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, June 24, 2014

Bible Readings for June 24, 2014

Today our passages are 2 Kings 6:1–7:20; Acts 15:36–16:15; Psalm 142:1-7; and Proverbs 17:24-25. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you missed a day, you can find all the readings at our blog, The Bible in a Year.

2 Kings 6-7:20 (The Message)

2 Kings 6

 1-2 One day the guild of prophets came to Elisha and said, "You can see that this place where we're living under your leadership is getting cramped—we have no elbow room. Give us permission to go down to the Jordan where each of us will get a log. We'll build a roomier place."     Elisha said, "Go ahead."
 3 One of them then said, "Please! Come along with us!"
    He said, "Certainly."
 4-5 He went with them. They came to the Jordan and started chopping down trees. As one of them was felling a timber, his axhead flew off and sank in the river.
    "Oh no, master!" he cried out. "And it was borrowed!"
 6 The Holy Man said, "Where did it sink?"
    The man showed him the place.
    He cut off a branch and tossed it at the spot. The axhead floated up.
 7 "Grab it," he said. The man reached out and took it.
 8 One time when the king of Aram was at war with Israel, after consulting with his officers, he said, "At such and such a place I want an ambush set."
 9 The Holy Man sent a message to the king of Israel: "Watch out when you're passing this place, because Aram has set an ambush there."
 10 So the king of Israel sent word concerning the place of which the Holy Man had warned him.
    This kind of thing happened all the time.
 11 The king of Aram was furious over all this. He called his officers together and said, "Tell me, who is leaking information to the king of Israel? Who is the spy in our ranks?"
 12 But one of his men said, "No, my master, dear king. It's not any of us. It's Elisha the prophet in Israel. He tells the king of Israel everything you say, even what you whisper in your bedroom."
 13 The king said, "Go and find out where he is. I'll send someone and capture him."
    The report came back, "He's in Dothan."
 14 Then he dispatched horses and chariots, an impressive fighting force. They came by night and surrounded the city.
 15 Early in the morning a servant of the Holy Man got up and went out. Surprise! Horses and chariots surrounding the city! The young man exclaimed, "Oh, master! What shall we do?"
 16 He said, "Don't worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side."
 17 Then Elisha prayed, "O God, open his eyes and let him see."
    The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha!
 18 When the Arameans attacked, Elisha prayed to God, "Strike these people blind!" And God struck them blind, just as Elisha said.
 19 Then Elisha called out to them, "Not that way! Not this city! Follow me and I'll lead you to the man you're looking for." And he led them into Samaria.
 20 As they entered the city, Elisha prayed, "O God, open their eyes so they can see where they are." God opened their eyes. They looked around—they were trapped in Samaria!
 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "Father, shall I massacre the lot?"
 22 "Not on your life!" said Elisha. "You didn't lift a hand to capture them, and now you're going to kill them? No sir, make a feast for them and send them back to their master."
 23 So he prepared a huge feast for them. After they ate and drank their fill he dismissed them. Then they returned home to their master. The raiding bands of Aram didn't bother Israel anymore.
 24-25 At a later time, this: Ben-Hadad king of Aram pulled together his troops and launched a siege on Samaria. This brought on a terrible famine, so bad that food prices soared astronomically. Eighty shekels for a donkey's head! Five shekels for a bowl of field greens!
 26 One day the king of Israel was walking along the city wall. A woman cried out, "Help! Your majesty!"
 27 He answered, "If God won't help you, where on earth can I go for help? To the granary? To the dairy?"
 28-29 The king continued, "Tell me your story."
    She said, "This woman came to me and said, 'Give up your son and we'll have him for today's supper; tomorrow we'll eat my son.' So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her, 'Your turn—bring your son so we can have him for supper.' But she had hidden her son away."
 30-31 When the king heard the woman's story he ripped apart his robe. Since he was walking on the city wall, everyone saw that next to his skin he was wearing coarse burlap. And he called out, "God do his worst to me—and more—if Elisha son of Shaphat still has a head on his shoulders at this day's end."
 32 Elisha was sitting at home, the elders sitting with him. The king had already dispatched an executioner, but before the man arrived Elisha spoke to the elders: "Do you know that this murderer has just now sent a man to take off my head? Look, when the executioner arrives, shut the door and lock it. Don't I even now hear the footsteps of his master behind him?"
 33 While he was giving his instructions, the king showed up, accusing, "This trouble is directly from God! And what's next? I'm fed up with God!"

2 Kings 7

 1 Elisha said, "Listen! God's word! The famine's over. This time tomorrow food will be plentiful—a handful of meal for a shekel; two handfuls of grain for a shekel. The market at the city gate will be buzzing."  2 The attendant on whom the king leaned for support said to the Holy Man, "You expect us to believe that? Trapdoors opening in the sky and food tumbling out?"
    "You'll watch it with your own eyes," he said, "but you will not eat so much as a mouthful!"
 3-4 It happened that four lepers were sitting just outside the city gate. They said to one another, "What are we doing sitting here at death's door? If we enter the famine-struck city we'll die; if we stay here we'll die. So let's take our chances in the camp of Aram and throw ourselves on their mercy. If they receive us we'll live, if they kill us we'll die. We've got nothing to lose."
 5-8 So after the sun went down they got up and went to the camp of Aram. When they got to the edge of the camp, surprise! Not a man in the camp! The Master had made the army of Aram hear the sound of horses and a mighty army on the march. They told one another, "The king of Israel hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack us!" Panicked, they ran for their lives through the darkness, abandoning tents, horses, donkeys—the whole camp just as it was—running for dear life. These four lepers entered the camp and went into a tent. First they ate and drank. Then they grabbed silver, gold, and clothing, and went off and hid it. They came back, entered another tent, and looted it, again hiding their plunder.
 9 Finally they said to one another, "We shouldn't be doing this! This is a day of good news and we're making it into a private party! If we wait around until morning we'll get caught and punished. Come on! Let's go tell the news to the king's palace!"
 10 So they went and called out at the city gate, telling what had happened: "We went to the camp of Aram and, surprise!—the place was deserted. Not a soul, not a sound! Horses and donkeys left tethered and tents abandoned just as they were."
 11-12 The gatekeepers got the word to the royal palace, giving them the whole story. Roused in the middle of the night, the king told his servants, "Let me tell you what Aram has done. They knew that we were starving, so they left camp and have hid in the field, thinking, 'When they come out of the city, we'll capture them alive and take the city.'"
 13 One of his advisors answered, "Let some men go and take five of the horses left behind. The worst that can happen is no worse than what could happen to the whole city. Let's send them and find out what's happened."
 14 They took two chariots with horses. The king sent them after the army of Aram with the orders, "Scout them out; find out what happened."
 15 They went after them all the way to the Jordan. The whole way was strewn with clothes and equipment that Aram had dumped in their panicked flight. The scouts came back and reported to the king.
 16 The people then looted the camp of Aram. Food prices dropped overnight—a handful of meal for a shekel; two handfuls of grain for a shekel—God's word to the letter!
 17 The king ordered his attendant, the one he leaned on for support, to be in charge of the city gate. The people, turned into a mob, poured through the gate, trampling him to death. It was exactly what the Holy Man had said when the king had come to see him.
 18-20 Every word of the Holy Man to the king—"A handful of meal for a shekel, two handfuls of grain for a shekel this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria," with the attendant's sarcastic reply to the Holy Man, "You expect us to believe that? Trapdoors opening in the sky and food tumbling out?" followed by the response, "You'll watch it with your own eyes, but you won't eat so much as a mouthful"—proved true. The final stroke came when the people trampled the man to death at the city gate.

Acts 15:36-16:15 (The Message)

 36After a few days of this, Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let's see how they're doing."
 37-41Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn't have him; he wasn't about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations.

Acts 16

A Dream Gave Paul His Map
 1-3Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn't offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.  4-5As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.
 6-8They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.
 9-10That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.
 11-12Putting out from the harbor at Troas, we made a straight run for Samothrace. The next day we tied up at New City and walked from there to Philippi, the main city in that part of Macedonia and, even more importantly, a Roman colony. We lingered there several days.
 13-14On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed!
 15After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, "If you're confident that I'm in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests." We hesitated, but she wouldn't take no for an answer.

Psalm 142:1-7 (The Message)

Psalm 142

A David Prayer—When He Was in the Cave
 1-2 I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy.
   I spill out all my complaints before him,
      and spell out my troubles in detail:

 3-7 "As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away,
      you know how I'm feeling,
   Know the danger I'm in,
      the traps hidden in my path.
   Look right, look left—
      there's not a soul who cares what happens!
   I'm up against it, with no exit—
      bereft, left alone.
   I cry out, God, call out:
      'You're my last chance, my only hope for life!'
   Oh listen, please listen;
      I've never been this low.
   Rescue me from those who are hunting me down;
      I'm no match for them.
   Get me out of this dungeon
      so I can thank you in public.
   Your people will form a circle around me
      and you'll bring me showers of blessing!"


Proverbs 17:24-25 (The Message)

 24 The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard;
   fools look for it everywhere but right here.

 25 A surly, stupid child is sheer pain to a father,
   a bitter pill for a mother to swallow.

Verse of the Day

“But the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and protect you from harm.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American author, aviator, and the wife of fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh, Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. All these and other factors combined, if the circumstances are right, can teach and can lead to rebirth.”

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