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, November 11, 2014

Bible Readings for November 11, 2014

Today our passages are Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-39; Psalm 109:1-31; and Proverbs 27:13. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.

Ezekiel 23:1-49 (The Message)

Ezekiel 23

Wild with Lust
 1-4 God's Message came to me: "Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became whores in Egypt, whores from a young age. Their breasts were fondled, their young bosoms caressed. The older sister was named Oholah, the younger was Oholibah. They were my daughters, and they gave birth to sons and daughters.     "Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
 5-8 "Oholah started whoring while she was still mine. She lusted after Assyrians as lovers: military men smartly uniformed in blue, ambassadors and governors, good-looking young men mounted on fine horses. Her lust was unrestrained. She was a whore to the Assyrian elite. She compounded her filth with the idols of those to whom she gave herself in lust. She never slowed down. The whoring she began while young in Egypt she continued, sleeping with men who played with her breasts and spent their lust on her.
 9-10 "So I left her to her Assyrian lovers, for whom she was so obsessed with lust. They ripped off her clothes, took away her children, and then, the final indignity, killed her. Among women her name became Shame—history's judgment on her.
 11-18 "Her sister Oholibah saw all this, but she became even worse than her sister in lust and whoring, if you can believe it. She also went crazy with lust for Assyrians: ambassadors and governors, military men smartly dressed and mounted on fine horses—the Assyrian elite. And I saw that she also had become incredibly filthy. Both women followed the same path. But Oholibah surpassed her sister. When she saw figures of Babylonians carved in relief on the walls and painted red, fancy belts around their waists, elaborate turbans on their heads, all of them looking important—famous Babylonians!—she went wild with lust and sent invitations to them in Babylon. The Babylonians came on the run, fornicated with her, made her dirty inside and out. When they had thoroughly debased her, she lost interest in them. Then she went public with her fornication. She exhibited her sex to the world.
 18-21 "I turned my back on her just as I had on her sister. But that didn't slow her down. She went at her whoring harder than ever. She remembered when she was young, just starting out as a whore in Egypt. That whetted her appetite for more virile, vulgar, and violent lovers—stallions obsessive in their lust. She longed for the sexual prowess of her youth back in Egypt, where her firm young breasts were caressed and fondled.
 22-27 "'Therefore, Oholibah, this is the Message from God, the Master: I will incite your old lovers against you, lovers you got tired of and left in disgust. I'll bring them against you from every direction, Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, and all Assyrians—good-looking young men, ambassadors and governors, elite officers and celebrities—all of them mounted on fine, spirited horses. They'll come down on you out of the north, armed to the teeth, bringing chariots and troops from all sides. I'll turn over the task of judgment to them. They'll punish you according to their rules. I'll stand totally and relentlessly against you as they rip into you furiously. They'll mutilate you, cutting off your ears and nose, killing at random. They'll enslave your children—and anybody left over will be burned. They'll rip off your clothes and steal your jewelry. I'll put a stop to your sluttish sex, the whoring life you began in Egypt. You won't look on whoring with fondness anymore. You won't think back on Egypt with stars in your eyes.
 28-30 "'A Message from God, the Master: I'm at the point of abandoning you to those you hate, to those by whom you're repulsed. They'll treat you hatefully, leave you publicly naked, your whore's body exposed in the cruel glare of the sun. Your sluttish lust will be exposed. Your lust has brought you to this condition because you whored with pagan nations and made yourself filthy with their no-god idols.
 31-34 "'You copied the life of your sister. Now I'll let you drink the cup she drank.

    "'This is the Message of God, the Master:

   "'You'll drink your sister's cup,
   a cup canyon-deep and ocean-wide.
You'll be shunned and taunted
   as you drink from that cup, full to the brim.
You'll be falling-down-drunk and the tears will flow
   as you drink from that cup titanic with terror:
   It's the cup of your sister Samaria.
You'll drink it dry,
   then smash it to bits and eat the pieces,
   and end up tearing at your breasts.
I've given the word—
   Decree of God, the Master.

 35 "'Therefore God, the Master, says, Because you've forgotten all about me, pushing me into the background, you now must pay for what you've done—pay for your sluttish sex and whoring life.'"
 36-39 Then God said to me, "Son of man, will you confront Oholah and Oholibah with what they've done? Make them face their outrageous obscenities, obscenities ranging from adultery to murder. They committed adultery with their no-god idols, sacrificed the children they bore me in order to feed their idols! And there is also this: They've defiled my holy Sanctuary and desecrated my holy Sabbaths. The same day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they walked into my Sanctuary and defiled it. That's what they did—in my house!
 40-42 "Furthermore, they even sent out invitations by special messenger to men far away—and, sure enough, they came. They bathed themselves, put on makeup and provocative lingerie. They reclined on a sumptuous bed, aromatic with incense and oils—my incense and oils! The crowd gathered, jostling and pushing, a drunken rabble. They adorned the sisters with bracelets on their arms and tiaras on their heads.
 43-44 "I said, 'She's burned out on sex!' but that didn't stop them. They kept banging on her doors night and day as men do when they're after a whore. That's how they used Oholah and Oholibah, the worn-out whores.
 45 "Righteous men will pronounce judgment on them, giving out sentences for adultery and murder. That was their lifework: adultery and murder."
 46-47 "God says, 'Let a mob loose on them: Terror! Plunder! Let the mob stone them and hack them to pieces—kill all their children, burn down their houses!
 48-49 "'I'll put an end to sluttish sex in this country so that all women will be well warned and not copy you. You'll pay the price for all your obsessive sex. You'll pay in full for your promiscuous affairs with idols. And you'll realize that I am God, the Master.'"

Hebrews 10:18-39 (The Message)

 11-18Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this:

   This new plan I'm making with Israel
      isn't going to be written on paper,
      isn't going to be chiseled in stone;
   This time "I'm writing out the plan in them,
      carving it on the lining of their hearts."
He concludes,
   I'll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins.
Once sins are taken care of for good, there's no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.

Don't Throw It All Away
 19-21So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body.  22-25So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
 26-31If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God's Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he'll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: "Vengeance is mine, and I won't overlook a thing" and "God will judge his people." Nobody's getting by with anything, believe me.
 32-39Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn't touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don't throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It's still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion.

   It won't be long now, he's on the way;
      he'll show up most any minute.
   But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust;
      if he cuts and runs, I won't be very happy.
But we're not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We'll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.

Psalm 109:1-31 (The Message)

Psalm 109

A David Prayer
 1-5 My God, don't turn a deaf ear to my hallelujah prayer. Liars are pouring out invective on me;
   Their lying tongues are like a pack of dogs out to get me,
      barking their hate, nipping my heels—and for no reason!
   I loved them and now they slander me—yes, me!—
      and treat my prayer like a crime;
   They return my good with evil,
      they return my love with hate.

 6-20 Send the Evil One to accuse my accusing judge;
      dispatch Satan to prosecute him.
   When he's judged, let the verdict be "Guilty,"
      and when he prays, let his prayer turn to sin.
   Give him a short life,
      and give his job to somebody else.
   Make orphans of his children,
      dress his wife in widow's weeds;
   Turn his children into begging street urchins,
      evicted from their homes—homeless.
   May the bank foreclose and wipe him out,
      and strangers, like vultures, pick him clean.
   May there be no one around to help him out,
      no one willing to give his orphans a break.
   Chop down his family tree
      so that nobody even remembers his name.
   But erect a memorial to the sin of his father,
      and make sure his mother's name is there, too—
   Their sins recorded forever before God,
      but they themselves sunk in oblivion.
   That's all he deserves since he was never once kind,
      hounded the afflicted and heartbroken to their graves.
   Since he loved cursing so much,
      let curses rain down;
   Since he had no taste for blessing,
      let blessings flee far from him.
   He dressed up in curses like a fine suit of clothes;
      he drank curses, took his baths in curses.
   So give him a gift—a costume of curses;
      he can wear curses every day of the week!
   That's what they'll get, those out to get me—
      an avalanche of just deserts from God.

 21-25 Oh, God, my Lord, step in;
      work a miracle for me—you can do it!
   Get me out of here—your love is so great!—
      I'm at the end of my rope, my life in ruins.
   I'm fading away to nothing, passing away,
      my youth gone, old before my time.
   I'm weak from hunger and can hardly stand up,
      my body a rack of skin and bones.
   I'm a joke in poor taste to those who see me;
      they take one look and shake their heads.

 26-29 Help me, oh help me, God, my God,
      save me through your wonderful love;
   Then they'll know that your hand is in this,
      that you, God, have been at work.
   Let them curse all they want;
      you do the blessing.
   Let them be jeered by the crowd when they stand up,
      followed by cheers for me, your servant.
   Dress my accusers in clothes dirty with shame,
      discarded and humiliating old ragbag clothes.

 30-31 My mouth's full of great praise for God,
      I'm singing his hallelujahs surrounded by crowds,
   For he's always at hand to take the side of the needy,
      to rescue a life from the unjust judge.


Proverbs 27:13 (The Message)

 13 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
   be wary of accepting what a transient has pawned.

Verse of the Day

“Don't love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.” - 1 John 2:15-16
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

United States Army general, best known for his command of the Seventh United States Army, and later the Third United States Army, in the European Theater of World War II, George S. Patton wrote, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

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