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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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bible Readings for November 8, 2014

Today our passages are Ezekiel 18:1–19:14; Hebrews 9:1-10; Psalm 106:32-48; and Proverbs 27:10. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.

Ezekiel 18-19:14 (The Message)

Ezekiel 18

Judged According to the Way You Live
 1-2 God's Message to me: "What do you people mean by going around the country repeating the saying,
    The parents ate green apples,
   The children got the stomachache?
 3-4 "As sure as I'm the living God, you're not going to repeat this saying in Israel any longer. Every soul—man, woman, child—belongs to me, parent and child alike. You die for your own sin, not another's.
 5-9 "Imagine a person who lives well, treating others fairly, keeping good relationships—
         doesn't eat at the pagan shrines,
         doesn't worship the idols so popular in Israel,
         doesn't seduce a neighbor's spouse,
         doesn't indulge in casual sex,
         doesn't bully anyone,
         doesn't pile up bad debts,
         doesn't steal,
         doesn't refuse food to the hungry,
         doesn't refuse clothing to the ill-clad,
         doesn't exploit the poor,
         doesn't live by impulse and greed,
         doesn't treat one person better than another,
   But lives by my statutes and faithfully
         honors and obeys my laws.
   This person who lives upright and well
         shall live a full and true life.
      Decree of God, the Master.

 10-13 "But if this person has a child who turns violent and murders and goes off and does any of these things, even though the parent has done none of them—
         eats at the pagan shrines,
         seduces his neighbor's spouse,
         bullies the weak,
         piles up bad debts,
         admires idols,
         commits outrageous obscenities,
         exploits the poor
"—do you think this person, the child, will live? Not a chance! Because he's done all these vile things, he'll die. And his death will be his own fault.

 14-17 "Now look: Suppose that this child has a child who sees all the sins done by his parent. The child sees them, but doesn't follow in the parent's footsteps—
         doesn't eat at the pagan shrines,
         doesn't worship the popular idols of Israel,
         doesn't seduce his neighbor's spouse,
         doesn't bully anyone,
         doesn't refuse to loan money,
         doesn't steal,
         doesn't refuse food to the hungry,
         doesn't refuse to give clothes to the ill-clad,
         doesn't live by impulse and greed,
         doesn't exploit the poor.
   He does what I say;
         he performs my laws and lives by my statutes.

 17-18 "This person will not die for the sins of the parent; he will live truly and well. But the parent will die for what the parent did, for the sins of—
         oppressing the weak,
         robbing brothers and sisters,
         doing what is dead wrong in the community.

 19-20 "Do you need to ask, 'So why does the child not share the guilt of the parent?'
    "Isn't it plain? It's because the child did what is fair and right. Since the child was careful to do what is lawful and right, the child will live truly and well. The soul that sins is the soul that dies. The child does not share the guilt of the parent, nor the parent the guilt of the child. If you live upright and well, you get the credit; if you live a wicked life, you're guilty as charged.
 21-23 "But a wicked person who turns his back on that life of sin and keeps all my statutes, living a just and righteous life, he'll live, really live. He won't die. I won't keep a list of all the things he did wrong. He will live. Do you think I take any pleasure in the death of wicked men and women? Isn't it my pleasure that they turn around, no longer living wrong but living right—really living?
 24 "The same thing goes for a good person who turns his back on an upright life and starts sinning, plunging into the same vile obscenities that the wicked person practices. Will this person live? I don't keep a list of all the things this person did right, like money in the bank he can draw on. Because of his defection, because he accumulates sin, he'll die.
 25-28 "Do I hear you saying, 'That's not fair! God's not fair!'?
    "Listen, Israel. I'm not fair? You're the ones who aren't fair! If a good person turns away from his good life and takes up sinning, he'll die for it. He'll die for his own sin. Likewise, if a bad person turns away from his bad life and starts living a good life, a fair life, he will save his life. Because he faces up to all the wrongs he's committed and puts them behind him, he will live, really live. He won't die.
 29 "And yet Israel keeps on whining, 'That's not fair! God's not fair.'
    "I'm not fair, Israel? You're the ones who aren't fair.
 30-32 "The upshot is this, Israel: I'll judge each of you according to the way you live. So turn around! Turn your backs on your rebellious living so that sin won't drag you down. Clean house. No more rebellions, please. Get a new heart! Get a new spirit! Why would you choose to die, Israel? I take no pleasure in anyone's death. Decree of God, the Master.
    "Make a clean break! Live!"

Ezekiel 19

A Story of Two Lions
 1-4 Sing the blues over the princes of Israel. Say:     What a lioness was your mother among lions!
She crouched in a pride of young lions.
   Her cubs grew large.
She reared one of her cubs to maturity,
   a robust young lion.
He learned to hunt.
   He ate men.
Nations sounded the alarm.
   He was caught in a trap.
They took him with hooks
   and dragged him to Egypt.

 5-9When the lioness saw she was luckless,
   that her hope for that cub was gone,
She took her other cub
   and made him a strong young lion.
He prowled with the lions,
   a robust young lion.
He learned to hunt.
   He ate men.
He rampaged through their defenses,
   left their cities in ruins.
The country and everyone in it
   was terrorized by the roars of the lion.
The nations got together to hunt him.
   Everyone joined the hunt.
They set out their traps
   and caught him.
They put a wooden collar on him
   and took him to the king of Babylon.
No more would that voice be heard
   disturbing the peace in the mountains of Israel!

 10-14Here's another way to put it:
   Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard,
   transplanted alongside streams of water,
Luxurious in branches and grapes
   because of the ample water.
It grew sturdy branches
   fit to be carved into a royal scepter.
It grew high, reaching into the clouds.
   Its branches filled the horizon,
   and everyone could see it.
Then it was ripped up in a rage
   and thrown to the ground.
The hot east wind shriveled it up
   and stripped its fruit.
The sturdy branches dried out,
   fit for nothing but kindling.
Now it's a stick stuck out in the desert,
   a bare stick in a desert of death,
Good for nothing but making fires,
   campfires in the desert.
Not a hint now of those sturdy branches
   fit for use as a royal scepter!
(This is a sad song, a text for singing the blues.)

Hebrews 9:1-10 (The Message)

Hebrews 9

A Visible Parable
 1-5That first plan contained directions for worship, and a specially designed place of worship. A large outer tent was set up. The lampstand, the table, and "the bread of presence" were placed in it. This was called "the Holy Place." Then a curtain was stretched, and behind it a smaller, inside tent set up. This was called "the Holy of Holies." In it were placed the gold incense altar and the gold-covered ark of the covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, the covenant tablets, and the angel-wing-shadowed mercy seat. But we don't have time to comment on these now.  6-10After this was set up, the priests went about their duties in the large tent. Only the high priest entered the smaller, inside tent, and then only once a year, offering a blood sacrifice for his own sins and the people's accumulated sins. This was the Holy Spirit's way of showing with a visible parable that as long as the large tent stands, people can't just walk in on God. Under this system, the gifts and sacrifices can't really get to the heart of the matter, can't assuage the conscience of the people, but are limited to matters of ritual and behavior. It's essentially a temporary arrangement until a complete overhaul could be made.

Psalm 106:32-48 (The Message)

 32-33 They angered God again at Meribah Springs;
      this time Moses got mixed up in their evil;
   Because they defied God yet again,
      Moses exploded and lost his temper.

 34-39 They didn't wipe out those godless cultures
      as ordered by God;
   Instead they intermarried with the heathen,
      and in time became just like them.
   They worshiped their idols,
      were caught in the trap of idols.
   They sacrificed their sons and daughters
      at the altars of demon gods.
   They slit the throats of their babies,
      murdered their infant girls and boys.
   They offered their babies to Canaan's gods;
      the blood of their babies stained the land.
   Their way of life stank to high heaven;
      they lived like whores.

 40-43 And God was furious—a wildfire anger;
      he couldn't stand even to look at his people.
   He turned them over to the heathen
      so that the people who hated them ruled them.
   Their enemies made life hard for them;
      they were tyrannized under that rule.
   Over and over God rescued them, but they never learned—
      until finally their sins destroyed them.

 44-46 Still, when God saw the trouble they were in
      and heard their cries for help,
   He remembered his Covenant with them,
      and, immense with love, took them by the hand.
   He poured out his mercy on them
      while their captors looked on, amazed.

 47-48 Save us, God, our God!
      Gather us back out of exile
   So we can give thanks to your holy name
      and join in the glory when you are praised!

   Blessed be God, Israel's God!
   Bless now, bless always!
   Oh! Let everyone say Amen!

Proverbs 27:10 (The Message)

 10 Don't leave your friends or your parents' friends
   and run home to your family when things get rough;
Better a nearby friend
   than a distant family.

Verse of the Day

“But if you don't want to worship the LORD, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you're living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you'll worship their gods. I won't. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!” - Joshua 24:15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day
Christian author, ethicist, and theologian in the Reformed tradition, Lewis B. Smedes wrote, “It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited.”

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