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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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bible Readings for June 24, 2017


Today our passages are 2 Kings 6:1–7:20; Acts 15:36–16:15; Psalm 142:1-7; and Proverbs 17:24-25. 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 Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
 
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2 Kings 6-7:20 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 6

Elisha Makes an Ax Head Float
 1One day the prophets said to Elisha, "The place where we meet with you is too small. 2Why don't we build a new meeting place near the Jordan River? Each of us could get some wood, then we could build it."    "That's a good idea," Elisha replied, "get started."
    3"Aren't you going with us?" one of the prophets asked.
   "Yes, I'll go," Elisha answered, 4and he left with them.
   They went to the Jordan River and began chopping down trees. 5While one of the prophets was working, his ax head fell off and dropped into the water. "Oh!" he shouted. "Sir, I borrowed this ax."
    6"Where did it fall in?" Elisha asked. The prophet pointed to the place, and Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. The ax head floated to the top of the water.
    7"Now get it," Elisha told him. And the prophet reached in and grabbed it.
   
Elisha Stops an Invasion of the Syrian Army
 8Time after time, when the king of Syria was at war against the Israelites, he met with his officers and announced, "I've decided where we will set up camp."     9Each time, Elisha [a] would send this warning to the king of Israel: "Don't go near there. That's where the Syrian troops have set up camp." [b] 10So the king would warn the Israelite troops in that place to be on guard. 11The king of Syria was furious when he found out what was happening. He called in his officers and asked, "Which one of you has been telling the king of Israel our plans?"
    12"None of us, Your Majesty," one of them answered. "It's an Israelite named Elisha. He's a prophet, so he can tell his king everything--even what you say in your own room."
    13"Find out where he is!" the king ordered. "I'll send soldiers to bring him here."
   They learned that Elisha was in the town of Dothan [c] and reported it to the king. 14He ordered his best troops to go there with horses and chariots. They marched out during the night and surrounded the town. 15When Elisha's servant got up the next morning, he saw that Syrian troops had the town surrounded. "Sir, what are we going to do?" he asked.
    16"Don't be afraid," Elisha answered. "There are more troops on our side than on theirs." 17Then he prayed, "LORD, please help him to see." And the LORD let the servant see that the hill [d] was covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots all around Elisha. 18As the Syrian army came closer, Elisha prayed, "LORD, make those soldiers blind!" And the LORD blinded them with a bright light.
    19Elisha told the enemy troops, "You've taken the wrong road and are in the wrong town. Follow me. I'll lead you to the man you're looking for." Elisha led them straight to the capital city of Samaria.
    20When all the soldiers were inside the city, Elisha prayed, "LORD, now let them see again." The LORD let them see that they were standing in the middle of Samaria.
    21The king of Israel saw them and asked Elisha, "Should I kill them, sir?"
    22"No!" Elisha answered. "You didn't capture these troops in battle, so you have no right to kill them. Instead, give them something to eat and drink and let them return to their leader."
    23The king ordered a huge meal to be prepared for Syria's army, and when they finished eating, he let them go.
   For a while, the Syrian troops stopped invading Israel's territory.
   
King Benhadad of Syria Attacks Samaria
 24Some time later, King Benhadad of Syria [e] called his entire army together, then they marched to Samaria and attacked. 25They kept up the attack until there was nothing to eat in the city. In fact, a donkey's head cost about two pounds of silver, and a small bowl of pigeon droppings [f] cost about two ounces of silver. 26One day as the king of Israel [g] was walking along the top of the city wall, a woman shouted to him, "Please, Your Majesty, help me!" 27"Let the LORD help you!" the king said. "Do you think I have grain or wine to give you?" 28Then he asked, "What's the matter anyway?"    The woman answered, "Another woman and I were so hungry that we agreed to eat our sons. She said if we ate my son one day, we could eat hers the next day. 29So yesterday we cooked my son and ate him. But today when I went to her house to eat her son, she had hidden him."
    30The king tore off his clothes in sorrow, and since he was on top of the city wall, the people saw that he was wearing sackcloth underneath. 31He said, "I pray that God will punish me terribly, if Elisha's head is still on his shoulders by this time tomorrow." 32Then he sent a messenger to Elisha.
   Elisha was home at the time, and the important leaders of Israel were meeting with him. Even before the king's messenger arrived, Elisha told the leaders, "That murderer [h] is sending someone to cut off my head. When you see him coming, shut the door and don't let him in. I'm sure the king himself will be right behind him." 33Before Elisha finished talking, the messenger [i] came up and said, "The LORD has made all these terrible things happen to us. Why should I think he will help us now?"

2 Kings 7

 1Elisha answered, "I have a message for you. The LORD promises that tomorrow here in Samaria, you will be able to buy a large sack of flour or two large sacks of barley for almost nothing."     2The chief officer there with the king replied, "I don't believe it! Even if the LORD sent a rainstorm, it couldn't produce that much grain by tomorrow."
   "You will see it happen, but you won't eat any of the food," Elisha warned him.
   
The Syrian Army Stops Its Attack
 3About the same time, four men with leprosy [j] were just outside the gate of Samaria. They said to each other, "Why should we sit here, waiting to die? 4There's nothing to eat in the city, so we would starve if we went inside. But if we stay out here, we will die for sure. Let's sneak over to the Syrian army camp and surrender. They might kill us, but they might not." 5-8That evening the four men got up and left for the Syrian camp. As they walked toward the camp, the Lord caused the Syrian troops to hear what sounded like the roar of a huge cavalry. The soldiers said to each other, "Listen! The king of Israel must have hired Hittite and Egyptian troops to attack us. Let's get out of here!" So they ran out of their camp that night, leaving their tents and horses and donkeys.    When the four men with leprosy reached the edge of the Syrian camp, no one was there. They walked into one of the tents, where they ate and drank, before carrying off clothes, as well as silver and gold. They hid all this, then walked into another tent; they took what they wanted and hid it too.
    9They said to each other, "This isn't right. Today is a day to celebrate, and we haven't told anyone else what has happened. If we wait until morning, we will be punished. Let's go to the king's palace right now and tell the good news."
    10They went back to Samaria and shouted up to the guards at the gate, "We've just come from the Syrian army camp, and all the soldiers are gone! The tents are empty, and the horses and donkeys are still tied up. We didn't see or hear anybody."
    11The guards reported the news to the king's palace. 12The king got out of bed and said to his officers, "I know what those Syrians are doing. They know we're starving, so they're hiding in the fields, hoping we will go out to look for food. When we do, they can capture us and take over our city."
    13One of his officers replied, "We have a few horses left--why don't we let some men take five of them and go to the Syrian camp and see what's happening? We're going to die anyway like those who have already died." [k] 14They found two chariots, and the king commanded the men to find out what had happened to the Syrian troops. 15The men rode as far as the Jordan River. All along the way they saw clothes and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away as they escaped. Then they went back to the king and told him what they had seen.
    16At once the people went to the Syrian camp and carried off what was left. They took so much that a large sack of flour and two large sacks of barley sold for almost nothing, just as the LORD had promised.
    17The king of Israel had put his chief officer in charge of the gate, but he died when the people trampled him as they rushed out of the city. 18Earlier, when the king was at Elisha's house, Elisha had told him that flour or barley would sell for almost nothing. 19But the officer refused to believe that even the LORD could do that. So Elisha warned him that he would see it happen, but would not eat any of the food. 20And that's exactly what happened--the officer was trampled to death.
   
Footnotes:
  1. 2 Kings 6:9 Elisha: Hebrew "the man of God."
  2. 2 Kings 6:9 have set up camp: Or "are going."
  3. 2 Kings 6:13 Dothan: About ten miles north of Samaria.
  4. 2 Kings 6:17 the hill: The hill on which the town was built.
  5. 2 Kings 6:24 King Benhadad of Syria: This may or may not be the same Benhadad mentioned in 1 Kings 20.1. Several of the Syrian kings were named Benhadad.
  6. 2 Kings 6:25 pigeon droppings: This may have been used for food or to burn for fuel. It also may have been a popular name for roasted beans or the shells of certain seeds.
  7. 2 Kings 6:26 the king of Israel: Probably either Jehoahaz or Jehoash, but possibly even Joram.
  8. 2 Kings 6:32 That murderer: Hebrew "That murderer's son."
  9. 2 Kings 6:33 messenger: Or "king" (see 7.2,18); the two Hebrew words are very similar.
  10. 2 Kings 7:3 leprosy: See the note at 5.1.
  11. 2 Kings 7:13 We're going. . . died: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Acts 15:36-16:15 (Contemporary English Version)

Paul and Barnabas Go Their Separate Ways
 36Sometime later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit the Lord's followers in the cities where we preached his message. Then we will know how they are doing." 37Barnabas wanted to take along John, whose other name was Mark. 38But Paul did not want to, because Mark had left them in Pamphylia and had stopped working with them.     39Paul and Barnabas argued, then each of them went his own way. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, 40but Paul took Silas and left after the followers had placed them in God's care. 41They traveled through Syria and Cilicia, encouraging the churches.
   

Acts 16

Timothy Works with Paul and Silas
 1Paul and Silas went back to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a follower named Timothy. His mother was also a follower. She was Jewish, and his father was Greek. 2The Lord's followers in Lystra and Iconium said good things about Timothy, 3and Paul wanted him to go with them. But Paul first had him circumcised, because all the Jewish people around there knew that Timothy's father was Greek. [a] 4As Paul and the others went from city to city, they told the followers what the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem had decided, and they urged them to follow these instructions. 5The churches became stronger in their faith, and each day more people put their faith in the Lord.    
Paul's Vision in Troas
 6Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia. 7After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them. 8So they went on through [b] Mysia until they came to Troas. 9During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" 10After Paul had seen the vision, we began looking for a way to go to Macedonia. We were sure that God had called us to preach the good news there.    
Lydia Becomes a Follower of the Lord
 11We sailed straight from Troas to Samothrace, and the next day we arrived in Neapolis. 12From there we went to Philippi, which is a Roman colony in the first district of Macedonia. [c] We spent several days in Philippi. 13Then on the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to a place by the river, where we thought there would be a Jewish meeting place for prayer. We sat down and talked with the women who came. 14One of them was Lydia, who was from the city of Thyatira and sold expensive purple cloth. She was a worshiper of the Lord God, and he made her willing to accept what Paul was saying. 15Then after she and her family were baptized, she kept on begging us, "If you think I really do have faith in the Lord, come stay in my home." Finally, we accepted her invitation.    
Footnotes:
  1. Acts 16:3 had him circumcised. . . Timothy's father was Greek: Timothy would not have been acceptable to the Jews unless he had been circumcised, and Greeks did not circumcise their sons.
  2. Acts 16:8 went on through: Or "passed by."
  3. Acts 16:12 in the first district of Macedonia: Some manuscripts have "and the leading city of Macedonia."

Psalm 142:1-7 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 142

(A special psalm and a prayer by David when he was in the cave.)
A Prayer for Help
 1I pray to you, LORD.    I beg for mercy.
    2I tell you all of my worries
   and my troubles,
    3and whenever I feel low,
   you are there to guide me.
   A trap has been hidden
   along my pathway.
    4Even if you look,
   you won't see anyone
   who cares enough
   to walk beside me.
   There is no place to hide,
   and no one who really cares.
    5I pray to you, LORD!
   You are my place of safety,
   and you are my choice
   in the land of the living.
   Please answer my prayer.
   I am completely helpless.
    6Help! They are chasing me,
   and they are too strong.
    7Rescue me from this prison,
   so I can praise your name.
   And when your people notice
   your wonderful kindness to me,
   they will rush to my side.


Proverbs 17:24-25 (Contemporary English Version)

24Anyone with wisdom knows
   what makes good sense,
   but fools can never
   make up their minds.
    25Foolish children bring sorrow
   to their father
   and pain to their mother.


Verse of the Day

“But the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and protect you from harm.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

 
Henry Ward Beecher - Brady-Handy.jpgThought for the Day

American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad.”
 

 
A Joke for the Day
 
Image result for Veterinarians catsOne Sunday, in counting the money in the weekly offering, the Pastor of a small church found a pink envelope containing $1,000. It happened again the next week!
 
The following Sunday, he watched as the offering was collected and saw an elderly woman put the distinctive pink envelope on the plate. This went on for weeks until the pastor, overcome by curiosity, approached her.
 
"Ma'am, I couldn't help but notice that you put $1,000 a week in the collection plate," he stated.
 
"Why yes," she replied, "every week my son sends me money and I give some of it to the church."
 
The pastor replied, "That's wonderful. But $1000 is a lot, are you sure you can afford this? How much does he send you?"
 
The elderly woman answered, "$10,000 a week."
 
The pastor was amazed. "Your son is very successful; what does he do for a living?"
 
"He is a veterinarian," she answered.
 
"That's an honorable profession, but I had no idea they made that much money," the pastor said. "Where does he practice?"
 

The woman answered proudly, "In Nevada .. He has two cat houses, one in Las Vegas, and one in Reno" 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bible Readings for June 23, 2017


Today our passages are 2 Kings 4:18–5:27; Acts 15:1-35; Psalm 141:1-10; and Proverbs 17:23. 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 Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
 
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2 Kings 4:18-5:27 (Contemporary English Version)

18One day while the boy was still young, he was out in the fields with his father, where the workers were harvesting the crops. 19Suddenly he shouted, "My head hurts. It hurts a lot!"
   "Carry him back to his mother," the father said to his servant. 20The servant picked up the boy and carried him to his mother. The boy lay on her lap all morning, and by noon he was dead. 21She carried him upstairs to Elisha's room and laid him across the bed. Then she walked out and shut the door behind her.
    22The woman called to her husband, "I need to see the prophet. Let me use one of the donkeys. Send a servant along with me, and let me leave now, so I can get back quickly."
    23"Why do you need to see him today?" her husband asked. "It's not the Sabbath or time for the New Moon Festival."
   "That's all right," she answered. 24She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, "Let's go. And don't slow down unless I tell you to." 25She left at once for Mount Carmel to talk with Elisha. [a] When Elisha saw her coming, he said, "Gehazi, look! It's the woman from Shunem. 26Run and meet her. And ask her if everything is all right with her and her family."
   "Everything is fine," she answered Gehazi. 27But as soon as she got to the top of the mountain, she went over and grabbed Elisha by the feet.
   Gehazi started toward her to push her away, when Elisha said, "Leave her alone! Don't you see how sad she is? But the LORD hasn't told me why."
    28The woman said, "Sir, I begged you not to get my hopes up, and I didn't even ask you for a son."
    29"Gehazi, get ready and go to her house," Elisha said. "Take along my walking stick, and when you get there, lay it on the boy's face. Don't stop to talk to anyone, even if they try to talk to you."
    30But the boy's mother said to Elisha, "I swear by the living LORD and by your own life that I won't leave without you." So Elisha got up and went with them.
    31Gehazi ran on ahead and laid Elisha's walking stick on the boy's face, but the boy didn't move or make a sound. Gehazi ran back to Elisha and said, "The boy didn't wake up."
    32Elisha arrived at the woman's house and went straight to his room, where he saw the boy's body on his bed. 33He walked in, shut the door, and prayed to the LORD. 34Then he got on the bed and stretched out over the dead body, with his mouth on the boy's mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hand on his hands. As he lay there, the boy's body became warm. 35Elisha got up and walked back and forth in the room, then he went back and leaned over the boy's body. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
    36Elisha called out to Gehazi, "Have the boy's mother come here." Gehazi did, and when she was at the door, Elisha said, "You can take your son."
    37She came in and bowed down at Elisha's feet. Then she picked up her son and left.
   
Elisha Makes Some Stew Taste Better
 38Later, Elisha went back to Gilgal, where there was almost nothing to eat, because the crops had failed.    One day while the prophets who lived there were meeting with Elisha, he said to his servant, "Fix a big pot of stew for these prophets."
    39One of them went out into the woods to gather some herbs. He found a wild vine and picked as much of its fruit as he could carry, but he didn't know that the fruit was very sour. When he got back, he cut up the fruit and put it in the stew.
    40The stew was served, and when the prophets started eating it, they shouted, "Elisha, this stew tastes terrible! We can't eat it."
    41"Bring me some flour," Elisha said. He sprinkled the flour in the stew and said, "Now serve it to them." And the stew tasted fine.
   
Elisha Feeds One Hundred People
 42A man from the town of Baal-Shalishah [b] brought Elisha some freshly cut grain and twenty loaves of bread made from the first barley that was harvested. Elisha said, "Give it to the people so they can eat." 43"There's not enough here for a hundred people," his servant said.    "Just give it to them," Elisha replied. "The LORD has promised there will be more than enough."
    44So the servant served the bread and grain to the people. They ate and still had some left over, just as the LORD had promised.
   

2 Kings 5

Elisha Heals Naaman
 1Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army. The LORD had helped him and his troops defeat their enemies, so the king of Syria respected Naaman very much. Naaman was a brave soldier, but he had leprosy. [c] 2One day while the Syrian troops were raiding Israel, they captured a girl, and she became a servant of Naaman's wife. 3Some time later the girl said, "If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy."     4When Naaman told the king what the girl had said, 5the king replied, "Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel."
   Naaman left and took along seven hundred fifty pounds of silver, one hundred fifty pounds of gold, and ten new outfits. 6He also carried the letter to the king of Israel. It said, "I am sending my servant Naaman to you. Would you cure him of his leprosy?"
    7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in fear and shouted, "That Syrian king believes I can cure this man of leprosy! Does he think I'm God with power over life and death? He must be trying to pick a fight with me."
    8As soon as Elisha the prophet [d] heard what had happened, he sent the Israelite king this message: "Why are you so afraid? Send the man to me, so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel." 9Naaman left with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house. 10Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, "Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you'll be completely cured."
    11But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, "Why couldn't he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the LORD his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. 12What about the Abana River [e] or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured." 13His servants went over to him and said, "Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don't you do what he said? Go wash and be cured."
    14Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child's.
    15Naaman and his officials went back to Elisha. Naaman stood in front of him and announced, "Now I know that the God of Israel is the only God in the whole world. Sir, would you please accept a gift from me?"
    16"I am a servant of the living LORD," Elisha answered, "and I swear that I will not take anything from you."
   Naaman kept begging, but Elisha kept refusing. 17Finally Naaman said, "If you won't accept a gift, then please let me take home as much soil as two mules can pull in a wagon. Sir, from now on I will offer sacrifices only to the LORD. [f] 18But I pray that the LORD will forgive me when I go into the temple of the god Rimmon and bow down there with the king of Syria." 19"Go on home, and don't worry about that," Elisha replied. Then Naaman left.
   After Naaman had gone only a short distance,
Elisha Places a Curse on Gehazi
 20Gehazi said to himself, "Elisha let that Syrian off too easy. He should have taken Naaman's gift. I swear by the living LORD that I will talk to Naaman myself and get something from him." 21So he hurried after Naaman.    When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he got out of his chariot to meet him. Naaman asked, "Is everything all right?"
    22"Yes," Gehazi answered. "But my master has sent me to tell you about two young prophets from the hills of Ephraim. They came asking for help, and now Elisha wants to know if you would give them about seventy-five pounds of silver and some new clothes?"
    23"Sure," Naaman replied. "But why don't you take twice that amount of silver?" He convinced Gehazi to take it all, then put the silver in two bags. He handed the bags and the clothes to his two servants, and they carried them for Gehazi.
    24When they reached the hill where Gehazi lived, he took the bags from the servants and placed them in his house, then sent the men away. After they had gone, 25Gehazi went in and stood in front of Elisha, who asked, "Gehazi, where have you been?"
   "Nowhere, sir," Gehazi answered.
    26Elisha asked, "Don't you know that my spirit was there when Naaman got out of his chariot to talk with you? Gehazi, you have no right to accept money or clothes, olive orchards or vineyards, sheep or cattle, or servants. 27Because of what you've done, Naaman's leprosy [g] will now be on you and your descendants forever!" Suddenly, Gehazi's skin became white with leprosy, and he left.
   
Footnotes:
  1. 2 Kings 4:25 Elisha: Mount Carmel is about twenty-five miles from Shunem.
  2. 2 Kings 4:42 Baal-Shalishah: The exact location of this town is not known, but it was probably somewhere near Shechem.
  3. 2 Kings 5:1 leprosy: The word translated "leprosy" was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
  4. 2 Kings 5:8 the prophet: Hebrew "the man of God."
  5. 2 Kings 5:12 Abana River: Most Hebrew manuscripts; some Hebrew manuscripts and two ancient translations "Amana River."
  6. 2 Kings 5:17 let me take. . . the LORD: It was believed that the LORD had to be worshiped in Israel or on soil taken from Israel.
  7. 2 Kings 5:27 leprosy: See the note at 5.1.

Acts 15:1-35 (Contemporary English Version)

Acts 15

 1Some people came from Judea and started teaching the Lord's followers that they could not be saved, unless they were circumcised as Moses had taught. 2This caused trouble, and Paul and Barnabas argued with them about this teaching. So it was decided to send Paul and Barnabas and a few others to Jerusalem to discuss this problem with the apostles and the church leaders.    
The Church Leaders Meet in Jerusalem
 3The men who were sent by the church went through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling how the Gentiles had turned to God. This news made the Lord's followers very happy. 4When the men arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, including the apostles and the leaders. They told them everything God had helped them do. 5But some Pharisees had become followers of the Lord. They stood up and said, "Gentiles who have faith in the Lord must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses."     6The apostles and church leaders met to discuss this problem about Gentiles. 7They had talked it over for a long time, when Peter got up and said:
   My friends, you know that God decided long ago to let me be the one from your group to preach the good news to the Gentiles. God did this so that they would hear and obey him. 8He knows what is in everyone's heart. And he showed that he had chosen the Gentiles, when he gave them the Holy Spirit, just as he had given his Spirit to us. 9God treated them in the same way that he treated us. They put their faith in him, and he made their hearts pure.
    10Now why are you trying to make God angry by placing a heavy burden on these followers? This burden was too heavy for us or our ancestors. 11But our Lord Jesus was kind to us, and we are saved by faith in him, just as the Gentiles are.
    12Everyone kept quiet and listened as Barnabas and Paul told how God had given them the power to work a lot of miracles and wonders for the Gentiles.
    13After they had finished speaking, James [a] said: My friends, listen to me! 14Simon Peter [b] has told how God first came to the Gentiles and made some of them his own people. 15This agrees with what the prophets wrote, 16"I, the Lord, will return
   and rebuild
   David's fallen house.
   I will build it from its ruins
   and set it up again.
    17Then other nations
   will turn to me
   and be my chosen ones.
   I, the Lord, say this.
    18I promised it long ago."
    19And so, my friends, I don't think we should place burdens on the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20We should simply write and tell them not to eat anything that has been offered to idols. They should be told not to eat the meat of any animal that has been strangled or that still has blood in it. They must also not commit any terrible sexual sins. [c] 21We must remember that the Law of Moses has been preached in city after city for many years, and every Sabbath it is read when we Jews meet.
   
A Letter to Gentiles Who Had Faith in the Lord
 22The apostles, the leaders, and all the church members decided to send some men to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Silas and Judas Barsabbas, [d] who were two leaders of the Lord's followers. 23They wrote a letter that said: We apostles and leaders send friendly greetings to all of you Gentiles who are followers of the Lord in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.     24We have heard that some people from here have terribly upset you by what they said. But we did not send them! 25So we met together and decided to choose some men and to send them to you along with our good friends Barnabas and Paul. 26These men have risked their lives for our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We are also sending Judas and Silas, who will tell you in person the same things that we are writing.
    28The Holy Spirit has shown us that we should not place any extra burden on you. 29But you should not eat anything offered to idols. You should not eat any meat that still has the blood in it or any meat of any animal that has been strangled. You must also not commit any terrible sexual sins. If you follow these instructions, you will do well.
   We send our best wishes.
    30The four men left Jerusalem and went to Antioch. Then they called the church members together and gave them the letter. 31When the letter was read, everyone was pleased and greatly encouraged. 32Judas and Silas were prophets, and they spoke a long time, encouraging and helping the Lord's followers.
    33The men from Jerusalem stayed on in Antioch for a while. And when they left to return to the ones who had sent them, the followers wished them well. 34-35But Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached about the Lord. [e]
   
Footnotes:
  1. Acts 15:13 James: The Lord's brother.
  2. Acts 15:14 Simon Peter: The Greek text has "Simeon," which is another form of the name "Simon." The apostle Peter is meant.
  3. Acts 15:20 not commit any terrible sexual sins: This probably refers to the laws about the wrong kind of marriages that are forbidden in Leviticus 18.6-18 or to some serious sexual sin.
  4. Acts 15:22 Judas Barsabbas: He may have been a brother of Joseph Barsabbas (see 1.23), but the name "Barsabbas" was often used by the Jewish people.
  5. Acts 15:34 Verse 34, which says that Silas decided to stay on in Antioch, is not in some manuscripts.

Psalm 141:1-10 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 141

(A psalm by David.)
A Prayer for the LORD's Protection
 1I pray to you, LORD!    Please listen when I pray
   and hurry to help me.
    2Think of my prayer
   as sweet-smelling incense,
   and think of my lifted hands
   as an evening sacrifice.
    3Help me to guard my words
   whenever I say something.
    4Don't let me want to do evil
   or waste my time doing wrong
   with wicked people.
   Don't let me even taste
   the good things they offer.
    5Let your faithful people
   correct and punish me.
   My prayers condemn the deeds
   of those who do wrong,
   so don't let me be friends
   with any of them.
    6Everyone will admit
   that I was right
   when their rulers are thrown
   down a rocky cliff,
    7and their bones lie scattered
   like broken rocks
   on top of a grave. [a] 8You are my LORD and God,
   and I look to you for safety.
   Don't let me be harmed.
    9Protect me from the traps
   of those violent people,
    10and make them fall
   into their own traps
   while you help me escape.
   
Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 141:7 Let. . . grave: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 5-7.

Proverbs 17:23 (Contemporary English Version)

23Crooks accept secret bribes
   to keep justice
   from being done.


Verse of the Day

“But those who trust the LORD will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired.” - Isaiah 40:31
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

 
Jean Anouilh.jpgThought for the Day

French dramatist, Jean Anouilh wrote, “To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It is easy to say no, even if saying no means death.”

 
Image result for heaven mansions
A Joke for the Day
 

A wealthy man died and went to heaven. He was met at the Pearly Gates by Saint Peter who led him down the streets of gold. They passed mansion after mansion until they came to the very end of the street. Saint Peter stopped the rich man in front of a little shack.“This belongs to you,” said Saint Peter.“Why do I get this ugly thing when there are so many mansions I could live in?” the man demanded.“We did the best we could with the money you sent us!” Saint Peter replied.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bible Readings for June 22, 2017



Today our passages are 2 Kings 3:1–4:17; Acts 14:8-28; Psalm 140:1-13; and Proverbs 17:22. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.  If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
 
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2 Kings 3-4:17 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 3

King Joram of Israel
 1Joram [a] son of Ahab became king of Israel in Jehoshaphat's eighteenth year as king of Judah. [b] Joram ruled twelve years from Samaria 2and disobeyed the LORD by doing wrong. He tore down the stone image his father had made to honor Baal, and so he wasn't as sinful as his parents. 3But he kept doing the sinful things that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to do. [c]
The Country of Moab Rebels against Israel
 4For many years the country of Moab had been controlled by Israel and was forced to pay taxes to the kings of Israel. King Mesha of Moab raised sheep, so he paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool from one hundred thousand rams. 5But soon after the death of Ahab, Mesha rebelled against Israel.     6One day, Joram left Samaria and called together Israel's army. 7He sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, "The king of Moab has rebelled. Will you go with me to attack him?"
   "Yes, I will," Jehoshaphat answered. "I'm on your side, and my soldiers and horses are at your command. 8But which way should we go?"
   "We will march through Edom Desert," Joram replied.
    9So Joram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom led their troops out. But seven days later, there was no drinking water left for them or their animals. 10Joram cried out, "This is terrible! The LORD must have led us out here to be captured by Moab's army."
    11Jehoshaphat said, "Which of the LORD's prophets is with us? We can find out from him what the LORD wants us to do."
   One of Joram's officers answered, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He was one of Elijah's closest followers."
    12Jehoshaphat replied, "He can give us the LORD's message."
   The three kings went over to Elisha, 13and he asked Joram, "Why did you come to me? Go talk to the prophets of the foreign gods your parents worshiped." [d] "No," Joram answered. "It was the LORD who led us out here, so that Moab's army could capture us."
    14Elisha said to him, "I serve the LORD All-Powerful, and as surely as he lives, I swear I wouldn't even look at you if I didn't respect King Jehoshaphat." 15Then Elisha said, "Send for someone who can play the harp."
   The harpist began playing, and the LORD gave Elisha this message for Joram:
    16The LORD says that this dry riverbed will be filled with water. [e] 17You won't feel any wind or see any rain, but there will be plenty of water for you and your animals. 18That simple thing isn't all the LORD is going to do. He will also help you defeat Moab's army. 19You will capture all their walled cities and important towns. You will chop down every good tree and stop up every spring of water, then ruin their fertile fields by covering them with rocks.
    20The next morning, while the sacrifice was being offered, water suddenly started flowing from the direction of Edom, and it flooded the land.
    21Meanwhile, the people of Moab had heard that the three kings were coming to attack them. They had called together all of their fighting men, from the youngest to the oldest, and these troops were now standing at their border, ready for battle. 22When they got up that morning, the sun was shining across the water, making it look red. The Moabite troops took one look 23and shouted, "Look at that blood! The armies of those kings must have fought and killed each other. Come on, let's go take what's left in their camp."
    24But when they arrived at Israel's camp, the Israelite soldiers came out and attacked them, until they turned and ran away. Israel's army chased them all the way back to Moab, and even there they kept up the attack. [f] 25The Israelites destroyed the Moabite towns. They chopped down the good trees and stopped up the springs of water, then covered the fertile fields with rocks. Finally, the only city left standing was Kir-Hareseth, but soldiers armed with slings surrounded and attacked it. 26King Mesha of Moab saw that he was about to be defeated. So he took along seven hundred soldiers with swords and tried to break through the front line where the Edomite troops were positioned. But he failed. 27He then grabbed his oldest son who was to be the next king and sacrificed him as an offering on the city wall. The Israelite troops were so horrified that [g] they left the city and went back home.

2 Kings 4

Elisha Helps a Poor Widow
 1One day the widow of one of the LORD's prophets said to Elisha, "You know that before my husband died, he was a follower of yours and a worshiper of the LORD. But he owed a man some money, and now that man is on his way to take my two sons as his slaves."     2"Maybe there's something I can do to help," Elisha said. "What do you have in your house?"
   "Sir, I have nothing but a small bottle of olive oil."
    3Elisha told her, "Ask your neighbors for their empty jars. And after you've borrowed as many as you can, 4go home and shut the door behind you and your sons. Then begin filling the jars with oil and set each one aside as you fill it." 5The woman left.
   Later, when she and her sons were back inside their house, the two sons brought her the jars, and she began filling them.
    6At last, she said to one of her sons, "Bring me another jar."
   "We don't have any more," he answered, and the oil stopped flowing from the small bottle.
    7After she told Elisha what had happened, he said, "Sell the oil and use part of the money to pay what you owe the man. You and your sons can live on what is left."
   
Elisha Brings a Rich Woman's Son Back to Life
 8Once, while Elisha was in the town of Shunem, [h] he met a rich woman who invited him to her home for dinner. After that, whenever he was in Shunem, he would have a meal there with her and her husband. 9Some time later the woman said to her husband, "I'm sure the man who comes here so often is a prophet of God. 10Why don't we build him a small room on the flat roof of our house? We can put a bed, a table and chair, and an oil lamp in it. Then whenever he comes, he can stay with us."     11The next time Elisha was in Shunem, he stopped at their house and went up to his room to rest. 12-13He said to his servant Gehazi, "This woman has been very helpful. Have her come up here to the roof for a moment." She came, and Elisha told Gehazi to say to her, "You've gone to a lot of trouble for us, and we want to help you. Is there something we can request the king or army commander to do?" [i] The woman answered, "With my relatives nearby, I have everything I need."
    14"Then what can we do for her?" Elisha asked Gehazi.
   Gehazi replied, "I do know that her husband is old, and that she doesn't have a son."
    15"Ask her to come here again," Elisha told his servant. He called for her, and she came and stood in the doorway of Elisha's room.
    16Elisha said to her, "Next year at this time, you'll be holding your own baby son in your arms."
   "You're a man of God," the woman replied. "Please don't lie to me."
    17But a few months later, the woman got pregnant. She gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had promised.
   
Footnotes:
  1. 2 Kings 3:1 Joram: See the note at 1.17.
  2. 2 Kings 3:1 Joram. . . Judah: See 1.17 and 8.16 and the notes there.
  3. 2 Kings 3:3 the sinful things. . . to do: When Jeroboam became king of Israel, he made two gold statues of calves and put them in the towns of Bethel and Dan, so the people of Israel could worship them (see 1 Kings 12.26-30).
  4. 2 Kings 3:13 the prophets. . . worshiped: These were prophets of the Canaanite god Baal and the goddess Asherah (see 1 Kings 16.30-33; 18.19).
  5. 2 Kings 3:16 that. . . water: Or "to dig holes everywhere in this riverbed."
  6. 2 Kings 3:24 chased. . . attack: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 2 Kings 3:27 The Israelite. . . that: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 2 Kings 4:8 Shunem: A town in Israel, about twenty-five miles north of Samaria.
  9. 2 Kings 4:12 request the king. . . do: Elisha may have meant that he could ask these leaders to lower her taxes.

Acts 14:8-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra
 8In Lystra there was a man who had been born with crippled feet and had never been able to walk. 9The man was listening to Paul speak, when Paul saw that he had faith in Jesus and could be healed. So he looked straight at the man 10and shouted, "Stand up!" The man jumped up and started walking around.     11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they yelled out in the language of Lycaonia, "The gods have turned into humans and have come down to us!" 12The people then gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and they gave Paul the name Hermes, [a] because he did the talking. 13The temple of Zeus was near the entrance to the city. Its priest and the crowds wanted to offer a sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. So the priest brought some bulls and flowers to the city gates. 14When the two apostles found out about this, they tore their clothes in horror and ran to the crowd, shouting:
    15Why are you doing this? We are humans just like you. Please give up all this foolishness. Turn to the living God, who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16In times past, God let each nation go its own way. 17But he showed that he was there by the good things he did. God sends rain from heaven and makes your crops grow. He gives food to you and makes your hearts glad.
    18Even after Paul and Barnabas had said all this, they could hardly keep the people from offering a sacrifice to them.
    19Some Jewish leaders from Antioch and Iconium came and turned the crowds against Paul. They hit him with stones and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20But when the Lord's followers gathered around Paul, he stood up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.
   
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
 21Paul and Barnabas preached the good news in Derbe and won some people to the Lord. Then they went back to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia. 22They encouraged the followers and begged them to remain faithful. They told them, "We have to suffer a lot before we can get into God's kingdom." 23Paul and Barnabas chose some leaders for each of the churches. Then they went without eating [b] and prayed that the Lord would take good care of these leaders. 24Paul and Barnabas went on through Pisidia to Pamphylia, 25where they preached in the town of Perga. Then they went down to Attalia 26and sailed to Antioch in Syria. It was there that they had been placed in God's care for the work they had now completed. [c] 27After arriving in Antioch, they called the church together. They told the people what God had helped them do and how he had made it possible for the Gentiles to believe. 28Then they stayed there with the followers for a long time.    
Footnotes:
  1. Acts 14:12 Hermes: The Greeks thought of Hermes as the messenger of the other gods, especially of Zeus, their chief god.
  2. Acts 14:23 went without eating: See the note at 13.2.
  3. Acts 14:26 the work they had now completed: See 13.1-3.

Psalm 140:1-13 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 140

(A psalm by David for the music leader.)
A Prayer for the LORD's Help
 1Rescue me from cruel    and violent enemies, LORD!
    2They think up evil plans
   and always cause trouble.
    3Their words bite deep
   like the poisonous fangs
   of a snake.
    4Protect me, LORD, from cruel
   and brutal enemies,
   who want to destroy me.
    5Those proud people have hidden
   traps and nets
   to catch me as I walk.
    6You, LORD, are my God!
   Please listen to my prayer.
    7You have the power to save me,
   and you keep me safe
   in every battle.
    8Don't let the wicked succeed
   in doing what they want,
   or else they might never
   stop planning evil.
    9They have me surrounded,
   but make them the victims
   of their own vicious lies. [a] 10Dump flaming coals on them
   and throw them into pits
   where they can't climb out.
    11Chase those cruel liars away!
   Let trouble hunt them down.
    12Our LORD, I know that you
   defend the homeless
   and see that the poor
   are given justice.
    13Your people will praise you
   and will live with you
   because they do right.
   
Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 140:9 or else. . . lies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

 

Proverbs 17:22 (Contemporary English Version)

22If you are cheerful,
   you feel good;
   if you are sad,
   you hurt all over.


 
Related imageThought for the Day

American author, aviator, and the wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh, Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be! The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.”
 

 
Image result for door bellJoke for the Day
 
A minister is walking down the street one day when he notices a very small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the boy is very small and the doorbell is too high for him to reach.
 

After watching the boy’s efforts for some time, the minister moves closer to the boy's position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child's shoulder leans over and gives the doorbell a solid ring. Crouching down to the child's level, the minister smiles benevolently and asks, "And now what, my little man?" To which the boy replies, "Now we run!"