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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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bible Readings for December 31, 2014


Today our passages are Malachi 3:1–4:6; Revelation 22:1-21; Psalm 150:1-6; and Proverbs 31:25-31. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson


Malachi 3-4:6 (The Message)

Malachi 3

The Master You've Been Looking For
 1 "Look! I'm sending my messenger on ahead to clear the way for me. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Leader you've been looking for will enter his Temple—yes, the Messenger of the Covenant, the one you've been waiting for. Look! He's on his way!" A Message from the mouth of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.  2-4But who will be able to stand up to that coming? Who can survive his appearance?
   He'll be like white-hot fire from the smelter's furnace. He'll be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry. He'll take his place as a refiner of silver, as a cleanser of dirty clothes. He'll scrub the Levite priests clean, refine them like gold and silver, until they're fit for God, fit to present offerings of righteousness. Then, and only then, will Judah and Jerusalem be fit and pleasing to God, as they used to be in the years long ago.
 5"Yes, I'm on my way to visit you with Judgment. I'll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless—anyone and everyone who doesn't honor me." A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
 6-7"I am God—yes, I Am. I haven't changed. And because I haven't changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven't been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven't done a thing I've told you. Return to me so I can return to you," says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
   "You ask, 'But how do we return?'
 8-11"Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.
   "You ask, 'How have we robbed you?'
   "The tithe and the offering—that's how! And now you're under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you're robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers." The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
 12"You'll be voted 'Happiest Nation.' You'll experience what it's like to be a country of grace." God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.
The Difference Between Serving God and Not Serving Him
 13God says, "You have spoken hard, rude words to me.    "You ask, 'When did we ever do that?'
 14-15"When you said, 'It doesn't pay to serve God. What do we ever get out of it? When we did what he said and went around with long faces, serious about God-of-the-Angel-Armies, what difference did it make? Those who take life into their own hands are the lucky ones. They break all the rules and get ahead anyway. They push God to the limit and get by with it.'"
 16Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God's name.
 17-18God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, "They're mine, all mine. They'll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you'll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn't, between serving God and not serving him."

Malachi 4

The Sun of Righteousness Will Dawn
 1-3 "Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash— a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you'll tromp on the wicked. They'll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day." God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.  4"Remember and keep the revelation I gave through my servant Moses, the revelation I commanded at Horeb for all Israel, all the rules and procedures for right living.
 5-6"But also look ahead: I'm sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I'll come and put the land under a curse."



Revelation 22:1-21 (The Message)

Revelation 22

 1-5 Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they'll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age.
Don't Put It Away on the Shelf
 6-7The Angel said to me, "These are dependable and accurate words, every one. The God and Master of the spirits of the prophets sent his Angel to show his servants what must take place, and soon. And tell them, 'Yes, I'm on my way!' Blessed be the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."  8-9I, John, saw all these things with my own eyes, heard them with my ears. Immediately when I heard and saw, I fell on my face to worship at the feet of the Angel who laid it all out before me. He objected, "No you don't! I'm a servant just like you and your companions, the prophets, and all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"
 10-11The Angel continued, "Don't seal the words of the prophecy of this book; don't put it away on the shelf. Time is just about up. Let evildoers do their worst and the dirty-minded go all out in pollution, but let the righteous maintain a straight course and the holy continue on in holiness."

12-13"Yes, I'm on my way! I'll be there soon! I'm bringing my payroll with me. I'll pay all people in full for their life's work. I'm A to Z, the First and the Final, Beginning and Conclusion.

 14-15"How blessed are those who wash their robes! The Tree of Life is theirs for good, and they'll walk through the gates to the City. But outside for good are the filthy curs: sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolaters—all who love and live lies.
 16"I, Jesus, sent my Angel to testify to these things for the churches. I'm the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Morning Star."

 17"Come!" say the Spirit and the Bride.
   Whoever hears, echo, "Come!"
   Is anyone thirsty? Come!
   All who will, come and drink,
   Drink freely of the Water of Life!

 18-19I give fair warning to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this book: If you add to the words of this prophecy, God will add to your life the disasters written in this book; if you subtract from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will subtract your part from the Tree of Life and the Holy City that are written in this book.
 20He who testifies to all these things says it again: "I'm on my way! I'll be there soon!"
   Yes! Come, Master Jesus!
 21The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes!



Psalm 150:1-6 (The Message)

Psalm 150


    Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship,
      praise him under the open skies;
   Praise him for his acts of power,
      praise him for his magnificent greatness;
   Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
      praise by strumming soft strings;
   Praise him with castanets and dance,
      praise him with banjo and flute;
   Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
      praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
   Let every living, breathing creature praise God!
      Hallelujah!
 

 

Proverbs 31:25-31 (The Message)

Hymn to a Good Wife
 10-31 A good woman is hard to find,
   and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
   and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
   all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
   and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
   and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
   for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
   then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
   rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
   is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
   diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
   reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
   their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
   and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
   when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
   brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
   and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
   and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
   and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
   her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
   but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
   The woman to be admired and praised
   is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
   Festoon her life with praises!
 
 

 
Verse of the Day
 
The Lord says—who makes a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. - Isaiah 43:16, 18-19
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.



General George C. Marshall, official military photo, 1946.JPEG
Thought for the Day

American soldier and statesman famous for his leadership roles during World War II and the Cold War, George Marshall wrote, “If man does find the solution for world peace it will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known.”

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bible Readings for December 30, 2014


Today our passages are Malachi 1:1–2:17; Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9; and Proverbs 31:10-24. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.


Malachi 1-2:17 (The Message)

Malachi 1

No More of This So-Called Worship!
 1 A Message. God's Word to Israel through Malachi: 2-3God said, "I love you." You replied, "Really? How have you loved us?" "Look at history" (this is God's answer). "Look at how differently I've treated you, Jacob, from Esau: I loved Jacob and hated Esau. I reduced pretentious Esau to a molehill, turned his whole country into a ghost town."  4When Edom (Esau) said, "We've been knocked down, but we'll get up and start over, good as new," God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, "Just try it and see how far you get. When I knock you down, you stay down. People will take one look at you and say, 'Land of Evil!' and 'the God-cursed tribe!'
 5"Yes, take a good look. Then you'll see how faithfully I've loved you and you'll want even more, saying, 'May God be even greater, beyond the borders of Israel!'
 6"Isn't it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I'm your Father, where's the honor? If I'm your Master, where's the respect?" God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: "You priests despise me!
   "You say, 'Not so! How do we despise you?'
   "By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship.
   "You ask, 'What do you mean, "defiling"? What's defiling about it?'
 7-8"When you say, 'The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,' that's defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you're trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn't that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator—how far do you think it will get you?" God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.
 9"Get on your knees and pray that I will be gracious to you. You priests have gotten everyone in trouble. With this kind of conduct, do you think I'll pay attention to you?" God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.
 10"Why doesn't one of you just shut the Temple doors and lock them? Then none of you can get in and play at religion with this silly, empty-headed worship. I am not pleased. The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is not pleased. And I don't want any more of this so-called worship!
Offering God Something Hand-Me-Down,
    Broken, or Useless  11"I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They're saying it everywhere: 'God is greater, this God-of-the-Angel-Armies.'
 12-13"All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, 'Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,' and when you say, 'I'm bored—this doesn't do anything for me.' You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it's a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I'm going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!
 14"A curse on the person who makes a big show of doing something great for me—an expensive sacrifice, say—and then at the last minute brings in something puny and worthless! I'm a great king, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, honored far and wide, and I'll not put up with it!"

Malachi 2

Desecrating the Holiness of God
 1-3 "And now this indictment, you priests! If you refuse to obediently listen, and if you refuse to honor me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, in worship, then I'll put you under a curse. I'll exchange all your blessings for curses. In fact, the curses are already at work because you're not serious about honoring me. Yes, and the curse will extend to your children. I'm going to plaster your faces with rotting garbage, garbage thrown out from your feasts. That's what you have to look forward to!  4-6"Maybe that will wake you up. Maybe then you'll realize that I'm indicting you in order to put new life into my covenant with the priests of Levi, the covenant of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. My covenant with Levi was to give life and peace. I kept my covenant with him, and he honored me. He stood in reverent awe before me. He taught the truth and did not lie. He walked with me in peace and uprightness. He kept many out of the ditch, kept them on the road.
 7-9"It's the job of priests to teach the truth. People are supposed to look to them for guidance. The priest is the messenger of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. But you priests have abandoned the way of priests. Your teaching has messed up many lives. You have corrupted the covenant of priest Levi. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. And so I am showing you up for who you are. Everyone will be disgusted with you and avoid you because you don't live the way I told you to live, and you don't teach my revelation truly and impartially."
 10Don't we all come from one Father? Aren't we all created by the same God? So why can't we get along? Why do we desecrate the covenant of our ancestors that binds us together?
 11-12Judah has cheated on God—a sickening violation of trust in Israel and Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the holiness of God by falling in love and running off with foreign women, women who worship alien gods. God's curse on those who do this! Drive them out of house and home! They're no longer fit to be part of the community no matter how many offerings they bring to God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
 13-15And here's a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don't get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you've broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that's what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don't cheat on your spouse.
 16"I hate divorce," says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, "I hate the violent dismembering of the 'one flesh' of marriage." So watch yourselves. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat.
 17You make God tired with all your talk.
   "How do we tire him out?" you ask.
   By saying, "God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all." And also by saying, "Judgment? God's too nice to judge."



Revelation 21:1-27 (The Message)

Revelation 21

Everything New
 1I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. 2I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. 3-5I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate."  6-8Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it's Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!"
The City of Light
 9-12One of the Seven Angels who had carried the bowls filled with the seven final disasters spoke to me: "Come here. I'll show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb." He took me away in the Spirit to an enormous, high mountain and showed me Holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God, resplendent in the bright glory of God.  12-14The City shimmered like a precious gem, light-filled, pulsing light. She had a wall majestic and high with twelve gates. At each gate stood an Angel, and on the gates were inscribed the names of the Twelve Tribes of the sons of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the west. The wall was set on twelve foundations, the names of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb inscribed on them.
 15-21The Angel speaking with me had a gold measuring stick to measure the City, its gates, and its wall. The City was laid out in a perfect square. He measured the City with the measuring stick: twelve thousand stadia, its length, width, and height all equal. Using the standard measure, the Angel measured the thickness of its wall: 144 cubits. The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. The foundations of the City walls were garnished with every precious gem imaginable: the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate a single pearl.
 21-27The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God—the Sovereign-Strong—and the Lamb are the Temple. The City doesn't need sun or moon for light. God's Glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp! The nations will walk in its light and earth's kings bring in their splendor. Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won't be any night. They'll bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City. Nothing dirty or defiled will get into the City, and no one who defiles or deceives. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will get in.



Psalm 149:1-9 (The Message)

Psalm 149


    Hallelujah! Sing to God a brand-new song,
      praise him in the company of all who love him.
   Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
      Zion's children exult in their King.
   Let them praise his name in dance;
      strike up the band and make great music!
   And why? Because God delights in his people,
      festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!

 5-9 Let true lovers break out in praise,
      sing out from wherever they're sitting,
   Shout the high praises of God,
      brandish their swords in the wild sword-dance—
   A portent of vengeance on the God-defying nations,
      a signal that punishment's coming,
   Their kings chained and hauled off to jail,
      their leaders behind bars for good,
   The judgment on them carried out to the letter
      —and all who love God in the seat of honor!
   Hallelujah!
 

 

Proverbs 31:10-24 (The Message)

Hymn to a Good Wife
 10-31 A good woman is hard to find,
   and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
   and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
   all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
   and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
   and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
   for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
   then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
   rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
   is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
   diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
   reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
   their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
   and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
   when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
   brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
   and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
   and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
   and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
   her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
   but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
   The woman to be admired and praised
   is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
   Festoon her life with praises!
 

 
Verse of the Day
 
“Look, I’m sending you as sheep among wolves. Therefore, be wise as snakes and innocent as doves. - Matthew 10:16
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.



The face of Gandhi in old age—smiling, wearing glasses, and with a white sash over his right shoulderThought for the Day
 
The preeminent leader of Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “My life is my message.”

Bible Readings for December 29, 2014


Today our passages are Zechariah 14:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15; Psalm 148:1-14; and Proverbs 31:8-9. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.


Zechariah 14:1-21 (The Message)

Zechariah 14

The Day Is Coming
 1-2 Note well: God's Judgment Day is on the way: "Plunder will be piled high and handed out.
I'm bringing all the godless nations
   to war against Jerusalem—
Houses plundered,
   women raped,
Half the city taken into exile,
   the other half left behind."
 3-5But then God will march out against the godless nations and fight— a great war! That's the Day he'll take his stand on the Mount of Olives, facing Jerusalem from the east. The Mount of Olives will be split right down the middle, from east to west, leaving a wide valley. Half the mountain will shift north, the other half south. Then you will run for your lives down the valley, your escape route that will take you all the way to Azal. You'll run for your lives, just as you ran on the day of the great earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah. Then my God will arrive and all the holy angels with him.
 6-7What a Day that will be! No more cold nights—in fact, no more nights! The Day is coming—the timing is God's—when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning.
 8What a Day that will be! Fresh flowing rivers out of Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, half to the western sea, flowing year-round, summer and winter!
 9God will be king over all the earth, one God and only one. What a Day that will be!
 10-11The land will stretch out spaciously around Jerusalem—to Geba in the north and Rimmon in the south, with Jerusalem towering at the center, and the commanding city gates—Gate of Benjamin to First Gate to Corner Gate to Hananel Tower to the Royal Winery—ringing the city full of people. Never again will Jerusalem be totally destroyed. From now on it will be a safe city.
 12-14But this is what will happen to all who fought against Jerusalem: God will visit them with a terrible plague. People's flesh will rot off their bones while they are walking around; their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues in their mouths; people will be dying on their feet! Mass hysteria when that happens—total panic! Fellow soldiers fighting and killing each other—holy terror! And then Judah will jump into the fray!
 14-15Treasures from all the nations will be piled high—gold, silver, the latest fashions. The plague will also hit the animals—horses, mules, camels, donkeys. Everything alive in the military camps will be hit by the plague.
 16-19All the survivors from the godless nations that fought against Jerusalem will travel to Jerusalem every year to worship the King, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, and celebrate the Feast of Booths. If any of these survivors fail to make the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship the King, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, there will be no rain. If the Egyptians don't make the pilgrimage and worship, there will be no rain for them. Every nation that does not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths will be hit with the plague. Egypt and any other nation that does not make pilgrimage to celebrate the Feast of Booths gets punished.
 20-21On that Day, the Big Day, all the horses' harness bells will be inscribed "Holy to God." The cooking pots in the Temple of God will be as sacred as chalices and plates on the altar. In fact, all the pots and pans in all the kitchens of Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. People who come to worship, preparing meals and sacrifices, will use them. On that Big Day there will be no buying or selling in the Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.



Revelation 20:1-15 (The Message)

Revelation 20

A Thousand Years
 1-3I saw an Angel descending out of Heaven. He carried the key to the Abyss and a chain—a huge chain. He grabbed the Dragon, that old Snake—the very Devil, Satan himself!—chained him up for a thousand years, dumped him into the Abyss, slammed it shut and sealed it tight. No more trouble out of him, deceiving the nations—until the thousand years are up. After that he has to be let loose briefly.  4-6I saw thrones. Those put in charge of judgment sat on the thrones. I also saw the souls of those beheaded because of their witness to Jesus and the Word of God, who refused to worship either the Beast or his image, refused to take his mark on forehead or hand—they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years! The rest of the dead did not live until the thousand years were up. This is the first resurrection—and those involved most blessed, most holy. No second death for them! They're priests of God and Christ; they'll reign with him a thousand years.
 7-10When the thousand years are up, Satan will be let loose from his cell, and will launch again his old work of deceiving the nations, searching out victims in every nook and cranny of earth, even Gog and Magog! He'll talk them into going to war and will gather a huge army, millions strong. They'll stream across the earth, surround and lay siege to the camp of God's holy people, the Beloved City. They'll no sooner get there than fire will pour out of Heaven and burn them up. The Devil who deceived them will be hurled into Lake Fire and Brimstone, joining the Beast and False Prophet, the three in torment around the clock for ages without end.
Judgment
 11-15I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned. Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth. And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened. Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived. Then Death and Hell were hurled into Lake Fire. This is the second death—Lake Fire. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.
 

 

Psalm 148:1-14 (The Message)

Psalm 148


    Hallelujah! Praise God from heaven,
      praise him from the mountaintops;
   Praise him, all you his angels,
      praise him, all you his warriors,
   Praise him, sun and moon,
      praise him, you morning stars;
   Praise him, high heaven,
      praise him, heavenly rain clouds;
   Praise, oh let them praise the name of God
      he spoke the word, and there they were!

 6 He set them in place
      from all time to eternity;
   He gave his orders,
      and that's it!

 7-12 Praise God from earth,
      you sea dragons, you fathomless ocean deeps;
   Fire and hail, snow and ice,
      hurricanes obeying his orders;
   Mountains and all hills,
      apple orchards and cedar forests;
   Wild beasts and herds of cattle,
      snakes, and birds in flight;
   Earth's kings and all races,
      leaders and important people,
   Robust men and women in their prime,
      and yes, graybeards and little children.

 13-14 Let them praise the name of God
      it's the only Name worth praising.
   His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
      he's built a monument—his very own people!    Praise from all who love God!
      Israel's children, intimate friends of God.
   Hallelujah!



Proverbs 31:8-9 (The Message)



 8-9 "Speak up for the people who have no voice,
   for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
   Stand up for the poor and destitute!"




Verse of the Day

“[Jesus Is the Way to the Father]Jesus said to his disciples, 'Don't be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together.'” - John 14:1-3
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.


 
Thought for the Day
 

American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books, Isaac Asimov wrote, “I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.”

Bible Readings for December 28, 2014


Today our passages are Zechariah 12:1–13:9; Revelation 19:1-21; Psalm 147:1-20; and Proverbs 31:1-7. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.


Zechariah 12-13:9 (The Message)

Zechariah 12

Home Again in Jerusalem
1-2 War Bulletin: God's Message concerning Israel, God's Decree—the very God who threw the skies into space, set earth on a firm foundation, and breathed his own life into men and women: "Watch for this: I'm about to turn Jerusalem into a cup of strong drink that will have the people who have set siege to Judah and Jerusalem staggering in a drunken stupor. 3"On the Big Day, I'll turn Jerusalem into a huge stone blocking the way for everyone. All who try to lift it will rupture themselves. All the pagan nations will come together and try to get rid of it.
4-5"On the Big Day"—this is God speaking—"I'll throw all the war horses into a crazed panic, and their riders along with them. But I'll keep my eye on Judah, watching out for her at the same time that I make the enemy horses go blind. The families of Judah will then realize, 'Why, our leaders are strong and able through God-of-the-Angel-Armies, their personal God.'
6"On the Big Day, I'll turn the families of Judah into something like a burning match in a tinder-dry forest, like a fiercely flaming torch in a barn full of hay. They'll burn up everything and everyone in sight—people to the right, people to the left—while Jerusalem fills up with people moving in and making themselves at home—home again in Jerusalem.
7-8"I, God, will begin by restoring the common households of Judah so that the glory of David's family and the leaders in Jerusalem won't overshadow the ordinary people in Judah. On the Big Day, I'll look after everyone who lives in Jerusalem so that the lowliest, weakest person will be as glorious as David and the family of David itself will be godlike, like the Angel of God leading the people.
9"On the Big Day, I'll make a clean sweep of all the godless nations that fought against Jerusalem.
10-14"Next I'll deal with the family of David and those who live in Jerusalem. I'll pour a spirit of grace and prayer over them. They'll then be able to recognize me as the One they so grievously wounded—that piercing spear-thrust! And they'll weep—oh, how they'll weep! Deep mourning as of a parent grieving the loss of the firstborn child. The lamentation in Jerusalem that day will be massive, as famous as the lamentation over Hadad-Rimmon on the fields of Megiddo:

Everyone will weep and grieve,
the land and everyone in it:
The family of David off by itself
and their women off by themselves;
The family of Nathan off by itself
and their women off by themselves;
The family of Levi off by itself
and their women off by themselves;
The family of Shimei off by itself
and their women off by themselves;
And all the rest of the families off by themselves
and their women off by themselves."

Zechariah 13

Washing Away Sins
1 "On the Big Day, a fountain will be opened for the family of David and all the leaders of Jerusalem for washing away their sins, for scrubbing their stained and soiled lives clean. 2-3"On the Big Day"—this is God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking—"I will wipe out the store-bought gods, erase their names from memory. People will forget they ever heard of them. And I'll get rid of the prophets who polluted the air with their diseased words. If anyone dares persist in spreading diseased, polluting words, his very own parents will step in and say, 'That's it! You're finished! Your lies about God put everyone in danger,' and then they'll stab him to death in the very act of prophesying lies about God—his own parents, mind you!
4-6"On the Big Day, the lying prophets will be publicly exposed and humiliated. Then they'll wish they'd never swindled people with their 'visions.' No more masquerading in prophet clothes. But they'll deny they've even heard of such things: 'Me, a prophet? Not me. I'm a farmer—grew up on the farm.' And if someone says, 'And so where did you get that black eye?' they'll say, 'I ran into a door at a friend's house.'
7-9"Sword, get moving against my shepherd,
against my close associate!"
Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
"Kill the shepherd! Scatter the sheep!
The back of my hand against even the lambs!
All across the country"—God's Decree—
"two-thirds will be devastated
and one-third survive.
I'll deliver the surviving third to the refinery fires.
I'll refine them as silver is refined,
test them for purity as gold is tested.
Then they'll pray to me by name
and I'll answer them personally.
I'll say, 'That's my people.'
They'll say, 'God—my God!'"




Revelation 19:1-21 (The Message)

Revelation 19

The Sound of Hallelujahs
1-3 I heard a sound like massed choirs in Heaven singing, Hallelujah!
The salvation and glory and power are God's—
his judgments true, his judgments just.
He judged the great Whore
who corrupted the earth with her lust.
He avenged on her the blood of his servants.
Then, more singing:
Hallelujah!
The smoke from her burning billows up
to high Heaven forever and ever and ever.
4The Twenty-four Elders and the Four Animals fell to their knees and worshiped God on his Throne, praising,

Amen! Yes! Hallelujah!

5From the Throne came a shout, a command:

Praise our God, all you his servants,
All you who fear him, small and great!

6-8Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder:

Hallelujah!
The Master reigns,
our God, the Sovereign-Strong!
Let us celebrate, let us rejoice,
let us give him the glory!
The Marriage of the Lamb has come;
his Wife has made herself ready.
She was given a bridal gown
of bright and shining linen.
The linen is the righteousness of the saints.

9The Angel said to me, "Write this: 'Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.'" He added, "These are the true words of God!"
10I fell at his feet to worship him, but he wouldn't let me. "Don't do that," he said. "I'm a servant just like you, and like your brothers and sisters who hold to the witness of Jesus. The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
A White Horse and Its Rider
11-16Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that's known only to himself. He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as "Word of God." The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords. 17-18I saw an Angel standing in the sun, shouting to all flying birds in Middle-Heaven, "Come to the Great Supper of God! Feast on the flesh of kings and captains and champions, horses and their riders. Eat your fill of them all—free and slave, small and great!"
19-21I saw the Beast and, assembled with him, earth's kings and their armies, ready to make war against the One on the horse and his army. The Beast was taken, and with him, his puppet, the False Prophet, who used signs to dazzle and deceive those who had taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped his image. They were thrown alive, those two, into Lake Fire and Brimstone. The rest were killed by the sword of the One on the horse, the sword that comes from his mouth. All the birds held a feast on their flesh.



Psalm 147:1-20 (The Message)

Psalm 147


Hallelujah! It's a good thing to sing praise to our God;
praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.

2-6 God's the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
who regathers Israel's scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
we'll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
and pushes the wicked into the ditch.

7-11 Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
play music on your instruments to God,
Who fills the sky with clouds,
preparing rain for the earth,
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
feeding both cattle and crows.
He's not impressed with horsepower;
the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God's attention;
they can depend on his strength.

12-18 Jerusalem, worship God!
Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
he breathes on winter—suddenly it's spring!

19-20 He speaks the same way to Jacob,
speaks words that work to Israel.
He never did this to the other nations;
they never heard such commands.
Hallelujah!
 

 

Proverbs 31:1-7 (The Message)

Proverbs 31

Speak Out for Justice
1The words of King Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him:

2-3 "Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of!
Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God!
Don't dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women,
promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.

4-7 "Leaders can't afford to make fools of themselves,
gulping wine and swilling beer,
Lest, hung over, they don't know right from wrong,
and the people who depend on them are hurt.
Use wine and beer only as sedatives,
to kill the pain and dull the ache
Of the terminally ill,
for whom life is a living death.
 

 
Verse of the Day
 
“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.” - Matthew 11:28
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.


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

American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, Henry Ward Beecher  wrote, “Every charitable act is a stepping stone toward heaven.”

Bible Readings for December 27, 2014


Today our passages are Zechariah 10:1–11:17; Revelation 18:1-24; Psalm 146:1-10; and Proverbs 30:33. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.


Zechariah 10-11:17 (The Message)


Zechariah 10

God's Work of Rebuilding
1 Pray to God for rain—it's time for the spring rain— to God, the rainmaker,
Spring thunderstorm maker,
maker of grain and barley.
2-3"Store-bought gods babble gibberish.
Religious experts spout rubbish.
They pontificate hot air.
Their prescriptions are nothing but smoke.
And so the people wander like lost sheep,
poor lost sheep without a shepherd.
I'm furious with the so-called shepherds.
They're worse than billy goats, and I'll treat them like goats."

3-5God-of-the-Angel-Armies will step in
and take care of his flock, the people of Judah.
He'll revive their spirits,
make them proud to be on God's side.
God will use them in his work of rebuilding,
use them as foundations and pillars,
Use them as tools and instruments,
use them to oversee his work.
They'll be a workforce to be proud of, working as one,
their heads held high, striding through swamps and mud,
Courageous and vigorous because God is with them,
undeterred by the world's thugs.

6-12"I'll put muscle in the people of Judah;
I'll save the people of Joseph.
I know their pain and will make them good as new.
They'll get a fresh start, as if nothing had ever happened.
And why? Because I am their very own God,
I'll do what needs to be done for them.
The people of Ephraim will be famous,
their lives brimming with joy.
Their children will get in on it, too—
oh, let them feel blessed by God!
I'll whistle and they'll all come running.
I've set them free—oh, how they'll flourish!
Even though I scattered them to the far corners of earth,
they'll remember me in the faraway places.
They'll keep the story alive in their children,
and they will come back.
I'll bring them back from the Egyptian west
and round them up from the Assyrian east.
I'll bring them back to sweet Gilead,
back to leafy Lebanon.
Every square foot of land
will be marked by homecoming.
They'll sail through troubled seas, brush aside brash ocean waves.
Roaring rivers will turn to a trickle.
Gaudy Assyria will be stripped bare,
bully Egypt exposed as a fraud.
But my people—oh, I'll make them strong, God-strong!
and they'll live my way." God says so!

Zechariah 11

1-4 Open your borders to the immigrants, proud Lebanon!
Your sentinel trees will burn.
Weep, great pine trees! Mourn, you sister cedars!
Your towering trees are cordwood.
Weep Bashan oak trees!
Your thick forest is now a field of stumps.
Do you hear the wailing of shepherds?
They've lost everything they once owned.
Do you hear the outrage of the lions?
The mighty jungle of the Jordan is wasted.
Make room for the returning exiles!

Breaking the Beautiful Covenant
4-5God commanded me, "Shepherd the sheep that are soon to be slaughtered. The people who buy them will butcher them for quick and easy money. What's worse, they'll get away with it. The people who sell them will say, 'Lucky me! God's on my side; I've got it made!' They have shepherds who couldn't care less about them." 6God's Decree: "I'm washing my hands of the people of this land. From now on they're all on their own. It's dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, and the devil take the hindmost. Don't look for help from me."
7-8So I took over from the crass, money-grubbing owners, and shepherded the sheep marked for slaughter. I got myself two shepherd staffs. I named one Lovely and the other Harmony. Then I went to work shepherding the sheep. Within a month I got rid of the corrupt shepherds. I got tired of putting up with them—and they couldn't stand me.
9And then I got tired of the sheep and said, "I've had it with you—no more shepherding from me. If you die, you die; if you're attacked, you're attacked. Whoever survives can eat what's left."
10-11Then I took the staff named Lovely and broke it across my knee, breaking the beautiful covenant I had made with all the peoples. In one stroke, both staff and covenant were broken. The money-hungry owners saw me do it and knew God was behind it.
12Then I addressed them: "Pay me what you think I'm worth." They paid me an insulting sum, counting out thirty silver coins.
13God told me, "Throw it in the poor box." This stingy wage was all they thought of me and my work! So I took the thirty silver coins and threw them into the poor box in God's Temple.
14Then I broke the other staff, Harmony, across my knee, breaking the concord between Judah and Israel.
15-16God then said, "Dress up like a stupid shepherd. I'm going to install just such a shepherd in this land—a shepherd indifferent to victims, who ignores the lost, abandons the injured, and disdains decent citizens. He'll only be in it for what he can get out of it, using and abusing any and all.
17"Doom to you, useless shepherd,
walking off and leaving the sheep!
A curse on your arm!
A curse on your right eye!
Your arm will hang limp and useless.
Your right eye will go stone blind."





Revelation 18:1-24 (The Message)


Revelation 18

Doom to the City of Darkness
1-8Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven. His authority was immense, his glory flooded earth with brightness, his voice thunderous: Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon, ruined!
A ghost town for demons is all that's left!
A garrison of carrion spirits,
garrison of loathsome, carrion birds.
All nations drank the wild wine of her whoring;
kings of the earth went whoring with her;
entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her.
Just then I heard another shout out of Heaven:

Get out, my people, as fast as you can,
so you don't get mixed up in her sins,
so you don't get caught in her doom.
Her sins stink to high Heaven;
God has remembered every evil she's done.
Give her back what she's given,
double what she's doubled in her works,
double the recipe in the cup she mixed;
Bring her flaunting and wild ways
to torment and tears.
Because she gloated, "I'm queen over all,
and no widow, never a tear on my face,"
In one day, disasters will crush her—
death, heartbreak, and famine—
Then she'll be burned by fire, because God,
the Strong God who judges her,
has had enough.
9-10"The kings of the earth will see the smoke of her burning, and they'll cry and carry on, the kings who went night after night to her brothel. They'll keep their distance for fear they'll get burned, and they'll cry their lament:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
City of Babylon, strong city!
In one hour it's over, your judgment come!

11-17"The traders will cry and carry on because the bottom dropped out of business, no more market for their goods: gold, silver, precious gems, pearls; fabrics of fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet; perfumed wood and vessels of ivory, precious woods, bronze, iron, and marble; cinnamon and spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat; cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots. And slaves—their terrible traffic in human lives.

Everything you've lived for, gone!
All delicate and delectable luxury, lost!
Not a scrap, not a thread to be found!
"The traders who made millions off her kept their distance for fear of getting burned, and cried and carried on all the more:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
Dressed in the latest fashions,
adorned with the finest jewels,
in one hour such wealth wiped out!

17-19"All the ship captains and travelers by sea, sailors and toilers of the sea, stood off at a distance and cried their lament when they saw the smoke from her burning: 'Oh, what a city! There was never a city like her!' They threw dust on their heads and cried as if the world had come to an end:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
All who owned ships or did business by sea
Got rich on her getting and spending.
And now it's over—wiped out in one hour!

20"O Heaven, celebrate! And join in, saints, apostles, and prophets! God has judged her; every wrong you suffered from her has been judged."
21-24A strong Angel reached for a boulder—huge, like a millstone—and heaved it into the sea, saying,

Heaved and sunk, the great city Babylon,
sunk in the sea, not a sign of her ever again.
Silent the music of harpists and singers—
you'll never hear flutes and trumpets again.
Artisans of every kind—gone;
you'll never see their likes again.
The voice of a millstone grinding falls dumb;
you'll never hear that sound again.
The light from lamps, never again;
never again laughter of bride and groom.
Her traders robbed the whole earth blind,
and by black-magic arts deceived the nations.
The only thing left of Babylon is blood—
the blood of saints and prophets,
the murdered and the martyred.





Psalm 146:1-10 (The Message)


Psalm 146


Hallelujah! O my soul, praise God!
All my life long I'll praise God,
singing songs to my God as long as I live.

3-9 Don't put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don't have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing!
God made sky and soil,
sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what he says—
he defends the wronged,
he feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners—
he gives sight to the blind,
he lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of orphans and widows,
but makes short work of the wicked.

10 God's in charge—always.
Zion's God is God for good!
Hallelujah!

Proverbs 30:33 (The Message)

32-33 If you're dumb enough to call attention to yourself
by offending people and making rude gestures,
Don't be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.
Churned milk turns into butter;
riled emotions turn into fist fights.





Verse of the Day

“[(By David.)][The LORD's Wonderful Love]With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been.” - Psalm 103:1-2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.


Louis Pasteur, foto av FĂ©lix Nadar Crisco edit.jpg
Thought for the Day

French chemist and microbiologist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization, Louis Pasteur wrote, “Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.”

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bible Readings for December 26, 2014


Today our passages are Zechariah 9:1-17; Revelation 17:1-18; Psalm 145:1-21; and Proverbs 30:32. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.  


Zechariah 9:1-17 (The Message)


Zechariah 9

The Whole World Has Its Eyes on God
1-6 War Bulletin:
God's Message challenges the country of Hadrach.
It will settle on Damascus.
The whole world has its eyes on God.
Israel isn't the only one.
That includes Hamath at the border,
and Tyre and Sidon, clever as they think they are.
Tyre has put together quite a kingdom for herself;
she has stacked up silver like cordwood,
piled gold high as haystacks.
But God will certainly bankrupt her;
he will dump all that wealth into the ocean
and burn up what's left in a big fire.
Ashkelon will see it and panic,
Gaza will wring its hands,
Ekron will face a dead end.
Gaza's king will die.
Ashkelon will be emptied out,
And a villain will take over in Ashdod.
6-8"I'll take proud Philistia down a peg:
I'll make him spit out his bloody booty
and abandon his vile ways."
What's left will be all God's—a core of survivors,
a family brought together in Judah—
But enemies like Ekron will go the way of the Jebusites,
into the dustbin of history.
"I will set up camp in my home country
and defend it against invaders.
Nobody is going to hurt my people ever again.
I'm keeping my eye on them.

A Humble King Riding a Donkey
9-10"Shout and cheer, Daughter Zion!
Raise the roof, Daughter Jerusalem!
Your king is coming!
a good king who makes all things right,
a humble king riding a donkey,
a mere colt of a donkey.
I've had it with war—no more chariots in Ephraim,
no more war horses in Jerusalem,
no more swords and spears, bows and arrows.
He will offer peace to the nations,
a peaceful rule worldwide,
from the four winds to the seven seas.
11-13"And you, because of my blood covenant with you,
I'll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells.
Come home, hope-filled prisoners!
This very day I'm declaring a double bonus—
everything you lost returned twice-over!
Judah is now my weapon, the bow I'll pull,
setting Ephraim as an arrow to the string.
I'll wake up your sons, O Zion,
to counter your sons, O Greece.
From now on
people are my swords."

14-17Then God will come into view,
his arrows flashing like lightning!
Master God will blast his trumpet
and set out in a whirlwind.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies will protect them—
all-out war,
The war to end all wars,
no holds barred.
Their God will save the day. He'll rescue them.
They'll become like sheep, gentle and soft,
Or like gemstones in a crown,
catching all the colors of the sun.
Then how they'll shine! shimmer! glow!
the young men robust, the young women lovely!




Revelation 17:1-18 (The Message)


Revelation 17

Great Babylon, Mother of Whores
1-2One of the Seven Angels who carried the seven bowls came and invited me, "Come, I'll show you the judgment of the great Whore who sits enthroned over many waters, the Whore with whom the kings of the earth have gone whoring, show you the judgment on earth dwellers drunk on her whorish lust." 3-6In the Spirit he carried me out in the desert. I saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast. Stuffed with blasphemies, the Beast had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, festooned with gold and gems and pearls. She held a gold chalice in her hand, brimming with defiling obscenities, her foul fornications. A riddle-name was branded on her forehead: great babylon, mother of whores and abominations of the earth. I could see that the woman was drunk, drunk on the blood of God's holy people, drunk on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
6-8Astonished, I rubbed my eyes. I shook my head in wonder. The Angel said, "Does this surprise you? Let me tell you the riddle of the woman and the Beast she rides, the Beast with seven heads and ten horns. The Beast you saw once was, is no longer, and is about to ascend from the Abyss and head straight for Hell. Earth dwellers whose names weren't written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be dazzled when they see the Beast that once was, is no longer, and is to come.
9-11"But don't drop your guard. Use your head. The seven heads are seven hills; they are where the woman sits. They are also seven kings: five dead, one living, the other not yet here—and when he does come his time will be brief. The Beast that once was and is no longer is both an eighth and one of the seven—and headed for Hell.
12-14"The ten horns you saw are ten kings, but they're not yet in power. They will come to power with the Scarlet Beast, but won't last long—a very brief reign. These kings will agree to turn over their power and authority to the Beast. They will go to war against the Lamb but the Lamb will defeat them, proof that he is Lord over all lords, King over all kings, and those with him will be the called, chosen, and faithful."
15-18The Angel continued, "The waters you saw on which the Whore was enthroned are peoples and crowds, nations and languages. And the ten horns you saw, together with the Beast, will turn on the Whore—they'll hate her, violate her, strip her naked, rip her apart with their teeth, then set fire to her. It was God who put the idea in their heads to turn over their rule to the Beast until the words of God are completed. The woman you saw is the great city, tyrannizing the kings of the earth."



Psalm 145:1-21 (The Message)


Psalm 145

David's Praise
1 I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! and I'll bless your name into eternity.

2 I'll bless you every day,
and keep it up from now to eternity.
3 God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
There are no boundaries to his greatness.
4 Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
each one tells stories of your mighty acts.
5 Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
I compose songs on your wonders.
6 Your marvelous doings are headline news;
I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.
7 The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
your righteousness is on everyone's lips.

8 God is all mercy and grace—
not quick to anger, is rich in love.

9 God is good to one and all;
everything he does is suffused with grace.

10-11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
your holy people bless you.
They talk about the glories of your rule,
they exclaim over your splendor,

12 Letting the world know of your power for good,
the lavish splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
you never get voted out of office.

God always does what he says,
and is gracious in everything he does.

14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.

15 All eyes are on you, expectant;
you give them their meals on time.

16 Generous to a fault,
you lavish your favor on all creatures.

17 Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all his works is love.

18 God's there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.

19 He does what's best for those who fear him—
hears them call out, and saves them.

20 God sticks by all who love him,
but it's all over for those who don't.

21 My mouth is filled with God's praise.
Let everything living bless him,
bless his holy name from now to eternity!




Proverbs 30:32 (The Message)

32-33 If you're dumb enough to call attention to yourself
by offending people and making rude gestures,
Don't be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.
Churned milk turns into butter;
riled emotions turn into fist fights.





Verse of the Day

“Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God, "Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me. With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people, and foreign nations will also see this. Your mighty power is a light for all nations, and it will bring honor to your people Israel.” - Luke 2:28-32
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.


Henry Miller 1940.jpg
Thought for the Day

American writer, Henry Miller wrote, “Political leaders are never leaders. For leaders we have to look to the Awakeners! Lao Tse, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Milarepa, Gurdjiev, Krishnamurti.”