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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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bible Readings for October 31, 2013

Today our passages are Lamentations 4:1–5:22; Hebrews 2:1-18; Psalm 103:1-22; and Proverbs 26:23. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.


Lamentations 4-5:22 (Contemporary English Version)

Lamentations 4

The Punishment of Jerusalem
The Prophet Speaks:
 1The purest gold is ruined    and has lost its shine;
   jewels from the temple
   lie scattered in the streets.
    2These are Zion's people,
   worth more than purest gold;
   yet they are counted worthless
   like dishes of clay.
    3Even jackals [a] nurse their young, but my people are like ostriches
   that abandon their own.
    4Babies are so thirsty
   that their tongues
   are stuck
   to the roof of the mouth.
   Children go begging for food,
   but no one gives them any.
    5All who ate expensive foods
   lie starving in the streets;
   those who grew up in luxury
   now sit on trash heaps.
    6My nation was punished worse
   than the people of Sodom,
   whose city was destroyed
   in a flash
   without the help
   of human hands. [b] 7The leaders of Jerusalem
   were purer than snow
   and whiter than milk;
   their bodies were healthy
   and glowed like jewels. [c] 8Now they are blacker than tar,
   and no one recognizes them;
   their skin clings to their bones
   and is drier than firewood.
    9Being killed with a sword
   is better
   than slowly
   starving to death.
    10Life in the city is so bad
   that loving mothers
   have boiled
   and eaten their own children.
    11The LORD was so fiercely angry
   that he burned the city of Zion
   to the ground.
    12Not a king on this earth
   or the people of any nation
   believed enemies could break
   through her gates.
    13Jerusalem was punished because
   her prophets and her priests
   had sinned and caused the death
   of innocent victims.
    14Yes, her prophets and priests
   were covered with blood;
   no one would come near them,
   as they wandered
   from street to street.
    15Instead, everyone shouted,
   "Go away! Don't touch us!
   You're filthy and unfit
   to belong to God's people!"
   So they had to leave
   and become refugees.
   But foreign nations told them,
   "You can't stay here!" [d] 16The LORD is the one
   who sent them scattering,
   and he has forgotten them.
   No respect or kindness
   will be shown
   to the priests or leaders.
    17Our eyes became weary,
   hopelessly looking
   for help
   from a nation [e] that could not save us.
    18Enemies hunted us down
   on every public street.
   Our time was up;
   our doom was near.
    19They swooped down faster
   than eagles from the sky.
   They hunted for us in the hills
   and set traps to catch us
   out in the desert.
    20The LORD's chosen leader [f] was our hope for survival!
   We thought he would keep us safe
   somewhere among the nations,
   but even he was caught
   in one of their traps.
    21You people of Edom
   can celebrate now!
   But your time will come
   to suffer
   and stagger
   around naked.
    22The people of Zion
   have paid for their sins,
   and the Lord will soon
   let them return home.
   But, people of Edom,
   you will be punished,
   and your sins exposed.

Lamentations 5

A Prayer for Mercy
The People of Jerusalem Pray: [g]
 1Our LORD, don't forget    how we have suffered
   and been disgraced.
    2Foreigners and strangers
   have taken our land
   and our homes.
    3We are like children
   whose mothers are widows.
    4The water we drink
   and the wood we burn
   cost far too much.
    5We are terribly mistreated; [h] we are worn out
   and can find no rest.
    6We had to surrender
   to [i] Egypt and Assyria because we were hungry.
    7Our ancestors sinned,
   but they are dead,
   and we are left to pay
   for their sins.
    8Slaves are now our rulers,
   and there is no one
   to set us free.
    9We are in danger
   from brutal desert tribes;
   we must risk our lives
   just to bring in our crops. [j] 10Our skin is scorched
   from fever and hunger.
    11On Zion and everywhere in Judah
   our wives and daughters
   are being raped.
    12Our rulers are strung up
   by their arms,
   and our nation's advisors
   are treated shamefully.
    13Young men are forced
   to do the work of slaves;
   boys must carry
   heavy loads of wood.
    14Our leaders are not allowed
   to decide cases in court,
   and young people
   no longer play music.
    15Our hearts are sad;
   instead of dancing,
   we mourn.
    16Zion's glory has disappeared!
   And we are doomed
   because of our sins.
    17We feel sick all over
   and can't even see straight;
    18our city is in ruins,
   overrun by wild dogs.
    19You will rule forever, LORD!
   You are King for all time.
    20Why have you forgotten us
   for so long?
    21Bring us back to you!
   Give us a fresh start.
    22Or do you despise us so much
   that you don't want us?
  1. Lamentations 4:3 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
  2. Lamentations 4:6 hands: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 6.
  3. Lamentations 4:7 jewels: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 7.
  4. Lamentations 4:15 here: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 15.
  5. Lamentations 4:17 nation: Egypt, a former ally of Judah.
  6. Lamentations 4:20 chosen leader: Probably Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, taken away to Babylonia in 586 B.C.
  7. Lamentations 5:1 (5.1 The People of Jerusalem Pray: Or "The Prophet Prays.")
  8. Lamentations 5:5 We. . . mistreated: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. Lamentations 5:6 surrender to: Or "make treaties with."
  10. Lamentations 5:9 crops: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 9.

Hebrews 2:1-18 (Contemporary English Version)

Hebrews 2

This Great Way of Being Saved
 1We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won't drift away. 2The message spoken by angels proved to be true, and all who disobeyed or rejected it were punished as they deserved. 3So if we refuse this great way of being saved, how can we hope to escape? The Lord himself was the first to tell about it, and people who heard the message proved to us that it was true. 4God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to.    
The One Who Leads Us To Be Saved
 5We know that God did not put the future world under the power of angels. 6Somewhere in the Scriptures someone says to God,    "What makes you care
   about us humans?
   Why are you concerned
   for weaklings such as we?
    7You made us lower
   than the angels
   for a while.
   Yet you have crowned us
   with glory and honor. [a] 8And you have put everything
   under our power!"
   God has put everything under our power and has not left anything out of our power. But we still don't see it all under our power. 9What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God's wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor!
    10Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God's children to be saved and to share in his glory. 11Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn't ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12He even said to God,
   "I will tell them your name
   and sing your praises
   when they come together
   to worship."
    13He also said,
   "I will trust God."
   Then he said,
   "Here I am with the children
   God has given me."
    14We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants. 17He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.
  1. Hebrews 2:7 and honor: Some manuscripts add "and you have placed us in charge of all you created."

Psalm 103:1-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 103

(By David.)
The LORD's Wonderful Love
 1With all my heart    I praise the LORD,
   and with all that I am
   I praise his holy name!
    2With all my heart
   I praise the LORD!
   I will never forget
   how kind he has been.
    3The LORD forgives our sins,
   heals us when we are sick,
    4and protects us from death.
   His kindness and love
   are a crown on our heads.
    5Each day that we live, [a] he provides for our needs
   and gives us the strength
   of a young eagle.
    6For all who are mistreated,
   the LORD brings justice.
    7He taught his Law to Moses
   and showed all Israel
   what he could do.
    8The LORD is merciful!
   He is kind and patient,
   and his love never fails.
    9The LORD won't always be angry
   and point out our sins;
    10he doesn't punish us
   as our sins deserve.
    11How great is God's love for all
   who worship him?
   Greater than the distance
   between heaven and earth!
    12How far has the LORD taken
   our sins from us?
   Farther than the distance
   from east to west!
    13Just as parents are kind
   to their children,
   the LORD is kind
   to all who worship him,
    14because he knows
   we are made of dust.
    15We humans are like grass
   or wild flowers
   that quickly bloom.
    16But a scorching wind blows,
   and they quickly wither
   to be forever forgotten.
    17The LORD is always kind
   to those who worship him,
   and he keeps his promises
   to their descendants
    18who faithfully obey him.
    19God has set up his kingdom
   in heaven,
   and he rules
   the whole creation.
    20All of you mighty angels,
   who obey God's commands,
   come and praise your LORD!
    21All of you thousands
   who serve and obey God,
   come and praise your LORD!
    22All of God's creation
   and all that he rules,
   come and praise your LORD!
   With all my heart
   I praise the LORD!
  1. Psalm 103:5 Each. . . live: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 26:23 (Contemporary English Version)

23Hiding hateful thoughts
   behind smooth [a] talk is like coating a clay pot
   with a cheap glaze.
  1. Proverbs 26:23 smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew " hateful."

Verse of the Day
“Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are.” - 1 Peter 5:8-9
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

English novelist and poet, Charlotte Brontë wrote, “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bible Readings for October 30, 2013

Today our passages are Lamentations 2:20–3:66; Hebrews 1:1-14; Psalm 102:1-28; and Proverbs 26:21-22. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.


Lamentations 2:20-3:66 (Contemporary English Version)

Jerusalem Speaks:
 20Think about it, LORD!    Have you ever been this cruel
   to anyone before?
   Is it right for mothers
   to eat their children,
   or for priests and prophets
   to be killed in your temple?
    21My people, both young and old,
   lie dead in the streets.
   Because you were angry,
   my young men and women
   were brutally slaughtered.
    22When you were angry, LORD,
   you invited my enemies
   like guests for a party.
   No one survived that day;
   enemies killed my children,
   my own little ones.

Lamentations 3

There Is Still Hope
The Prophet Speaks:
 1I have suffered much    because God was angry.
    2He chased me into a dark place,
   where no light could enter.
    3I am the only one he punishes
   over and over again,
   without ever stopping.
    4God caused my skin and flesh
   to waste away,
   and he crushed my bones.
    5He attacked and surrounded me
   with hardships and trouble;
    6he forced me to sit in the dark
   like someone long dead.
    7God built a fence around me
   that I cannot climb over,
   and he chained me down.
    8Even when I shouted
   and prayed for help,
   he refused to listen.
    9God put big rocks in my way
   and made me follow
   a crooked path.
    10God was like a bear or a lion
   waiting in ambush for me;
    11he dragged me from the road,
   then tore me to shreds. [a] 12God took careful aim
   and shot his arrows
    13straight through my heart.
    14I am a joke to everyone--
   no one ever stops
   making fun of me.
    15God has turned my life sour.
    16He made me eat gravel
   and rubbed me in the dirt.
    17I cannot find peace
   or remember happiness.
    18I tell myself, "I am finished!
   I can't count on the LORD
   to do anything for me."
    19Just thinking of my troubles
   and my lonely wandering
   makes me miserable.
    20That's all I ever think about,
   and I am depressed. [b] 21Then I remember something
   that fills me with hope.
    22The LORD's kindness never fails!
   If he had not been merciful,
   we would have been destroyed. [c] 23The LORD can always be trusted
   to show mercy each morning.
    24Deep in my heart I say,
   "The LORD is all I need;
   I can depend on him!"
    25The LORD is kind to everyone
   who trusts and obeys him.
    26It is good to wait patiently
   for the LORD to save us.
    27When we are young,
   it is good to struggle hard
    28and to sit silently alone,
   if this is what
   the LORD intends.
    29Being rubbed in the dirt
   can teach us a lesson; [d] 30we can also learn from insults
   and hard knocks.
    31The Lord won't always reject us!
    32He causes a lot of suffering,
   but he also has pity
   because of his great love.
    33The Lord doesn't enjoy
   sending grief or pain.
    34Don't trample prisoners
   under your feet
    35or cheat anyone out of
   what is rightfully theirs.
   God Most High sees everything,
    36and he knows
   when you refuse
   to give someone a fair trial.
    37No one can do anything
   without the Lord's approval.
    38Good and bad each happen
   at the command
   of God Most High.
    39We're still alive!
   We shouldn't complain
   when we are being punished
   for our sins.
    40Instead, we should think
   about the way we are living,
   and turn back to the LORD.
    41When we lift our hands
   in prayer to God in heaven,
   we should offer him our hearts
   and say, 42"We've sinned!
   We've rebelled against you,
   and you haven't forgiven us!
    43Anger is written all over you,
   as you pursue and slaughter us
   without showing pity.
    44You are behind a wall of clouds
   that blocks out our prayers.
    45You allowed nations
   to treat us like garbage;
    46our enemies curse us.
    47We are terrified and trapped,
   caught and crushed."
    48My people are destroyed!
   Tears flood my eyes,
    49and they won't stop
    50until the LORD looks down
   from heaven and helps.
    51I am horrified when I see
   what enemies have done
   to the young women of our city.
    52No one had reason to hate me,
   but I was hunted down
   like a bird.
    53Then they tried to kill me
   by tossing me into a pit
   and throwing stones at me.
    54Water covered my head--
   I thought I was gone.
    55From the bottom of the pit,
   I prayed to you, LORD.
    56I begged you to listen.
   "Help!" I shouted. "Save me!"
   You answered my prayer
    57and came when I was in need.
   You told me, "Don't worry!"
    58You rescued me
   and saved my life.
    59You saw them abuse me, LORD,
   so make things right.
    60You know every plot
   they have made against me.
    61Yes, you know their insults
   and their evil plans.
    62All day long they attack
   with words and whispers.
    63No matter what they are doing,
   they keep on mocking me.
    64Pay them back for everything
   they have done, LORD!
    65Put your curse on them
   and make them suffer. [e] 66Get angry and go after them
   until not a trace is left
   under the heavens.
  1. Lamentations 3:11 shreds: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 11.
  2. Lamentations 3:20 I am depressed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Lamentations 3:22 destroyed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 22.
  4. Lamentations 3:29 lesson: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 29.
  5. Lamentations 3:65 make them suffer: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Hebrews 1:1-14 (Contemporary English Version)

Hebrews 1

 1Long ago in many ways and at many times God's prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. 2But now at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son. 3God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together.    After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side [a] of the glorious God in heaven. 4He had become much greater than the angels, and the name he was given is far greater than any of theirs.
God's Son Is Greater than Angels
 5God has never said    to any of the angels,
   "You are my Son, because today
   I have become your Father!"
   Neither has God said
   to any of them,
   "I will be his Father,
   and he will be my Son!"
    6When God brings his first-born Son [b] into the world, he commands all of his angels to worship him. 7And when God speaks about the angels, he says,
   "I change my angels into wind
   and my servants
   into flaming fire."
    8But God says about his Son,
   "You are God,
   and you will rule
   as King forever!
   Your [c] royal power brings about justice.
    9You loved justice
   and hated evil,
   and so I, your God,
   have chosen you.
   I appointed you
   and made you happier
   than any of your friends."
    10The Scriptures also say,
   "In the beginning, Lord,
   you were the one
   who laid the foundation
   of the earth
   and created the heavens.
    11They will all disappear
   and wear out like clothes,
   but you will last forever.
    12You will roll them up
   like a robe
   and change them
   like a garment.
   But you are always the same,
   and you will live forever."
    13God never said to any
   of the angels,
   "Sit at my right side
   until I make your enemies
   into a footstool for you!"
    14Angels are merely spirits sent to serve people who are going to be saved.
  1. Hebrews 1:3 right side: The place of honor and power.
  2. Hebrews 1:6 first-born Son: The first son born into a family had certain privileges that the other children did not have. In 12.23 "first-born" refers to God's special people.
  3. Hebrews 1:8 Your: Some manuscripts have "His."

Psalm 102:1-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 102

(A prayer for someone who hurts and needs to ask the LORD for help.)
A Prayer in Time of Trouble
 1I pray to you, LORD!    Please listen.
    2Don't hide from me
   in my time of trouble.
   Pay attention to my prayer
   and quickly give an answer.
    3My days disappear like smoke,
   and my bones are burning
   as though in a furnace.
    4I am wasting away like grass,
   and my appetite is gone.
    5My groaning never stops,
   and my bones can be seen
   through my skin.
    6I am like a lonely owl
   in the desert
    7or a restless sparrow
   alone on a roof.
    8My enemies insult me all day,
   and they use my name
   for a curse word.
    9Instead of food,
   I have ashes to eat
   and tears to drink,
    10because you are furious
   and have thrown me aside.
    11My life fades like a shadow
   at the end of day
   and withers like grass.
    12Our LORD, you are King forever
   and will always be famous.
    13You will show pity to Zion
   because the time has come.
    14We, your servants,
   love each stone in the city,
   and we are sad to see them
   lying in the dirt.
    15Our LORD, the nations
   will honor you,
   and all kings on earth
   will praise your glory.
    16You will rebuild
   the city of Zion.
   Your glory will be seen,
    17and the prayers of the homeless
   will be answered.
    18Future generations must also
   praise the LORD,
   so write this for them:
    19"From his holy temple,
   the LORD looked down
   at the earth.
    20He listened to the groans
   of prisoners,
   and he rescued everyone
   who was doomed to die."
    21All Jerusalem should praise
   you, our LORD,
    22when people from every nation
   meet to worship you.
    23I should still be strong,
   but you, LORD, have made
   an old person of me.
    24You will live forever!
   Years mean nothing to you.
   Don't cut my life in half!
    25In the beginning, LORD,
   you laid the earth's foundation
   and created the heavens.
    26They will all disappear
   and wear out like clothes.
   You change them,
   as you would a coat,
   but you last forever.
    27You are always the same.
   Years cannot change you.
    28Every generation of those
   who serve you
   will live in your presence.

Proverbs 26:21-22 (Contemporary English Version)

21Troublemakers start trouble,
   just as sparks and fuel
   start a fire.
    22There is nothing so delicious
   as the taste of gossip!
   It melts in your mouth.

Verse of the Day

“You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God's gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn't something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.,_2nd_president_of_the_United_States,_by_Asher_B._Durand_(1767-1845)-crop.jpg
Thought for Day

The second president of the United States, John Adams wrote, “The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bible Readings for October 29, 2013

Today our passages are Lamentations 1:1–2:19; Philemon 1-25; Psalm 101:1-8; and Proverbs 26:20. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Lamentations 1-2:19 (Contemporary English Version)

Lamentations 1

Lonely Jerusalem
The Prophet Speaks:
 1Jerusalem, once so crowded,    lies deserted and lonely.
   This city that was known
   all over the world
   is now like a widow.
   This queen of the nations
   has been made a slave.
    2Each night, bitter tears
   flood her cheeks.
   None of her former lovers
   are there to offer comfort;
   her friends [a] have betrayed her and are now her enemies.
    3The people of Judah are slaves,
   suffering in a foreign land,
   with no rest from sorrow.
   Their enemies captured them
   and were terribly cruel. [b] 4The roads to Zion mourn
   because no one travels there
   to celebrate the festivals.
   The city gates are deserted;
   priests are weeping.
   Young women are raped; [c] Zion is in sorrow!
    5Enemies now rule the city
   and live as they please.
   The LORD has punished Jerusalem
   because of her awful sins;
   he has let her people
   be dragged away.
    6Zion's glory has disappeared.
   Her leaders are like deer
   that cannot find pasture;
   they are hunted down
   till their strength is gone.
    7Her people recall the good life
   that once was theirs;
   now they suffer
   and are scattered.
   No one was there to protect them
   from their enemies
   who sneered
   when their city was taken.
    8Jerusalem's horrible sins
   have made the city a joke.
   Those who once admired her
   now hate her instead--
   she has been disgraced;
   she groans and turns away.
    9Her sins had made her filthy,
   but she wasn't worried
   about what could happen.
   And when Jerusalem fell,
   it was so tragic.
   No one gave her comfort
   when she cried out,
   "Help! I'm in trouble, LORD!
   The enemy has won."
    10Zion's treasures were stolen.
   Jerusalem saw foreigners
   enter her place of worship,
   though the LORD
   had forbidden them
   to belong to his people. [d] 11Everyone in the city groans
   while searching for food;
   they trade their valuables
   for barely enough scraps
   to stay alive.
   Jerusalem shouts to the LORD,
   "Please look and see
   how miserable I am!"
Jerusalem Speaks:
 12No passerby even cares. [e] Why doesn't someone notice    my terrible sufferings?
   You were fiercely angry, LORD,
   and you punished me
   worst of all.
    13From heaven you sent a fire
   that burned in my bones;
   you set a trap for my feet
   and made me turn back.
   All day long you leave me
   in shock from constant pain.
    14You have tied my sins
   around my neck, [f] and they weigh so heavily
   that my strength is gone.
   You have put me in the power
   of enemies
   too strong for me.
    15You, LORD, have turned back
   my warriors
   and crushed
   my young heroes.
   Judah was a woman untouched,
   but you let her be trampled
   like grapes in a wine pit.
    16Because of this, I mourn,
   and tears flood my eyes.
   No one is here to comfort
   or to encourage me;
   we have lost the war--
   my people are suffering.
The Prophet Speaks:
 17Zion reaches out her hands,    but no one offers comfort.
   The LORD has turned
   the neighboring nations
   against Jacob's descendants.
   Jerusalem is merely a filthy rag
   to her neighbors.
Jerusalem Speaks:
 18The LORD was right,    but I refused to obey him.
   Now I ask all of you to look
   at my sufferings--
   even my young people
   have been dragged away.
    19I called out to my lovers,
   but they betrayed me.
   My priests and my leaders died
   while searching the city
   for scraps of food.
    20Won't you look and see
   how upset I am, our LORD?
   My stomach is in knots,
   and my heart is broken
   because I betrayed you.
   In the streets and at home,
   my people are slaughtered.
    21Everyone heard my groaning,
   but no one offered comfort.
   My enemies know of the trouble
   that you have brought on me,
   and it makes them glad.
   Hurry and punish them,
   as you have promised.
    22Don't let their evil deeds
   escape your sight.
   Punish them as much
   as you have punished me
   because of my sins.
   I never stop groaning--
   I've lost all hope!

Lamentations 2

The LORD Was Like an Enemy
The Prophet Speaks:
 1The Lord was angry!    So he disgraced [g] Zion though it was Israel's pride
   and his own place of rest.
   In his anger he threw Zion down
   from heaven to earth.
    2The LORD had no mercy!
   He destroyed the homes
   of Jacob's descendants.
   In his anger he tore down
   every walled city in Judah;
   he toppled the nation
   together with its leaders,
   leaving them in shame.
    3The Lord was so furiously angry
   that he wiped out
   the whole army [h] of Israel by not supporting them
   when the enemy attacked.
   He was like a raging fire
   that swallowed up
   the descendants of Jacob.
    4He attacked like an enemy
   with a bow and arrows,
   killing our loved ones.
   He has burned to the ground
   the homes on Mount Zion. [i] 5The Lord was like an enemy!
   He left Israel in ruins
   with its palaces
   and fortresses destroyed,
   and with everyone in Judah
   moaning and weeping.
    6He shattered his temple
   like a hut in a garden; [j] he completely wiped out
   his meeting place,
   and did away with festivals
   and Sabbaths
   in the city of Zion.
   In his fierce anger he rejected
   our king and priests.
    7The Lord abandoned his altar
   and his temple;
   he let Zion's enemies
   capture her fortresses.
   Noisy shouts were heard
   from the temple,
   as if it were a time
   of celebration.
    8The LORD had decided
   to tear down the walls of Zion
   stone by stone.
   So he started destroying
   and did not stop
   until walls and fortresses
   mourned and trembled.
    9Zion's gates have fallen
   facedown on the ground;
   the bars that locked the gates
   are smashed to pieces.
   Her king and royal family
   are prisoners
   in foreign lands.
   Her priests don't teach,
   and her prophets don't have
   a message from the LORD.
    10Zion's leaders are silent.
   They just sit on the ground,
   tossing dirt on their heads
   and wearing sackcloth.
   Her young women can do nothing
   but stare at the ground.
    11My eyes are red from crying,
   my stomach is in knots,
   and I feel sick all over.
   My people are being wiped out,
   and children lie helpless
   in the streets of the city.
    12A child begs its mother
   for food and drink,
   then blacks out
   like a wounded soldier
   lying in the street.
   The child slowly dies
   in its mother's arms.
    13Zion, how can I comfort you?
   How great is your pain? [k] Lovely city of Jerusalem,
   how can I heal your wounds,
   gaping as wide as the sea?
    14Your prophets deceived you
   with false visions
   and lying messages--
   they should have warned you
   to leave your sins
   and be saved from disaster.
    15Those who pass by
   shake their heads and sneer
   as they make fun and shout,
   "What a lovely city you were,
   the happiest on earth,
   but look at you now!"
    16Zion, your enemies curse you
   and snarl like wild animals,
   while shouting,
   "This is the day
   we've waited for!
   At last, we've got you!"
    17The LORD has done everything
   that he had planned
   and threatened long ago.
   He destroyed you without mercy
   and let your enemies boast
   their powerful forces. [l] 18Zion, deep in your heart
   you cried out to the Lord.
   Now let your tears overflow
   your walls day and night.
   Don't ever lose hope
   or let your tears stop.
    19Get up and pray for help
   all through the night.
   Pour out your feelings
   to the Lord,
   as you would pour water
   out of a jug.
   Beg him to save your people,
   who are starving to death
   at every street crossing.
  1. Lamentations 1:2 lovers. . . friends: Israel's former allies.
  2. Lamentations 1:3 Their. . . cruel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Lamentations 1:4 raped: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Lamentations 1:10 to. . . people: Or "to enter his temple."
  5. Lamentations 1:12 No. . . cares: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. Lamentations 1:14 You. . . neck: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. Lamentations 2:1 disgraced: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. Lamentations 2:3 army: The Hebrew text has "horn," which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.
  9. Lamentations 2:4 the homes on Mount Zion: Or "the temple on Mount Zion."
  10. Lamentations 2:6 He. . . garden: Or "He shattered the temple walls, as if they were the walls of a garden."
  11. Lamentations 2:13 How great. . . pain: Or "What are you really like?" or "What can I say about you?"
  12. Lamentations 2:17 powerful forces: The Hebrew text has "horn," which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.

Philemon 1-25 (Contemporary English Version)

Philemon 1

 1From Paul, who is in jail for serving Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, who is like a brother because of our faith.    Philemon, you work with us and are very dear to us. This letter is to you
   2and to the church that meets in your home. It is also to our dear friend Apphia and to Archippus, who serves the Lord as we do.
   3I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
Philemon's Love and Faith
 4Philemon, each time I mention you in my prayers, I thank God.    5I hear about your faith in our Lord Jesus and about your love for all of God's people.
   6As you share your faith with others, I pray that they may come to know all the blessings Christ has given us.
   7My friend, your love has made me happy and has greatly encouraged me. It has also cheered the hearts of God's people.
Paul Speaks to Philemon about Onesimus
 8Christ gives me the courage to tell you what to do.    9But I would rather ask you to do it simply because of love. Yes, as someone [a] in jail for Christ,
   10I beg you to help Onesimus! [b] He is like a son to me because I led him to Christ here in jail.
   11Before this, he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me.
   12Sending Onesimus back to you makes me very sad.
   13I would like to keep him here with me, where he could take your place in helping me while I am here in prison for preaching the good news.
   14But I won't do anything unless you agree to it first. I want your act of kindness to come from your heart, and not be something you feel forced to do.
   15Perhaps Onesimus was taken from you for a little while so that you could have him back for good,
   16but not as a slave. Onesimus is much more than a slave. To me he is a dear friend, but to you he is even more, both as a person and as a follower of the Lord.
   17If you consider me a friend because of Christ, then welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me.
   18If he has cheated you or owes you anything, charge it to my account.
   19With my own hand I write: I, PAUL, WILL PAY YOU BACK. But don't forget that you owe me your life.
   20My dear friend and follower of Christ our Lord, please cheer me up by doing this for me.
   21I am sure you will do all I have asked, and even more.
   22Please get a room ready for me. I hope your prayers will be answered, and I can visit you.
   23Epaphras is also here in jail for being a follower of Christ Jesus. He sends his greetings,
   24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, who work together with me.
   25I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!
  1. Philemon 1:9 someone: Greek "a messenger" or "an old man."
  2. Philemon 1:10 Onesimus: In Greek this name means "useful."

Psalm 101:1-8 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 101

(A psalm by David.)
A King and His Promises
 1I will sing to you, LORD!    I will celebrate your kindness
   and your justice.
    2Please help me learn
   to do the right thing,
   and I will be honest and fair
   in my own kingdom.
    3I refuse to be corrupt
   or to take part
   in anything crooked,
    4and I won't be dishonest
   or deceitful.
    5Anyone who spreads gossip
   will be silenced,
   and no one who is conceited
   will be my friend.
    6I will find trustworthy people
   to serve as my advisors,
   and only an honest person
   will serve as an official.
    7No one who cheats or lies
   will have a position
   in my royal court.
    8Each morning I will silence
   any lawbreakers I find
   in the countryside
   or in the city of the LORD.

Proverbs 26:20 (Contemporary English Version)

20Where there is no fuel
   a fire goes out;
   where there is no gossip
   arguments come to an end.

Verse of the Day

“[Christ Brings New Life]Dear 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.” - Romans 12:1
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Aesop pushkin01.jpg
Thought for the Day

Ancient Greek fabulist or story teller, Aesop wrote, “After all is said and done, more is said than done.”