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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Friday, October 20, 2017

Bible Readings for October 20, 2017

Today our passages are Jeremiah 35:1–36:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-25; Psalm 89:14-37; and Proverbs 25:25-27. 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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Jeremiah 35-36:32 (Contemporary English Version)


Jeremiah 35

Learn a Lesson from the Rechabites
 1When Jehoiakim a] was king of Judah, the LORD told me, 2"Go to the Rechabite clan and invite them to meet you in one of the side rooms b] of the temple. When they arrive, offer them a drink of wine." 3So I went to Jaazaniah, c] the leader of the clan, and I invited him and all the men of his clan. 4I brought them into the temple courtyard and took them upstairs to a room belonging to the prophets who were followers of Hanan son of Igdaliah. It was next to a room belonging to some of the officials, and that room was over the one belonging to Maaseiah, a priest who was one of the high officials in the temple. d] 5I set out some large bowls full of wine together with some cups, and then I said to the Rechabites, "Have some wine!"    6But they answered:
   No! The ancestor of our clan, Jonadab son of Rechab, e] made a rule that we must obey. He said, "Don't ever drink wine 7or build houses or plant crops and vineyards. Instead, you must always live in tents and move from place to place. If you obey this command, you will live a long time." 8-10Our clan has always obeyed Jonadab's command. To this very day, we and our wives and sons and daughters don't drink wine or build houses or plant vineyards or crops. And we have lived in tents, 11except now we have to live inside Jerusalem because Nebuchadnezzar f] has taken over the countryside with his army from Babylonia and Syria. 12-13Then the LORD told me to say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
   I, the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, want you to learn a lesson 14from the Rechabite clan. Their ancestor Jonadab told his descendants never to drink wine, and to this very day they have obeyed him. But I have spoken to you over and over, and you haven't obeyed me! 15You refused to listen to my prophets, who kept telling you, "Stop doing evil and worshiping other gods! Start obeying the LORD, and he will let you live in this land he gave your ancestors."
    16The Rechabites have obeyed the command of their ancestor Jonadab, but you have not obeyed me, 17your God. I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I warned you about the terrible things that would happen to you if you did not listen to me. You have ignored me, so now disaster will strike you. I, the LORD, have spoken.
   
The LORD Makes a Promise to the Rechabites
 18Then the LORD told me to say to the Rechabite clan:   I am the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel. You have obeyed your ancestor Jonadab, 19so I promise that your clan will be my servants and will never die out.
   

Jeremiah 36

King Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah's First Scroll
 1During the fourth year that Jehoiakim g] son of Josiah h] was king of Judah, the LORD said to me, "Jeremiah, 2since the time Josiah was king, I have been speaking to you about Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Now, get a scroll i] and write down everything I have told you, 3then read it to the people of Judah. Maybe they will stop sinning when they hear what terrible things I plan for them. And if they turn to me, I will forgive them." 4I sent for Baruch son of Neriah and asked him to help me. I repeated everything the LORD had told me, and Baruch wrote it all down on a scroll. 5Then I said,   Baruch, the officials refuse to let me go into the LORD's temple, 6so you must go instead. Wait for the next holy day when the people of Judah come to the temple to pray and to go without eating.j] Then take this scroll to the temple and read it aloud. 7The LORD is furious, and if the people hear how he is going to punish them, maybe they will ask to be forgiven. 8-10In the ninth month k]of the fifth year that Jehoiakim was king, the leaders set a day when everyone who lived in Jerusalem or who was visiting here had to pray and go without eating. So Baruch took the scroll to the upper courtyard of the temple. He went over to the side of the courtyard and stood in a covered area near New Gate, where he read the scroll aloud. This covered area belonged to Gemariah, l]one of the king's highest officials. 11Gemariah's son Micaiah was there and heard Baruch read what the LORD had said. 12When Baruch finished reading, Micaiah went down to the palace. His father Gemariah was in the officials' room, meeting with the rest of the king's officials, including Elishama, Delaiah, Elnathan, and Zedekiah. m] 13Micaiah told them what he had heard Baruch reading to the people. 14Then the officials sent Jehudi and Shelemiah n] to tell Baruch, "Bring us that scroll." When Baruch arrived with the scroll, 15the officials said, "Please sit down and read it to us," which he did. 16After they heard what was written on the scroll, they were worried and said to each other, "The king needs to hear this!" Turning to Baruch, they asked, 17"Did someone tell you what to write on this scroll?"
    18"Yes, Jeremiah did," Baruch replied. "I wrote down just what he told me."
    19The officials said, "You and Jeremiah must go into hiding, and don't tell anyone where you are."
    20-22The officials put the scroll in Elishama's room and went to see the king, who was in one of the rooms where he lived and worked during the winter. It was the ninth month o] of the year, so there was a fire burning in the fireplace, p] and the king was sitting nearby. After the officials told the king about the scroll, he sent Jehudi to get it. Then Jehudi started reading the scroll to the king and his officials. 23-25But every time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king would tell him to cut them off with his penknife and throw them in the fire. Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, but he ignored them, and soon there was nothing left of it. The king and his servants listened to what was written on the scroll, but they were not afraid, and they did not tear their clothes in sorrow. q] 26The king told his son Jerahmeel to take Seraiah and Shelemiah r] and to go arrest Baruch and me. s] But the LORD kept them from finding us.
Jeremiah's Second Scroll
 27I had told Baruch what to write on that first scroll, t] but King Jehoiakim u] had burned it. So the LORD told me 28to get another scroll and write down everything that had been on the first one. 29Then he told me to say to King Jehoiakim: Not only did you burn Jeremiah's scroll, you had the nerve to ask why he had written that the king of Babylonia would attack and ruin the land, killing all the people and even the animals. 30So I, the LORD, promise that you will be killed and your body thrown out on the ground. The sun will beat down on it during the day, and the frost will settle on it at night. And none of your descendants will ever be king of Judah. 31You, your children, and your servants are evil, and I will punish all of you. I warned you and the people of Judah and Jerusalem that I would bring disaster, but none of you have listened. So now you are doomed!    32After the LORD finished speaking to me, I got another scroll and gave it to Baruch. Then I told him what to write, so this second scroll would contain even more than was on the scroll Jehoiakim had burned.
   

Footnotes:
  1. Jeremiah 35:1 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3.
  2. Jeremiah 35:2 side rooms: Probably a room with walls on three sides, and open to the courtyard on the fourth side.
  3. Jeremiah 35:3 Jaazaniah: The Hebrew text has "Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah son of Habazziniah"; this is a different Jeremiah than the author of the book.
  4. Jeremiah 35:4 Maaseiah. . . temple: Hebrew "Maaseiah son of Shallum, the keeper of the temple door."
  5. Jeremiah 35:6 Jonadab son of Rechab: See 2 Kings 10.15-23. In the Hebrew of this chapter, "Jonadab" is sometimes spelled "Jehonadab."
  6. Jeremiah 35:11 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  7. Jeremiah 36:1 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3.
  8. Jeremiah 36:1 Josiah: See the note at 3.6.
  9. Jeremiah 36:2 scroll: See the note at 30.1,2.
  10. Jeremiah 36:6 to go without eating: As a way of asking for God's help.
  11. Jeremiah 36:8 ninth month: Chislev, the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-November to mid-December.
  12. Jeremiah 36:8 Gemariah: Hebrew "Gemariah son of Shaphan"; Gemariah's brother Ahikam had earlier protected Jeremiah (see 26.20-24).
  13. Jeremiah 36:12 Delaiah, Elnathan, and Zedekiah: Hebrew "Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, and Zedekiah son of Hananiah."
  14. Jeremiah 36:14 Jehudi and Shelemiah: Hebrew "Jehudi son of Nethaniah and Shelemiah son of Cushi."
  15. Jeremiah 36:20 ninth month: See the note at 36.8-10.
  16. Jeremiah 36:20 fireplace: Probably a large metal or clay pot on a movable stand, with the fire burning inside.
  17. Jeremiah 36:23 they did not tear their clothes in sorrow: Such actions would have shown that they were sorry for disobeying the LORD and were turning back to him.
  18. Jeremiah 36:26 Seraiah and Shelemiah: Hebrew "Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel."
  19. Jeremiah 36:26 me: Jeremiah.
  20. Jeremiah 36:27 scroll: See the note at 30.1,2.
  21. Jeremiah 36:27 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3.

1 Timothy 5:1-25 (Contemporary English Version)


1 Timothy 5

How To Act toward Others
 1Don't correct an older man. Encourage him, as you would your own father. Treat younger men as you would your own brother, 2and treat older women as you would your own mother. Show the same respect to younger women that you would to your sister.    3Take care of any widow who is really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to serve God by taking care of her, as she once took care of them. This is what God wants them to do. 5A widow who is really in need is one who doesn't have any relatives. She has faith in God, and she keeps praying to him night and day, asking for his help.
    6A widow who thinks only about having a good time is already dead, even though she is still alive.
    7Tell all of this to everyone, so they will do the right thing. 8People who don't take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn't have faith in the Lord.
    9For a widow to be put on the list of widows, she must be at least sixty years old, and she must have been faithful in marriage. a]10She must also be well-known for doing all sorts of good things, such as raising children, giving food to strangers, welcoming God's people into her home, b] helping people in need, and always making herself useful. 11Don't put young widows on the list. They may later have a strong desire to get married. Then they will turn away from Christ 12and become guilty of breaking their promise to him. 13Besides, they will become lazy and get into the habit of going from house to house. Next, they will start gossiping and become busybodies, talking about things that are none of their business.
    14I would prefer that young widows get married, have children, and look after their families. Then the enemy won't have any reason to say insulting things about us. 15Look what's already happened to some of the young widows! They have turned away to follow Satan.
    16If a woman who is a follower has any widows in her family, she c] should help them. This will keep the church from having that burden, and then the church can help widows who are really in need.
Church Leaders
 17Church leaders d] who do their job well deserve to be paid e]twice as much, especially if they work hard at preaching and teaching. 18It is just as the Scriptures say, "Don't muzzle an ox when you are using it to grind grain." You also know the saying, "Workers are worth their pay." 19Don't listen to any charge against a church leader, unless at least two or three people bring the same charges. 20But if any of the leaders should keep on sinning, they must be corrected in front of the whole group, as a warning to everyone else.    21In the presence of God and Christ Jesus and their chosen angels, I order you to follow my instructions! Be fair with everyone, and don't have any favorites.
    22Don't be too quick to accept people into the service of the Lord f] by placing your hands on them. Don't sin because others do, but stay close to God.
    23Stop drinking only water. Take a little wine to help your stomach trouble and the other illnesses you always have.
    24Some people get caught in their sins right away, even before the time of judgment. But other people's sins don't show up until later. 25It is the same with good deeds. Some are easily seen, but none of them can be hidden.
   

Footnotes:
  1. 1 Timothy 5:9 been faithful in marriage: Or "been the wife of only one husband" or "never been divorced."
  2. 1 Timothy 5:10 welcoming God's people into her home: The Greek text has "washing the feet of God's people." In New Testament times most people either went barefoot or wore sandals, and a host would often wash the feet of special guests.
  3. 1 Timothy 5:16 woman. . . she: Some manuscripts have "man or woman. . . that person."
  4. 1 Timothy 5:17 leaders: Or "elders" or "presbyters" or "priests."
  5. 1 Timothy 5:17 paid: Or "honored" or "respected."
  6. 1 Timothy 5:22 to accept people into the service of the Lord: Or "to forgive people."

Psalm 89:14-37 (Contemporary English Version)

14Your kingdom is ruled
   by justice and fairness
   with love and faithfulness
   leading the way.
    15Our LORD, you bless those
   who join in the festival
   and walk in the brightness
   of your presence.
    16We are happy all day
   because of you,
   and your saving power
   brings honor to us.
    17Your own glorious power
   makes us strong,
   and because of your kindness,
   our strength increases.
    18Our LORD and our King,
   the Holy One of Israel,
   you are truly our shield.
    19In a vision, you once said
   to your faithful followers:
   "I have helped a mighty hero.
   I chose him from my people
   and made him famous.
    20David, my servant, is the one
   I chose to be king,
    21and I will always be there
   to help and strengthen him.
    22"No enemy will outsmart David,
   and he won't be defeated
   by any hateful people.
    23I will strike down and crush
   his troublesome enemies.
    24He will always be able
   to depend on my love,
   and I will make him strong
   with my own power.
    25I will let him rule the lands
   across the rivers and seas.
    26He will say to me,
   `You are my Father
   and my God,
   as well as the mighty rock a] where I am safe.'
    27"I have chosen David
   as my first-born son,
   and he will be the ruler
   of all kings on earth.
    28My love for him will last,
   and my agreement with him
   will never be broken.
    29"One of David's descendants
   will always be king,
   and his family will rule
   until the sky disappears.
    30Suppose some of his children
   should reject my Law
   and refuse my instructions.
    31Or suppose they should disobey
   all of my teachings.
    32Then I will correct
   and punish them
   because of their sins.
    33But I will always love David
   and faithfully keep all
   of my promises to him.
    34"I won't break my agreement
   or go back on my word.
    35I have sworn once and for all
   by my own holy name,
   and I won't lie to David.
    36His family will always rule.
   I will let his kingdom last
   as long as the sun 37and moon
   appear in the sky."
   

Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 89:26 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.

Proverbs 25:25-27 (Contemporary English Version)

25Good news from far away
   refreshes like cold water
   when you are thirsty.
    26When a good person gives in
   to the wicked,
   it's like dumping garbage
   in a stream of clear water.
    27Don't eat too much honey
   or always want praise. a]

Footnotes:
  1. Proverbs 25:27 or. . . praise: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

 
Verse of the Day
 
“Make me as happy as you did when you saved me; make me want to obey!” - Psalm 51:12
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.


Pat Meehan, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpgThought for the Day

Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, Pat Meehan wrote, “You do what is manageable, and you do it well rather than trying to do a thousand things just a little bit OK.”


Related imageA Joke for the Day

The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went. Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again.

After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered, "If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bible Readings for October 19, 2017

Today our passages are Jeremiah 33:1–34:22; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; Psalm 89:1-13; and Proverbs 25:23-24. 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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Jeremiah 33-34:22 (Contemporary English Version)


Jeremiah 33

The LORD Promises To Give the Land Back to His People
 1-2I was still being held prisoner in the courtyard of the palace guards when the LORD told me:   I am the LORD, and I created the whole world. a] 3Ask me, and I will tell you things that you don't know and can't find out. 4-5Many of the houses in Jerusalem and some of the buildings at the royal palace have been torn down to be used in repairing the walls to keep out the Babylonian attackers. b] Now there are empty spaces where the buildings once stood. But I am furious, and these spaces will be filled with the bodies of the people I kill. The people of Jerusalem will cry out to me for help, but they are evil, and I will ignore their prayers. 6Then someday, I will heal this place and my people as well, and let them enjoy unending peace. c] 7I will give this land to Israel and Judah once again, and I will make them as strong as they were before. 8They sinned and rebelled against me, but I will forgive them and take away their guilt. 9When that happens, all nations on earth will see the good things I have done for Jerusalem, and how I have given it complete peace. The nations will celebrate and praise and honor me, but they will also tremble with fear. 10Jeremiah, you say that this land is a desert without people or animals, and for now, you are right. The towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem are deserted, and people and animals are nowhere to be seen. But someday you will hear 11happy voices and the sounds of parties and wedding celebrations. And when people come to my temple to offer sacrifices to thank me, you will hear them say:
   "We praise you,
   LORD All-Powerful!
   You are good to us,
   and your love never fails."
   The land will once again be productive. 12-13Now it is empty, without people or animals. But when that time comes, shepherds will take care of their flocks in pastures near every town in the hill country, in the foothills to the west, in the Southern Desert, in the land of the Benjamin tribe, and around Jerusalem and the towns of Judah.
   I, the LORD, have spoken.
   
The LORD's Wonderful Promise
 14The LORD said:   I made a wonderful promise to Israel and Judah, d] and the days are coming when I will keep it. 15I promise that the time will come
   when I will appoint a king
   from the family of David,
   a king who will be honest
   and rule with justice.
    16In those days,
   Judah will be safe;
   Jerusalem will have peace
   and will be named,
   "The LORD Gives Justice."
    17The king of Israel will be one of David's descendants, 18and there will always be priests from the Levi tribe serving at my altar and offering sacrifices to please me and to give thanks. e] 19Then the LORD told me:
    20I, the LORD, have an agreement with day and night, so they always come at the right time. You can't break the agreement I made with them, 21and you can't break the agreements I have made with David's family and with the priests from the Levi tribe who serve at my altar. A descendant of David will always rule as king of Israel, 22and there will be more descendants of David and of the priests from the Levi tribe than stars in the sky or grains of sand on the beach.
    23The LORD also said:
    24You've heard foreigners insult my people by saying, "The LORD chose Israel and Judah, but now he has rejected them, and they are no longer a nation."
    25Jeremiah, I will never break my agreement with the day and the night or let the sky and the earth stop obeying my commands. 26In the same way, I will never reject the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or break my promise that they will always have a descendant of David as their king. I will be kind to my people Israel, and they will be successful again.
   

Jeremiah 34

Jeremiah Warns Zedekiah
 1King Nebuchadnezzar f] had a large army made up of people from every kingdom in his empire. He and his army were attacking Jerusalem and all the nearby towns, when the LORD told me 2to say to King Zedekiah: g] I am the LORD, and I am going to let Nebuchadnezzar capture this city and burn it down. 3You will be taken prisoner and brought to Nebuchadnezzar, and he will speak with you face to face. Then you will be led away to Babylonia.    4Zedekiah, I promise that you won't die in battle. 5You will die a peaceful death. People will mourn when you die, and they will light bonfires in your honor, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who ruled before you.
    6I went to Zedekiah and told him what the LORD had said. 7Meanwhile, the king of Babylonia was trying to break through the walls of Lachish, Azekah, and Jerusalem, the only three towns of Judah that had not been captured.
   
The People Break a Promise
 8-10King Zedekiah, h] his officials, and everyone else in Jerusalem made an agreement to free all Hebrew i] men and women who were slaves. No Jew would keep another as a slave. And so, all the Jewish slaves were given their freedom. 11But those slave owners changed their minds and forced their former slaves back into slavery.    12That's when the LORD told me to say to the people:
    13I am the LORD God of Israel, and I made an agreement with your ancestors when I brought
   them out of Egypt, where they had been slaves. 14As part of this agreement, you must let a
   Hebrew slave go free after six years of service.
   Your ancestors did not obey me, 15-16but you decided to obey me and do the right thing by
   setting your Hebrew slaves completely free. You even went to my temple, and in my name
   you made an agreement to set them free. But you have abused my name, because you broke
   your agreement and forced your former slaves back into slavery.
    17You have disobeyed me by not giving your slaves their freedom. So I will give you
   freedom--the freedom to die in battle or from disease or hunger. I will make you disgusting to
   all other nations on earth.
    18You asked me to be a witness when you made the agreement to set your slaves free. And
   as part of the ceremony you cut a calf into two parts, then walked between the parts. But you
   people of Jerusalem have broken that agreement as well as my agreement with Israel. So I
   will do to you what you did to that calf. 19-20I will let your enemies take all of you prisoner,
   including the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the royal officials, the priests, and everyone
   else who walked between the two parts of the calf. These enemies will kill you and leave your
   bodies lying on the ground as food for birds and wild animals.
    21-22These enemies are King Nebuchadnezzar j] of Babylonia and his army. They have stopped attacking Jerusalem, but they want to kill King Zedekiah and his high officials. So I
   will command them to return and attack again. This time they will conquer the city and burn it
   down, and they will capture Zedekiah and his officials. I will also let them destroy the towns of
   Judah, so that no one can live there any longer.
   

Footnotes:
  1. Jeremiah 33:1 the whole world: One ancient translation; Hebrew "it."
  2. Jeremiah 33:4 have been torn down. . . Babylonian attackers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Jeremiah 33:6 let them enjoy unending peace: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Jeremiah 33:14 Israel and Judah: See the note at 2.4.
  5. Jeremiah 33:18 sacrifices to please me and to give thanks: See the notes at 14.12.
  6. Jeremiah 34:1 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  7. Jeremiah 34:2 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
  8. Jeremiah 34:8 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
  9. Jeremiah 34:8 Hebrew: An earlier term for Israelite and Jewish.
  10. Jeremiah 34:21 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.

1 Timothy 4:1-16 (Contemporary English Version)


1 Timothy 4

People Will Turn from Their Faith
 1God's Spirit clearly says that in the last days many people will turn from their faith. They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons. 2They will also be fooled by the false claims of liars whose consciences have lost all feeling. These liars 3will forbid people to marry or to eat certain foods. But God created these foods to be eaten with thankful hearts by his followers who know the truth. 4Everything God created is good. And if you give thanks, you may eat anything. 5What God has said and your prayer will make it fit to eat.   
Paul's Advice to Timothy
 6If you teach these things to other followers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus. You will show that you have grown up on the teachings about our faith and on the good instructions you have obeyed. 7Don't have anything to do with worthless, senseless stories. Work hard to be truly religious. 8-9As the saying goes,   "Exercise is good
   for your body,
   but religion helps you
   in every way.
   It promises life
   now and forever."
   These words are worthwhile and should not be forgotten. 10We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, but especially of those who have faith. That's why we work and struggle so hard. a] 11Teach these things and tell everyone to do what you say. 12Don't let anyone make fun of you, just because you are young. Set an example for other followers by what you say and do, as well as by your love, faith, and purity.
    13Until I arrive, be sure to keep on reading the Scriptures in worship, and don't stop preaching and teaching. 14Use the gift you were given when the prophets spoke and the group of church leaders b] blessed you by placing their hands on you. 15Remember these things and think about them, so everyone can see how well you are doing. 16Be careful about the way you live and about what you teach. Keep on doing this, and you will save not only yourself, but the people who hear you.

Footnotes:
  1. 1 Timothy 4:10 struggle so hard: Some manuscripts have "are treated so badly."
  2. 1 Timothy 4:14 group of church leaders: Or "group of elders" or "group of presbyters" or "group of priests." This translates one Greek word, and it is related to the one used in 5.17,19.

Psalm 89:1-13 (Contemporary English Version)


Psalm 89

(A special psalm by Ethan the Ezrahite.)
The LORD's Agreement with David
 1Our LORD, I will sing   of your love forever.
   Everyone yet to be born
   will hear me praise
   your faithfulness.
    2I will tell them,
   "God's love
   can always be trusted,
   and his faithfulness lasts
   as long as the heavens."
    3You said, "David, my servant,
   is my chosen one,
   and this is the agreement
   I made with him:
    4David, one of your descendants
   will always be king."
    5Our LORD, let the heavens
   now praise your miracles,
   and let all of your angels
   praise your faithfulness.
    6None who live in the heavens
   can compare with you.
    7You are the most fearsome
   of all who live in heaven;
   all the others fear
   and greatly honor you.
    8You are LORD God All-Powerful!
   No one is as loving
   and faithful as you are.
    9You rule the roaring sea
   and calm its waves.
    10You crushed the monster Rahab, a] and with your powerful arm
   you scattered your enemies.
    11The heavens and the earth
   belong to you.
   And so does the world
   with all its people
   because you created them
    12and everything else. b] Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon
   gladly praise you.
    13You are strong and mighty!
   

Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 89:10 Rahab: Many people in the ancient world thought that the world was controlled by this sea monster that the Lord destroyed at the time of creation (see Isaiah 51.9).
  2. Psalm 89:12 and everything else: The Hebrew text has " Zaphon and Yamin," which may either be the names of mountains or refer to the directions " north and south," with the meaning " everything from north to south."

Proverbs 25:23-24 (Contemporary English Version)

23As surely as rain blows in
   from the north,
   anger is caused
   by cruel words.
    24It's better to stay outside
   on the roof of your house
   than to live inside
   with a nagging wife.



Verse of the Day

“Do what the LORD wants, and he will give you your heart's desire.” - Psalm 37:4
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Pierre TrudeauThought for the Day

Canadian statesman who served as the 15th Prime Minister of Canada (1968–1979 and 1980–1984), Pierre Trudeau wrote, “A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs built the pyramids, and then leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day out of certain basic shared values.”

Image result for senior citizen and doctor cartoonA Joke for Today

A distraught senior citizen phoned her doctor's office. 'Is it true,' she wanted to know, 'that the medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?' 

'Yes, I'm afraid so,' the doctor told her. 

There was a moment of silence before the senior lady replied, 'I'm wondering, then, just how serious is my condition because this prescription is marked 'NO REFILLS'.' 


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, October 22, 20...

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, October 22, 20...: Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from  the Old Testatment ( Exodus 33:12-23  or   Isaiah 45:1-7 ),  the  Psalms ( Psalm 99  or   P...

Bible Readings for October 18, 2017

Today our passages are Jeremiah 31:27–32:44; 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Psalm 88:1-18; and Proverbs 25:20-22. 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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Jeremiah 31:27-32:44Contemporary English Version (CEV)

27 Someday, Israel and Judah will be my field where my people and their livestock will grow. 28 In the past, I took care to uproot them, to tear them down, and to destroy them. But when that day comes, I will take care to plant them and help them grow. 29 No longer will anyone go around saying,
“Sour grapes eaten by parents
leave a sour taste in the mouths
    of their children.”
30 When that day comes, only those who eat sour grapes will get the sour taste, and only those who sin will be put to death.

The New Agreement with Israel and Judah

31 The Lord said:
The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement.
33 Here is the new agreement that I, the Lord, will make with the people of Israel:
“I will write my laws
    on their hearts and minds.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
34 “No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”
35 I am the Lord All-Powerful.
I command the sun
    to give light each day,
the moon and stars
to shine at night,
    and ocean waves to roar.
36 I will never forget
    to give those commands,
and I will never let Israel
    stop being a nation.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
37 Can you measure the heavens?
Can you explore
    the depths of the earth?
That’s how hard it would be
for me to reject Israel forever,
    even though they have sinned.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

Jerusalem Will Be Rebuilt

38 The Lord said:
Someday, Jerusalem will truly belong to me. It will be rebuilt with a boundary line running from Hananel Tower to Corner Gate. 39 From there, the boundary will go in a straight line to Gareb Hill, then turn toward Goah. 40 Even that disgusting Hinnom Valley[a] will be sacred to me, and so will the eastern slopes that go down from Horse Gate into Kidron Valley. Jerusalem will never again be destroyed.

Jeremiah Buys a Field

32 The Lord spoke to me in the tenth year that Zedekiah[b] was king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year that Nebuchadnezzar[c] was king of Babylonia. At that time, the Babylonian army had surrounded Jerusalem, and I was in the prison at the courtyard of the palace guards. Zedekiah had ordered me to be held there because I told everyone that the Lord had said:
I am the Lord, and I am about to let the king of Babylonia conquer Jerusalem. King Zedekiah will be captured and taken to King Nebuchadnezzar, who will speak with him face to face. Then Zedekiah will be led away to Babylonia, where he will stay until I am finished with him. So, if you people of Judah fight against the Babylonians, you will lose. I, the Lord, have spoken.
Later, when I was in prison, the Lord said:
Jeremiah, your cousin Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will visit you. He must sell his field near the town of Anathoth, and because you are his nearest relative, you have the right and the responsibility to buy it and keep it in the family.[d]
Hanamel came, just as the Lord had promised. And he said, “Please buy my field near Anathoth in the territory of the Benjamin tribe. You have the right to buy it, and if you do, it will stay in our family.”
The Lord had told me to buy it from Hanamel, and so I did. The price was seventeen pieces of silver, and I weighed out the full amount on a scale. 10-11 I had two copies of the bill of sale written out, each containing all the details of our agreement. Some witnesses and I signed the official copy, which was folded and tied, before being sealed shut with hot wax.[e] Then I gave Hanamel the silver. 12 And while he, the witnesses, and all the other Jews sitting in the courtyard were still watching, I gave both copies to Baruch son of Neriah.[f]
13-14 I told Baruch that the Lord had said:
Take both copies of this bill of sale, one sealed shut and the other open, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, and I promise you that people will once again buy and sell houses, farms, and vineyards in this country.

Jeremiah Questions the Lord

16 Then I prayed:
17 Lord God, you stretched out your mighty arm and made the sky and the earth. You can do anything. 18 You show kindness for a thousand generations,[g] but you also punish people for the sins of their parents. You are the Lord All-Powerful. 19 With great wisdom you make plans, and with your great power you do all the mighty things you planned. Nothing we do is hidden from your eyes, and you reward or punish us as we deserve.
20 You are famous because you worked miracles in Egypt, and you are still working them in Israel and in the rest of the world as well. 21 You terrified the Egyptians with your miracles, and you reached out your mighty arm and rescued your people Israel from Egypt. 22 Then you gave Israel this land rich with milk and honey, just as you had promised our ancestors.
23 But when our ancestors took over the land, they did not obey you. And now you have punished Israel with disaster. 24 Jerusalem is under attack, and we suffer from hunger and disease. The Babylonians have already built dirt ramps up to the city walls, and you can see that Jerusalem will be captured just as you said.
25 So why did you tell me to get some witnesses and buy a field with my silver, when Jerusalem is about to be captured by the Babylonians?

The Lord Explains about the Field

26 The Lord explained:
27 Jeremiah, I am the Lord God. I rule the world, and I can do anything!
28 It is true that I am going to let King Nebuchadnezzar[h] of Babylonia capture Jerusalem. 29 The Babylonian army is already attacking, and they will capture the city and set it on fire. The people of Jerusalem have made me angry by going up to the flat roofs of their houses and burning incense to Baal and offering wine sacrifices to other gods. Now these houses will be burned to the ground!
30-33 The kings and the officials, the priests and the prophets, and everyone else in Israel and Judah have turned from me and made me angry by worshiping idols. Again and again I have tried to teach my people to obey me, but they refuse to be corrected.
I am going to get rid of Jerusalem, because its people have done nothing but evil. 34 They have set up disgusting idols in my temple, and now it isn’t a fit place to worship me. 35 And they led Judah into sin by building places to worship Baal in Hinnom Valley, where they also sacrificed their sons and daughters to the god Molech. I have never even thought of telling them to commit such disgusting sins.
36 Jeremiah, what you said is true. The people of Jerusalem are suffering from hunger and disease, and so the king of Babylonia will be able to capture Jerusalem.
37 I am angry at the people of Jerusalem, and I will scatter them in foreign countries. But someday I will bring them back here and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39-41 I will make their thoughts and desires pure. Then they will realize that, for their own good and the good of their children, they must worship only me. They will even be afraid to turn away from me. I will make an agreement with them that will never end, and I won’t ever stop doing good things for them. With all my heart I promise that they will be planted in this land once again. 42 Even though I have brought disaster on the people, I will someday do all these good things for them.
43 Jeremiah, when you bought the field, you showed that fields will someday be bought and sold again. You say that this land has been conquered by the Babylonians and has become a desert, emptied of people and animals. 44 But someday, people will again spend their silver to buy fields everywhere—in the territory of Benjamin, the region around Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, and in the hill country, the foothills to the west, and the Southern Desert. Buyers and sellers and witnesses will sign and seal the bills of sale for the fields. It will happen, because I will give this land back to my people. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Footnotes:

  1. 31.40 that disgusting Hinnom Valley: The Hebrew text has “the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the fatty ashes,” which probably refers to Hinnom Valley, just southwest of Jerusalem, where human sacrifices had been offered to foreign gods.
  2. 32.1 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
  3. 32.1 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  4. 32.7 you have the right. . . in the family: See Leviticus 25.25-32.
  5. 32.10,11 signed the official copy, which was folded and tied, before being sealed shut with hot wax: The signing was actually done by pressing a carved clay stamp (called a “seal”) into the hot wax, leaving the design in the wax.
  6. 32.12 Baruch son of Neriah: Hebrew “Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah.”
  7. 32.18 for a thousand generations: Or “to thousands of people.”
  8. 32.28 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.

1 Timothy 3Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Church Officials

It is true that[a] anyone who desires to be a church official[b] wants to be something worthwhile. That’s why officials must have a good reputation and be faithful in marriage.[c] They must be self-controlled, sensible, well-behaved, friendly to strangers, and able to teach. They must not be heavy drinkers or troublemakers. Instead, they must be kind and gentle and not love money.
Church officials must be in control of their own families, and they must see that their children are obedient and always respectful. If they don’t know how to control their own families, how can they look after God’s people?
They must not be new followers of the Lord. If they are, they might become proud and be doomed along with the devil. Finally, they must be well-respected by people who are not followers. Then they won’t be trapped and disgraced by the devil.

Church Officers

Church officers[d] should be serious. They must not be liars, heavy drinkers, or greedy for money. And they must have a clear conscience and hold firmly to what God has shown us about our faith. 10 They must first prove themselves. Then if no one has anything against them, they can serve as officers.
11 Women[e] must also be serious. They must not gossip or be heavy drinkers, and they must be faithful in everything they do.
12 Church officers must be faithful in marriage.[f] They must be in full control of their children and everyone else in their home. 13 Those who serve well as officers will earn a good reputation and will be highly respected for their faith in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Our Religion

14 I hope to visit you soon. But I am writing these instructions, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how everyone who belongs to God’s family ought to behave. After all, the church of the living God is the strong foundation of truth.
16 Here is the great mystery of our religion:
Christ[g] came as a human.
The Spirit proved
    that he pleased God,
and he was seen by angels.
Christ was preached
    to the nations.
People in this world
    put their faith in him,
and he was taken up to glory.

Footnotes:

  1. 3.1 It is true that: These words may be taken with 2.15. If so, that verse would be translated: “It is true that women will be saved. . . holy, and modest.” And 3.1 would be translated, “Anyone who desires. . . something worthwhile.”
  2. 3.1 church official: Or “bishop.”
  3. 3.2 be faithful in marriage: Or “be the husband of only one wife” or “have never been divorced.”
  4. 3.8 Church officers: Or “Deacons.”
  5. 3.11 Women: Either church officers or the wives of church officers.
  6. 3.12 be faithful in marriage: See the note at 3.2.
  7. 3.16 Christ: The Greek text has “he,” probably meaning “Christ.” Some manuscripts have “God.”



Psalm 88Contemporary English Version (CEV)

(A song and a psalm by the people of Korah for the music leader. To the tune “Mahalath Leannoth.”[a] A special psalm by Heman the Ezrahite.)

A Prayer When You Can’t Find the Way

88 You keep me safe, Lord God.
So when I pray at night,
    please listen carefully
    to each of my concerns.
I am deeply troubled
    and close to death;
    I am as good as dead
    and completely helpless.
I am no better off
    than those in the grave,
    those you have forgotten
    and no longer help.
You have put me in the deepest
    and darkest grave;
    your anger rolls over me
    like ocean waves.
You have made my friends turn
    in horror from me.
I am a prisoner
    who cannot escape,
    and I am almost blind
    because of my sorrow.
Each day I lift my hands
    in prayer to you, Lord.
10     Do you work miracles
    for the dead?
Do they stand up
    and praise you?
11 Are your love and loyalty
announced
    in the world
    of the dead?
12 Do they know of your miracles
    or your saving power
in the dark world below
    where all is forgotten?
13 Each morning I pray
    to you, Lord.
14     Why do you reject me?
    Why do you turn from me?
15 Ever since I was a child,
I have been sick
    and close to death.
    You have terrified me
    and made me helpless.[b]
16 Your anger is like a flood!
And I am shattered
    by your furious attacks
17     that strike each day
    and from every side.
18 My friends and neighbors
have turned against me
    because of you,
    and now darkness
    is my only companion.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 88 To. . . Leannoth: Or “For the flutes,” one possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 88.15 and made me helpless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.



Proverbs 25:20-22Contemporary English Version (CEV)

20 Singing to someone
    in deep sorrow
    is like pouring vinegar
    in an open cut.[a]
21 If your enemies are hungry,
    give them something to eat.
    And if they are thirsty,
give them something
    to drink.
22 This will be the same
as piling burning coals
    on their heads.
    And the Lord
    will reward you.

Footnotes:

  1. 25.20 cut: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 20.



Verse of the Day

Trust the Lord! Be brave and strong and trust the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 CEV


Image result for Charles StrossThought for the Day

Award-winning British writer of science fiction, Lovecraftian horror, and fantasy, Charles Stross wrote, “Generating ideas isn't some mystical talent that you have to be born with: it's a skill you can develop.”

A Joke for Today

Image result for word foolA pastor was opening his mail one morning and one envelope had only a single sheet of paper with a single word printed on it: “FOOL!”

The following Sunday the pastor announced, “I have known many people who have written letters and forgotten to sign their name. But this week I received a letter from someone who signed his name and had forgotten to write a letter.”