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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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bible Readings for April 30, 2013




Today our passages are Judges 11:1–12:15; John 1:1-28; Psalm 101:1-8; and Proverbs 14:13-14. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Judges 11-12:15 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 11

Jephthah
 1-5The leaders of the Gilead clan decided to ask a brave warrior named Jephthah son of Gilead to lead the attack against the Ammonites.    Even though Jephthah belonged to the Gilead clan, he had earlier been forced to leave the region where they had lived. Jephthah was the son of a prostitute, but his half brothers were the sons of his father's wife.
   One day his half brothers told him, " You don't really belong to our family, so you can't have any of the family property." Then they forced Jephthah to leave home.
   Jephthah went to the country of Tob, where he was joined by a number of men who would do anything for money.
   So the leaders of Gilead went to Jephthah and said,
    6" Please come back to Gilead! If you lead our army, we will be able to fight off the Ammonites."
    7" Didn't you hate me?" Jephthah replied. " Weren't you the ones who forced me to leave my family? You're coming to me now, just because you're in trouble."
    8" But we do want you to come back," the leaders said. " And if you lead us in battle against the Ammonites, we will make you the ruler of Gilead."
    9" All right," Jephthah said. " If I go back with you and the LORD lets me defeat the Ammonites, will you really make me your ruler?"
    10" You have our word," the leaders answered. " And the LORD is a witness to what we have said."
    11So Jephthah went back to Mizpah [a] with the leaders of Gilead. The people of Gilead gathered at the place of worship and made Jephthah their ruler. Jephthah also made promises to them.
    12After the ceremony, Jephthah sent messengers to say to the king of Ammon, " Are you trying to start a war? You have invaded my country, and I want to know why!"
    13The king of Ammon replied, " Tell Jephthah that the land really belongs to me, all the way from the Arnon River in the south, to the Jabbok River in the north, and west to the Jordan River. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they stole it. Tell Jephthah to return it to me, and there won't be any war."
    14Jephthah sent the messengers back to the king of Ammon,
    15and they told him that Jephthah had said:
   Israel hasn't taken any territory from Moab or Ammon.
    16When the Israelites came from Egypt, they traveled in the desert to the Red Sea [b] and then to Kadesh.
    17They sent messengers to the king of Edom and said, " Please, let us go through your country." But the king of Edom refused. They also sent messengers to the king of Moab, but he wouldn't let them cross his country either. And so the Israelites stayed at Kadesh.
    18A little later, the Israelites set out into the desert, going east of Edom and Moab, and camping on the eastern side of the Arnon River gorge. The Arnon is the eastern border of Moab, and since the Israelites didn't cross it, they didn't even set foot in Moab.
    19The Israelites sent messengers to the Amorite King Sihon of Heshbon. " Please," they said, " let our people go through your country to get to our own land."
    20Sihon didn't think the Israelites could be trusted, so he called his army together. They set up camp at Jahaz, then they attacked the Israelite camp.
    21But the LORD God helped Israel defeat Sihon and his army. Israel took over all of the Amorite land where Sihon's people had lived,
    22from the Arnon River in the south to the Jabbok River in the north, and from the desert in the east to the Jordan River in the west.
    23The messengers also told the king of Ammon that Jephthah had said:
   The LORD God of Israel helped his nation get rid of the Amorites and take their land. Now do you think you're going to take over that same territory?
    24If Chemosh your god [c] takes over a country and gives it to you, don't you have a right to it? And if the LORD takes over a country and gives it to us, the land is ours!
    25Are you better than Balak the son of Zippor? He was the king of Moab, but he didn't quarrel with Israel or start a war with us.
    26For three hundred years, Israelites have been living in Heshbon and Aroer and the nearby villages, and in the towns along the Arnon River gorge. If the land really belonged to you Ammonites, you wouldn't have waited until now to try to get it back.
    27I haven't done anything to you, but it's certainly wrong of you to start a war. I pray that the LORD will show whether Israel or Ammon is in the right.
    28But the king of Ammon paid no attention to Jephthah's message.
    29Then the LORD's Spirit took control of Jephthah, and Jephthah went through Gilead and Manasseh, raising an army. Finally, he arrived at Mizpah in Gilead, where
    30he promised the LORD, " If you will let me defeat the Ammonites
    31and come home safely, I will sacrifice to you whoever comes out to meet me first."
    32From Mizpah, Jephthah attacked the Ammonites, and the LORD helped him defeat them.
    33Jephthah and his army destroyed the twenty towns between Aroer and Minnith, and others as far as Abel-Keramim. After that, the Ammonites could not invade Israel any more.
   
Jephthah's Daughter
 34When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, the first one to meet him was his daughter. She was playing a tambourine and dancing to celebrate his victory, and she was his only child.     35" Oh!" Jephthah cried. Then he tore his clothes in sorrow and said to his daughter, " I made a sacred promise to the LORD, and I must keep it. Your coming out to meet me has broken my heart."
    36" Father," she said, " you made a sacred promise to the LORD, and he let you defeat the Ammonites. Now, you must do what you promised, even if it means I must die.
    37But first, please let me spend two months, wandering in the hill country with my friends. We will cry together, because I can never get married and have children."
    38" Yes, you may have two months," Jephthah said.
   She and some other girls left, and for two months they wandered in the hill country, crying because she could never get married and have children.
    39Then she went back to her father. He did what he had promised, and she never got married.
   That's why
    40every year, Israelite girls walk around for four days, weeping for [d] Jephthah's daughter.
   

Judges 12

The Ephraim Tribe Fights Jephthah's Army
 1The men of the Ephraim tribe got together an army and went across the Jordan River to Zaphon to meet with Jephthah. They said, " Why did you go to war with the Ammonites without asking us to help? Just for that, we're going to burn down your house with you inside!"     2" But I did ask for your help," Jephthah answered. " That was back when the people of Gilead and I were having trouble with the Ammonites, and you wouldn't do a thing to help us.
    3So when we realized you weren't coming, we risked our lives and attacked the Ammonites. And the LORD let us defeat them. There's no reason for you to come here today to attack me."
    4But the men from Ephraim said, " You people of Gilead are nothing more than refugees from Ephraim. You even live on land that belongs to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh." [e] So Jephthah called together the army of Gilead, then they attacked and defeated the army from Ephraim.
    5The army of Gilead also posted guards at all the places where the soldiers from Ephraim could cross the Jordan River to return to their own land.
   Whenever one of the men from Ephraim would try to cross the river, the guards would say, " Are you from Ephraim?"
   "No," the man would answer, "I'm not from Ephraim."
    6The guards would then tell them to say "Shiboleth," because they knew that people of Ephraim could say "Sibboleth," but not "Shiboleth."
   If the man said "Sibboleth," the guards would grab him and kill him right there. Altogether, forty-two thousand men from Ephraim were killed in the battle and at the Jordan.
    7Jephthah was a leader [f] of Israel for six years, before he died and was buried in his hometown Mizpah [g] in Gilead.
   
Ibzan
 8Ibzan, the next leader [h] of Israel, came from Bethlehem.     9He had thirty daughters and thirty sons, and he let them all marry outside his clan. Ibzan was a leader for seven years,
    10before he died and was buried in Bethlehem.
   
Elon
 11Elon from the Zebulun tribe was the next leader[i] of Israel. He was a leader for ten years,     12before he died and was buried in Aijalon that belonged to the Zebulun tribe.
   
Abdon
 13-15Abdon the son of Hillel was the next leader [j] of Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, and each one of them had his own donkey[k]. Abdon was a leader[l] for eight years, before he died and was buried in his hometown of Pirathon, which is located in the part of the hill country of Ephraim where Amalekites used to live.    
Footnotes:
  1. Judges 11:11 Mizpah: In chapters 10-12, Mizpah is the name of a town in Gilead (see 11.29), not the same town as the Mizpah of chapters 20,21.
  2. Judges 11:16 Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph, here referring to the Gulf of Aqaba, since the term is extended to include the northeastern arm of the Red Sea (see also the note at Exodus 13.18).
  3. Judges 11:24 Chemosh your god: Chemosh was actually the national god of Moab, not Ammon. The land that Ammon was trying to take over had belonged to the Moabites before belonging to the Amorites (see Numbers 21.26). So the Ammonites may have thought that Chemosh controlled it.
  4. Judges 11:40 weeping for: Or " remembering."
  5. Judges 12:4 You people of Gilead. . . Ephraim and Manasseh: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. Judges 12:7 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  7. Judges 12:7 his hometown Mizpah: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. Judges 12:8 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  9. Judges 12:11 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  10. Judges 12:13 follow special rules to stay that way (see Numbers 6.1,21).
  11. Judges 12:13 each. . . donkey: A sign that the family was wealthy.
  12. Judges 12:13 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.

John 1:1-28 (Contemporary English Version)

John 1

The Word of Life
 1In the beginning was the one    who is called the Word.
   The Word was with God
   and was truly God.
    2From the very beginning
   the Word was with God.
    3And with this Word,
   God created all things.
   Nothing was made
   without the Word.
   Everything that was created
    4received its life from him,
   and his life gave light
   to everyone.
    5The light keeps shining
   in the dark,
   and darkness has never
   put it out. [a] 6God sent a man named John,
    7who came to tell
   about the light
   and to lead all people
   to have faith.
    8John wasn't that light.
   He came only to tell
   about the light.
    9The true light that shines
   on everyone
   was coming into the world.
    10The Word was in the world,
   but no one knew him,
   though God had made the world
   with his Word.
    11He came into his own world,
   but his own nation
   did not welcome him.
    12Yet some people accepted him
   and put their faith in him.
   So he gave them the right
   to be the children of God.
    13They were not God's children
   by nature
   or because
   of any human desires.
   God himself was the one
   who made them his children.
    14The Word became
   a human being
   and lived here with us.
   We saw his true glory,
   the glory of the only Son
   of the Father.
   From him all the kindness
   and all the truth of God
   have come down to us.
    15John spoke about him and shouted, "This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born."
    16Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. [b] 17The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.
John the Baptist Tells about Jesus
(Matthew 3.1-12; Mark 1.1-8; Luke 3.15-17)
 19-20The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, "I am not the Messiah." 21Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, "No, I am not!" And when they asked if he were the Prophet, [c] he also said "No!" 22Finally, they said, "Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are!"     23John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, "I am only someone shouting in the desert, `Get the road ready for the Lord!' "
    24Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25They asked him, "Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?"
    26John told them, "I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don't know. 27Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals." 28John said this as he was baptizing east of the Jordan River in Bethany. [d]
Footnotes:
  1. John 1:5 put it out: Or " understood it."
  2. John 1:16 one blessing after another: Or " one blessing in place of another."
  3. John 1:21 the Prophet: Many of the Jewish people expected God to send them a prophet who would be like Moses, but with even greater power (see Deuteronomy 18.15,18).
  4. John 1:28 Bethany: An unknown village east of the Jordan with the same name as the village near Jerusalem.

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 14:13-14 (Contemporary English Version)

13Sorrow may hide
   behind laughter,
   and happiness may end
   in sorrow.
    14You harvest what you plant,
   whether good or bad.




Verse of the Day

“Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head” - Ephesians 4:15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.




Buddha in Sarnath Museum (Dhammajak Mutra).jpgThought for the Day

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha wrote, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bible Readings for April 29, 2013



Today our passages are Judges 9:22–10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; and Proverbs 14:11-12. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

 

Judges 9:22-10:18 (Contemporary English Version)

Abimelech Destroys Shechem
 22Abimelech had been a military commander of Israel for three years,     23-24when God decided to punish him and the leaders of Shechem for killing Gideon's seventy sons.
   So God turned the leaders of Shechem against Abimelech.
    25Then they sent some men to hide on the hilltops and watch for Abimelech and his troops, while they sent others to rob everyone that went by on the road. But Abimelech found out what they were doing.
    26One day, Gaal son of Ebed went to live in Shechem. His brothers moved there too, and soon the leaders of Shechem started trusting him.
    27The time came for the grape harvest, and the people of Shechem went into their vineyards and picked the grapes. They put the grapes in their wine-pits and walked on them to squeeze out the juice in order to make wine. Then they went into the temple of their god and threw a big party. There was a lot of eating and drinking, and before long they were cursing Abimelech.
    28Gaal said:
   Hamor was the founder of Shechem, and one of his descendants should be our ruler. But Abimelech's father was Gideon, so Abimelech isn't really one of us. He shouldn't be our king, and we shouldn't have to obey him or Zebul, who rules Shechem for him.
    29If I were the ruler of Shechem, I'd get rid of that Abimelech. I'd tell him, " Get yourself an even bigger army, and we will still defeat you."
    30Zebul was angry when he found out what Gaal had said.
    31And so he sent some messengers to Abimelech. But they had to pretend to be doing something else, or they would not have been allowed to leave Shechem. [a] Zebul told the messengers to say: Gaal the son of Ebed has come to Shechem along with his brothers, and they have persuaded the people to let Gaal rule Shechem instead of you.
    32This is what I think you should do. Lead your army here during the night and hide in the fields.
    33Get up the next morning at sunrise and rush out of your hiding places to attack the town. Gaal and his followers will come out to fight you, but you will easily defeat them.
    34So one night, Abimelech led his soldiers to Shechem. He divided them into four groups, and they all hid near the town.
    35The next morning, Gaal went out and stood in the opening of the town gate. Abimelech and his soldiers left their hiding places,
    36and Gaal saw them. Zebul was standing there with Gaal, and Gaal remarked, " Zebul, that looks like a crowd of people coming down from the mountaintops."
   " No," Zebul answered, " it's just the shadows of the mountains. It only looks like people moving."
    37" But Zebul, look over there," Gaal said. " There's a crowd coming down from the sacred mountain, [b] and another group is coming along the road from the tree where people talk with the spirits of the dead."
    38Then Zebul replied, " What good is all of your bragging now? You were the one who said Abimelech shouldn't be the ruler of Shechem. Out there is the army that you made fun of. So go out and fight them!"
    39Gaal and the leaders of Shechem went out and fought Abimelech.
    40Soon the people of Shechem turned and ran back into the town. However, Abimelech and his troops were close behind and killed many of them along the way.
    41Abimelech stayed at Arumah, [c] and Zebul forced Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.
    42The next morning, the people of Shechem were getting ready to work in their fields as usual, but someone told Abimelech about it.
    43Abimelech divided his army into three groups and set up an ambush in the fields near Shechem. When the people came out of the town, he and his army rushed out from their hiding places and attacked.
    44Abimelech and the troops with him ran to the town gate and took control of it, while two other groups attacked and killed the people who were in the fields.
    45He and his troops fought in Shechem all day, until they had killed everyone in town. Then he and his men tore down the houses and buildings and scattered salt [d] everywhere.
    46Earlier that day, the leaders of the temple of El Berith [e] at Shechem had heard about the attack. So they went into the temple fortress,
    47but Abimelech found out where they were.
    48He led his troops to Mount Zalmon, where he took an ax and chopped off a tree branch. He lifted the branch onto his shoulder and shouted, " Hurry! Cut off a branch just as I did."
    49When they all had branches, they followed Abimelech back to Shechem. They piled the branches against the fortress and set them on fire, burning down the fortress and killing about one thousand men and women.
    50After destroying Shechem, Abimelech went to Thebez. He surrounded the town and captured it.
    51But there was a tall fortress in the middle of the town, and the town leaders and everyone else went inside. Then they barred the gates and went up to the flat roof.
    52Abimelech and his army rushed to the fortress and tried to force their way inside. Abimelech himself was about to set the heavy wooden doors on fire,
    53when a woman on the roof dropped a large rock [f] on his head and cracked his skull.
    54The soldier who carried his weapons was nearby, and Abimelech told him, " Take out your sword and kill me. I don't want people to say that I was killed by a woman!" So the soldier ran his sword through Abimelech.
    55And when the Israelite soldiers saw that their leader was dead, they went back home.
    56That's how God punished Abimelech for killing his brothers and bringing shame on his father's family.
    57God also punished the people of Shechem for helping Abimelech. [g] Everything happened just as Jotham's curse said it would.
   

Judges 10

Tola
 1Tola was the next person to rescue Israel. He belonged to the Issachar tribe, but he lived in Shamir, a town in the hill country of Ephraim. His father was Puah, and his grandfather was Dodo.     2Tola was a leader [h] of Israel for twenty-three years, then he died and was buried in Shamir.
   
Jair
 3The next leader [i] of Israel was Jair, who lived in Gilead. He was a leader for twenty-two years.     4He had thirty sons, and each son had his own mule and was in charge of one town in Gilead. Those thirty towns are still called The Settlements of Jair. [j]
    5When he died, he was buried in the town of Kamon.
   
Israel Is Unfaithful Again
 6Before long, the Israelites began disobeying the LORD by worshiping Baal, Astarte, and gods from Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia.     7The LORD was angry at Israel and decided to let Philistia and Ammon conquer them.
    8So the same year that Jair died, Israel's army was crushed by these two nations. For eighteen years, Ammon was cruel to the Israelites who lived in Gilead, the region east of the Jordan River that had once belonged to the Amorites.
    9Then the Ammonites began crossing the Jordan and attacking the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Life was miserable for the Israelites.
    10They begged the LORD for help and confessed, " We were unfaithful to you, our LORD. We stopped worshiping you and started worshiping idols of Baal."
    11-12The LORD answered:
   In the past when you came crying to me for help, I rescued you. At one time or another I've rescued you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites. [k]
    13-14But I'm not going to rescue you any more! You've left me and gone off to worship other gods. If you're in such big trouble, go cry to them for help!
    15" We have been unfaithful," the Israelites admitted. " If we must be punished, do it yourself, but please rescue us from the Ammonites."
    16Then the Israelites got rid of the idols of the foreign gods, and they began worshiping only the LORD. Finally, there came a time when the LORD could no longer stand to see them suffer.
   
The Ammonites Invade Gilead
 17The rulers of Ammon called their soldiers together and led them to Gilead, where they set up camp.    The Israelites gathered at Mizpah [l] and set up camp there.
    18The leaders of Gilead asked each other, " Who can lead an attack on the Ammonites?" Then they agreed, " If we can find someone who can lead the attack, we'll make him the ruler of Gilead."
   
Footnotes:
  1. Judges 9:31 But. . . Shechem: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. Judges 9:37 sacred mountain: The Hebrew text has " the navel of the land," which probably refers to Mount Gerizim as a sacred mountain linking heaven and earth.
  3. Judges 9:41 Arumah: About five miles from Shechem.
  4. Judges 9:45 scattered salt: This may have been part of a ceremony to place a curse on the town.
  5. Judges 9:46 temple of El Berith: The Hebrew text also calls all or part of this temple the " Fortress of Shechem." El Berith, " the God of the Agreement," was also known as Baal Berith, " the Lord of the Agreement" (see also 8.33; 9.4).
  6. Judges 9:53 large rock: One that was used in the grinding of grain.
  7. Judges 9:57 helping Abimelech: Hebrew " their evil" (see 9.3,4).
  8. Judges 10:2 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  9. Judges 10:3 each son had his own mule: A sign that the family was wealthy.
  10. Judges 10:4 The Settlements of Jair: Or " Havvoth-Jair."
  11. Judges 10:11 Maonites: Hebrew; one ancient translation " Midianites."
  12. Judges 10:17 Mizpah: In chapters 10-12, Mizpah is the name of a town in Gilead (see 11.29), not the same town as the Mizpah of chapters 20,21.

Luke 24:13-53 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
(Mark 16.12,13)
 13That same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, 15Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. 16But they did not know who he was.     17Jesus asked them, "What were you talking about as you walked along?"
   The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. 18Then the one named Cleopas asked Jesus, "Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn't know what was happening there these last few days?"
    19"What do you mean?" Jesus asked.
   They answered:
   Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. 20Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. 21We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened.
    22Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, 23but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back, saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn't see Jesus either.
    25Then Jesus asked the two disciples, "Why can't you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? 26Didn't you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?" 27Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets. [a] 28When the two of them came near the village where they were going, Jesus seemed to be going farther. 29They begged him, "Stay with us! It's already late, and the sun is going down." So Jesus went into the house to stay with them.
    30After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. 31At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared. 32They said to each other, "When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn't it warm our hearts?" 33So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem.
   The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together. 34And they learned from the group that the Lord was really alive and had appeared to Peter. 35Then the disciples from Emmaus told what happened on the road and how they knew he was the Lord when he broke the bread.
   
What Jesus' Followers Must Do
(Matthew 28.16-20; Mark 16.14-18; John 20.19-23; Acts 1.6-8)
 36While Jesus' disciples were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and greeted them. 37They were frightened and terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost.     38But Jesus said, "Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt? 39Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don't have flesh and bones as you see I have."
    40After Jesus said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41The disciples were so glad and amazed that they could not believe it. Jesus then asked them, "Do you have something to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43He took it and ate it as they watched.
    44Jesus said to them, "While I was still with you, I told you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Books of the Prophets, and in the Psalms [b] had to happen." 45Then he helped them understand the Scriptures. 46He told them:
   The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. 47They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven. So beginning in Jerusalem, 48you must tell everything that has happened. 49I will send you the one my Father has promised, [c] but you must stay in the city until you are given power from heaven.
Jesus Returns to Heaven
(Mark 16.19,20; Acts 1.9-11)
 50Jesus led his disciples out to Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them. 51As he was doing this, he left and was taken up to heaven. [d] 52After his disciples had worshiped him, [e] they returned to Jerusalem and were very happy. 53They spent their time in the temple, praising God.
Footnotes:
  1. Luke 24:27 the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets: See the note at 16.16.
  2. Luke 24:44 Psalms: The Jewish Scriptures were made up of three parts: (1) the Law of Moses, (2) the Books of the Prophets, (3) and the Writings, which included the Psalms. Sometimes the Scriptures were just called the Law or the Law (of Moses) and the Books of the Prophets.
  3. Luke 24:49 the one my Father has promised: Jesus means the Holy Spirit.
  4. Luke 24:51 and was taken up to heaven: These words are not in some manuscripts.
  5. Luke 24:52 After his disciples had worshiped him: These words are not in some manuscripts.

Psalm 100:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 100

(A psalm of praise.)
The LORD Is God
 1Shout praises to the LORD,    everyone on this earth.
    2Be joyful and sing
   as you come in
   to worship the LORD!
    3You know the LORD is God!
   He created us,
   and we belong to him;
   we are his people,
   the sheep in his pasture.
    4Be thankful and praise the LORD
   as you enter his temple.
    5The LORD is good!
   His love and faithfulness
   will last forever.


Proverbs 14:11-12 (Contemporary English Version)

11The tent of a good person
   stands longer
   than the house
   of someone evil.
    12You may think you are
   on the right road
   and still end up dead.




Verse of the Day

“I know that my Savior lives, and at the end he will stand on this earth.” - Job 19:25
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.




Thought for the Day

French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science Henri PoincarĂ© wrote, “It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover. To know how to criticize is good, to know how to create is better.”

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bible Readings for April 28, 2013


Today our passages are Judges 8:18–9:21; Luke 23:44–24:12; Psalm 99:1-9; and Proverbs 14:9-10. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Judges 8:18-9:21 (Contemporary English Version)

18Then Gideon said, " Zebah and Zalmunna, tell me about the men you killed at Tabor."
   " They were a lot like you," the two kings answered. " They were dignified, almost like royalty."
    19" They were my very own brothers!" Gideon said. " I swear by the living LORD that if you had let them live, I would let you live."
    20Gideon turned to Jether, his oldest son. " Kill them!" Gideon said.
   But Jether was young, [a] and he was too afraid to even pull out his sword.
    21" What's the matter, Gideon?" Zebah and Zalmunna asked. " Do it yourself, if you're not too much of a coward!"
   Gideon jumped up and killed them both. Then he took the fancy gold ornaments from the necks of their camels.
   
The Israelites Ask Gideon To Be Their King
 22After the battle with the Midianites, the Israelites said, " Gideon, you rescued us! Now we want you to be our king. Then after your death, your son and then your grandson will rule."     23" No," Gideon replied, " I won't be your king, and my son won't be king either. Only the LORD is your ruler.
    24But I will ask you to do one thing: Give me all the earrings you took from the enemy."
   The enemy soldiers had been Ishmaelites, [b] and they wore gold earrings.
    25The Israelite soldiers replied, " Of course we will give you the earrings." Then they spread out a robe on the ground and tossed the earrings on it.
    26The total weight of this gold was over forty pounds. In addition, there was the gold from the camels' ornaments and from the beautiful jewelry worn by the Midianite kings. Gideon also took their purple robes.
    27-29Gideon returned to his home in Ophrah and had the gold made into a statue, which the Israelites soon started worshiping. They became unfaithful to God, and even Gideon and his family were trapped into worshiping the statue. [c] The Midianites had been defeated so badly that they were no longer strong enough to attack Israel. And so Israel was at peace for the remaining forty years of Gideon's life.
   
Gideon Dies
 30Gideon had many wives and seventy sons.     31He even had a wife [d] who lived at Shechem. [e] They had a son, and Gideon named him Abimelech.
    32Gideon lived to be an old man. And when he died, he was buried in the family tomb in his hometown of Ophrah, which belonged to the Abiezer clan.
    33Soon after Gideon's death, the Israelites turned their backs on God again. They set up idols of Baal and worshiped Baal Berith [f] as their god.
    34The Israelites forgot that the LORD was their God, and that he had rescued them from the enemies who lived around them.
    35Besides all that, the Israelites were unkind to Gideon's family, even though Gideon had done so much for Israel.
   

Judges 9

Abimelech Tries To Be King
 1Abimelech the son of Gideon [g] went to Shechem. While there, he met with his mother's relatives     2and told them to say to the leaders of Shechem, " Do you think it would be good to have all seventy of Gideon's sons ruling us? Wouldn't you rather have just one man be king? Abimelech would make a good king, and he's related to us."
    3Abimelech's uncles talked it over with the leaders of Shechem who agreed, " Yes, it would be better for one of our relatives to be king."
    4Then they gave Abimelech seventy pieces [h] of silver from the temple of their god Baal Berith. [i] Abimelech used the silver to hire a gang of rough soldiers who would do anything for money.
    5Abimelech and his soldiers went to his father's home in Ophrah and brought out Gideon's other sons to a large rock, where they murdered all seventy. Gideon's youngest son Jotham hid from the soldiers, but he was the only one who escaped.
    6The leaders of Shechem, including the priests and the military officers, [j] met at the tree next to the sacred rock [k] in Shechem to crown Abimelech king.
    7Jotham heard what they were doing. So he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted down to the people who were there at the meeting: Leaders of Shechem,
   listen to me,
   and maybe God
   will listen to you.
    8Once the trees searched
   for someone to be king;
   they asked the olive tree,
   " Will you be our king?"
    9But the olive tree replied,
   " My oil brings honor
   to people and gods.
   I won't stop making oil,
   just to have my branches wave
   above the other trees."
    10Then they asked the fig tree,
   " Will you be our king?"
    11But the fig tree replied,
   " I won't stop growing
   my delicious fruit,
   just to have my branches wave
   above the other trees."
    12Next they asked the grape vine,
   " Will you be our king?"
    13But the grape vine replied,
   " My wine brings cheer
   to people and gods.
   I won't stop making wine,
   just to have my branches wave
   above the other trees."
    14Finally, they went
   to the thornbush and asked,
   " Will you be our king?"
    15The thornbush replied,
   " If you really want me
   to be your king,
   then come into my shade
   and I will protect you.
   But if you're deceiving me,
   I'll start a fire
   that will spread out and destroy
   the cedars of Lebanon." [l] After Jotham had finished telling this story, he said:
    16-18My father Gideon risked his life for you when he fought to rescue you from the Midianites. Did you reward Gideon by being kind to his family? No, you did not! You attacked his family and killed all seventy of his sons on that rock.
   And was it right to make Abimelech your king? He's merely the son of my father's slave girl. [m] But just because he's your relative, you made him king of Shechem.
    19So, you leaders of Shechem, if you treated Gideon and his family the way you should have, then I hope you and Abimelech will make each other very happy.
    20But if it was wrong to treat Gideon and his family the way you did, then I pray that Abimelech will destroy you with fire, and I pray that you will do the same to him.
    21Jotham ran off and went to live in the town of Beer, where he could be safe from his brother Abimelech.
   
Footnotes:
  1. Judges 8:20 young: Gideon wanted to insult the kings by having a young boy kill them.
  2. Judges 8:24 Ishmaelites: According to Genesis 25.1,2,12, both Ishmaelites and Midianites were descendants of Abraham. It is possible that in this passage " Ishmaelites" has the meaning " nomadic traders," while " Midianites" (verses 22,26-29) refers to their ethnic origin.
  3. Judges 8:27 statue. . . statue: Or " sacred priestly vest. . . vest."
  4. Judges 8:31 wife: This translates a Hebrew word for a woman who was legally bound to a man, but without the full privileges of a wife.
  5. Judges 8:31 who lived at Shechem: Sometimes marriages were arranged so that the wife lived with her parents, and the husband visited her from time to time.
  6. Judges 8:33 Baal Berith: Or " Baal of the Agreement" or " the Lord of the Agreement."
  7. Judges 9:1 Gideon: The Hebrew text has " Jerubbaal," another name for Gideon (see 6.32).
  8. Judges 9:4 seventy pieces: About 28 ounces.
  9. Judges 9:4 Baal Berith: See the note at 8.33.
  10. Judges 9:6 including the priests and the military officers: The Hebrew text has " and the Millo house," another name for the temple of Baal Berith. It probably also served as a military fortress.
  11. Judges 9:6 tree. . . rock: One ancient translation; Hebrew " propped-up sacred tree."
  12. Judges 9:15 cedars of Lebanon: The cedars that grew in the Lebanon mountains were some of the largest trees in that part of the world.
  13. Judges 9:16 son of. . . slave girl: See 8.31.

Luke 23:44-24:12 (Contemporary English Version)

The Death of Jesus
(Matthew 27.45-56; Mark 15.33-41; John 19.28-30)
 44Around noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until the middle of the afternoon. 45The sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple [a] split down the middle. 46Jesus shouted, "Father, I put myself in your hands!" Then he died. 47When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, "Jesus must really have been a good man!"     48A crowd had gathered to see the terrible sight. Then after they had seen it, they felt brokenhearted and went home. 49All of Jesus' close friends and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood at a distance and watched.
   
Jesus Is Buried
(Matthew 27.57-61; Mark 15.42-47; John 19.38-42)
 50-51There was a man named Joseph, who was from Arimathea in Judea. Joseph was a good and honest man, and he was eager for God's kingdom to come. He was also a member of the council, but he did not agree with what they had decided.     52Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. 53He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in fine cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that had been cut out of solid rock and had never been used. 54It was Friday, and the Sabbath was about to begin. [b] 55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and watched how Jesus' body was placed in the tomb. 56Then they went to prepare some sweet-smelling spices for his burial. But on the Sabbath they rested, as the Law of Moses commands.
   

Luke 24

Jesus Is Alive
(Matthew 28.1-10; Mark 16.1-8; John 20.1-10)
 1Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared. 2When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, 3they went in. But they did not find the body of the Lord [c] Jesus, 4and they did not know what to think. Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them. 5The women were afraid and bowed to the ground. But the men said, "Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive? 6Jesus isn't here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, 7'The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.' " 8Then they remembered what Jesus had said.     9-10Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some other women were the ones who had gone to the tomb. When they returned, they told the eleven apostles and the others what had happened. 11The apostles thought it was all nonsense, and they would not believe.
    12But Peter ran to the tomb. And when he stooped down and looked in, he saw only the burial clothes. Then he returned, wondering what had happened. [d]
Footnotes:
  1. Luke 23:45 curtain in the temple: There were two curtains in the temple. One was at the entrance, and the other separated the holy place from the most holy place that the Jewish people thought of as God's home on earth. The second curtain is probably the one which is meant.
  2. Luke 23:54 the Sabbath was about to begin: The Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday.
  3. Luke 24:3 the Lord: These words are not in some manuscripts.
  4. Luke 24:12 what had happened: Verse 12 is not in some manuscripts.

Psalm 99:1-9 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 99

Our LORD Is King
 1Our LORD, you are King!    You rule from your throne
   above the winged creatures, [a] as people tremble
   and the earth shakes.
    2You are praised in Zion,
   and you control all nations.
    3Only you are God!
   And your power alone,
   so great and fearsome,
   is worthy of praise.
    4You are our mighty King, [b] a lover of fairness,
   who sees that justice is done
   everywhere in Israel.
    5Our LORD and our God,
   we praise you
   and kneel down to worship you,
   the God of holiness!
    6Moses and Aaron were two
   of your priests.
   Samuel was also one of those
   who prayed in your name,
   and you, our LORD,
   answered their prayers.
    7You spoke to them
   from a thick cloud,
   and they obeyed your laws.
    8Our LORD and our God,
   you answered their prayers
   and forgave their sins,
   but when they did wrong,
   you punished them.
    9We praise you, LORD God,
   and we worship you
   at your sacred mountain.
   Only you are God!
   
Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 99:1 winged creatures: See the note at 80.1.
  2. Psalm 99:4 You. . . King: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 14:9-10 (Contemporary English Version)

9Fools don't care
   if they are wrong, [a] but God is pleased
   when people do right.
    10No one else can really know
   how sad or happy you are.
   
Footnotes:
  1. Proverbs 14:9 Fools. . . wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Verse of the Day
“and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross.” - Philippians 2:5-8
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.




Thought for the Day

American author, activist, and civil rights leader Coretta Scott King wrote, “Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience.”