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, May 31, 2014

Bible Readings for May 31, 2014

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 17:1-29; John 19:3-42; Psalm 119:129-152; and Proverbs 16:12-13. 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 Samuel 17:1-29 (The Message)

2 Samuel 17

 1-3 Next Ahithophel advised Absalom, "Let me handpick twelve thousand men and go after David tonight. I'll come on him when he's bone tired and take him by complete surprise. The whole army will run off and I'll kill only David. Then I'll bring the army back to you—a bride brought back to her husband! You're only after one man, after all. Then everyone will be together in peace!"  4 Absalom thought it was an excellent strategy, and all the elders of Israel agreed.
 5 But then Absalom said, "Call in Hushai the Arkite—let's hear what he has to say."
 6 So Hushai came and Absalom put it to him, "This is what Ahithophel advised. Should we do it? What do you say?"
 7-10 Hushai said, "The counsel that Ahithophel has given in this instance is not good. You know your father and his men, brave and bitterly angry—like a bear robbed of her cubs. And your father is an experienced fighter; you can be sure he won't be caught napping at a time like this. Even while we're talking, he's probably holed up in some cave or other. If he jumps your men from ambush, word will soon get back, 'A slaughter of Absalom's army!' Even if your men are valiant with hearts of lions, they'll fall apart at such news, for everyone in Israel knows the kind of fighting stuff your father's made of, and also the men with him.
 11-13 "Here's what I'd advise: Muster the whole country, from Dan to Beersheba, an army like the sand of the sea, and you personally lead them. We'll smoke him out wherever he is, fall on him like dew falls on the earth, and, believe me, there won't be a single survivor. If he hides out in a city, then the whole army will bring ropes to that city and pull it down and into a gully—not so much as a pebble left of it!"
 14 Absalom and all his company agreed that the counsel of Hushai the Arkite was better than the counsel of Ahithophel. (God had determined to discredit the counsel of Ahithophel so as to bring ruin on Absalom.)
 15-16 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, "Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel thus and thus, and I advised them thus and thus. Now send this message as quickly as possible to David: 'Don't spend the night on this side of the river; cross immediately or the king and everyone with him will be swallowed up alive.'"
 17-20 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting around at En Rogel. A servant girl would come and give them messages and then they would go and tell King David, for it wasn't safe to be seen coming into the city. But a soldier spotted them and told Absalom, so the two of them got out of there fast and went to a man's house in Bahurim. He had a well in his yard and they climbed into it. The wife took a rug and covered the well, then spread grain on it so no one would notice anything out of the ordinary. Shortly, Absalom's servants came to the woman's house and asked her, "Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?"
    The woman said, "They were headed toward the river."
    They looked but didn't find them, and then went back to Jerusalem.
 21 When the coast was clear, Ahimaaz and Jonathan climbed out of the well and went on to make their report to King David, "Get up and cross the river quickly; Ahithophel has given counsel against you!"
 22 David and his whole army were soon up and moving and crossed the Jordan. As morning broke there was not a single person who had not made it across the Jordan.
 23 When Ahithophel realized that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and left for his hometown. After making out his will and putting his house in order, he hanged himself and died. He was buried in the family tomb.
 24-26 About the time David arrived at Mahanaim, Absalom crossed the Jordan, and the whole army of Israel with him. Absalom had made Amasa head of the army, replacing Joab. (Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra, an Ishmaelite who had married Abigail, daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab.) Israel and Absalom set camp in Gilead.
 27-29 When David arrived at Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Ammonite Rabbah, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought beds and blankets, bowls and jugs filled with wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey, and curds and cheese from the flocks and herds. They presented all this to David and his army to eat, "because," they said, "the army must be starved and exhausted and thirsty out in this wilderness."

John 19:3-42 (The Message)

John 19

The Thorn Crown of the King
 1-3 So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers, having braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple robe over him, and approached him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then they greeted him with slaps in the face.  4-5Pilate went back out again and said to them, "I present him to you, but I want you to know that I do not find him guilty of any crime." Just then Jesus came out wearing the thorn crown and purple robe.
   Pilate announced, "Here he is: the Man."
 6When the high priests and police saw him, they shouted in a frenzy, "Crucify! Crucify!"
   Pilate told them, "You take him. You crucify him. I find nothing wrong with him."
 7The Jews answered, "We have a law, and by that law he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God."
 8-9When Pilate heard this, he became even more scared. He went back into the palace and said to Jesus, "Where did you come from?"
   Jesus gave no answer.
 10Pilate said, "You won't talk? Don't you know that I have the authority to pardon you, and the authority to—crucify you?"
 11Jesus said, "You haven't a shred of authority over me except what has been given you from heaven. That's why the one who betrayed me to you has committed a far greater fault."
 12At this, Pilate tried his best to pardon him, but the Jews shouted him down: "If you pardon this man, you're no friend of Caesar's. Anyone setting himself up as 'king' defies Caesar."
 13-14When Pilate heard those words, he led Jesus outside. He sat down at the judgment seat in the area designated Stone Court (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was the preparation day for Passover. The hour was noon. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is your king."
 15They shouted back, "Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!"
   Pilate said, "I am to crucify your king?"
   The high priests answered, "We have no king except Caesar."
 16-19Pilate caved in to their demand. He turned him over to be crucified.
The Crucifixion
   They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, Jesus went out to the place called Skull Hill (the name in Hebrew is Golgotha), where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote a sign and had it placed on the cross. It read:

   jesus the nazarene
   the king of the jews.
 20-21Many of the Jews read the sign because the place where Jesus was crucified was right next to the city. It was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. The Jewish high priests objected. "Don't write," they said to Pilate, "'The King of the Jews.' Make it, 'This man said, "I am the King of the Jews."'"
 22Pilate said, "What I've written, I've written."
 23-24When they crucified him, the Roman soldiers took his clothes and divided them up four ways, to each soldier a fourth. But his robe was seamless, a single piece of weaving, so they said to each other, "Let's not tear it up. Let's throw dice to see who gets it." This confirmed the Scripture that said, "They divided up my clothes among them and threw dice for my coat." (The soldiers validated the Scriptures!)
 24-27While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus' mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.
 28Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, "I'm thirsty."
 29-30A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After he took the wine, Jesus said, "It's done . . . complete." Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit.
 31-34Then the Jews, since it was the day of Sabbath preparation, and so the bodies wouldn't stay on the crosses over the Sabbath (it was a high holy day that year), petitioned Pilate that their legs be broken to speed death, and the bodies taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man crucified with Jesus, and then the other. When they got to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn't break his legs. One of the soldiers stabbed him in the side with his spear. Blood and water gushed out.
 35The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report. He saw it himself and is telling the truth so that you, also, will believe.
 36-37These things that happened confirmed the Scripture, "Not a bone in his body was broken," and the other Scripture that reads, "They will stare at the one they pierced."
 38After all this, Joseph of Arimathea (he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because he was intimidated by the Jews) petitioned Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission. So Joseph came and took the body.
 39-42Nicodemus, who had first come to Jesus at night, came now in broad daylight carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. They took Jesus' body and, following the Jewish burial custom, wrapped it in linen with the spices. There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it.

Psalm 119:129-152 (The Message)

 129-136 Every word you give me is a miracle word—
      how could I help but obey?
   Break open your words, let the light shine out,
      let ordinary people see the meaning.
   Mouth open and panting,
      I wanted your commands more than anything.
   Turn my way, look kindly on me,
      as you always do to those who personally love you.
   Steady my steps with your Word of promise
      so nothing malign gets the better of me.
   Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women
      so I can live life your way.
   Smile on me, your servant;
      teach me the right way to live.
   I cry rivers of tears
      because nobody's living by your book!

 137-144 You are right and you do right, God;
      your decisions are right on target.
   You rightly instruct us in how to live
      ever faithful to you.
   My rivals nearly did me in,
      they persistently ignored your commandments.
   Your promise has been tested through and through,
      and I, your servant, love it dearly.
   I'm too young to be important,
      but I don't forget what you tell me.
   Your righteousness is eternally right,
      your revelation is the only truth.
   Even though troubles came down on me hard,
      your commands always gave me delight.
   The way you tell me to live is always right;
      help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.

 145-152 I call out at the top of my lungs,
      "God! Answer! I'll do whatever you say."
   I called to you, "Save me
      so I can carry out all your instructions."
   I was up before sunrise,
      crying for help, hoping for a word from you.
   I stayed awake all night,
      prayerfully pondering your promise.
   In your love, listen to me;
      in your justice, God, keep me alive.
   As those out to get me come closer and closer,
      they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;
   But you're the closest of all to me, God,
      and all your judgments true.
   I've known all along from the evidence of your words
      that you meant them to last forever.

Proverbs 16:12-13 (The Message)

 12 Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds;
   sound leadership has a moral foundation.

 13 Good leaders cultivate honest speech;
   they love advisors who tell them the truth.

Verse of the Day

“With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God's trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Jim-rohn-PASSES-AWAY.jpgThought for the Day

American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn wrote, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bible Readings for May 30, 2014

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 15:23–16:23; John 18:25–19:2; Psalm 119:113-128; and Proverbs 16:10-11. 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 Samuel 15:23-16:23 (The Message)

 23-24 The whole country was weeping in loud lament as all the people passed by. As the king crossed the Brook Kidron, the army headed for the road to the wilderness. Zadok was also there, the Levites with him, carrying God's Chest of the Covenant. They set the Chest of God down, Abiathar standing by, until all the people had evacuated the city.
 25-26 Then the king ordered Zadok, "Take the Chest back to the city. If I get back in God's good graces, he'll bring me back and show me where the Chest has been set down. But if he says, 'I'm not pleased with you'—well, he can then do with me whatever he pleases."
 27-30 The king directed Zadok the priest, "Here's the plan: Return to the city peacefully, with Ahimaaz your son and Jonathan, Abiathar's son, with you. I'll wait at a spot in the wilderness across the river, until I get word from you telling us what's up." So Zadok and Abiathar took the Chest of God back to Jerusalem and placed it there, while David went up the Mount of Olives weeping, head covered but barefooted, and the whole army was with him, heads covered and weeping as they ascended.
 31 David was told, "Ahithophel has joined the conspirators with Absalom." He prayed, "Oh, God—turn Ahithophel's counsel to foolishness."
 32-36 As David approached the top of the hill where God was worshiped, Hushai the Arkite, clothes ripped to shreds and dirt on his head, was there waiting for him. David said, "If you come with me, you'll be just one more piece of luggage. Go back to the city and say to Absalom, 'I'm ready to be your servant, O King; I used to be your father's servant, now I'm your servant.' Do that and you'll be able to confuse Ahithophel's counsel for me. The priests Zadok and Abiathar are already there; whatever information you pick up in the palace, tell them. Their two sons—Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan—are there with them—anything you pick up can be sent to me by them."
 37 Hushai, David's friend, arrived at the same time Absalom was entering Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 16

 1 Shortly after David passed the crest of the hill, Mephibosheth's steward Ziba met him with a string of pack animals, saddled and loaded with a hundred loaves of bread, a hundred raisin cakes, a hundred baskets of fresh fruit, and a skin of wine.  2 The king said to Ziba, "What's all this?"
    "The donkeys," said Ziba, "are for the king's household to ride, the bread and fruit are for the servants to eat, and the wine is for drinking, especially for those overcome by fatigue in the wilderness."
 3 The king said, "And where is your master's grandson?"
    "He stayed in Jerusalem," said Ziba. "He said, 'This is the day Israel is going to restore my grandfather's kingdom to me.'"
 4 "Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth," said the king, "is now yours."
    Ziba said, "How can I ever thank you? I'll be forever in your debt, my master and king; may you always look on me with such kindness!"
 5-8 When the king got to Bahurim, a man appeared who had connections with Saul's family. His name was Shimei son of Gera. As he followed along he shouted insults and threw rocks right and left at David and his company, servants and soldiers alike. To the accompaniment of curses he shouted, "Get lost, get lost, you butcher, you hellhound! God has paid you back for all your dirty work in the family of Saul and for stealing his kingdom. God has given the kingdom to your son Absalom. Look at you now—ruined! And good riddance, you pathetic old man!"
 9 Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "This mangy dog can't insult my master the king this way—let me go over and cut off his head!"
 10 But the king said, "Why are you sons of Zeruiah always interfering and getting in the way? If he's cursing, it's because God told him, 'Curse David.' So who dares raise questions?"
 11-12 "Besides," continued David to Abishai and the rest of his servants, "my own son, my flesh and bone, is right now trying to kill me; compared to that this Benjaminite is small potatoes. Don't bother with him; let him curse; he's preaching God's word to me. And who knows, maybe God will see the trouble I'm in today and exchange the curses for something good."
 13 David and his men went on down the road, while Shimei followed along on the ridge of the hill alongside, cursing, throwing stones down on them, and kicking up dirt.
 14 By the time they reached the Jordan River, David and all the men of the company were exhausted. There they rested and were revived.
 15 By this time Absalom and all his men were in Jerusalem.
    And Ahithophel was with them.
 16 Soon after, Hushai the Arkite, David's friend, came and greeted Absalom, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"
 17 Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this the way you show devotion to your good friend? Why didn't you go with your friend David?"
 18-19 "Because," said Hushai, "I want to be with the person that God and this people and all Israel have chosen. And I want to stay with him. Besides, who is there to serve other than the son? Just as I served your father, I'm now ready to serve you."
 20 Then Absalom spoke to Ahithophel, "Are you ready to give counsel? What do we do next?"
 21-22 Ahithophel told Absalom, "Go and sleep with your father's concubines, the ones he left to tend to the palace. Everyone will hear that you have openly disgraced your father, and the morale of everyone on your side will be strengthened." So Absalom pitched a tent up on the roof in public view, and went in and slept with his father's concubines.
 23 The counsel that Ahithophel gave in those days was treated as if God himself had spoken. That was the reputation of Ahithophel's counsel to David; it was the same with Absalom.

John 18:25-19:2 (The Message)

 25Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to get warm. The others there said to him, "Aren't you one of his disciples?"
   He denied it, "Not me."
 26One of the Chief Priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?"
 27Again, Peter denied it. Just then a rooster crowed.
The King of the Jews
 28-29They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor's palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn't enter the palace because they didn't want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. "What charge do you bring against this man?"  30They said, "If he hadn't been doing something evil, do you think we'd be here bothering you?"
 31-32Pilate said, "You take him. Judge him by your law."
   The Jews said, "We're not allowed to kill anyone." (This would confirm Jesus' word indicating the way he would die.)
 33Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, "Are you the 'King of the Jews'?"
 34Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?"
 35Pilate said, "Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?"
 36"My kingdom," said Jesus, "doesn't consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews. But I'm not that kind of king, not the world's kind of king."
 37Then Pilate said, "So, are you a king or not?"
   Jesus answered, "You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice."
 38-39Pilate said, "What is truth?"
   Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, "I find nothing wrong in this man. It's your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the 'King of the Jews'?"
 40They shouted back, "Not this one, but Barabbas!" Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

John 19

The Thorn Crown of the King
 1-3 So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers, having braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple robe over him, and approached him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then they greeted him with slaps in the face.


Psalm 119:113-128 (The Message)

 113-120 I hate the two-faced,
      but I love your clear-cut revelation.
   You're my place of quiet retreat;
      I wait for your Word to renew me.
   Get out of my life, evildoers,
      so I can keep my God's commands.
   Take my side as you promised; I'll live then for sure.
      Don't disappoint all my grand hopes.
   Stick with me and I'll be all right;
      I'll give total allegiance to your definitions of life.
   Expose all who drift away from your sayings;
      their casual idolatry is lethal.
   You reject earth's wicked as so much rubbish;
      therefore I lovingly embrace everything you say.
   I shiver in awe before you;
      your decisions leave me speechless with reverence.

 121-128 I stood up for justice and the right;
      don't leave me to the mercy of my oppressors.
   Take the side of your servant, good God;
      don't let the godless take advantage of me.
   I can't keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you
      to keep your promise to set everything right.
   Let your love dictate how you deal with me;
      teach me from your textbook on life.
   I'm your servant—help me understand what that means,
      the inner meaning of your instructions.
   It's time to act, God;
      they've made a shambles of your revelation!
   Yea-Saying God, I love what you command,
      I love it better than gold and gemstones;
   Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me,
      I despise every deceitful detour.

Proverbs 16:10-11 (The Message)

It Pays to Take Life Seriously
 10 A good leader motivates,
   doesn't mislead, doesn't exploit.

 11 God cares about honesty in the workplace;
   your business is his business.

Verse of the Day
“I praise your promises! I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me.” - Psalm 56:4
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Helen KellerThought for the Day

American author, political activist, and lecturer, Helen Keller wrote, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bible Readings for May 29, 2014

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 14:1–15:22; John 18:1-24; Psalm 119:97-112; and Proverbs 16:8-9. 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 Samuel 14-15:22 (The Message)

2 Samuel 14

 1-3 Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king, deep down, still cared for Absalom. So he sent to Tekoa for a wise woman who lived there and instructed her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in black and don't comb your hair, so you'll look like you've been grieving over a dead loved one for a long time. Then go to the king and tell him this..." Joab then told her exactly what to say.  4 The woman of Tekoa went to the king, bowed deeply before him in homage, and said, "O King, help!"
 5-7 He said, "How can I help?"
    "I'm a widow," she said. "My husband is dead. I had two sons. The two of them got into a fight out in the field and there was no one around to step between them. The one struck the other and killed him. Then the whole family ganged up against me and demanded, 'Hand over this murderer so we can kill him for the life of the brother he murdered!' They want to wipe out the heir and snuff out the one spark of life left to me. And then there would be nothing left of my husband—not so much as a name—on the face of the earth.
 15-17 "So now I've dared come to the king, my master, about all this. They're making my life miserable, and I'm afraid. I said to myself, 'I'll go to the king. Maybe he'll do something! When the king hears what's going on, he'll step in and rescue me from the abuse of the man who would get rid of me and my son and God's inheritance—the works!' As your handmaid, I decided ahead of time, 'The word of my master, the king, will be the last word in this, for my master is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil.' God be with you!"
 8 The king said, "Go home, and I'll take care of this for you."
 9 "I'll take all responsibility for what happens," the woman of Tekoa said. "I don't want to compromise the king and his reputation."
 10 "Bring the man who has been harassing you," the king continued. "I'll see to it that he doesn't bother you anymore."
 11 "Let the king invoke the name of God," said the woman, "so this self-styled vigilante won't ruin everything, to say nothing of killing my son."
    "As surely as God lives," he said, "not so much as a hair of your son's head will be lost."
 12 Then she asked, "May I say one more thing to my master, the king?"
    He said, "Go ahead."
 13-14 "Why, then," the woman said, "have you done this very thing against God's people? In his verdict, the king convicts himself by not bringing home his exiled son. We all die sometime. Water spilled on the ground can't be gathered up again. But God does not take away life. He works out ways to get the exile back."
 18 The king then said, "I'm going to ask you something. Answer me truthfully."
    "Certainly," she said. "Let my master, the king, speak."
 19-20 The king said, "Is the hand of Joab mixed up in this?"
    "On your life, my master king, a body can't veer an inch right or left and get by with it in the royal presence! Yes, it was your servant Joab who put me up to this, and put these very words in my mouth. It was because he wanted to turn things around that your servant Joab did this. But my master is as wise as God's angels in knowing how to handle things on this earth."
 21 The king spoke to Joab. "All right, I'll do it. Go and bring the young man Absalom back."
 22 Joab bowed deeply in reverence and blessed the king. "I'm reassured to know that I'm still in your good graces and have your confidence, since the king is taking the counsel of his servant."
 23-24 Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. The king said, "He may return to his house, but he is not to see me face-to-face." So Absalom returned home, but was not permitted to see the king.
 25-27 This Absalom! There wasn't a man in all Israel talked about so much for his handsome good looks—and not a blemish on him from head to toe! When he cut his hair—he always cut it short in the spring because it had grown so heavy—the weight of the hair from his head was over two pounds! Three sons were born to Absalom, and one daughter. Her name was Tamar—and she was a beauty.
 28-31 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, and not once did he see the king face-to-face. He sent for Joab to get him in to see the king, but Joab still wouldn't budge. He tried a second time and Joab still wouldn't. So he told his servants, "Listen. Joab's field adjoins mine, and he has a crop of barley in it. Go set fire to it." So Absalom's servants set fire to the field. That got him moving—Joab came to Absalom at home and said, "Why did your servants set my field on fire?"
 32 Absalom answered him, "Listen, I sent for you saying, 'Come, and soon. I want to send you to the king to ask, "What's the point of my coming back from Geshur? I'd be better off still there!" Let me see the king face-to-face. If he finds me guilty, then he can put me to death.'"
 33 Joab went to the king and told him what was going on. Absalom was then summoned—he came and bowed deeply in reverence before him. And the king kissed Absalom.

2 Samuel 15

 1-2 As time went on, Absalom took to riding in a horse-drawn chariot, with fifty men running in front of him. Early each morning he would take up his post beside the road at the city gate. When anyone showed up with a case to bring to the king for a decision, Absalom would call him over and say, "Where do you hail from?"     And the answer would come, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel."
 3-6 Then Absalom would say, "Look, you've got a strong case; but the king isn't going to listen to you." Then he'd say, "Why doesn't someone make me a judge for this country? Anybody with a case could bring it to me and I'd settle things fair and square." Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he'd shrug it off and treat him like an equal, making him feel important. Absalom did this to everyone who came to do business with the king and stole the hearts of everyone in Israel.
 7-8 After four years of this, Absalom spoke to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to pay a vow that I made to God. Your servant made a vow when I was living in Geshur in Aram saying, 'If God will bring me back to Jerusalem, I'll serve him with my life.'"
 9 The king said, "Go with my blessing." And he got up and set off for Hebron.
 10-12 Then Absalom sent undercover agents to all the tribes of Israel with the message, "When you hear the blast of the ram's horn trumpet, that's your signal: Shout, 'Absalom is king in Hebron!'" Two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem. But they had been called together knowing nothing of the plot and made the trip innocently. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he managed also to involve Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's advisor, calling him away from his hometown of Giloh. The conspiracy grew powerful and Absalom's supporters multiplied.
 13 Someone came to David with the report, "The whole country has taken up with Absalom!"
 14 "Up and out of here!" called David to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem. "We've got to run for our lives or none of us will escape Absalom! Hurry, he's about to pull the city down around our ears and slaughter us all!"
 15 The king's servants said, "Whatever our master, the king, says, we'll do; we're with you all the way!"
 16-18 So the king and his entire household escaped on foot. The king left ten concubines behind to tend to the palace. And so they left, step by step by step, and then paused at the last house as the whole army passed by him—all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites, and the six hundred Gittites who had marched with him from Gath, went past.
 19-20 The king called out to Ittai the Gittite, "What are you doing here? Go back with King Absalom. You're a stranger here and freshly uprooted from your own country. You arrived only yesterday, and am I going to let you take your chances with us as I live on the road like a gypsy? Go back, and take your family with you. And God's grace and truth go with you!"
 21 But Ittai answered, "As God lives and my master the king lives, where my master is, that's where I'll be—whether it means life or death."
 22 "All right," said David, "go ahead." And they went on, Ittai the Gittite with all his men and all the children he had with him.

John 18:1-24 (The Message)

John 18

Seized in the Garden at Night
 1 Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.  2-4Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, "Who are you after?"
   They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
 5-6He said, "That's me." The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
 7Jesus asked again, "Who are you after?"
   They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
 8-9"I told you," said Jesus, "that's me. I'm the one. So if it's me you're after, let these others go." (This validated the words in his prayer, "I didn't lose one of those you gave.")
 10Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant's name.
 11Jesus ordered Peter, "Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I'm not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?"
 12-14Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
 15-16Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest's courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
 17The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, "Aren't you one of this man's disciples?"
   He said, "No, I'm not."
 18The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.
The Interrogation
 19-21Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, "I've spoken openly in public. I've taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I've said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard."  22When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, "How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!"
 23Jesus replied, "If I've said something wrong, prove it. But if I've spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?"
 24Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.

Psalm 119:97-112 (The Message)

 97-104 Oh, how I love all you've revealed;
      I reverently ponder it all the day long.
   Your commands give me an edge on my enemies;
      they never become obsolete.
   I've even become smarter than my teachers
      since I've pondered and absorbed your counsel.
   I've become wiser than the wise old sages
      simply by doing what you tell me.
   I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil
      so I can spend all my time keeping your Word.
   I never make detours from the route you laid out;
      you gave me such good directions.
   Your words are so choice, so tasty;
      I prefer them to the best home cooking.
   With your instruction, I understand life;
      that's why I hate false propaganda.

 105-112 By your words I can see where I'm going;
      they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
   I've committed myself and I'll never turn back
      from living by your righteous order.
   Everything's falling apart on me, God;
      put me together again with your Word.
   Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
      teach me your holy rules.
   My life is as close as my own hands,
      but I don't forget what you have revealed.
   The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
      but I don't swerve an inch from your course.
   I inherited your book on living; it's mine forever—
      what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
   I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
      I always have and always will.

Proverbs 16:8-9 (The Message)

 8 Far better to be right and poor
   than to be wrong and rich.

 9 We plan the way we want to live,
   but only God makes us able to live it.

Verse of the Day

“The LORD is always kind to those who worship him, and he keeps his promises to their descendants who faithfully obey him.” - Psalm 103:17-18
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

John F. Kennedy, White House photo portrait, looking up.jpg
Thought for the Day

The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy wrote, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bible Readings for May 28, 2014

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 13:1-39; John 17:1-26; Psalm 119:81-96; and Proverbs 16:6-7. 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 Samuel 13:1-39 (The Message)

2 Samuel 13

1-4 Some time later, this happened: Absalom, David's son, had a sister who was very attractive. Her name was Tamar. Amnon, also David's son, was in love with her. Amnon was obsessed with his sister Tamar to the point of making himself sick over her. She was a virgin, so he couldn't see how he could get his hands on her. Amnon had a good friend, Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah. Jonadab was exceptionally streetwise. He said to Amnon, "Why are you moping around like this, day after day—you, the son of the king! Tell me what's eating at you." "In a word, Tamar," said Amnon. "My brother Absalom's sister. I'm in love with her."
5 "Here's what you do," said Jonadab. "Go to bed and pretend you're sick. When your father comes to visit you, say, 'Have my sister Tamar come and prepare some supper for me here where I can watch her and she can feed me.'"
6 So Amnon took to his bed and acted sick. When the king came to visit, Amnon said, "Would you do me a favor? Have my sister Tamar come and make some nourishing dumplings here where I can watch her and be fed by her."
7 David sent word to Tamar who was home at the time: "Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare a meal for him."
8-9 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house. She took dough, kneaded it, formed it into dumplings, and cooked them while he watched from his bed. But when she took the cooking pot and served him, he wouldn't eat.
9-11 Amnon said, "Clear everyone out of the house," and they all cleared out. Then he said to Tamar, "Bring the food into my bedroom, where we can eat in privacy." She took the nourishing dumplings she had prepared and brought them to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she got ready to feed him, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, sister!"
12-13 "No, brother!" she said, "Don't hurt me! This kind of thing isn't done in Israel! Don't do this terrible thing! Where could I ever show my face? And you—you'll be out on the street in disgrace. Oh, please! Speak to the king—he'll let you marry me."
14 But he wouldn't listen. Being much stronger than she, he raped her.
15 No sooner had Amnon raped her than he hated her—an immense hatred. The hatred that he felt for her was greater than the love he'd had for her. "Get up," he said, "and get out!"
16-18 "Oh no, brother," she said. "Please! This is an even worse evil than what you just did to me!"
But he wouldn't listen to her. He called for his valet. "Get rid of this woman. Get her out of my sight! And lock the door after her." The valet threw her out and locked the door behind her.
18-19 She was wearing a long-sleeved gown. (That's how virgin princesses used to dress from early adolescence on.) Tamar poured ashes on her head, then she ripped the long-sleeved gown, held her head in her hands, and walked away, sobbing as she went.
20 Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has your brother Amnon had his way with you? Now, my dear sister, let's keep it quiet—a family matter. He is, after all, your brother. Don't take this so hard." Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's home, bitter and desolate.
21-22 King David heard the whole story and was enraged, but he didn't discipline Amnon. David doted on him because he was his firstborn. Absalom quit speaking to Amnon—not a word, whether good or bad—because he hated him for violating his sister Tamar.
23-24 Two years went by. One day Absalom threw a sheep-shearing party in Baal Hazor in the vicinity of Ephraim and invited all the king's sons. He also went to the king and invited him. "Look, I'm throwing a sheep-shearing party. Come, and bring your servants."
25 But the king said, "No, son—not this time, and not the whole household. We'd just be a burden to you." Absalom pushed, but David wouldn't budge. But he did give him his blessing.
26-27 Then Absalom said, "Well, if you won't come, at least let my brother Amnon come."
"And why," said the king, "should he go with you?" But Absalom was so insistent that he gave in and let Amnon and all the rest of the king's sons go.
28 Absalom prepared a banquet fit for a king. Then he instructed his servants, "Look sharp, now. When Amnon is well into the sauce and feeling no pain, and I give the order 'Strike Amnon,' kill him. And don't be afraid—I'm the one giving the command. Courage! You can do it!"
29-31 Absalom's servants did to Amnon exactly what their master ordered. All the king's sons got out as fast as they could, jumped on their mules, and rode off. While they were still on the road, a rumor came to the king: "Absalom just killed all the king's sons—not one is left!" The king stood up, ripped his clothes to shreds, and threw himself on the floor. All his servants who were standing around at the time did the same.
32-33 Just then, Jonadab, his brother Shimeah's son, stepped up. "My master must not think that all the young men, the king's sons, are dead. Only Amnon is dead. This happened because of Absalom's outrage since the day that Amnon violated his sister Tamar. So my master, the king, mustn't make things worse than they are, thinking that all your sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead."
34 Absalom fled.
Just then the sentry on duty looked up and saw a cloud of dust on the road from Horonaim alongside the mountain. He came and told the king, "I've just seen a bunch of men on the Horonaim road, coming around the mountain."
35-37 Then Jonadab exclaimed to the king, "See! It's the king's sons coming, just as I said!" He had no sooner said the words than the king's sons burst in—loud laments and weeping! The king joined in, along with all the servants—loud weeping, many tears. David mourned the death of his son a long time.
37-39 When Absalom fled, he went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. He was there three years. The king finally gave up trying to get back at Absalom. He had come to terms with Amnon's death.

John 17:1-26 (The Message)

John 17

Jesus' Prayer for His Followers
1-5 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it's time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
6-12I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world;
They'll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

13-19Now I'm returning to you.
I'm saying these things in the world's hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn't join the world's ways,
Just as I didn't join the world's ways.
I'm not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I'm consecrating myself for their sakes
So they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

20-23I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.

24-26Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.

Proverbs 16:6-7 (The Message)

6 Guilt is banished through love and truth;
Fear-of-God deflects evil.

7 When God approves of your life,
even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.

Verse of the Day

“When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad.” - Romans 12:15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (painted portrait).jpg
Thought for the Day

Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bible Readings for May 27, 2014

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 12:1-31; John 16:1-33; Psalm 119:65-80; and Proverbs 16:4-5. 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 Samuel 12:1-31 (The Message)

27-3 But God was not at all pleased with what David had done, and sent Nathan to David. Nathan said to him, "There were two men in the same city—one rich, the other poor. The rich man had huge flocks of sheep, herds of cattle. The poor man had nothing but one little female lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up with him and his children as a member of the family. It ate off his plate and drank from his cup and slept on his bed. It was like a daughter to him.
 4 "One day a traveler dropped in on the rich man. He was too stingy to take an animal from his own herds or flocks to make a meal for his visitor, so he took the poor man's lamb and prepared a meal to set before his guest."
 5-6 David exploded in anger. "As surely as God lives," he said to Nathan, "the man who did this ought to be lynched! He must repay for the lamb four times over for his crime and his stinginess!"
 7-12 "You're the man!" said Nathan. "And here's what God, the God of Israel, has to say to you: I made you king over Israel. I freed you from the fist of Saul. I gave you your master's daughter and other wives to have and to hold. I gave you both Israel and Judah. And if that hadn't been enough, I'd have gladly thrown in much more. So why have you treated the word of God with brazen contempt, doing this great evil? You murdered Uriah the Hittite, then took his wife as your wife. Worse, you killed him with an Ammonite sword! And now, because you treated God with such contempt and took Uriah the Hittite's wife as your wife, killing and murder will continually plague your family. This is God speaking, remember! I'll make trouble for you out of your own family. I'll take your wives from right out in front of you. I'll give them to some neighbor, and he'll go to bed with them openly. You did your deed in secret; I'm doing mine with the whole country watching!"
 13-14 Then David confessed to Nathan, "I've sinned against God."
    Nathan pronounced, "Yes, but that's not the last word. God forgives your sin. You won't die for it. But because of your blasphemous behavior, the son born to you will die."
 15-18 After Nathan went home, God afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he came down sick. David prayed desperately to God for the little boy. He fasted, wouldn't go out, and slept on the floor. The elders in his family came in and tried to get him off the floor, but he wouldn't budge. Nor could they get him to eat anything. On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him. They said, "What do we do now? While the child was living he wouldn't listen to a word we said. Now, with the child dead, if we speak to him there's no telling what he'll do."
 19 David noticed that the servants were whispering behind his back, and realized that the boy must have died.
    He asked the servants, "Is the boy dead?"
    "Yes," they answered. "He's dead."
 20 David got up from the floor, washed his face and combed his hair, put on a fresh change of clothes, then went into the sanctuary and worshiped. Then he came home and asked for something to eat. They set it before him and he ate.
 21 His servants asked him, "What's going on with you? While the child was alive you fasted and wept and stayed up all night. Now that he's dead, you get up and eat."
 22-23 "While the child was alive," he said, "I fasted and wept, thinking God might have mercy on me and the child would live. But now that he's dead, why fast? Can I bring him back now? I can go to him, but he can't come to me."
 24-25 David went and comforted his wife Bathsheba. And when he slept with her, they conceived a son. When he was born they named him Solomon. God had a special love for him and sent word by Nathan the prophet that God wanted him named Jedidiah (God's Beloved).

26-30 Joab, at war in Rabbah against the Ammonites, captured the royal city. He sent messengers to David saying, "I'm fighting at Rabbah, and I've just captured the city's water supply. Hurry and get the rest of the troops together and set up camp here at the city and complete the capture yourself. Otherwise, I'll capture it and get all the credit instead of you." So David marshaled all the troops, went to Rabbah, and fought and captured it. He took the crown from their king's head—very heavy with gold, and with a precious stone in it. It ended up on David's head. And they plundered the city, carrying off a great quantity of loot.

 31 David emptied the city of its people and put them to slave labor using saws, picks, and axes, and making bricks. He did this to all the Ammonite cities. Then David and the whole army returned to Jerusalem.

John 16:1-33 (The Message)

John 16

 1-4 "I've told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he's doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I've told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you'll be well-warned and ready for them.
The Friend Will Come
 4-7"I didn't tell you this earlier because I was with you every day. But now I am on my way to the One who sent me. Not one of you has asked, 'Where are you going?' Instead, the longer I've talked, the sadder you've become. So let me say it again, this truth: It's better for you that I leave. If I don't leave, the Friend won't come. But if I go, I'll send him to you.  8-11"When he comes, he'll expose the error of the godless world's view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He'll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.
 12-15"I still have many things to tell you, but you can't handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won't draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I've said, 'He takes from me and delivers to you.'
 16"In a day or so you're not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me."
Joy Like a River Overflowing
 17-18That stirred up a hornet's nest of questions among the disciples: "What's he talking about: 'In a day or so you're not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me'? And, 'Because I'm on my way to the Father'? What is this 'day or so'? We don't know what he's talking about."  19-20Jesus knew they were dying to ask him what he meant, so he said, "Are you trying to figure out among yourselves what I meant when I said, 'In a day or so you're not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me'? Then fix this firmly in your minds: You're going to be in deep mourning while the godless world throws a party. You'll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness.
 21-23"When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there's no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you'll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You'll no longer be so full of questions.
 23-24"This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I've revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he'll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!
 25-28"I've used figures of speech in telling you these things. Soon I'll drop the figures and tell you about the Father in plain language. Then you can make your requests directly to him in relation to this life I've revealed to you. I won't continue making requests of the Father on your behalf. I won't need to. Because you've gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly. First, I left the Father and arrived in the world; now I leave the world and travel to the Father."
 29-30His disciples said, "Finally! You're giving it to us straight, in plain talk—no more figures of speech. Now we know that you know everything—it all comes together in you. You won't have to put up with our questions anymore. We're convinced you came from God."
 31-33Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."

Psalm 119:65-80 (The Message)

 65-72 Be good to your servant, God;
      be as good as your Word.
   Train me in good common sense;
      I'm thoroughly committed to living your way.
   Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
      but now I'm in step with your Word.
   You are good, and the source of good;
      train me in your goodness.
   The godless spread lies about me,
      but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
   They're bland as a bucket of lard,
      while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
   My troubles turned out all for the best—
      they forced me to learn from your textbook.
   Truth from your mouth means more to me
      than striking it rich in a gold mine.

 73-80 With your very own hands you formed me;
      now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
   When they see me waiting, expecting your Word,
      those who fear you will take heart and be glad.
   I can see now, God, that your decisions are right;
      your testing has taught me what's true and right.
   Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight!
      just the way you promised.
   Now comfort me so I can live, really live;
      your revelation is the tune I dance to.
   Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds;
      they tried to sell me a bill of goods,
      but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel.
   Let those who fear you turn to me
      for evidence of your wise guidance.
   And let me live whole and holy, soul and body,
      so I can always walk with my head held high.

Proverbs 16:4-5 (The Message)

 4 God made everything with a place and purpose;
   even the wicked are included—but for judgment.

 5 God can't stomach arrogance or pretense;
   believe me, he'll put those upstarts in their place.

Verse of the Day

“But I don't care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God's great kindness.” - Acts 20:24
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor, George Washington Carver wrote, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”