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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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bible Readings for October 29, 2015

Today our passages are Lamentations 1:1–2:19; Philemon 1-25; Psalm 101:1-8; and Proverbs 26:20. The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal. 

Lamentations 1-2:19 (Contemporary English Version)

Lamentations 1

Lonely Jerusalem
The Prophet Speaks:
 1Jerusalem, once so crowded,    lies deserted and lonely.
   This city that was known
   all over the world
   is now like a widow.
   This queen of the nations
   has been made a slave.
    2Each night, bitter tears
   flood her cheeks.
   None of her former lovers
   are there to offer comfort;
   her friends [a] have betrayed her and are now her enemies.
    3The people of Judah are slaves,
   suffering in a foreign land,
   with no rest from sorrow.
   Their enemies captured them
   and were terribly cruel. [b] 4The roads to Zion mourn
   because no one travels there
   to celebrate the festivals.
   The city gates are deserted;
   priests are weeping.
   Young women are raped; [c] Zion is in sorrow!
    5Enemies now rule the city
   and live as they please.
   The LORD has punished Jerusalem
   because of her awful sins;
   he has let her people
   be dragged away.
    6Zion's glory has disappeared.
   Her leaders are like deer
   that cannot find pasture;
   they are hunted down
   till their strength is gone.
    7Her people recall the good life
   that once was theirs;
   now they suffer
   and are scattered.
   No one was there to protect them
   from their enemies
   who sneered
   when their city was taken.
    8Jerusalem's horrible sins
   have made the city a joke.
   Those who once admired her
   now hate her instead--
   she has been disgraced;
   she groans and turns away.
    9Her sins had made her filthy,
   but she wasn't worried
   about what could happen.
   And when Jerusalem fell,
   it was so tragic.
   No one gave her comfort
   when she cried out,
   "Help! I'm in trouble, LORD!
   The enemy has won."
    10Zion's treasures were stolen.
   Jerusalem saw foreigners
   enter her place of worship,
   though the LORD
   had forbidden them
   to belong to his people. [d] 11Everyone in the city groans
   while searching for food;
   they trade their valuables
   for barely enough scraps
   to stay alive.
   Jerusalem shouts to the LORD,
   "Please look and see
   how miserable I am!"
Jerusalem Speaks:
 12No passerby even cares. [e] Why doesn't someone notice    my terrible sufferings?
   You were fiercely angry, LORD,
   and you punished me
   worst of all.
    13From heaven you sent a fire
   that burned in my bones;
   you set a trap for my feet
   and made me turn back.
   All day long you leave me
   in shock from constant pain.
    14You have tied my sins
   around my neck, [f] and they weigh so heavily
   that my strength is gone.
   You have put me in the power
   of enemies
   too strong for me.
    15You, LORD, have turned back
   my warriors
   and crushed
   my young heroes.
   Judah was a woman untouched,
   but you let her be trampled
   like grapes in a wine pit.
    16Because of this, I mourn,
   and tears flood my eyes.
   No one is here to comfort
   or to encourage me;
   we have lost the war--
   my people are suffering.
The Prophet Speaks:
 17Zion reaches out her hands,    but no one offers comfort.
   The LORD has turned
   the neighboring nations
   against Jacob's descendants.
   Jerusalem is merely a filthy rag
   to her neighbors.
Jerusalem Speaks:
 18The LORD was right,    but I refused to obey him.
   Now I ask all of you to look
   at my sufferings--
   even my young people
   have been dragged away.
    19I called out to my lovers,
   but they betrayed me.
   My priests and my leaders died
   while searching the city
   for scraps of food.
    20Won't you look and see
   how upset I am, our LORD?
   My stomach is in knots,
   and my heart is broken
   because I betrayed you.
   In the streets and at home,
   my people are slaughtered.
    21Everyone heard my groaning,
   but no one offered comfort.
   My enemies know of the trouble
   that you have brought on me,
   and it makes them glad.
   Hurry and punish them,
   as you have promised.
    22Don't let their evil deeds
   escape your sight.
   Punish them as much
   as you have punished me
   because of my sins.
   I never stop groaning--
   I've lost all hope!

Lamentations 2

The LORD Was Like an Enemy
The Prophet Speaks:
 1The Lord was angry!    So he disgraced [g] Zion though it was Israel's pride
   and his own place of rest.
   In his anger he threw Zion down
   from heaven to earth.
    2The LORD had no mercy!
   He destroyed the homes
   of Jacob's descendants.
   In his anger he tore down
   every walled city in Judah;
   he toppled the nation
   together with its leaders,
   leaving them in shame.
    3The Lord was so furiously angry
   that he wiped out
   the whole army [h] of Israel by not supporting them
   when the enemy attacked.
   He was like a raging fire
   that swallowed up
   the descendants of Jacob.
    4He attacked like an enemy
   with a bow and arrows,
   killing our loved ones.
   He has burned to the ground
   the homes on Mount Zion. [i] 5The Lord was like an enemy!
   He left Israel in ruins
   with its palaces
   and fortresses destroyed,
   and with everyone in Judah
   moaning and weeping.
    6He shattered his temple
   like a hut in a garden; [j] he completely wiped out
   his meeting place,
   and did away with festivals
   and Sabbaths
   in the city of Zion.
   In his fierce anger he rejected
   our king and priests.
    7The Lord abandoned his altar
   and his temple;
   he let Zion's enemies
   capture her fortresses.
   Noisy shouts were heard
   from the temple,
   as if it were a time
   of celebration.
    8The LORD had decided
   to tear down the walls of Zion
   stone by stone.
   So he started destroying
   and did not stop
   until walls and fortresses
   mourned and trembled.
    9Zion's gates have fallen
   facedown on the ground;
   the bars that locked the gates
   are smashed to pieces.
   Her king and royal family
   are prisoners
   in foreign lands.
   Her priests don't teach,
   and her prophets don't have
   a message from the LORD.
    10Zion's leaders are silent.
   They just sit on the ground,
   tossing dirt on their heads
   and wearing sackcloth.
   Her young women can do nothing
   but stare at the ground.
    11My eyes are red from crying,
   my stomach is in knots,
   and I feel sick all over.
   My people are being wiped out,
   and children lie helpless
   in the streets of the city.
    12A child begs its mother
   for food and drink,
   then blacks out
   like a wounded soldier
   lying in the street.
   The child slowly dies
   in its mother's arms.
    13Zion, how can I comfort you?
   How great is your pain? [k] Lovely city of Jerusalem,
   how can I heal your wounds,
   gaping as wide as the sea?
    14Your prophets deceived you
   with false visions
   and lying messages--
   they should have warned you
   to leave your sins
   and be saved from disaster.
    15Those who pass by
   shake their heads and sneer
   as they make fun and shout,
   "What a lovely city you were,
   the happiest on earth,
   but look at you now!"
    16Zion, your enemies curse you
   and snarl like wild animals,
   while shouting,
   "This is the day
   we've waited for!
   At last, we've got you!"
    17The LORD has done everything
   that he had planned
   and threatened long ago.
   He destroyed you without mercy
   and let your enemies boast
   their powerful forces. [l] 18Zion, deep in your heart
   you cried out to the Lord.
   Now let your tears overflow
   your walls day and night.
   Don't ever lose hope
   or let your tears stop.
    19Get up and pray for help
   all through the night.
   Pour out your feelings
   to the Lord,
   as you would pour water
   out of a jug.
   Beg him to save your people,
   who are starving to death
   at every street crossing.
  1. Lamentations 1:2 lovers. . . friends: Israel's former allies.
  2. Lamentations 1:3 Their. . . cruel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Lamentations 1:4 raped: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Lamentations 1:10 to. . . people: Or "to enter his temple."
  5. Lamentations 1:12 No. . . cares: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. Lamentations 1:14 You. . . neck: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. Lamentations 2:1 disgraced: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. Lamentations 2:3 army: The Hebrew text has "horn," which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.
  9. Lamentations 2:4 the homes on Mount Zion: Or "the temple on Mount Zion."
  10. Lamentations 2:6 He. . . garden: Or "He shattered the temple walls, as if they were the walls of a garden."
  11. Lamentations 2:13 How great. . . pain: Or "What are you really like?" or "What can I say about you?"
  12. Lamentations 2:17 powerful forces: The Hebrew text has "horn," which refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Palestine.

Philemon 1-25 (Contemporary English Version)

Philemon 1

 1From Paul, who is in jail for serving Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, who is like a brother because of our faith.    Philemon, you work with us and are very dear to us. This letter is to you
   2and to the church that meets in your home. It is also to our dear friend Apphia and to Archippus, who serves the Lord as we do.
   3I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
Philemon's Love and Faith
 4Philemon, each time I mention you in my prayers, I thank God.    5I hear about your faith in our Lord Jesus and about your love for all of God's people.
   6As you share your faith with others, I pray that they may come to know all the blessings Christ has given us.
   7My friend, your love has made me happy and has greatly encouraged me. It has also cheered the hearts of God's people.
Paul Speaks to Philemon about Onesimus
 8Christ gives me the courage to tell you what to do.    9But I would rather ask you to do it simply because of love. Yes, as someone [a] in jail for Christ,
   10I beg you to help Onesimus! [b] He is like a son to me because I led him to Christ here in jail.
   11Before this, he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me.
   12Sending Onesimus back to you makes me very sad.
   13I would like to keep him here with me, where he could take your place in helping me while I am here in prison for preaching the good news.
   14But I won't do anything unless you agree to it first. I want your act of kindness to come from your heart, and not be something you feel forced to do.
   15Perhaps Onesimus was taken from you for a little while so that you could have him back for good,
   16but not as a slave. Onesimus is much more than a slave. To me he is a dear friend, but to you he is even more, both as a person and as a follower of the Lord.
   17If you consider me a friend because of Christ, then welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me.
   18If he has cheated you or owes you anything, charge it to my account.
   19With my own hand I write: I, PAUL, WILL PAY YOU BACK. But don't forget that you owe me your life.
   20My dear friend and follower of Christ our Lord, please cheer me up by doing this for me.
   21I am sure you will do all I have asked, and even more.
   22Please get a room ready for me. I hope your prayers will be answered, and I can visit you.
   23Epaphras is also here in jail for being a follower of Christ Jesus. He sends his greetings,
   24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, who work together with me.
   25I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!
  1. Philemon 1:9 someone: Greek "a messenger" or "an old man."
  2. Philemon 1:10 Onesimus: In Greek this name means "useful."

Psalm 101:1-8 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 101

(A psalm by David.)
A King and His Promises
 1I will sing to you, LORD!    I will celebrate your kindness
   and your justice.
    2Please help me learn
   to do the right thing,
   and I will be honest and fair
   in my own kingdom.
    3I refuse to be corrupt
   or to take part
   in anything crooked,
    4and I won't be dishonest
   or deceitful.
    5Anyone who spreads gossip
   will be silenced,
   and no one who is conceited
   will be my friend.
    6I will find trustworthy people
   to serve as my advisors,
   and only an honest person
   will serve as an official.
    7No one who cheats or lies
   will have a position
   in my royal court.
    8Each morning I will silence
   any lawbreakers I find
   in the countryside
   or in the city of the LORD.

Proverbs 26:20 (Contemporary English Version)

20Where there is no fuel
   a fire goes out;
   where there is no gossip
   arguments come to an end.

Verse of the Day

“[Christ Brings New Life]Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God.” - Romans 12:1
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

French novelist, essayist, diplomat and playwright, Jean Giraudoux wrote, “Only the mediocre are always at their best.”

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