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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Monday, September 30, 2013

Bible Readings for September 30, 2013

Today our passages are Isaiah 60:1–62:5; Philippians 1:27–2:18; Psalm 72:1-20; and Proverbs 24:11-12. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Isaiah 60-62:5 (Contemporary English Version)

Isaiah 60

A New Day for Jerusalem
 1Jerusalem, stand up! Shine!    Your new day is dawning.
   The glory of the LORD
   shines brightly on you.
    2The earth and its people
   are covered with darkness,
   but the glory of the LORD
   is shining upon you.
    3Nations and kings
   will come to the light
   of your dawning day.
Crowds Are Coming to Jerusalem
The LORD said:
 4Open your eyes! Look around!    Crowds are coming.
   Your sons are on their way
   from distant lands;
   your daughters are being carried
   like little children.
    5When you see this,
   your faces will glow;
   your hearts will pound
   and swell with pride. [a] Treasures from across the sea
   and the wealth of nations
   will be brought to you.
    6Your country will be covered
   with caravans
   of young camels
   from Midian and Ephah. [b] The people of Sheba [c] will bring gold and spices
   in praise of me, the LORD.
    7Every sheep of Kedar
   will come to you;
   rams from Nebaioth [d] will be yours as well.
   I will accept them as offerings
   and bring honor to my temple.
    8What is that sailing by
   like clouds
   or like doves flying home?
    9On those distant islands
   your people are waiting
   for me, the LORD. [e] Seagoing ships [f] lead the way to bring them home
   with their silver and gold.
   I, the holy LORD God of Israel,
   do this
   to honor your people,
   so they will honor me.
Jerusalem Will Be Rebuilt
The LORD said:
 10Jerusalem, your city walls    will be rebuilt by foreigners;
   their rulers will become
   your slaves.
   I punished you in my anger;
   now I will be kind
   and treat you with mercy.
    11Your gates will be open
   day and night
   to let the rulers of nations
   lead their people to you
   with all their treasures.
    12Any nation or kingdom
   that refuses to serve you
   will be wiped out.
    13Wood from Lebanon's best trees
   will be brought to you--
   the pines, the firs,
   and the cypress trees.
   It will be used in my temple
   to make beautiful
   the place
   where I rest my feet.
    14The descendants of enemies
   who hated and mistreated you
   will kneel at your feet.
   They will say, "You are Zion,
   the city of the LORD,
   the holy God of Israel."
    15You were hated and deserted,
   rejected by everyone.
   But I will make you beautiful,
   a city to be proud of
   for all time to come.
    16You will drain the wealth
   of kings and foreign nations.
   You will know that I,
   the mighty LORD God of Israel,
   have saved and rescued you.
    17I will bring bronze and iron
   in place of wood and stone;
   in place of bronze and iron,
   I will bring gold and silver.
   I will appoint peace and justice
   as your rulers and leaders.
    18Violence, destruction, and ruin
   will never again
   be heard of
   within your borders.
   "Victory" will be the name
   you give to your walls;
   "Praise" will be the name
   you give to your gates.
    19You won't need the light
   of the sun or the moon.
   I, the LORD your God,
   will be your eternal light
   and bring you honor.
    20Your sun will never set
   or your moon go down.
   I, the LORD, will be
   your everlasting light,
   and your days of sorrow
   will come to an end.
    21Your people will live right
   and always own the land;
   they are the trees I planted
   to bring praise to me.
    22Even the smallest family
   will be a powerful nation.
   I am the LORD,
   and when the time comes,
   I will quickly do all this.

Isaiah 61

The Good News of Victory
 1The Spirit of the LORD God    has taken control of me!
   The LORD has chosen and sent me
   to tell the oppressed
   the good news,
   to heal the brokenhearted,
   and to announce freedom
   for prisoners and captives.
    2This is the year
   when the LORD God
   will show kindness to us
   and punish our enemies.
   The LORD has sent me
   to comfort those who mourn,
    3especially in Jerusalem.
   He sent me to give them flowers
   in place of their sorrow,
   olive oil in place of tears,
   and joyous praise
   in place of broken hearts.
   They will be called
   "Trees of Justice,"
   planted by the LORD
   to honor his name.
    4Then they will rebuild cities
   that have been in ruins
   for many generations.
    5They will hire foreigners
   to take care of their sheep
   and their vineyards.
    6But they themselves will be
   priests and servants
   of the LORD our God.
   The treasures of the nations
   will belong to them,
   and they will be famous. [g] 7They were terribly insulted
   and horribly mistreated;
   now they will be greatly blessed
   and joyful forever.
The LORD Loves Justice
 8I, the LORD, love justice!    But I hate robbery
   and injustice. [h] My people, I solemnly promise
   to reward you
   with an eternal agreement.
    9Your descendants will be known
   in every nation.
   All who see them will realize
   that they have been blessed,
   by me, the LORD.
Celebrate and Shout
 10I celebrate and shout    because of my LORD God.
   His saving power and justice
   are the very clothes I wear.
   They are more beautiful
   than the jewelry worn
   by a bride or a groom.
    11The LORD will bring about
   justice and praise
   in every nation on earth,
   like flowers blooming
   in a garden.

Isaiah 62

Jerusalem Will Be Saved
 1Jerusalem, I will speak up    for your good.
   I will never be silent
   till you are safe and secure,
   sparkling like a flame.
    2Your great victory will be seen
   by every nation and king;
   the LORD will even give you
   a new name.
    3You will be a glorious crown,
   a royal headband,
   for the LORD your God.
    4Your name will no longer be
   "Deserted and Childless,"
   but "Happily Married."
   You will please the LORD;
   your country
   will be his bride.
    5Your people will take the land, [i] just as a young man
   takes a bride.
   The LORD will be pleased
   because of you,
   just as a husband is pleased
   with his bride.
  1. Isaiah 60:5 swell with pride: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. Isaiah 60:6 Midian. . . Ephah: Midian was the ancestor of a nomadic tribe of the Arabian desert, east of the Gulf of Aqaba. Ephah was a clan within the tribe of Midian.
  3. Isaiah 60:6 Sheba: Perhaps a place in what is now southwest Arabia. The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon (1 Kings 10.1-13).
  4. Isaiah 60:7 Kedar. . . Nebaioth: Regions in northern Arabia.
  5. Isaiah 60:9 On. . . LORD: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. Isaiah 60:9 Seagoing ships: See the note at 2.16.
  7. Isaiah 61:6 and. . . famous: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. Isaiah 61:8 But. . . injustice: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. Isaiah 62:5 Your. . . land: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Philippians 1:27-2:18 (Contemporary English Version)

27Above all else, you must live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ. Then, whether I visit you or not, I will hear that all of you think alike. I will know that you are working together and that you are struggling side by side to get others to believe the good news.
    28Be brave when you face your enemies. Your courage will show them that they are going to be destroyed, and it will show you that you will be saved. God will make all of this happen, 29and he has blessed you. Not only do you have faith in Christ, but you suffer for him. 30You saw me suffer, and you still hear about my troubles. Now you must suffer in the same way.

Philippians 2

True Humility
 1Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God's Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. 2Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. 3Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. 4Care about them as much as you care about yourselves 5and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: [a] 6Christ was truly God.    But he did not try to remain [b] equal with God.
    7Instead he gave up everything [c] and became a slave,
   when he became
   like one of us.
    8Christ was humble.
   He obeyed God
   and even died
   on a cross.
    9Then God gave Christ
   the highest place
   and honored his name
   above all others.
    10So at the name of Jesus
   everyone will bow down,
   those in heaven, on earth,
   and under the earth.
    11And to the glory
   of God the Father
   everyone will openly agree,
   "Jesus Christ is Lord!"
Lights in the World
 12My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. 13God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him.     14Do everything without grumbling or arguing. 15Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, 16as you hold firmly to [d] the message that gives life. Then on the day when Christ returns, I can take pride in you. I can also know that my work and efforts were not useless. 17Your faith in the Lord and your service are like a sacrifice offered to him. And my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice. [e] If this happens, I will be glad and rejoice with you. 18In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me.
  1. Philippians 2:5 think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Or "think the way you should because you belong to Christ Jesus."
  2. Philippians 2:6 remain: Or "become."
  3. Philippians 2:7 Instead he gave up everything: Greek, "He emptied himself."
  4. Philippians 2:16 hold firmly to: Or "offer them."
  5. Philippians 2:17 my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice: Offerings of water or wine were sometimes poured out when animals were sacrificed on the altar.

Psalm 72:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 72

(By Solomon.)
A Prayer for God To Guide and Help the King
 1Please help the king    to be honest and fair
   just like you, our God.
    2Let him be honest and fair
   with all your people,
   especially the poor.
    3Let peace and justice rule
   every mountain and hill.
    4Let the king defend the poor,
   rescue the homeless,
   and crush
   everyone who hurts them.
    5Let the king live [a] forever like the sun and the moon.
    6Let him be as helpful as rain
   that refreshes the meadows
   and the ground.
    7Let the king be fair
   with everyone,
   and let there be peace
   until the moon
   falls from the sky.
    8Let his kingdom reach
   from sea to sea,
   from the Euphrates River
   across all the earth.
    9Force the desert tribes
   to accept his rule,
   and make his enemies
   crawl in the dirt.
    10Force the rulers of Tarshish [b] and of the islands
   to pay taxes to him.
   Make the kings of Sheba
   and of Seba [c] bring gifts. 11Make other rulers bow down
   and all nations serve him.
    12Do this because the king
   rescues the homeless
   when they cry out,
   and he helps everyone
   who is poor and in need.
    13The king has pity
   on the weak and the helpless
   and protects those in need.
    14He cares when they hurt,
   and he saves them from cruel
   and violent deaths.
    15Long live the king!
   Give him gold from Sheba.
   Always pray for the king
   and praise him each day.
    16Let cities overflow with food
   and hills be covered with grain,
   just like Mount Lebanon.
   Let the people in the cities
   prosper like wild flowers.
    17May the glory of the king
   shine brightly forever
   like the sun in the sky.
   Let him make nations prosper
   and learn to praise him.
    18LORD God of Israel,
   we praise you.
   Only you can work miracles.
    19We will always praise
   your glorious name.
   Let your glory be seen
   everywhere on earth.
   Amen and amen.
    20This ends the prayers
   of David, the son of Jesse.
  1. Psalm 72:5 Let the king live: One ancient translation; Hebrew " Let them worship you."
  2. Psalm 72:10 Tarshish: Possibly a city in Spain.
  3. Psalm 72:10 Sheba. . . Seba: Sheba may have been a place in what is now southwest Arabia, and Seba may have been in southern Arabia.

Proverbs 24:11-12 (Contemporary English Version)

 11 Don't fail to rescue those    who are doomed to die.
    12Don't say, "I didn't know it!"
   God can read your mind.
   He watches each of us
   and knows our thoughts.
   And God will pay us back
   for what we do.

Verse of the Day

“I pray that your love will keep on growing and that you will fully know and understand how to make the right choices. Then you will still be pure and innocent when Christ returns. And until that day,” - Philippians 1:9-10
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

A R Ammons 1998.jpg
Thought for the Day

A. R. Ammons, American poet, wrote, “Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.”

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bible Readings for September 29, 2013

Today our passages are Isaiah 57:14–59:21; Philippians 1:1-26; Psalm 71:1-24; and Proverbs 24:9-10. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

Isaiah 57:14-59:21 (Contemporary English Version)

The LORD Helps the Helpless
 14The LORD says,    "Clear the road!
   Get it ready for my people."
    15Our holy God lives forever
   in the highest heavens,
   and this is what he says:
   Though I live high above
   in the holy place,
   I am here to help those
   who are humble
   and depend only on me.
    16My people, I won't stay angry
   and keep on accusing you.
   After all, I am your Creator.
   I don't want you to give up
   in complete despair.
    17Your greed made me furious.
   That's why I punished you
   and refused to be found,
   while you kept returning
   to your old sinful ways.
    18I know what you are like!
   But I will heal you, lead you,
   and give you comfort,
   until those who are mourning
    19start singing my praises. [a] No matter where you are,
   I, the LORD, will heal you [b] and give you peace.
    20The wicked are a restless sea
   tossing up mud.
    21But I, the LORD, have promised
   that none who are evil
   will live in peace.

Isaiah 58

True Religion
 1Shout the message!    Don't hold back.
   Say to my people Israel:
   You've sinned! You've turned
   against the LORD.
    2Day after day, you worship him
   and seem eager to learn
   his teachings.
   You act like a nation
   that wants to do right
   by obeying his laws.
   You ask him about justice,
   and say you enjoy
   worshiping the LORD.
    3You wonder why the LORD
   pays no attention
   when you go without eating
   and act humble.
   But on those same days
   that you give up eating,
   you think only of yourselves [c] and abuse your workers.
    4You even get angry
   and ready to fight.
   No wonder God won't listen
   to your prayers!
    5Do you think the LORD
   wants you to give up eating
   and to act as humble
   as a bent-over bush?
   Or to dress in sackcloth
   and sit in ashes?
   Is this really what he wants
   on a day of worship?
    6I'll tell you
   what it really means
   to worship the LORD.
   Remove the chains of prisoners
   who are chained unjustly.
   Free those who are abused!
    7Share your food with everyone
   who is hungry;
   share your home
   with the poor and homeless.
   Give clothes to those in need;
   don't turn away your relatives.
    8Then your light will shine
   like the dawning sun,
   and you
   will quickly be healed.
   Your honesty [d] will protect you as you advance,
   and the glory of the LORD
   will defend you from behind.
    9When you beg the LORD for help,
   he will answer, "Here I am!"
   Don't mistreat others
   or falsely accuse them
   or say something cruel.
    10Give your food to the hungry
   and care for the homeless.
   Then your light will shine
   in the dark;
   your darkest hour will be
   like the noonday sun.
    11The LORD will always guide you
   and provide good things to eat
   when you are in the desert.
   He will make you healthy.
   You will be like a garden
   that has plenty of water
   or like a stream
   that never runs dry.
    12You will rebuild those houses
   left in ruins for years;
   you will be known
   as a builder and repairer
   of city walls and streets.
    13But first, you must start
   respecting the Sabbath
   as a joyful day of worship.
   You must stop doing and saying
   whatever you please
   on this special day.
    14Then you will truly enjoy
   knowing the LORD.
   He will let you rule
   from the highest mountains
   and bless you with the land
   of your ancestor Jacob.
   The LORD has spoken!

Isaiah 59

Social Injustice Is Condemned
 1The LORD hasn't lost    his powerful strength;
   he can still hear
   and answer prayers.
    2Your sins are the roadblock
   between you and your God.
   That's why he doesn't answer
   your prayers
   or let you see his face.
    3Your talk is filled with lies
   and plans for violence;
   every finger on your hands
   is covered with blood.
    4You falsely accuse others
   and tell lies in court;
   sin and trouble are the names
   of your children.
    5You eat the deadly eggs
   of poisonous snakes,
   and more snakes crawl out
   from the eggs left to hatch.
   You weave spider webs,
    6but you can't make clothes
   with those webs
   or hide behind them.
   You're sinful and brutal.
    7You hurry off to do wrong
   or murder innocent victims.
   All you think about is sin;
   you leave ruin and destruction
   wherever you go.
    8You don't know how
   to live in peace
   or to be fair with others.
   The roads you make are crooked;
   your followers cannot find peace.
The People Confess Their Sins
 9No one has come to defend us    or to bring about justice.
   We hoped for a day of sunshine,
   but all we found
   was a dark, gloomy night.
    10We feel our way along,
   as if we were blind;
   we stumble at noon,
   as if it were night.
   We can see no better
   than someone dead. [e] 11We growl like bears
   and mourn like doves.
   We hope for justice and victory,
   but they escape us.
    12How often have we sinned
   and turned against you,
   the LORD God?
   Our sins condemn us!
   We have done wrong.
    13We have rebelled and refused
   to follow you.
   Our hearts were deceitful,
   and so we lied;
   we planned to abuse others
   and turn our backs on you.
    14Injustice is everywhere;
   justice seems far away.
   Truth is chased out of court;
   honesty is shoved aside.
    15Everyone tells lies;
   those who turn from crime
   end up ruined.
   When the LORD noticed
   that justice had disappeared,
   he became very displeased.
The LORD Will Rescue His People
 16It disgusted him even more    to learn
   that no one
   would do a thing about it.
   So with his own powerful arm,
   he won victories for truth.
    17Justice was the LORD's armor;
   saving power was his helmet;
   anger and revenge
   were his clothes.
    18Now the LORD will get furious
   and do to his enemies,
   both near and far,
   what they did to his people.
    19He will attack like a flood
   in a mighty windstorm.
   Nations in the west and the east
   will then honor and praise
   his wonderful name.
    20The LORD has promised to rescue
   the city of Zion
   and Jacob's descendants
   who turn from sin.
    21The LORD says: "My people,
   I promise to give you my Spirit
   and my message.
   These will be my gifts to you
   and your families forever.
   I, the LORD, have spoken."
  1. Isaiah 57:19 until. . . praises: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. Isaiah 57:19 heal you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Isaiah 58:3 you think. . . yourselves: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Isaiah 58:8 honesty: Or "honest leader."
  5. Isaiah 59:10 We can. . . dead: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Philippians 1:1-26 (Contemporary English Version)

Philippians 1

 1From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus.    To all of God's people who belong to Christ Jesus at Philippi and to all of your church officials and officers. [a] 2I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
Paul's Prayer for the Church in Philippi
 3Every time I think of you, I thank my God. 4And whenever I mention you in my prayers, it makes me happy. 5This is because you have taken part with me in spreading the good news from the first day you heard about it. 6God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.     7You have a special place in my heart. So it is only natural for me to feel the way I do. All of you have helped in the work that God has given me, as I defend the good news and tell about it here in jail. 8God himself knows how much I want to see you. He knows that I care for you in the same way that Christ Jesus does.
    9I pray that your love will keep on growing and that you will fully know and understand 10how to make the right choices. Then you will still be pure and innocent when Christ returns. And until that day, 11Jesus Christ will keep you busy doing good deeds that bring glory and praise to God.
What Life Means to Paul
 12My dear friends, I want you to know that what has happened to me has helped to spread the good news. 13The Roman guards and all the others know that I am here in jail because I serve Christ. 14Now most of the Lord's followers have become brave and are fearlessly telling the message. [b] 15Some are preaching about Christ because they are jealous and envious of us. Others are preaching because they want to help. 16They love Christ and know that I am here to defend the good news about him. 17But the ones who are jealous of us are not sincere. They just want to cause trouble for me while I am in jail. 18But that doesn't matter. All that matters is that people are telling about Christ, whether they are sincere or not. That is what makes me glad.    I will keep on being glad, 19because I know that your prayers and the help that comes from the Spirit of Christ Jesus will keep me safe. 20I honestly expect and hope that I will never do anything to be ashamed of. Whether I live or die, I always want to be as brave as I am now and bring honor to Christ.
    21If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die, I will gain even more. 22I don't know what to choose. I could keep on living and doing something useful. 23It is a hard choice to make. I want to die and be with Christ, because that would be much better. 24-25But I know that all of you still need me. That's why I am sure I will stay on to help you grow and be happy in your faith. 26Then, when I visit you again, you will have good reason to take great pride in Christ Jesus because of me. [c]
  1. Philippians 1:1 church officials and officers: Or "bishops and deacons."
  2. Philippians 1:14 the message: Some manuscripts have "the Lord's message," and others have "God's message."
  3. Philippians 1:26 take great pride in Christ Jesus because of me: Or "take great pride in me because of Christ Jesus."

Psalm 71:1-24 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 71

A Prayer for God's Protection
 1I run to you, LORD,    for protection.
   Don't disappoint me.
    2You do what is right,
   so come to my rescue.
   Listen to my prayer
   and keep me safe.
    3Be my mighty rock, [a] the place
   where I can always run
   for protection.
   Save me by your command!
   You are my mighty rock
   and my fortress.
    4Come and save me, LORD God,
   from vicious and cruel
   and brutal enemies!
    5I depend on you,
   and I have trusted you
   since I was young.
    6I have relied on you [b] from the day I was born.
   You brought me safely
   through birth,
   and I always praise you.
    7Many people think of me
   as something evil.
   But you are my mighty protector,
    8and I praise and honor you
   all day long.
    9Don't throw me aside
   when I am old;
   don't desert me
   when my strength is gone.
    10My enemies are plotting
   because they want me dead.
    11They say, "Now we'll catch you!
   God has deserted you,
   and no one can save you."
    12Come closer, God!
   Please hurry and help.
    13Embarrass and destroy
   all who want me dead;
   disgrace and confuse
   all who want to hurt me.
    14I will never give up hope
   or stop praising you.
    15All day long I will tell
   the wonderful things you do
   to save your people.
   But you have done much more
   than I could possibly know.
    16I will praise you, LORD God,
   for your mighty deeds
   and your power to save.
    17You have taught me
   since I was a child,
   and I never stop telling about
   your marvelous deeds.
    18Don't leave me when I am old
   and my hair turns gray.
   Let me tell future generations
   about your mighty power.
    19Your deeds of kindness
   are known in the heavens.
   No one is like you!
    20You made me suffer a lot,
   but you will bring me
   back from this deep pit
   and give me new life.
    21You will make me truly great
   and take my sorrow away.
    22I will praise you, God,
   the Holy One of Israel.
   You are faithful.
   I will play the harp
   and sing your praises.
    23You have rescued me!
   I will celebrate and shout,
   singing praises to you
   with all my heart.
    24All day long I will announce
   your power to save.
   I will tell how you disgraced
   and disappointed
   those who wanted to hurt me.
  1. Psalm 71:3 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
  2. Psalm 71:6 I. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 24:9-10 (Contemporary English Version)

9Everyone hates senseless fools
   who think up ways to sin.
 10 Don't give up and be helpless    in times of trouble.

Verse of the Day

“People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do.” - John 3:20-21
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Henry Ward Beecher - Brady-Handy.jpg
Thought for the Day

Henry Ward Beecher, American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, wrote, “I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.”