, the LORD God, promise that the Levites will be punished. They did not stop the Israelites from sinning, 13and now I will no longer let the Levites serve as my priests or come near anything sacred to me. They must suffer shame and disgrace for their disgusting sins. 14They will be responsible for all the hard work that must be done in the temple.
Rules for Priests
The LORD said:
 15The priests of the Levi tribe who are descendants of Zadok the priest were faithful to me, even when the rest of the Israelites turned away. And so, these priests will continue to serve as my priests and to offer the fat and the blood of sacrifices. 16They will come into my temple, where they will offer sacrifices at my altar and lead others in worship.
    17When they come to the inner courtyard, they must wear their linen priestly clothes. My priests must never wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in this courtyard or in the temple. 18Even their turbans and underwear must be made of linen to keep my priests from sweating when they work.19And before they leave to join the other people in the outer courtyard, they must take off their priestly clothes, then place them in the sacred rooms and put on their regular clothes. a] That way, no one will touch their sacred clothes and be harmed. b] 20Priests must never shave their heads when they are mourning. But they must keep their hair properly trimmed and not let it grow too long. 21They must not drink wine before going to the inner courtyard.
    22A priest must not marry a divorced woman; he can marry only a virgin from Israel or the widow of another priest.
    23Priests must teach my people the difference between what is sacred and what is ordinary, and between what is clean and what is unclean. 24They will make decisions in difficult legal cases, according to my own laws. They must also observe the religious festivals my Law requires and must always respect the Sabbath.
    25Touching a dead body will make a person unclean. So a priest must not go near a dead body, unless it is one of his parents or children, or his brother or unmarried sister. 26If a priest touches a dead body, he is unclean and must go through a ceremony to make himself clean. Then seven days later, 27he must go to the inner courtyard of the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. After that, he may once again serve as my priest. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
    28I myself will provide for my priests, and so they won't receive any land of their own. 29Instead, they will receive part of the grain sacrifices, as well as part of the sacrifices for sin and sacrifices to make things right. They will also be given everything in Israel that has been completely dedicated to me. c]30The first part of every harvest will belong to the priests. They will also receive part of all special gifts and offerings the Israelites bring to me. And whenever any of my people bake bread, they will give their first loaf as an offering to the priests, and I will bless the homes of the people when they do this. 31Priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that has been killed by a wild animal.

Ezekiel 45

The LORD's Sacred Land
The LORD said:
 1When the land of Israel is divided among the twelve tribes, you must set aside an area that will belong to me. This sacred area will be eight miles long and six d] miles wide. 2The temple will be on a piece of land eight hundred forty feet square, and the temple will be completely surrounded by an open space eighty-four feet wide. 3-4I will give half of my sacred land, a section eight miles long and three miles wide, to the priests who serve in the temple. Their houses will be in this half, as well as my temple, which is the most sacred place of all.
    5I will give the other half of my land to the Levites who work in my temple, and the towns e] where they will live will be there. 6Next to my sacred land will be an area eight miles long and two miles wide. This will belong to the people of Israel and will include the city of Jerusalem.
Land for Israel's Ruler
The LORD said:
 7-8The regions west and east of my sacred land and the city of Jerusalem will belong to the ruler of Israel. He will be given the region between the western edge of my land and the Mediterranean Sea, and between the eastern edge of my land and the Jordan River. This will mean that the length of his property will be the same as the sections of land given to the tribes.
   This property will belong to every ruler of Israel, so they will always be fair to my people and will let them live peacefully in the land given to their tribes.
Israel's Rulers Must Be Honest
 9The LORD God said:
   You leaders of Israel have robbed and cheated my people long enough! I want you to stop sinning and start doing what is right and fair. You must never again force my people off their own land. I, the LORD, have spoken.
    10So from now on, you must use honest weights and measures. 11The ephah will be the standard dry measure, and the bath will be the standard liquid measure. Their size will be based on the homer, which will equal ten ephahs or ten baths. f] 12The standard unit of weight will be the shekel. g] One shekel will equal twenty gerahs, and sixty shekels will equal one mina.
  1. Ezekiel 44:19 take off their priestly clothes. . . put on their regular clothes: See 42.14.
  2. Ezekiel 44:19 no one will touch. . . and be harmed: Ordinary people were forbidden to touch anything that was sacred. If they did, it was believed they would somehow be harmed.
  3. Ezekiel 44:29 that has been completely dedicated to me: This translates a Hebrew word that describes property and things that were taken away from humans and given to God. In the early history of Israel, such things often had to be destroyed (see Joshua 6.15-19).
  4. Ezekiel 45:1 six: One ancient translation; Hebrew "three."
  5. Ezekiel 45:5 the towns: One ancient translation; Hebrew "the twenty rooms."
  6. Ezekiel 45:11 the homer. . . ten ephahs. . . ten baths: A homer was either a dry or a liquid measure and equaled about five bushels or fifty-five gallons; an ephah would be about a half bushel, an a bath would be about five and a half gallons.
  7. Ezekiel 45:12 the shekel: The shekel was about four-tenths of an ounce.

1 Peter 1:1-12 (Contemporary English Version)

1 Peter 1

 1From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
   To God's people who are scattered like foreigners in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
    2God the Father decided to choose you as his people, and his Spirit has made you holy. You have obeyed Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood. a] I pray that God will be kind to you and will keep on giving you peace!
A Real Reason for Hope
 3Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on. 4God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.
    5You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. b] Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. 6On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. 7Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns. 8You have never seen Jesus, and you don't see him now. But still you love him and have faith in him, and no words can tell how glad and happy 9you are to be saved. That's why you have faith.
    10Some prophets told how kind God would be to you, and they searched hard to find out more about the way you would be saved. 11The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen. 12But they were told that they were serving you and not themselves. They preached to you by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. And their message was only for you, even though angels would like to know more about it.
  1. 1 Peter 1:2 sprinkled with his blood: According to Exodus 24.3-8 the people of Israel were sprinkled with the blood of cows to show they would keep  their agreement with God. Peter says that it is the blood of Jesus that seals the agreement between God and his people (see Hebrews 9.18-21).
  2. 1 Peter 1:5 the last day: When God will judge all people.

Psalm 119:17-32 (Contemporary English Version)

17Treat me with kindness, LORD,
   so that I may live
   and do what you say.
    18Open my mind
   and let me discover
   the wonders of your Law.
    19I live here as a stranger.
   Don't keep me from knowing
   your commands.
    20What I want most of all
   and at all times
   is to honor your laws.
    21You punish those boastful,
   worthless nobodies
   who turn
   from your commands.
    22Don't let them sneer
   and insult me
   for following you.
    23I keep thinking about
   your teachings, LORD,
   even if rulers plot
   against me.
    24Your laws are my greatest joy!
   I follow their advice.
    25I am at the point of death.
   Let your teachings
   breathe new life into me.
    26When I told you my troubles,
   you answered my prayers.
   Now teach me your laws.
    27Help me to understand
   your teachings,
   and I will think about
   your marvelous deeds.
    28I am overcome with sorrow.
   Encourage me,
   as you have promised to do.
    29Keep me from being deceitful,
   and be kind enough
   to teach me your Law.
    30I am determined to be faithful
   and to respect your laws.
    31I follow your rules, LORD.
   Don't let me be ashamed.
    32I am eager to learn all
   that you want me to do;
   help me to understand
   more and more.

Proverbs 28:8-10 (Contemporary English Version)

8If you make money by charging
   high interest rates,
   you will lose it all to someone
   who cares for the poor.
    9God cannot stand the prayers
   of anyone who disobeys
   his Law.
    10By leading good people to sin,
   you dig a pit for yourself,
   but all who live right
   will have a bright future.

Verse of the Day

“Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.” - Colossians 3:15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Donny DeutschThought for the Day

American advertising executive and television personality, Donny Deutsch wrote, “My philosophy is to always find the smartest people you can. Hire people smarter than you.”

A Joke for Today

Image result for eve in the garden jokeOne day in the Garden of Eden, Eve called out to God... "Lord, I have a problem!"

"What's the problem, Eve?” 

“Lord, I know you've created me and have provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, and that hilarious comedic snake, but I'm just not happy."

"Why is that, Eve?" came the reply from above.

"Lord, I am lonely. And I'm sick to death of apples."

"Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."

"What's a 'man,' Lord?"

"This man will be a flawed creature, with aggressive tendencies, an enormous ego and an inability to empathize or listen to you properly. All in all, he'll give you a hard time.

But, he'll be bigger, faster and more muscular than you. He'll also need your advice to think properly. He'll be really good at fighting and kicking a ball about, hunting fleet-footed ruminants, and not altogether bad in the sack."

"Sounds great," says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow. "What's the catch, Lord?"

"Yeah, well.... you can have him on one condition."

"What's that, Lord?"

"You'll have to let him believe that I made him first."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bible Readings for November 21, 2017

Today our passages are Ezekiel 42:1– 43:27; James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16; and Proverbs 28:6-7.  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.

Ezekiel 42-43:27 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 42

The Sacred Rooms for the Priests
 1-2After the man and I left the temple and walked back to the outer courtyard, he showed me a set of rooms on the north side of the west building. a] This set of rooms was one hundred seventy feet long and eighty-five feet wide. 3On one side of them was the thirty-four feet of open space that ran alongside the temple, b] and on the other side was the sidewalk that circled the outer courtyard. c] The rooms were arranged in three levels 4with doors that opened toward the north, and in front of them was a walkway seventeen feet wide and one hundred seventy feet long. d]5The rooms on the top level were narrower than those on the middle level, and the rooms on the middle level were narrower than those on the bottom level. 6The rooms on the bottom level supported those on the two upper levels, and so these rooms did not have columns like other buildings in the courtyard. 7-8To the north was a privacy wall eighty-five feet long, e] 9-10and at the east end of this wall was the door leading from the courtyard to these rooms. There was also a set of rooms on the south f] side of the west building. 11These rooms were exactly like those on the north side, and they also had a walkway in front of them. 12The door to these rooms was at the east end of the wall that stood in front of them. 13The man then said to me:   These rooms on the north and south sides of the temple are the sacred rooms where the LORD's priests will eat the most holy offerings. These offerings include the grain sacrifices, the sacrifices for sin, and the sacrifices to make things right. 14When the priests are ready to leave the temple, they must go through these rooms before they return to the outer courtyard. They must leave their sacred clothes in these rooms and put on regular clothes before going anywhere near other people.
The Size of the Temple Area
 15After the man had finished measuring the buildings inside the temple area, he took me back through the east gate and measured the wall around this area. 16He used his measuring stick to measure the east side of this wall; it was eight hundred forty feet long. 17-19Then he measured the north side, the south side, and the west side of the wall, and they were each eight hundred forty feet long, 20and so the temple area was a perfect square. The wall around this area separated what was sacred from what was ordinary.   

Ezekiel 43

The LORD's Glory Returns to the Temple
 1The man took me back to the east gate of the temple, 2where I saw the brightness of the glory of Israel's God coming from the east. The sound I heard was as loud as ocean waves, and everything around was shining with the dazzling brightness of his glory. 3This vision was like the one I had seen when God came to destroy Jerusalem and like the one I had seen near the Chebar River.   I immediately bowed with my face to the ground, 4and the LORD's glory came through the east gate and into the temple. g] 5The LORD's Spirit lifted me to my feet and carried me to the inner courtyard, where I saw that the LORD's glory had filled the temple. 6The man was standing beside me, and I heard the LORD h] say from inside the temple: 7Ezekiel, son of man, this temple is my throne on earth. I will live here among the people of Israel forever. They and their kings will never again disgrace me by worshiping idols at local shrines or by setting up memorials to their dead kings. i]8Israel's kings built their palaces so close to my holy temple that only a wall separated them from me. Then these kings disgraced me with their evil ways, and in my fierce anger I destroyed them. 9But if the people and their kings stop worshiping other gods and tear down those memorials, I will live among them forever. 10The people of Israel must suffer shame for sinning against me, so tell them about my holy temple. Let them think about it, 11then if they are truly sorry, describe for them the design and shape of the temple, the gates, the measurements, and how the buildings are arranged. Explain the regulations about worshiping there, then write down these things, so they can study and obey them.
    12The temple area on my holy mountain must be kept sacred! This is the most important law about the temple.
The Altar
 13According to the official standards, the altar in the temple had the following measurements: Around the bottom of the altar was a gutter twenty inches wide and twenty inches deep, with a ten inch ledge on the outer rim. 14-17The altar rested on a base and had three sections, each one of them square. The bottom section was twenty-seven feet on each side and three feet high. The middle section was twenty-four feet on each side and seven feet high, and it had a ten inch rim around its outer edge. The top section, which was twenty feet on each side and seven feet high, was the place where sacrifices were burned, and the four corners of the top section looked like the horns of a bull. The steps leading up to the altar were on the east side.   
The Dedication of the Altar
 18The LORD God said:   Ezekiel, son of man, after the altar is built, it must be dedicated by offering sacrifices on it and by splattering it with blood. Here is what you must do: 19The priests of the Levi tribe from the family of Zadok the priest are the only ones who may serve in my temple--this is my law. So give them a young bull to slaughter as a sacrifice for sin. 20Take some of the animal's blood and smear it on the four corners of the altar, some on the corners of the middle section, and some more on the rim around its edge. That will purify the altar and make it fit for offering sacrifices to me. 21Then take the body of the bull outside the temple area and burn it at the special place.
    22The next day, a goat j] that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Purify the altar with its blood, just as you did with the blood of the bull. 23Then choose a young bull and a young ram that have nothing wrong with them, 24and bring them to my temple. The priests will sprinkle salt on them k] and offer them as sacrifices to please me. l] 25Each day for the next seven days, you must offer a goat and a bull and a ram as sacrifices for sin. These animals must have nothing wrong with them. 26The priests will purify the altar during those days, so that it will be acceptable to me and ready to use. 27From then on, the priests will use this altar to offer sacrifices to please me and sacrifices to ask my blessing. m] Then I will be pleased with the people of Israel. I, the LORD God, have spoken.

  1. Ezekiel 42:1 he showed me. . . the west building: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. Ezekiel 42:3 the thirty-four feet of open space. . . the temple: See 41.10.
  3. Ezekiel 42:3 the sidewalk that circled the outer courtyard: See 40.17.
  4. Ezekiel 42:4 one hundred seventy feet long: Two ancient translations; Hebrew "twenty inches long."
  5. Ezekiel 42:7 long: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 5-8.
  6. Ezekiel 42:9 south: One ancient translation; Hebrew "east."
  7. Ezekiel 43:4 the LORD's glory. . . temple: This was the same gate the LORD's glory went through when it left Jerusalem (see 10.19 and 11.22,23).
  8. Ezekiel 43:6 the LORD: Hebrew "a voice."
  9. Ezekiel 43:7 by setting up memorials to their dead kings: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. Ezekiel 43:22 goat: Hebrew "male goat."
  11. Ezekiel 43:24 The priests will sprinkle salt on them: See Leviticus 2.13.
  12. Ezekiel 43:24 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 40.38,39.
  13. Ezekiel 43:27 sacrifices to ask my blessing: These sacrifices have traditionally been called "peace offerings" or "offerings of well-being." A main purpose was to ask for the LORD's blessing, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called "sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing."

 James 5:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)

James 5

Warning to the Rich
 1You rich people should cry and weep! Terrible things are going to happen to you. 2Your treasures have already rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your money has rusted, and the rust will be evidence against you, as it burns your body like fire. Yet you keep on storing up wealth in these last days. 4You refused to pay the people who worked in your fields, and now their unpaid wages are shouting out against you. The Lord All-Powerful has surely heard the cries of the workers who harvested your crops.    5While here on earth, you have thought only of filling your own stomachs and having a good time. But now you are like fat cattle on their way to be butchered. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent people, who couldn't even fight back.
Be Patient and Kind
 7My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the spring and summer rains to make their valuable crops grow. 8Be patient like those farmers and don't give up. The Lord will soon be here! 9Don't grumble about each other or you will be judged, and the judge is right outside the door.    10My friends, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They were patient, even when they had to suffer. 11In fact, we praise the ones who endured the most. You remember how patient Job was and how the Lord finally helped him. The Lord did this because he is so merciful and kind.
    12My friends, above all else, don't take an oath. You must not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else. "Yes" or "No" is all you need to say. If you say anything more, you will be condemned.
    13If you are having trouble, you should pray. And if you are feeling good, you should sing praises. 14If you are sick, ask the church leaders a] to come and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil b] on you in the name of the Lord. 15If you have faith when you pray for sick people, they will get well. The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned, he will forgive them. 16If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot. 17Elijah was just as human as we are, and for three and a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling. 18But when he did pray for rain, it fell from the skies and made the crops grow.
    19My friends, if any followers have wandered away from the truth, you should try to lead them back. 20If you turn sinners from the wrong way, you will save them from death, and many of their sins will be forgiven.

  1. James 5:14 church leaders: Or "elders" or "presbyters" or "priests."
  2. James 5:14 olive oil: The Jewish people used olive oil for healing.

Psalm 119:1-16 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 119

In Praise of the Law of the LORD
 1Our LORD, you bless everyone   who lives right
   and obeys your Law.
    2You bless all of those
   who follow your commands
   from deep in their hearts
    3and who never do wrong
   or turn from you.
    4You have ordered us always
   to obey your teachings;
    5I don't ever want to stray
   from your laws.
    6Thinking about your commands
   will keep me from doing
   some foolish thing.
    7I will do right and praise you
   by learning to respect
   your perfect laws.
    8I will obey all of them!
   Don't turn your back on me.
    9Young people can live
   a clean life
   by obeying your word.
    10I worship you
   with all my heart.
   Don't let me walk away
   from your commands.
    11I treasure your word
   above all else;
   it keeps me from sinning
   against you.
    12I praise you, LORD!
   Teach me your laws.
    13With my own mouth,
   I tell others the laws
   that you have spoken.
    14Obeying your instructions
   brings as much happiness
   as being rich.
    15I will study your teachings
   and follow your footsteps.
    16I will take pleasure
   in your laws
   and remember your words.

Proverbs 28:6-7 (Contemporary English Version)

6It's better to be poor
   and live right,
   than to be rich
   and dishonest.
    7It makes good sense
   to obey the Law of God,
   but you disgrace your parents
   if you make friends
   with worthless nobodies.

Verse of the Day

“I never stop thanking my God for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, who helps you speak and understand so well.” - 1 Corinthians 1:4-5
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Isaac Bashevis SingerThought for the Day

Polish-born Jewish writer in Yiddish, Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote, “When you betray somebody else, you also betray yourself.”

A Joke for Today

Related imageWhen Bill Gates died, he went up to Heaven, where Saint Peter showed him to his house; a beautiful 20 room house, with grounds and a tennis court. Bill Gates was pleased, and spent many months enjoying the amenities of Heaven.

One day, he was enjoying one of Heaven's many fine parks, when he ran into a man dressed in a fine tailored suit.

"That is a nice suit, my friend," said Gates. "Where did you get it?"

"Actually," the man replied, "I was given a hundred of these when I got here. I've been treated really well. I got a mansion on a hill overlooking a beautiful hill, with a huge five-hundred acre estate, a golf course, and three Rolls Royces."

"Were you a Pope, or a doctor healing the sick?" asked Gates.

"No," said his new friend, "Actually, I was the captain of the Titanic."

Hearing this made Gates so angry that he immediately stalked off to find St. Peter.

Cornering Peter, he told him about the man he had just met, saying, "How could you give me a paltry new house, while you're showering new cars, a mansion, and fine suits on the Captain of the Titanic? I invented the Windows operating system! Why does he deserve better??!!!!"

"Yes, but we use Windows," replied Peter, "and the Titanic only crashed once."

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bible Readings for November 20, 2017

Today our passages are Ezekiel 40:28–41:26; James 4:1-17; Psalm 118:19-29; and Proverbs 28:3-5.  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.

Ezekiel 40:28-41:26 (Contemporary English Version)

The Gates Leading to the Inner Courtyard
 28We then went into the inner courtyard, through the gate on the south side of the temple. The man measured the gate, and it was the same size as the gates in the outer wall. 29-30In fact, everything along the passageway was also the same size, including the guardrooms, the walls separating them, the entrance room at the far end, and the windows. This gate, like the others, was eighty-five feet long and forty-two feet wide. 31The entrance room of this gate faced the outer courtyard, and carvings of palm trees decorated the walls of the passageway. Eight steps led up to this gate.    32Next, we went through the east gate to the inner courtyard. The man measured this gate, and it was the same size as the others. 33The guardrooms, the walls separating them, and its entrance room had the same measurements as the other gates. The guardrooms and the entrance room had windows, and the gate was eighty-five feet long and forty-two feet wide. 34The entrance room faced the outer courtyard, and the walls in the passageway were decorated with carvings of palm trees. Eight steps also led up to this gate.
    35Then the man took me to the north gate. He measured it, and it was the same size as the others, 36including the guardrooms, the walls separating them, and the entrance room. There were also windows in this gate. It was eighty-five feet long and forty-two feet wide, 37and like the other inner gates, its entrance room faced the outer courtyard, and its walls were decorated with carvings of palm trees. Eight steps also led up to this gate.
The Rooms for Sacrificing Animals
 38-39Inside the entrance room of the north gate, I saw four tables, two on each side of the room, where the animals to be sacrificed were killed. Just outside a] this room was a small building used for washing the animals before they were offered as sacrifices to please the LORD b] or sacrifices for sin c] or sacrifices to make things right. d]40Four more tables were in the outer courtyard, two on each side of the steps leading into the entrance room. 41So there was a total of eight tables, four inside and four outside, where the animals were killed, 42-43and where the meat was placed until it was sacrificed on the altar. e] Next to the tables in the entrance room were four stone tables twenty inches high and thirty inches square; the equipment used for killing the animals was kept on top of these tables. All around the walls of this room was a three inch shelf. f]
The Rooms Belonging to the Priests
 44The man then took me to the inner courtyard, where I saw two buildings, one beside the inner gate on the north and the other beside the inner gate on the south. g] 45He said, "The building beside the north gate belongs to the priests who serve in the temple, 46and the building beside the south gate belongs to those who serve at the altar. All of them are descendants of Zadok and are the only Levites allowed to serve as the LORD's priests."
The Inner Courtyard and the Temple
 47Now the man measured the inner courtyard; it was one hundred seventy feet square. I also saw an altar in front of the temple.    48We walked to the porch of the temple, and the man measured the doorway of the porch: It was twenty-four feet long, h] eight feet wide, and the distance from the doorway to the wall on either side was five feet. 49The porch itself was thirty-four feet by twenty i] feet, with steps j] leading up to it. There was a column on each side of these steps.

Ezekiel 41

 1Next we went into the main room of the temple. The man measured the doorway of this room: It was ten feet wide, k]2seventeen feet long, and the distance from the doorway to the wall on either side was eight feet. The main room itself was sixty-eight feet by thirty-four feet. 3-4Then the man walked to the far end of the temple's main room and said, "Beyond this doorway is the most holy place." He first measured the doorway: It was three feet wide, ten feet long, and the distance from the doorway to the wall on either side was twelve feet. Then he measured the most holy place, and it was thirty-four feet square.   
The Storage Rooms of the Temple
 5The man measured the wall of the temple, and it was ten feet thick. Storage rooms seven feet wide were built against the outside of the wall. 6There were three levels of rooms, with thirty rooms on each level, and they rested on ledges that were attached to the temple walls, so that nothing was built into the walls. 7The walls of the temple were thicker at the bottom than at the top, which meant that the storage rooms on the top level were wider than those on the bottom level. l] Steps led from the bottom level, through the middle level, and into the top level. 8The temple rested on a stone base ten feet high, which also served as the foundation for the storage rooms.9The outside walls of the storage rooms were eight feet thick; there was nothing between these walls 10and the nearest buildings thirty-four feet away. 11One door led into the storage rooms on the north side of the temple, and another door led to those on the south side. The stone base extended eight feet beyond the outside wall of the storage rooms.   
The West Building and the Measurements of the Temple
 12I noticed another building: It faced the west end of the temple and was one hundred seventeen feet wide, one hundred fifty feet long, and had walls over eight feet thick.    13The man measured the length of the temple, and it was one hundred seventy feet. He then measured from the back wall of the temple, across the open space behind the temple, to the back wall of the west building; it was one hundred seventy feet. 14The distance across the front of the temple, including the open space on either side, was also one hundred seventy feet.
    15Finally, the man measured the length of the west building, including the side rooms on each end, and it was also one hundred seventy feet.
   The inside walls of the temple's porch and main room m]
The Inside of the Temple
 16were paneled with wood all the way from the floor to the windows, while the doorways, the small windows, and the three side rooms were trimmed in wood. n] 17The paneling stopped just above the doorway. These walls were decorated o] 18-20with carvings of winged creatures and had a carving of a palm tree between the creatures. Each winged creature had two faces: A human face looking at the palm tree on one side, and a lion's face looking at the palm tree on the other side. These designs were carved into the paneling all the way around the two rooms. 21The doorframe to the temple's main room was in the shape of a rectangle.   In front of the doorway to the most holy place was something that looked like
The Wooden Altar
 22a wooden altar. It was five feet high and four feet square, p] and its corners, its base, q] and its sides were made of wood. The man said, "This is a reminder that the LORD is constantly watching over his temple."
The Doors in the Temple
 23Both the doorway to the main room of the temple and the doorway to the most holy place had two doors, 24and each door had two sections that could fold open. 25The doors to the main room were decorated with carvings of winged creatures and palm trees just like those on the walls, and there was a wooden covering over the porch just outside these doors. 26The walls on each side of this porch had small windows and were also decorated with carvings of palm trees.   

  1. Ezekiel 40:38 Just outside: Or "Inside."
  2. Ezekiel 40:38 sacrifices to please the LORD: These sacrifices have traditionally been called "whole burnt offerings" because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such sacrifices was to please the LORD with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV they are often called "sacrifices to please the LORD."
  3. Ezekiel 40:38 sacrifices for sin: See Leviticus 4.1,2; 6.24-30.
  4. Ezekiel 40:38 sacrifices to make things right: See Leviticus 5.14-19; 7.1-10.
  5. Ezekiel 40:42 where the meat. . . altar: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. Ezekiel 40:42 was a three inch shelf: Or "were three inch pegs."
  7. Ezekiel 40:44 south: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 44.
  8. Ezekiel 40:48 twenty-four feet long: One ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text of this verse.
  9. Ezekiel 40:49 twenty: One ancient translation; Hebrew "eighteen."
  10. Ezekiel 40:49 steps: Hebrew; one ancient translation "ten steps."
  11. Ezekiel 41:1 It was ten feet wide: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. Ezekiel 41:7 which meant that. . . on the bottom level: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  13. Ezekiel 41:15 The inside walls of the temple's porch and main room: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  14. Ezekiel 41:16 were trimmed in wood: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  15. Ezekiel 41:17 decorated: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 17.
  16. Ezekiel 41:22 four feet square: One ancient translation; Hebrew "four feet wide."
  17. Ezekiel 41:22 base: One ancient translation; Hebrew "length."

James 4:1-17 (Contemporary English Version)

James 4

Friendship with the World
 1Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn't it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? 2You want something you don't have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won't get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. 3Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.    4You people aren't faithful to God! Don't you know that if you love the world, you are God's enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, "God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us"? a] 6In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the Scriptures say, "God opposes everyone
   who is proud,
   but he is kind to everyone
   who is humble."
    7Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can't make up your mind. 9Be sad and sorry and weep. Stop laughing and start crying. Be gloomy instead of glad. 10Be humble in the Lord's presence, and he will honor you.
Saying Cruel Things about Others
 11My friends, don't say cruel things about others! If you do, or if you condemn others, you are condemning God's Law. And if you condemn the Law, you put yourself above the Law and refuse to obey either it 12or God who gave it. God is our judge, and he can save or destroy us. What right do you have to condemn anyone?   
Warning against Bragging
 13You should know better than to say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to the city. We will do business there for a year and make a lot of money!" 14What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears. 15You should say, "If the Lord lets us live, we will do these things." 16Yet you are stupid enough to brag, and it is wrong to be so proud. 17If you don't do what you know is right, you have sinned.   

  1. James 4:5 God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us: One possible meaning for the difficult Greek text; other translations are possible, such as, "the Spirit that God put in us truly cares."

Psalm 118:19-29 (Contemporary English Version)

19Open the gates of justice!
   I will enter and tell the LORD
   how thankful I am.
    20Here is the gate of the LORD!
   Everyone who does right
   may enter this gate.
    21I praise the LORD
   for answering my prayers
   and saving me.
    22The stone that the builders
   tossed aside
   has now become
   the most important stone.
    23The LORD has done this,
   and it is amazing to us.
    24This day belongs to the LORD!
   Let's celebrate
   and be glad today.
    25We'll ask the LORD to save us!
   We'll sincerely ask the LORD
   to let us win.
    26God bless the one who comes
   in the name of the LORD!
   We praise you from here
   in the house of the LORD.
    27The LORD is our God,
   and he has given us light!
   Start the celebration!
   March with palm branches
   all the way to the altar. a] 28The LORD is my God!
   I will praise him and tell him
   how thankful I am.
    29Tell the LORD
   how thankful you are,
   because he is kind
   and always merciful.

  1. Psalm 118:27 Start. . . altar: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 28:3-5 (Contemporary English Version)

3When someone poor takes over
   and mistreats the poor,
   it's like a heavy rain
   destroying the crops.
    4Lawbreakers praise criminals,
   but law-abiding citizens
   always oppose them.
    5Criminals don't know
   what justice means,
   but all who respect the LORD
   understand it completely.

Verse of the Day

“[Worship and Obey the LORD]Sing joyful songs to the LORD! Praise the mighty rock where we are safe. Come to worship him with thankful hearts and songs of praise.” - Psalm 95:1-2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Robert F. KennedyThought for the Day

American politician and lawyer from Massachusetts, Robert F. Kennedy wrote, “Only earthbound man still clings to the dark and poisoning superstition that his world is bounded by the nearest hill, his universe ends at river shore, his common humanity is enclosed in the tight circle of those who share his town or his views and the color of his skin. It is — It is your job, the task of young people in this world, to strip the last remnants of that ancient, cruel belief from the civilization of man.”

A Joke for the Day 

Image result for talking parrot pet storeA lady is walking down the street to work and see's a parrot in a pet store. She stops to admire the bird. The parrot says to her, "hey lady, you are really ugly."

Well, the lady is furious! She storms past the store to her work.

On the way home she saw the same parrot in the window and the parrot upon seeing her says, "hey lady, you are really ugly."

She was incredibly ticked now. The next day on the way to work she saw the same parrot and once again it said, "hey lady, you are really ugly."

The lady was so furious that she stormed into the store and threatened to sue the store and have the bird killed. The store manager appologized profusely and promised the bird wouldn't say it again.

When the lady walked past the store after work the parrot said to her, "hey lady."

She paused and said," yes?"

The bird said, "you know."