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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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bible Readings for July 31, 2013

Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 29:1-36; Romans 14:1-23; Psalm 24:1-10; and Proverbs 20:12. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.


2 Chronicles 29:1-36 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Chronicles 29

King Hezekiah of Judah
(2 Kings 18.1-3)
 1Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem. His mother was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.    2Hezekiah obeyed the LORD by doing right, just as his ancestor David had done.
The Temple Is Purified
 3In the first month [a] of the first year of Hezekiah's rule, he unlocked the doors to the LORD's temple and had them repaired. [b]    4Then he called the priests and Levites to the east courtyard of the temple
   5and said: It's time to purify the temple of the LORD God of our ancestors. You Levites must first go through the ceremony to make yourselves clean, then go into the temple and bring out everything that is unclean and unacceptable to the LORD.
   6Some of our ancestors were unfaithful and disobeyed the LORD our God. Not only did they turn their backs on the LORD, but they also completely ignored his temple.
   7They locked the doors, then let the lamps go out and stopped burning incense and offering sacrifices to him.
   8The LORD became terribly angry at the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and everyone was shocked and horrified at what he did to punish them. Not only were
   9our ancestors killed in battle, but our own children and wives were taken captive.
   10So I have decided to renew our agreement with the LORD God of Israel. Maybe then he will stop being so angry at us.
   11Let's not waste any time, my friends. You are the ones who were chosen to be the LORD's priests and to offer him sacrifices.
   12-14When Hezekiah finished talking, the following Levite leaders went to work:
   Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah from the Kohath clan; Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel from the Merari clan; Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah from the Gershon clan; Shimri and Jeuel from the Elizaphan clan; Zechariah and Mattaniah from the Asaph clan; Jehuel and Shimei from the Heman clan; Shemaiah and Uzziel from the Jeduthun clan.
   15These leaders gathered together the rest of the Levites, and they all went through the ceremony to make themselves clean. Then they began to purify the temple according to the Law of the LORD, just as Hezekiah had commanded.
   16The priests went into the temple and carried out everything that was unclean. They put these things in the courtyard, and from there, the Levites carried them outside the city to Kidron Valley.
   17The priests and Levites began their work on the first day of the first month. [c] It took them one week to purify the courtyards of the temple and another week to purify the temple. So on the sixteenth day of that same month
   18they went back to Hezekiah and said: Your Majesty, we have finished our work. The entire temple is now pure again, and so is the altar and its utensils, as well as the table for the sacred loaves of bread and its utensils.
   19And we have brought back all the things that King Ahaz took from the temple during the time he was unfaithful to God. We purified them and put them back in front of the altar.
Worship in the Temple
 20Right away, Hezekiah called together the officials of Jerusalem, and they went to the temple.    21They brought with them seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven goats [d] as sacrifices to take away the sins of Hezekiah's family and of the people of Judah, as well as to purify the temple. Hezekiah told the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to sacrifice these animals on the altar.
   22The priests killed the bulls, the rams, and the lambs, then splattered the blood on the altar.
   23They took the goats to Hezekiah and the worshipers, and they laid their hands on the animals.
   24The priests then killed the goats and splattered the blood on the altar as a sacrifice to take away the sins of everyone in Israel, because Hezekiah had commanded that these sacrifices be made for all the people of Israel.
   25Next, Hezekiah assigned the Levites to their places in the temple. He gave them cymbals, harps, and other stringed instruments, according to the instructions that the LORD had given King David and the two prophets, Gad and Nathan.
   26The Levites were ready to play the instruments that had belonged to David; the priests were ready to blow the trumpets.
   27As soon as Hezekiah gave the signal for the sacrifices to be burned on the altar, the musicians began singing praises to the LORD and playing their instruments,
   28and everyone worshiped the LORD. This continued until the last animal was sacrificed.
   29After that, Hezekiah and the crowd of worshipers knelt down and worshiped the LORD.
   30Then Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to sing the songs of praise that David and Asaph the prophet had written. And so they bowed down and joyfully sang praises to the LORD.
   31Hezekiah said to the crowd, "Now that you are once again acceptable to the LORD, bring sacrifices and offerings to give him thanks."
   The people did this, and some of them voluntarily brought animals to be offered as sacrifices.
   32Seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs were brought as sacrifices to please the LORD; [e]
   33six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep were brought as sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing. [f]
   34There were not enough priests to skin all these animals, because many of the priests had not taken the time to go through the ceremony to make themselves clean. However, since all the Levites had made themselves clean, they helped the priests until the last animal was skinned.
   35Besides all the sacrifices that were burned on the altar, the fat from the other animal sacrifices was burned, and the offerings of wine were poured over the altar. So the temple was once again used for worshiping the LORD.
   36Hezekiah and the people of Judah celebrated, because God had helped them make this happen so quickly.
  1. 2 Chronicles 29:3 first month: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
  2. 2 Chronicles 29:3 he unlocked the doors. . . repaired: King Ahaz had locked the doors and stopped everyone from worshiping the LORD (see 28.24,25).
  3. 2 Chronicles 29:17 first month: See the note at 29.3.
  4. 2 Chronicles 29:21 goats: Hebrew "male goats."
  5. 2 Chronicles 29:32 sacrifices to please the LORD: See the note at 1.6.
  6. 2 Chronicles 29:33 sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing: These sacrifices have traditionally been called "peace offerings" or "offerings of well-being." A main purpose was to ask for the LORD's blessing, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called "sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing."

Romans 14:1-23 (Contemporary English Version)

Romans 14

Don't Criticize Others
 1Welcome all the Lord's followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. 2Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. 3But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. 4What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right.     5Some of the Lord's followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. 6Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honor their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don't eat meat.
    7Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. 8Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. 9This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says,
   "I swear by my very life
   that everyone will kneel down
   and praise my name!"
    12And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do.
Don't Cause Problems for Others
 13We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone's faith. 14The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit.     15If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don't let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. 16Don't let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. 17God's kingdom isn't about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. 19We should try [a] to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith. 20Don't let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. 21It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. 22What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. You are fortunate, if your actions don't make you have doubts. 23But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin.
  1. Romans 14:19 We should try: Some manuscripts have " We try."

Psalm 24:1-10 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 24

(A psalm by David.)
Who Can Enter the LORD's Temple?
 1The earth and everything on it    belong to the LORD.
   The world and its people
   belong to him.
    2The LORD placed it all
   on the oceans and rivers.
    3Who may climb the LORD's hill [a] or stand in his holy temple?
    4Only those who do right
   for the right reasons,
   and don't worship idols
   or tell lies under oath.
    5The LORD God, who saves them,
   will bless and reward them,
    6because they worship and serve
   the God of Jacob. [b] 7Open the ancient gates,
   so that the glorious king
   may come in.
    8Who is this glorious king?
   He is our LORD, a strong
   and mighty warrior.
    9Open the ancient gates,
   so that the glorious king
   may come in.
    10Who is this glorious king?
   He is our LORD,
   the All-Powerful!
  1. Psalm 24:3 the LORD's hill: The hill in Jerusalem where the temple was built.
  2. Psalm 24:6 worship. . . Jacob: Two ancient translations; Hebrew " worship God and serve the descendants of Jacob."

Proverbs 20:12 (Contemporary English Version)

12Hearing and seeing
   are gifts from the LORD.

Verse of the Day

“Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not God's children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children.” - John 1:12-13
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th-century, wrote, “What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bible Readings for July 30, 2013

Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 26:1–28:27; Romans 13:1-14; Psalm 23:1-6; and Proverbs 20:11. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

2 Chronicles 26-28:27 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Chronicles 26

King Uzziah of Judah
(2 Kings 14.21,22; 15.1-7)
 1-3After the death of King Amaziah, the people of Judah crowned his son Uzziah [a] king, even though he was only sixteen at the time. Uzziah ruled fifty-two years from Jerusalem, the hometown of his mother Jecoliah. During his rule, he recaptured and rebuilt the town of Elath.    4He obeyed the LORD by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done.
   5Zechariah was Uzziah's advisor and taught him to obey God. And so, as long as Zechariah was alive, Uzziah was faithful to God, and God made him successful.
   6While Uzziah was king, he started a war against the Philistines. He smashed the walls of the cities of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod, then rebuilt towns around Ashdod and in other parts of Philistia.
   7God helped him defeat the Philistines, the Arabs living in Gur-Baal, and the Meunites.
   8Even the Ammonites paid taxes to Uzziah. He became very powerful, and people who lived as far away as Egypt heard about him.
   9In Jerusalem, Uzziah built fortified towers at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and the place where the city wall turned inward. [b]
   10He also built defense towers out in the desert. He owned such a large herd of livestock in the western foothills and in the flatlands, that he had cisterns dug there to catch the rainwater. He loved farming, so he had crops and vineyards planted in the hill country wherever there was fertile soil, and he hired farmers to take care of them.
   11Uzziah's army was always ready for battle. Jeiel and Maaseiah were the officers who kept track of the number of soldiers, and these two men were under the command of Hananiah, one of Uzziah's officials.
   12-13There were 307,500 trained soldiers, all under the command of 2,600 clan leaders. These powerful troops protected the king against any enemy.
   14Uzziah supplied his army with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows, and stones used for slinging.
   15Some of his skilled workers invented machines that could shoot arrows and sling large stones. Uzziah set these up in Jerusalem at his defense towers and at the corners of the city wall.
   God helped Uzziah become more and more powerful, and he was famous all over the world.
Uzziah Becomes Too Proud
 16Uzziah became proud of his power, and this led to his downfall.    One day, Uzziah disobeyed the LORD his God by going into the temple and burning incense as an offering to him. [c]
   17Azariah the priest and eighty other brave priests followed Uzziah into the temple
   18and said, "Your Majesty, this isn't right! You are not allowed to burn incense to the LORD. That must be done only by priests who are descendants of Aaron. You will have to leave! You have sinned against the LORD, and so he will no longer bless you."
   19Uzziah, who was standing next to the incense altar at the time, was holding the incense burner, ready to offer incense to the LORD. He became very angry when he heard Azariah's warning, and leprosy [d] suddenly appeared on his forehead!
   20Azariah and the other priests saw it and immediately told him to leave the temple. Uzziah realized that the LORD had punished him, so he hurried to get outside.
   21Uzziah had leprosy the rest of his life. He was no longer allowed in the temple or in his own palace. That's why his son Jotham lived there and ruled in his place.
   22Everything else Uzziah did while he was king is in the records written by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
   23Since Uzziah had leprosy, he could not be buried in the royal tombs. Instead, he was buried in a nearby cemetery that the kings owned. His son Jotham then became king.

2 Chronicles 27

King Jotham of Judah
(2 Kings 15.32-38)
 1Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years. Jerushah his mother was the daughter of Zadok.    2Jotham obeyed the LORD and did right. He followed the example of his father Uzziah, except he never burned incense in the temple as his father had done. But the people of Judah kept sinning against the LORD.
   3Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple and did a lot of work to repair the wall near Mount Ophel.
   4He built towns in the mountains of Judah and built fortresses and defense towers in the forests.
   5During his rule he attacked and defeated the Ammonites. Then every year for the next three years, he forced them to pay four tons of silver, sixty thousand bushels of wheat, and sixty thousand bushels of barley.
   6Jotham remained faithful to the LORD his God and became a very powerful king.
   7Everything else Jotham did while he was king, including the wars he fought, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
   8After he had ruled Judah sixteen years, he died at the age of forty-one.
   9He was buried in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.

2 Chronicles 28

King Ahaz of Judah
(2 Kings 16.1-4)
 1Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years.    Ahaz was nothing like his ancestor David. Ahaz disobeyed the LORD
   2and was as sinful as the kings of Israel. He made idols of the god Baal,
   3and he offered sacrifices in Hinnom Valley. Worst of all, Ahaz sacrificed his own sons, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel.
   4Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines, [e] as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.
Syria and Israel Attack Judah
(2 Kings 16.5,6)
 5-6Ahaz and the people of Judah sinned and turned away from the LORD, the God their ancestors had worshiped. So the LORD punished them by letting their enemies defeat them.    The king of Syria attacked Judah and took many of its people to Damascus as prisoners. King Pekah [f] of Israel later defeated Judah and killed one hundred twenty thousand of its bravest soldiers in one day.
   7During that battle, an Israelite soldier named Zichri killed three men from Judah: Maaseiah the king's son; Azrikam, the official in charge of the palace; and Elkanah, the king's second in command.
   8The Israelite troops captured two hundred thousand women and children and took them back to their capital city of Samaria, along with a large amount of their possessions. They did these things even though the people of Judah were their own relatives.
Oded the Prophet Condemns Israel
 9Oded lived in Samaria and was one of the LORD's prophets. He met Israel's army on their way back from Judah and said to them:    The LORD God of your ancestors let you defeat Judah's army only because he was angry with them. But you should not have been so cruel!
   10If you make slaves of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, you will be as guilty as they are of sinning against the LORD.
   11Send these prisoners back home--they are your own relatives. If you don't, the LORD will punish you in his anger.
   12About the same time, four of Israel's leaders arrived. They were Azariah son of Johanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai. They agreed with Oded that the Israelite troops were wrong,
   13and they said:
   If you bring these prisoners into Samaria, that will be one more thing we've done to sin against the LORD. And he is already angry enough at us.
   14So in front of the leaders and the crowd, the troops handed over their prisoners and the property they had taken from Judah.
   15The four leaders took some of the stolen clothes and gave them to the prisoners who needed something to wear. They later gave them all a new change of clothes and shoes, then fixed them something to eat and drink, and cleaned their wounds with olive oil. They gave donkeys to those who were too weak to walk, and led all of them back to Jericho, the city known for its palm trees. The leaders then returned to Samaria.
Ahaz Asks the King of Assyria for Help
(2 Kings 16.7-9)
 16-18Some time later, the Edomites attacked the eastern part of Judah again and carried away prisoners. And at the same time, the Philistines raided towns in the western foothills and in the Southern Desert. They conquered the towns of Beth-Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo, including the villages around them. Then some of the Philistines went to live in these places.    Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria and begged for help.
   19But God was punishing Judah with these disasters, because Ahaz had disobeyed him and refused to stop Judah from sinning.
   20So Tiglath Pileser came to Judah, but instead of helping, he made things worse.
   21Ahaz gave him gifts from the LORD's temple and the king's palace, as well as from the homes of Israel's other leaders. The Assyrian king still refused to help Ahaz.
The Final Sin of Ahaz and His Death
 22Even after all these terrible things happened to Ahaz, he sinned against the LORD even worse than before.    23He said to himself, "The Syrian gods must have helped their kings defeat me. Maybe if I offer sacrifices to those gods, they will help me." That was the sin that finally led to the downfall of Ahaz, as well as to the destruction of Judah.
   24Ahaz collected all the furnishings of the temple and smashed them to pieces. Then he locked the doors to the temple and set up altars to foreign gods on every street corner in Jerusalem.
   25In every city and town in Judah he built local shrines [g] to worship foreign gods. All of this made the LORD God of his ancestors very angry.
   26Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
   27Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah then became king.
  1. 2 Chronicles 26:1 Uzziah: In the parallel passages in 2 Kings, he is called "Azariah" (see also 1 Chronicles 3.10-15). He is also called "Uzziah" in 2 Kings 15.13; Isaiah 1.1; Hosea 1.1; and Amos 1.1. One of these names was probably his birth name, while the other was his name after he became king.
  2. 2 Chronicles 26:9 the place where the city wall turned inward: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 2 Chronicles 26:16 going into the temple and burning incense as an offering to him: This was to be done only by priests (see Exodus 30.1-10; Numbers 16.39,40).
  4. 2 Chronicles 26:19 leprosy: The word translated "leprosy" was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
  5. 2 Chronicles 28:4 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
  6. 2 Chronicles 28:5 Pekah: Hebrew "Pekah son of Remaliah."
  7. 2 Chronicles 28:25 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.

Romans 13:1-14 (Contemporary English Version)

Romans 13

Obey Rulers
 1Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. 2People who oppose the authorities are opposing what God has done, and they will be punished. 3Rulers are a threat to evil people, not to good people. There is no need to be afraid of the authorities. Just do right, and they will praise you for it. 4After all, they are God's servants, and it is their duty to help you.    If you do something wrong, you ought to be afraid, because these rulers have the right to punish you. They are God's servants who punish criminals to show how angry God is. 5But you should obey the rulers because you know it is the right thing to do, and not just because of God's anger.
    6You must also pay your taxes. The authorities are God's servants, and it is their duty to take care of these matters. 7Pay all that you owe, whether it is taxes and fees or respect and honor.
 8Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands. 9In the Law there are many commands, such as, "Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not want what belongs to others." But all of these are summed up in the command that says, "Love others as much as you love yourself." 10No one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands.    
The Day When Christ Returns
 11You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. 12Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. 13So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don't go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don't quarrel or be jealous. 14Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won't try to satisfy your selfish desires.

Psalm 23:1-6 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 23

(A psalm by David.)
The Good Shepherd
 1You, LORD, are my shepherd.    I will never be in need.
    2You let me rest in fields
   of green grass.
   You lead me to streams
   of peaceful water,
    3and you refresh my life.
   You are true to your name,
   and you lead me
   along the right paths.
    4I may walk through valleys
   as dark as death,
   but I won't be afraid.
   You are with me,
   and your shepherd's rod [a] makes me feel safe.
    5You treat me to a feast,
   while my enemies watch.
   You honor me as your guest,
   and you fill my cup
   until it overflows.
    6Your kindness and love
   will always be with me
   each day of my life,
   and I will live forever
   in your house, LORD.
  1. Psalm 23:4 shepherd's rod: The Hebrew text mentions two objects carried by the shepherd: a club to defend against wild animals and a long pole to guide and control the sheep.

Proverbs 20:11 (Contemporary English Version)

11The good or bad
   that children do
   shows what they are like.

Verse of the Day

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” - Matthew 5:14,16
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

Benjamin Franklin, American author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat, wrote, “Well done is better than well said.”

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bible Readings for July 29, 2013

Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 24:1–25:28; Romans 12:1-21; Psalm 22:19-31; and Proverbs 20:8-10. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

2 Chronicles 24-25:28 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Chronicles 24

King Joash of Judah
(2 Kings 12.1-16)
 1Joash was only seven years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled forty years from Jerusalem. His mother Zibiah was from the town of Beersheba.    2While Jehoiada the priest was alive, Joash obeyed the LORD by doing right.
   3Jehoiada even chose two women for Joash to marry so he could have a family.
   4Some time later, Joash decided it was time to repair the temple.
   5He called together the priests and Levites and said, "Go everywhere in Judah and collect the annual tax from the people. I want this done right away--we need that money to repair the temple."
   But the Levites were in no hurry to follow the king's orders.
   6So he sent for Jehoiada the high priest and asked, "Why didn't you send the Levites to collect the taxes? The LORD's servant Moses and the people agreed long ago that this tax would be collected and used to pay for the upkeep of the sacred tent.
   7And now we need it to repair the temple because the sons of that evil woman Athaliah came in and wrecked it. They even used some of the sacred objects to worship the god Baal."
   8Joash gave orders for a wooden box to be made and had it placed outside, near the gate of the temple.
   9He then sent letters everywhere in Judah and Jerusalem, asking everyone to bring their taxes to the temple, just as Moses had required their ancestors to do.
   10The people and their leaders agreed, and they brought their money to Jerusalem and placed it in the box.
   11Each day, after the Levites took the box into the temple, the king's secretary and the high priest's assistant would dump out the money and count it. Then the empty box would be taken back outside.
   This happened day after day, and soon a large amount of money was collected.
   12Joash and Jehoiada turned the money over to the men who were supervising the repairs to the temple. They used the money to hire stonecutters, carpenters, and experts in working with iron and bronze.
   13These workers went right to work repairing the temple, and when they were finished, it looked as good as new.
   14They did not use all the tax money for the repairs, so the rest of it was handed over to Joash and Jehoiada, who then used it to make dishes and other gold and silver objects for the temple.
   Sacrifices to please the LORD [a] were offered regularly in the temple for as long as Jehoiada lived.
   15He died at the ripe old age of one hundred thirty years,
   16and he was buried in the royal tombs in Jerusalem, because he had done so much good for the people of Israel, for God, and for the temple.
Joash Turns Away from the LORD
 17After the death of Jehoiada the priest, the leaders of Judah went to Joash and talked him into doing what they wanted.    18Right away, the people of Judah stopped worshiping in the temple of the LORD God, and they started worshiping idols and the symbols of the goddess Asherah. These sinful things made the LORD God angry at the people of Judah and Jerusalem,
   19but he still sent prophets who warned them to turn back to him. The people refused to listen.
   20God's Spirit spoke to Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest, and Zechariah told everyone that God was saying: "Why are you disobeying me and my laws? This will only bring punishment! You have deserted me, so now I will desert you."
   21-22King Joash forgot that Zechariah's father had always been a loyal friend. So when the people of Judah plotted to kill Zechariah, Joash joined them and gave orders for them to stone him to death in the courtyard of the temple. As Zechariah was dying, he said, "I pray that the LORD will see this and punish all of you."
Joash Is Killed
 23In the spring of the following year, the Syrian army invaded Judah and Jerusalem, killing all of the nation's leaders. They collected everything of value that belonged to the people and took it back to their king in Damascus.    24The Syrian army was very small, but the LORD let them defeat Judah's large army, because he was punishing Joash and the people of Judah for turning away from him.
   25-26Joash was severely wounded during the battle, and as soon as the Syrians left Judah, two of his officials, Zabad and Jehozabad, [b] decided to revenge the death of Zechariah. They plotted and killed Joash while he was in bed, recovering from his wounds. Joash was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs.
   27The History of the Kings also tells more about the sons of Joash, what the prophets said about him, and how he repaired the temple. Amaziah son of Joash became king after his father's death.

2 Chronicles 25

King Amaziah of Judah
(2 Kings 14.1-6)
 1Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem, the hometown of his mother Jehoaddin. [c]    2Even though Amaziah obeyed the LORD by doing right, he refused to be completely faithful.
   3For example, as soon as he had control of Judah, he arrested and killed the officers who had murdered his father.
   4But the children of those officers were not killed; the LORD had commanded in the Law of Moses that only the people who sinned were to be punished. [d]
Edom Is Defeated
(2 Kings 14.7)
 5Amaziah sent a message to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and called together all the men who were twenty years old and older. Three hundred thousand men went to Jerusalem, all of them ready for battle and able to fight with spears and shields. Amaziah grouped these soldiers according to their clans and put them under the command of his army officers.    6Amaziah also paid almost four tons of silver to hire one hundred thousand soldiers from Israel.
   7One of God's prophets said, "Your Majesty, don't let these Israelite soldiers march into battle with you. The LORD has refused to help anyone from the northern kingdom of Israel,
   8and so he will let your enemies defeat you, even if you fight hard. He is the one who brings both victory and defeat."
   9Amaziah replied, "What am I supposed to do about all the silver I paid those troops?"
   "The LORD will give you back even more than you paid," the prophet answered.
   10Amaziah ordered the troops from Israel to go home, but when they left, they were furious with the people of Judah.
   11After Amaziah got his courage back, he led his troops to Salt Valley, where he killed ten thousand Edomite soldiers in battle.
   12He captured ten thousand more soldiers and dragged them to the top of a high cliff. Then he pushed them over the side, and they all were killed on the rocks below.
   13Meanwhile, the Israelite troops that Amaziah had sent home, raided the towns in Judah between Samaria and Beth-Horon. They killed three thousand people and carried off their possessions.
   14After Amaziah had defeated the Edomite army, he returned to Jerusalem. He took with him the idols of the Edomite gods and set them up. Then he bowed down and offered them sacrifices.
   15This made the LORD very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask Amaziah, "Why would you worship these foreign gods that couldn't even save their own people from your attack?"
   16But before the prophet finished speaking, Amaziah interrupted and said, "You're not one of my advisors! Don't say another word, or I'll have you killed."
   The prophet stopped. But then he added, "First you sinned and now you've ignored my warning. It's clear that God has decided to punish you!"
Israel Defeats Judah
(2 Kings 14.8-14)
 17King Amaziah of Judah talked with his officials, then sent a message to King Jehoash [e] of Israel: "Come out and face me in battle!"    18Jehoash sent back a reply that said:
   Once upon a time, a small thornbush in Lebanon arranged the marriage between his son and the daughter of a large cedar tree. But a wild animal came along and trampled the small bush.
   19Amaziah, you think you're so powerful because you defeated Edom. But stay at home and do your celebrating. If you cause any trouble, both you and your kingdom of Judah will be destroyed.
   20God made Amaziah stubborn because he was planning to punish him for worshiping the Edomite gods. Amaziah refused to listen to Jehoash's warning,
   21so Jehoash led his army to the town of Beth-Shemesh in Judah to attack Amaziah and his troops.
   22During the battle, Judah's army was crushed. Every soldier from Judah ran back home,
   23and Jehoash captured Amaziah.
   Jehoash took Amaziah with him when he went to attack Jerusalem. Jehoash broke down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to Corner Gate, a section about six hundred feet long.
   24He carried away the gold, the silver, and all the valuable furnishings from God's temple where the descendants of Obed-Edom stood guard. He robbed the king's treasury, took hostages, then returned to Samaria.
Amaziah Is Killed
(2 Kings 14.15-20)
 25Amaziah lived fifteen years after Jehoash died.    26Everything else Amaziah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
   27As soon as Amaziah started disobeying the LORD, some people in Jerusalem plotted against Amaziah. He was able to escape to the town of Lachish, but another group of people caught him and killed him there.
   28His body was taken to Jerusalem on horseback and buried beside his ancestors.
  1. 2 Chronicles 24:14 Sacrifices to please the LORD: See the note at 1.6.
  2. 2 Chronicles 24:25 Zabad and Jehozabad: Hebrew "Zabad son of Shimeath from Ammon and Jehozabad son of Shimrith from Moab."
  3. 2 Chronicles 25:1 Jehoaddin: The Hebrew text has "Jehoaddan," another spelling of the name.
  4. 2 Chronicles 25:4 the LORD had commanded. . . punished: See Deuteronomy 24.16.
  5. 2 Chronicles 25:17 King Jehoash: The Hebrew text has "King Joash son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu"; Jehoash is another spelling for the name Joash.

Romans 12:1-21 (Contemporary English Version)

Romans 12

Christ Brings New Life
 1Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God. 2Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.     3I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. 4A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. 5That's how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another.
    6God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. 7If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. 8If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully.
Rules for Christian Living
 9Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. 11Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13Take care of God's needy people and welcome strangers into your home.     14Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people. [a] 17Don't mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, 18and do your best to live at peace with everyone. 19Dear friends, don't try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says,
   "I am the one to take revenge
   and pay them back."
    20The Scriptures also say,
   "If your enemies are hungry,
   give them something to eat.
   And if they are thirsty,
   give them something
   to drink.
   This will be the same
   as piling burning coals
   on their heads."
    21Don't let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.
  1. Romans 12:16 Make friends with ordinary people: Or " Do ordinary jobs."

Psalm 22:19-31 (Contemporary English Version)

19Don't stay far away, LORD!
   My strength comes from you,
   so hurry and help.
    20Rescue me from enemy swords
   and save me from those dogs.
    21Don't let lions eat me.
   You rescued me from the horns
   of wild bulls,
    22and when your people meet,
   I will praise you, LORD.
    23All who worship the LORD,
   now praise him!
   You belong to Jacob's family
   and to the people of Israel,
   so fear and honor the LORD!
    24The LORD doesn't hate
   or despise the helpless
   in all of their troubles.
   When I cried out, he listened
   and did not turn away.
    25When your people meet,
   you will fill my heart
   with your praises, LORD,
   and everyone will see me
   keep my promises to you.
    26The poor will eat and be full,
   and all who worship you
   will be thankful
   and live in hope.
    27Everyone on this earth
   will remember you, LORD.
   People all over the world
   will turn and worship you,
    28because you are in control,
   the ruler of all nations.
    29All who are rich
   and have more than enough
   will bow down to you, Lord.
   Even those who are dying
   and almost in the grave
   will come and bow down.
    30In the future, everyone
   will worship
   and learn
   about you, our Lord.
    31People not yet born
   will be told,
   "The Lord has saved us!"

Proverbs 20:8-10 (Contemporary English Version)

8When rulers decide cases,
   they weigh the evidence.
    9Can any of us really say,
   "My thoughts are pure,
   and my sins are gone"?
    10Two things the LORD hates
   are dishonest scales
   and dishonest measures.

Verse of the Day

“I won't ever forget your teachings, because you give me new life by following them.” - Psalm 119:93
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Dag Hammarskjold.jpg
Thought for the Day

Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish diplomat, economist, and author, wrote, “A task becomes a duty from the moment you suspect it to be an essential part of that integrity which alone entitles a man to assume responsibility.”