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, January 31, 2013

Bible Readings for January 31, 2013

Today our passages are Exodus 12:14–13:16; Matthew 20:29–21:22; Psalm 25:16-22; and Proverbs 6:12-15. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Exodus 12:14-13:16 (Contemporary English Version)

14Remember this day and celebrate it each year as a festival in my honor. 15For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. And on the first of these seven days, you must remove all yeast from your homes. If you eat anything made with yeast during this festival, you will no longer be part of Israel. 16Meet together for worship on the first and seventh days of the festival. The only work you are allowed to do on either of these two days is that of preparing the bread. 17Celebrate this Festival of Thin Bread as a way of remembering the day that I brought your families and tribes out of Egypt. And do this each year. 18Begin on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month by eating bread made without yeast. Then continue this celebration until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19During these seven days no yeast is allowed in anyone's home, whether they are native Israelites or not. If you are caught eating anything made with yeast, you will no longer be part of Israel. 20Stay away from yeast, no matter where you live. No one is allowed to eat anything made with yeast! 21Moses called the leaders of Israel together and said: Each family is to pick out a sheep and kill it for Passover. 22Make a brush from a few small branches of a hyssop plant and dip the brush in the bowl that has the blood of the animal in it. Then brush some of the blood above the door and on the posts at each side of the door of your house. After this, everyone is to stay inside. 23During that night the LORD will go through the country of Egypt and kill the first-born son in every Egyptian family. He will see where you have put the blood, and he will not come into your house. His angel that brings death will pass over and not kill your first-born sons. 24-25After you have entered the country promised to you by the LORD, you and your children must continue to celebrate Passover each year. 26Your children will ask you, " What are we celebrating?" 27And you will answer, " The Passover animal is killed to honor the LORD. We do these things because on that night long ago the LORD passed over the homes of our people in Egypt. He killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians, but he saved our children from death." After Moses finished speaking, the people of Israel knelt down and worshiped the LORD. 28Then they left and did what Moses and Aaron had told them to do.
Death for the First-Born Sons
29At midnight the LORD killed the first-born son of every Egyptian family, from the son of the king [a] to the son of every prisoner in jail. He also killed the first-born male of every animal that belonged to the Egyptians. 30That night the king, his officials, and everyone else in Egypt got up and started crying bitterly. In every Egyptian home, someone was dead.
The People of Israel Escape from Egypt
31During the night the king [b] sent for Moses and Aaron and told them, " Get your people out of my country and leave us alone! Go and worship the LORD, as you have asked. 32Take your sheep, goats, and cattle, and get out. But ask your God to be kind to me." 33The Egyptians did everything they could to get the Israelites to leave their country fast. They said, " Please hurry and leave. If you don't, we will all be dead." 34So the Israelites quickly made some bread dough and put it in pans. But they did not mix any yeast in the dough to make it rise. They wrapped cloth around the pans and carried them on their shoulders. 35The Israelites had already done what Moses had told them to do. They had gone to their Egyptian neighbors and asked for gold and silver and for clothes. 36The LORD had made the Egyptians friendly toward the people of Israel, and they gave them whatever they asked for. In this way they carried away the wealth of the Egyptians when they left Egypt. 37The Israelites walked from the city of Rameses to the city of Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand of them, not counting women and children. 38Many other people went with them as well, and there were also a lot of sheep, goats, and cattle. 39They left Egypt in such a hurry that they did not have time to prepare any food except the bread dough made without yeast. So they baked it and made thin bread. 40-41The LORD's people left Egypt exactly four hundred thirty years after they had arrived. 42On that night the LORD kept watch for them, and on this same night each year Israel will always keep watch in honor of the LORD.
Instructions for Passover
43The LORD gave Moses and Aaron the following instructions for celebrating Passover: No one except Israelites may eat the Passover meal. 44Your slaves may eat the meal if they have been circumcised, 45but no foreigners who work for you are allowed to have any. 46The entire meal must be eaten inside, and no one may leave the house during the celebration. No bones of the Passover lamb may be broken. 47And all Israelites must take part in the meal. 48If anyone who isn't an Israelite wants to celebrate Passover with you, every man and boy in that family must first be circumcised. Then they may join in the meal, just like native Israelites. No uncircumcised man or boy may eat the Passover meal! 49This law applies both to native Israelites and to those foreigners who live among you. 50The Israelites obeyed everything the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron to tell them. 51And on that same day the LORD brought Israel's families and tribes out of Egypt.

Exodus 13

Dedication of the First-Born
1The LORD said to Moses, 2" Dedicate to me the first-born son of every family and the first-born males of your flocks and herds. These belong to me."
The Festival of Thin Bread
3-4Moses said to the people: Remember this day in the month of Abib. [c] It is the day when the LORD's mighty power rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. Do not eat anything made with yeast. 5The LORD promised your ancestors that he would bring you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. It is a land rich with milk and honey. Each year during the month of Abib, celebrate these events in the following way: 6For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast, and on the seventh day you are to celebrate a festival in honor of the LORD. 7During those seven days, you must not eat anything made with yeast or even have yeast anywhere near your homes. 8Then on the seventh day you must explain to your children that you do this because the LORD brought you out of Egypt. 9This celebration will be like wearing a sign on your hand or on your forehead, because then you will pass on to others the teaching of the LORD, whose mighty power brought you out of Egypt. 10Celebrate this festival each year at the same time. 11The LORD will give you the land of the Canaanites, just as he promised you and your ancestors. 12From then on, you must give him every first-born son from your families and every first-born male from your animals, because these belong to him. 13You can save the life of a first-born donkey [d] by sacrificing a lamb; if you don't, you must break the donkey's neck. You must save every first-born son. 14In the future your children will ask what this ceremony means. Explain it to them by saying, " The LORD used his mighty power to rescue us from slavery in Egypt. 15The king [e] stubbornly refused to set us free, so the LORD killed the first-born male of every animal and the first-born son of every Egyptian family. This is why we sacrifice to the LORD every first-born male of every animal and save every first-born son." 16This ceremony will serve the same purpose as a sign on your hand or on your forehead to tell how the LORD's mighty power rescued us from Egypt.
  1. Exodus 12:29the king: See the note at 1.11.
  2. Exodus 12:31the king: See the note at 1.11.
  3. Exodus 13:3Abib: Or Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
  4. Exodus 13:13donkey: This was the only " unclean" animal that had to be saved; the first-born of all " clean" animals (sheep, goats, cattle) had to be sacrificed. Donkeys were important because they were the basic means of transportation.
  5. Exodus 13:15The king: See the note at 1.11.

Matthew 20:29-21:22 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
(Mark 10.46-52; Luke 18.35-43)
29Jesus was followed by a large crowd as he and his disciples were leaving Jericho. 30Two blind men were sitting beside the road. And when they heard that Jesus was coming their way, they shouted, "Lord and Son of David, [a] have pity on us!" 31The crowd told them to be quiet, but they shouted even louder, "Lord and Son of David, have pity on us!" 32When Jesus heard them, he stopped and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" 33They answered, "Lord, we want to see!" 34Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Right away they could see, and they became his followers.

Matthew 21

Jesus Enters Jerusalem
(Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19)
1When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead. 2He told them, "Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. 3If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, `The Lord [b] needs them.' Right away he will let you have the donkeys." 4So God's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 5"Announce to the people of Jerusalem: `Your king is coming to you! He is humble and rides on a donkey. He comes on the colt of a donkey.' " 6The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. 7They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on. 8Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches [c] which they had cut from trees. 9Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting, "Hooray [d] for the Son of David! [e] God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hooray for God in heaven above!" 10When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, "Who can this be?" 11The crowd answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
Jesus in the Temple
(Mark 11.15-19; Luke 19.45-48; John 2.13-22)
12Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. 13He told them, "The Scriptures say, `My house should be called a place of worship.' But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide." 14Blind and lame people came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. 15But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David. 16The men said to Jesus, "Don't you hear what those children are saying?" "Yes, I do!" Jesus answered. "Don't you know that the Scriptures say, `Children and infants will sing praises'?" 17Then Jesus left the city and went out to the village of Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Puts a Curse on a Fig Tree
(Mark 11.12-14,20-24)
18When Jesus got up the next morning, he was hungry. He started out for the city, 19and along the way he saw a fig tree. But when he came to it, he found only leaves and no figs. So he told the tree, "You will never again grow any fruit!" Right then the fig tree dried up. 20The disciples were shocked when they saw how quickly the tree had dried up. 21But Jesus said to them, "If you have faith and don't doubt, I promise that you can do what I did to this tree. And you will be able to do even more. You can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. 22If you have faith when you pray, you will be given whatever you ask for."
  1. Matthew 20:30Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
  2. Matthew 21:3The Lord: Or "The master of the donkeys."
  3. Matthew 21:8spread clothes. . . put down branches: This was one way that the Jewish people welcomed a famous person.
  4. Matthew 21:9Hooray: This translates a word that can mean "please save us." But it is most often used as a shout of praise to God.
  5. Matthew 21:9Son of David: See the note at 9.27.

Psalm 25:16-22 (Contemporary English Version)

16I am lonely and troubled. Show that you care and have pity on me. 17My awful worries keep growing. Rescue me from sadness. 18See my troubles and misery and forgive my sins. 19Look at all my enemies! See how much they hate me. 20I come to you for shelter. Protect me, keep me safe, and don't disappoint me. 21I obey you with all my heart, and I trust you, knowing that you will save me. 22Our God, please save Israel from all of its troubles.

Proverbs 6:12-15 (Contemporary English Version)

12Worthless liars go around 13winking and giving signals to deceive others. 14They are always thinking up something cruel and evil, and they stir up trouble. 15But they will be struck by sudden disaster and left without a hope.

Verse of the Day

“You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you.” - Psalm 86:5
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day
American comedian and actor Milton Berle said, “You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bible Readings for January 30, 2013

Today our passages are Exodus 10:1–12:13; Matthew 20:1-28; Psalm 25:1-15; and Proverbs 6:6-11. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Exodus 10-12:13 (Contemporary English Version)

Exodus 10

1The LORD said to Moses: Go back to the king. [a] I have made him and his officials stubborn, so that I could work these miracles. 2I did this because I want you to tell your children and your grandchildren about my miracles and about my harsh treatment of the Egyptians. Then all of you will know that I am the LORD. 3Moses and Aaron went to the king and told him that the LORD God of the Hebrews had said: How long will you stubbornly refuse to obey? Release my people so they can worship me. 4Do this by tomorrow, or I will cover your country with so many locusts [b]5that you won't be able to see the ground. Most of your crops were ruined by the hailstones, but these locusts will destroy what little is left, including the trees. 6Your palace, the homes of your officials, and all other houses in Egypt will overflow with more locusts than have ever been seen in this country. After Moses left the palace, 7the king's officials asked, " Your Majesty, how much longer is this man going to be a troublemaker? Why don't you let the people leave, so they can worship the LORD their God? Don't you know that Egypt is a disaster?" 8The king had Moses and Aaron brought back, and he said, " All right, you may go and worship the LORD your God. But first tell me who will be going." 9" Everyone, young and old," Moses answered. " We will even take our sheep, goats, and cattle, because we want to hold a celebration in honor of the LORD." 10The king replied, " The LORD had better watch over you on the day I let you leave with your families! You're up to no good. 11Do you want to worship the LORD? All right, take only the men and go." Then Moses and Aaron were chased out of the palace. 12The LORD told Moses, " Stretch your arm toward Egypt. Swarms of locusts will come and eat everything left by the hail." 13Moses held out his walking stick, and the LORD sent an east wind that blew across Egypt the rest of the day and all that night. By morning, locusts 14were swarming everywhere. Never before had there been so many locusts in Egypt, and never again will there be so many. 15The ground was black with locusts, and they ate everything left on the trees and in the fields. Nothing green remained in Egypt--not a tree or a plant. 16At once the king sent for Moses and Aaron. He told them, " I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. 17Forgive me one more time and ask the LORD to stop these insects from killing every living plant." 18Moses left the palace and prayed. 19Then the LORD sent a strong west wind [c] that swept the locusts into the Red Sea. [d] Not one locust was left anywhere in Egypt, 20but the LORD made the king so stubborn that he still refused to let the Israelites go.
21The LORD said to Moses, " Stretch your arm toward the sky, and everything will be covered with darkness thick enough to touch." 22Moses stretched his arm toward the sky, and Egypt was covered with darkness for three days. 23During that time, the Egyptians could not see each other or leave their homes, but there was light where the Israelites lived. 24The king [e] sent for Moses and told him, " Go worship the LORD! And take your families with you. Just leave your sheep, goats, and cattle." 25" No!" Moses replied. " You must let us offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, 26and we won't know which animals we will need until we get there. That's why we can't leave even one of them here." 27This time the LORD made the king so stubborn 28that he said to Moses, " Get out and stay out! If you ever come back, you're dead!" 29" Have it your way," Moses answered. " You won't see me again."

Exodus 11

Moses Warns the Egyptians That the LORD Will Kill Their First-Born Sons
1The LORD said to Moses: I am going to punish the king [f] of Egypt and his people one more time. Then the king will gladly let you leave his land, so that I will stop punishing the Egyptians. He will even chase you out. 2Now go and tell my people to ask their Egyptian neighbors for gold and silver jewelry. 3So the LORD made the Egyptians greatly respect the Israelites, and everyone, including the king and his officials, considered Moses an important leader. 4Moses went to the king and said: I have come to let you know what the LORD is going to do. About midnight he will go through the land of Egypt, 5and wherever he goes, the first-born son in every family will die. Your own son will die, and so will the son of the lowest slave woman. Even the first-born males of cattle will die. 6Everywhere in Egypt there will be loud crying. Nothing like this has ever happened before or will ever happen again. 7But there won't be any need for the Israelites to cry. Things will be so quiet that not even a dog will be heard barking. Then you Egyptians will know that the LORD is good to the Israelites, even while he punishes you. 8Your leaders will come and bow down, begging me to take my people and leave your country. Then we will leave. Moses was very angry; he turned and left the king. 9What the LORD had earlier said to Moses came true. He had said, " The king of Egypt won't listen. Then I will perform even more miracles." 10So the king of Egypt saw Moses and Aaron work miracles, but the LORD made him stubbornly refuse to let the Israelites leave his country.

Exodus 12

The Passover
1Some time later the LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 2This month is to be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell the people of Israel that on the tenth day of this month the head of each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for his family to eat. 4-5If any family is too small to eat the whole animal, they must share it with their next-door neighbors. Choose either a sheep or a goat, but it must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. And it must be large enough for everyone to have some of the meat. 6Each family must take care of its animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, when the animals are to be killed. 7Some of the blood must be put on the two doorposts and above the door of each house where the animals are to be eaten. 8That night the animals are to be roasted and eaten, together with bitter herbs and thin bread made without yeast. 9Don't eat the meat raw or boiled. The entire animal, including its head, legs, and insides, must be roasted. 10Eat what you want that night, and the next morning burn whatever is left. 11When you eat the meal, be dressed and ready to travel. Have your sandals on, carry your walking stick in your hand, and eat quickly. This is the Passover Festival in honor of me, your LORD. 12That same night I will pass through Egypt and kill the first-born son in every family and the first-born male of all animals. I am the LORD, and I will punish the gods of Egypt. 13The blood on the houses will show me where you live, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. Then you won't be bothered by the terrible disasters I will bring on Egypt.
  1. Exodus 10:1the king: See the note at 1.11.
  2. Exodus 10:4locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to crops.
  3. Exodus 10:19west wind: The Hebrew text has " wind from the sea," referring to the Mediterranean Sea (see verse 13).
  4. Exodus 10:19Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph, here referring to the Gulf of Suez, since the term is extended to include the northwestern arm of the Red Sea (see also the note at 13.18).
  5. Exodus 10:24The king: See the note at 1.11.
  6. Exodus 11:1This month: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.

Matthew 20:1-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Matthew 20

Workers in a Vineyard
1As Jesus was telling what the kingdom of heaven would be like, he said: Early one morning a man went out to hire some workers for his vineyard. 2After he had agreed to pay them the usual amount for a day's work, he sent them off to his vineyard. 3About nine that morning, the man saw some other people standing in the market with nothing to do. 4He said he would pay them what was fair, if they would work in his vineyard. 5So they went. At noon and again about three in the afternoon he returned to the market. And each time he made the same agreement with others who were loafing around with nothing to do. 6Finally, about five in the afternoon the man went back and found some others standing there. He asked them, "Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?" 7"Because no one has hired us," they answered. Then he told them to go work in his vineyard. 8That evening the owner of the vineyard told the man in charge of the workers to call them in and give them their money. He also told the man to begin with the ones who were hired last. 9When the workers arrived, the ones who had been hired at five in the afternoon were given a full day's pay. 10The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, 11they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard. 12They said, "The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!" 13The owner answered one of them, "Friend, I didn't cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. 14Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?" 16Jesus then said, "So it is. Everyone who is now first will be last, and everyone who is last will be first."
Jesus Again Tells about His Death
(Mark 10.32-34; Luke 18.31-34)
17As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he took his twelve disciples aside and told them in private: 18We are now on our way to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death, 19and then they will hand him over to foreigners [a] who will make fun of him. They will beat him and nail him to a cross. But on the third day he will rise from death.
A Mother's Request
(Mark 10.35-45)
20The mother of James and John [b] came to Jesus with her two sons. She knelt down and started begging him to do something for her. 21Jesus asked her what she wanted, and she said, "When you come into your kingdom, please let one of my sons sit at your right side and the other at your left." [c]22Jesus answered, "Not one of you knows what you are asking. Are you able to drink from the cup [d] that I must soon drink from?" James and John said, "Yes, we are!" 23Jesus replied, "You certainly will drink from my cup! But it isn't for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for my Father to say." 24When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called the disciples together and said: You know that foreign rulers like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over everyone they rule. 26But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 27And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest. 28The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue [e] many people.
  1. Matthew 20:19foreigners: The Romans, who ruled Judea at this time.
  2. Matthew 20:20mother of James and John: The Greek text has "mother of the sons of Zebedee" (see 26.37).
  3. Matthew 20:21right side. . . left: The most powerful people in a kingdom sat at the right and left side of the king.
  4. Matthew 20:22drink from the cup: In the Scriptures a cup is sometimes used as a symbol of suffering. To "drink from the cup" is to suffer.
  5. Matthew 20:28rescue: The Greek word often, though not always, means the payment of a price to free a slave or a prisoner.

Psalm 25:1-15 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 25

(By David.)
A Prayer for Guidance and Help
1I offer you my heart, LORD God, 2and I trust you. Don't make me ashamed or let enemies defeat me. 3Don't disappoint any of your worshipers, but disappoint all deceitful liars. 4Show me your paths and teach me to follow; 5guide me by your truth and instruct me. You keep me safe, and I always trust you. 6Please, LORD, remember, you have always been patient and kind. 7Forget each wrong I did when I was young. Show how truly kind you are and remember me. 8You are honest and merciful, and you teach sinners how to follow your path. 9You lead humble people to do what is right and to stay on your path. 10In everything you do, you are kind and faithful to everyone who keeps our agreement with you. 11Be true to your name, LORD, by forgiving each one of my terrible sins. 12You will show the right path to all who worship you. 13They will have plenty, and then their children will receive the land. 14Our LORD, you are the friend of your worshipers, and you make an agreement with all of us. 15I always look to you, because you rescue me from every trap.

Proverbs 6:6-11 (Contemporary English Version)

6You lazy people can learn by watching an anthill. 7Ants don't have leaders, 8but they store up food during harvest season. 9How long will you lie there doing nothing at all? When are you going to get up and stop sleeping? 10Sleep a little. Doze a little. Fold your hands and twiddle your thumbs. 11Suddenly, everything is gone, as though it had been taken by an armed robber.

Verse of the Day

“Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other.” - Ephesians 4:2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day
German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein wrote, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bible Readings for January 29, 2013

Today our passages are Exodus 7:25–9:35; Matthew 19:13-30; Psalm 24:1-10; and Proverbs 6:1-5. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Exodus 7:25-9:35 (Contemporary English Version)

 25Seven days after the LORD had struck the Nile,    

Exodus 8

 1he said to Moses:    Go to the palace and tell the king of Egypt that I order him to let my people go, so they can worship me. 2If he refuses, I will cover his entire country with frogs. 3Warn the king that the Nile will be full of frogs, and from there they will spread into the royal palace, including the king's bedroom and even his bed. Frogs will enter the homes of his officials and will find their way into ovens and into the bowls of bread dough. 4Frogs will be crawling on everyone--the king, his officials, and every citizen of Egypt.
    5Moses, now command Aaron to hold his stick over the water. Then frogs will come from all rivers, canals, and ponds in Egypt, and they will cover the land.
    6Aaron obeyed, and suddenly frogs were everywhere in Egypt. 7But the magicians used their secret powers to do the same thing.
    8The king sent for Moses and Aaron and told them, " If you ask the LORD to take these frogs away from me and my people, I will let your people go and offer sacrifices to him."
    9" All right," Moses answered. " You choose the time when I am to pray for the frogs to stop bothering you, your officials, and your people, and for them to leave your houses and be found only in the river."
    10" Do it tomorrow!" the king replied.
   " As you wish," Moses agreed. " Then everyone will discover that there is no god like the LORD, 11and frogs will no longer be found anywhere, except in the Nile."
    12After Moses and Aaron left the palace, Moses begged the LORD to do something about the frogs he had sent as punishment for the king. 13The LORD listened to Moses, and frogs died everywhere--in houses, yards, and fields. 14The dead frogs were placed in piles, and the whole country began to stink. 15But when the king saw that things were now better, he again did just as the LORD had said and stubbornly refused to listen to Moses and Aaron.
 16The LORD said to Moses, " Command Aaron to strike the ground with his walking stick, and everywhere in Egypt the dust will turn into gnats." 17They obeyed, and when Aaron struck the ground with the stick, gnats started swarming on people and animals. In fact, every speck of dust in Egypt turned into a gnat. 18When the magicians tried to use their secret powers to do this, [a] they failed, and gnats stayed on people and animals. 19The magicians told the king, [b] " God has done this." But, as the LORD had said, the king was too stubborn to listen.    
 20The LORD said to Moses:    Early tomorrow morning, while the king is on his way to the river, go and say to him, " The LORD commands you to let his people go, so they can worship him. 21If you don't, he will send swarms of flies to attack you, your officials, and every citizen of your country. Houses will be full of flies, and the ground will crawl with them.
    22-23" The LORD's people in Goshen won't be bothered by flies, but your people in the rest of the country will be tormented by them. That's how you will know that the LORD is here in Egypt. This miracle will happen tomorrow."
    24The LORD kept his promise--the palace and the homes of the royal officials swarmed with flies, and the rest of the country was infested with them as well. 25Then the king sent for Moses and Aaron and told them, " Go sacrifice to your God, but stay here in Egypt."
    26" That's impossible!" Moses replied. " Any sacrifices we offer to the LORD our God would disgust the Egyptians, and they would stone us to death. 27No indeed! The LORD has ordered us to walk three days into the desert before offering sacrifices to him, and that's what we have to do."
    28Then the king told him, " I'll let you go into the desert to offer sacrifices, if you don't go very far. But in the meantime, pray for me."
    29" Your Majesty," Moses replied, " I'll pray for you as soon as I leave, and by tomorrow the flies will stop bothering you, your officials, and the citizens of your country. Only make sure that you're telling the truth this time and that you really intend to let our people offer sacrifices to the LORD."
    30After leaving the palace, Moses prayed, 31and the LORD answered his prayer. Not a fly was left to pester the king, his officials, or anyone else in Egypt. 32But the king turned stubborn again and would not let the people go.

Exodus 9

Dead Animals
 1The LORD sent Moses with this message for the king of Egypt:    The LORD God of the Hebrews commands you to let his people go, so they can worship him. 2If you keep refusing, 3he will bring a terrible disease on your horses and donkeys, your camels and cattle, and your sheep and goats. 4But the LORD will protect the animals that belong to the people of Israel, and none of theirs will die. 5Tomorrow is the day the LORD has set to do this.
    6It happened the next day--all of the animals belonging to the Egyptians died, but the Israelites did not lose even one. 7When the king found out, he was still too stubborn to let the people go.
 8The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:    Take a few handfuls of ashes from a stove and have Moses throw them into the air. Be sure the king is watching. 9The ashes will blow across the land of Egypt, causing sores to break out on people and animals.
    10So they took a few handfuls of ashes and went to the king. [c] Moses threw them into the air, and sores immediately broke out on the Egyptians and their animals. 11The magicians were suffering so much from the sores, that they could not even come to Moses. 12Everything happened just as the LORD had told Moses--he made the king too stubborn to listen to Moses and Aaron.
 13The LORD told Moses to get up early the next morning and say to the king:    The LORD God of the Hebrews commands you to let his people go, so they can worship him! 14If you don't, he will send his worst plagues to strike you, your officials, and everyone else in your country. Then you will find out that no one can oppose the LORD. 15In fact, he could already have sent a terrible disease and wiped you from the face of the earth. 16But he has kept you alive, just to show you his power and to bring honor to himself everywhere in the world.
    17You are still determined not to let the LORD's people go. 18All right. At this time tomorrow, he will bring on Egypt the worst hailstorm in its history. 19You had better give orders for every person and every animal in Egypt to take shelter. If they don't, they will die.
    20Some of the king's officials were frightened by what the LORD had said, and they hurried off to make sure their slaves and animals were safe. 21But others paid no attention to his threats and left their slaves and animals out in the open.
    22Then the LORD told Moses, " Stretch your arm toward the sky, so that hailstones will fall on people, animals, and crops in the land of Egypt." 23-24Moses pointed his walking stick toward the sky, and hailstones started falling everywhere. Thunder roared, and lightning flashed back and forth, striking the ground. This was the worst storm in the history of Egypt. 25People, animals, and crops were pounded by the hailstones, and bark was stripped from trees. 26Only Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was safe from the storm.
    27The king sent for Moses and Aaron and told them, " Now I have really sinned! My people and I are guilty, and the LORD is right. 28We can't stand any more of this thunder and hail. Please ask the LORD to make it stop. Your people can go--you don't have to stay in Egypt any longer."
    29Moses answered, " As soon as I leave the city, I will lift my arms in prayer. When the thunder and hail stop, you will know that the earth belongs to the LORD. 30But I am certain that neither you nor your officials really fear the LORD God."
    31Meanwhile, the flax and barley crops had been destroyed by the storm because they were ready to ripen. 32But the wheat crops ripen later, and they were not damaged.
    33After Moses left the royal palace and the city, he lifted his arms in prayer to the LORD, and the thunder, hail, and drenching rain stopped. 34When the king realized that the storm was over, he disobeyed once more. He and his officials were so stubborn 35that he refused to let the Israelites go. This was exactly what the LORD had said would happen.
  1. Exodus 8:18 to do this: Or " to get rid of the gnats."
  2. Exodus 8:19 the king: See the note at 1.11.
  3. Exodus 9:10 wheat crops: The Hebrew text mentions two kinds of wheat

Matthew 19:13-30 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus Blesses Little Children
(Mark 10.13-16; Luke 18.15-17)
 13Some people brought their children to Jesus, so that he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples told the people to stop bothering him. 14But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and don't try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God's kingdom." [a] 15After Jesus had placed his hands on the children, he left.
A Rich Young Man
(Mark 10.17-31; Luke 18.18-30)
 16A man came to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?"     17Jesus said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments."
    18"Which ones?" the man asked.
   Jesus answered, "Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. 19Respect your father and mother. And love others as much as you love yourself." 20The young man said, "I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do?"
    21Jesus replied, "If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower." 22When the young man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.
    23Jesus said to his disciples, "It's terribly hard for rich people to get into the kingdom of heaven! 24In fact, it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God's kingdom."
    25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly surprised and asked, "How can anyone ever be saved?"
    26Jesus looked straight at them and said, "There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything."
    27Peter replied, "Remember, we have left everything to be your followers! What will we get?"
    28Jesus answered:
   Yes, all of you have become my followers. And so in the future world, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, I promise that you will sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. 29All who have given up home or brothers and sisters or father and mother or children or land for me will be given a hundred times as much. They will also have eternal life. 30But many who are now first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
  1. Matthew 19:14 People who are like these children belong to God's kingdom: Or "God's kingdom belongs to people who are like these children."

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 6:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 6

Don't Be Foolish
 1My child, suppose you agree    to pay the debt of someone,
   who cannot repay a loan.
    2Then you are trapped
   by your own words,
    3and you are now in the power
   of someone else.
   Here is what you should do:
   Go and beg for permission
   to call off the agreement.
    4Do this before you fall asleep
   or even get sleepy.
    5Save yourself, just as a deer
   or a bird
   tries to escape
   from a hunter.

Verse of the Day

“After Jesus sat down and told the twelve disciples to gather around him, he said, "If you want the place of honor, you must become a slave and serve others!” - Mark 9:35
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

British poet and critic Edith Sitwell wrote, “Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.”

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bible Readings for January 28, 2013

Today our passages are Exodus 5:22–7:24; Matthew 18:23–19:12; Psalm 23:1-6; and Proverbs 5:22-23. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Exodus 5:22-7:24 (Contemporary English Version)

The LORD's Promise to Moses
22Moses left them and prayed, " Our LORD, why have you brought so much trouble on your people? Is that why you sent me here? 23Ever since you told me to speak to the king, a] he has caused nothing but trouble for these people. And you haven't done a thing to help."

Exodus 6

1The LORD God told Moses: Soon you will see what I will do to the king. Because of my mighty power, he will let my people go, and he will even chase them out of his country. 2My name is the LORD. b]3But when I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I came as God All-Powerful and did not use my name. 4I made an agreement and promised them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. 5Now I have seen how the people of Israel are suffering because of the Egyptians, and I will keep my promise. 6Here is my message for Israel: " I am the LORD! And with my mighty power I will punish the Egyptians and free you from slavery. 7I will accept you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I was the one who rescued you from the Egyptians. 8I will bring you into the land that I solemnly promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it will be yours. I am the LORD!" 9When Moses told this to the Israelites, they were too discouraged and mistreated to believe him. 10Then the LORD told Moses 11to demand that the king of Egypt let the Israelites leave. 12But Moses replied, " I'm not a powerful speaker. If the Israelites won't listen to me, why should the king of Egypt?" 13But the LORD sent Aaron and Moses with a message for the Israelites and for the king; he also ordered Aaron and Moses to free the people from Egypt.
Family Record of Aaron and Moses
14The following men were the heads of their ancestral clans: The sons of Reuben, Jacob's c] oldest son, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 15The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 16Levi lived to be one hundred thirty-seven; his sons were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 17Gershon's sons were Libni and Shimei. 18Kohath lived to be one hundred thirty-three; his sons were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 19Merari's sons were Mahli and Mushi. All of the above were from the Levi tribe. 20Amram lived to be one hundred thirty-seven. He married his father's sister Jochebed, and they had two sons, Aaron and Moses. 21Izhar's sons were Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22Uzziel's sons were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23Aaron married Elisheba. She was the daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon; they had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24Korah's sons were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. 25Aaron's son Eleazar married one of Putiel's daughters, and their son was Phinehas. This ends the list of those who were the heads of clans in the Levi tribe. 26The LORD had commanded Aaron and Moses to lead every family and tribe of Israel out of Egypt, 27and so they ordered the king of Egypt to set the people of Israel free.
The LORD Commands Moses and Aaron To Speak to the King
28When the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29he said, " I am the LORD. Tell the king d] of Egypt everything I say to you." 30But Moses answered, " You know I am a very poor speaker, and the king will never listen to me."

Exodus 7

1The LORD said: I am going to let your brother Aaron speak for you. He will tell your message to the king, just as a prophet speaks my message to the people. 2Tell Aaron everything I say to you, and he will order the king to let my people leave his country. 3-4But I will make the king so stubborn that he won't listen to you. He won't listen even when I do many terrible things to him and his nation. Then I will bring a final punishment on Egypt, and the king will let Israel's families and tribes go. 5When this happens, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD. 6Moses and Aaron obeyed the LORD 7and spoke to the king. At the time, Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three.
A Stick Turns into a Snake
8-9The LORD said, " Moses, when the king asks you and Aaron to perform a miracle, command Aaron to throw his walking stick down in front of the king, and it will turn into a snake." 10Moses and Aaron went to the king and his officials and did exactly as the LORD had commanded--Aaron threw the stick down, and it turned into a snake. 11Then the king called in the wise men and the magicians, who used their secret powers to do the same thing-- 12they threw down sticks that turned into snakes. But Aaron's snake swallowed theirs. 13The king behaved just as the LORD had said and stubbornly refused to listen.
The Nile River Turns into Blood
14The LORD said to Moses: The Egyptian king stubbornly refuses to change his mind and let the people go. 15Tomorrow morning take the stick that turned into a snake, then wait beside the Nile River for the king. 16Tell him, " The LORD God of the Hebrews sent me to order you to release his people, so they can worship him in the desert. But until now, you have paid no attention. 17" The LORD is going to do something to show you that he really is the LORD. I will strike the Nile with this stick, and the water will turn into blood. 18The fish will die, the river will stink, and none of you Egyptians will be able to drink the water." 19Moses, then command Aaron to hold his stick over the water. And when he does, every drop of water in Egypt will turn into blood, including rivers, canals, ponds, and even the water in buckets and jars. 20Moses and Aaron obeyed the LORD. Aaron held out his stick, then struck the Nile, as the king and his officials watched. The river turned into blood, 21the fish died, and the water smelled so bad that none of the Egyptians could drink it. Blood was everywhere in Egypt. 22But the Egyptian magicians used their secret powers to do the same thing. The king did just as the LORD had said--he stubbornly refused to listen. 23Then he went back to his palace and never gave it a second thought. 24The Egyptians had to dig holes along the banks of the Nile for drinking water, because water from the river was unfit to drink.
  1. Exodus 5:23the king: See the note at 1.11.
  2. Exodus 6:2My name is the LORD: See the note at 3.14,15.
  3. Exodus 6:14Jacob: The Hebrew text has " Israel," Jacob's name after God renamed him.
  4. Exodus 6:29the king: See the note at 1.11.

Matthew 18:23-19:12 (Contemporary English Version)

23This story will show you what the kingdom of heaven is like: One day a king decided to call in his officials and ask them to give an account of what they owed him. 24As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins. 25But he didn't have any money to pay what he owed. The king ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all he owned, in order to pay the debt. 26The official got down on his knees and began begging, "Have pity on me, and I will pay you every cent I owe!" 27The king felt sorry for him and let him go free. He even told the official that he did not have to pay back the money. 28As the official was leaving, he happened to meet another official, who owed him a hundred silver coins. So he grabbed the man by the throat. He started choking him and said, "Pay me what you owe!" 29The man got down on his knees and began begging, "Have pity on me, and I will pay you back." 30But the first official refused to have pity. Instead, he went and had the other official put in jail until he could pay what he owed. 31When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. 32The king called the first official back in and said, "You're an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. 33Don't you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?" 34The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. 35That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don't forgive each of my followers with all your heart.

Matthew 19

Teaching about Divorce
(Mark 10.1-12)
1When Jesus finished teaching, he left Galilee and went to the part of Judea that is east of the Jordan River. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed their sick people. 3Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. They came up to him and asked, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" 4Jesus answered, "Don't you know that in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? 5That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. 6Then they are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together." 7The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Why did Moses say that a man could write out divorce papers and send his wife away?" 8Jesus replied, "You are so heartless! That's why Moses allowed you to divorce your wife. But from the beginning God did not intend it to be that way. 9I say that if your wife has not committed some terrible sexual sin, a] you must not divorce her to marry someone else. If you do, you are unfaithful." 10The disciples said, "If that's how it is between a man and a woman, it's better not to get married." 11Jesus told them, "Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. 12Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so."
  1. Matthew 19:9some terrible sexual sin: See the note at 5.32.

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 23:4shepherd'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 5:22-23 (Contemporary English Version)

22Sinners are trapped and caught by their own evil deeds. 23They get lost and die because of their foolishness and lack of self-control.

Verse of the Day

“God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.” - John 4:24
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version. for the Day
American broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow wrote, “When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.”