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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Monday, November 16, 2015

Bible Readings for November 16, 2015

Today our passages are Ezekiel 33:1–34:31; Hebrews 13:1-25; Psalm 115:1-18; and Proverbs 27:21-22. 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. 

Ezekiel 33-34:31 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 33

The LORD Appoints Ezekiel To Stand Watch
(Ezekiel 3.16-21)
 1The LORD said:     2Ezekiel, son of man, warn your people by saying:
   Someday, I, the LORD, may send an enemy to invade a country. And suppose its people choose someone to stand watch 3and to sound a warning signal when the enemy is seen coming. 4-5If any of these people hear the signal and ignore it, they will be killed in battle. But it will be their own fault, because they could have escaped if they had paid attention.
    6But suppose the person watching fails to sound the warning signal. The enemy will attack and kill some of the sinful people in that country, and I, the LORD, will hold that person responsible for their death.
    7Ezekiel, I have appointed you to stand watch for the people of Israel. So listen to what I say, then warn them for me. 8When I tell wicked people they will die because of their sins, you must warn them to turn from their sinful ways. But if you refuse to warn them, you are responsible for their death. 9If you do warn them, and they keep sinning, they will die because of their sins, and you will be innocent.
The LORD Is Always Fair
(Ezekiel 18.21-30)
 10The LORD said:    Ezekiel, son of man, the people of Israel are complaining that the punishment for their sins is more than they can stand. They have lost all hope for survival, and they blame me. 11Tell them that as surely as I am the living LORD God, I don't like to see wicked people die. I enjoy seeing them turn from their sins and live. So if the Israelites want to live, they must stop sinning and turn back to me.
    12Tell them that when good people start sinning, all the good they did in the past cannot save them from being punished. And remind them that when wicked people stop sinning, their past sins will be completely forgiven, and they won't be punished.
    13Suppose I promise good people that they will live, then later they start sinning and believe they will be saved by the good they did in the past. These people will certainly be put to death because of their sins. Their good deeds will be forgotten.
    14Suppose I warn wicked people that they will die because of their sins, and they stop sinning and start doing right. 15For example, they need to return anything they have taken as security for a loan and anything they have stolen. Then if they stop doing evil and start obeying my Law, they will live. 16Their past sins will be forgiven, and they will live because they have done right.
    17Ezekiel, your people accuse me of being unfair. But they are the ones who are unfair. 18If good people start doing evil, they will be put to death, because they have sinned. 19And if wicked people stop sinning and start doing right, they will save themselves from punishment. 20But the Israelites still think I am unfair. So warn them that they will be punished for what they have done.
The News of Jerusalem's Fall
 21Twelve years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, a refugee who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me on the fifth day of the tenth month. [a] He told me that the city had fallen. 22The evening before this man arrived at my house, the LORD had taken control of me. So when the man came to me the next morning, I could once again speak. [b]
What Will Happen to Those Left in Israel?
 23Then the LORD said:     24Ezekiel, son of man, the people living in the ruined cities of Israel are saying, "Abraham was just one man, and the LORD gave him this whole land of Israel. There are many of us, and so this land must be ours."
    25So, Ezekiel, tell them I am saying:
   How can you think the land is still yours? You eat meat with blood in it and worship idols. You commit murder 26and spread violence throughout the land. Everything you do is wicked; you are even unfaithful in marriage. And you claim the land is yours!
    27As surely as I am the living LORD God, you people in the ruined cities will be killed in battle. Those of you living in the countryside will be eaten by wild animals, and those hiding in caves and on rocky cliffs will die from deadly diseases. 28I will make the whole country an empty wasteland and crush the power in which you take such pride. Even the mountains will be bare, and no one will try to cross them. 29I will punish you because of your sins, and I will turn your nation into a barren desert. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
The People Listen, but Don't Change
The LORD said:
 30Ezekiel, son of man, the people with you in Babylonia talk about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say, "Let's ask Ezekiel what the LORD has said today." 31So they all come and listen to you, but they refuse to do what you tell them. They claim to be faithful, but they are forever trying to cheat others out of their money. 32They treat you as though you were merely singing love songs or playing music. They listen, but don't do anything you say.     33Soon they will be punished, just as you warned, and they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Ezekiel 34

Israel's Leaders Are Worthless Shepherds
 1The LORD God said:     2Ezekiel, son of man, Israel's leaders are like shepherds taking care of my sheep, the people of Israel. But I want you to condemn these leaders and tell them:
   I, the LORD God, say you shepherds of Israel are doomed! You take care of yourselves while ignoring my sheep. 3You drink their milk and use their wool to make your clothes. Then you butcher the best ones for food. But you don't take care of the flock! 4You have never protected the weak ones or healed the sick ones or bandaged those that get hurt. You let them wander off and never look for those that get lost. You are cruel and mean to my sheep. 5They strayed in every direction, and because there was no shepherd to watch them, they were attacked and eaten by wild animals. 6So my sheep were scattered across the earth. They roamed on hills and mountains, without anyone even bothering to look for them.
    7-8Now listen to what I, the living LORD God, am saying to you shepherds. My sheep have been attacked and eaten by wild animals, because you refused to watch them. You never went looking for the lost ones, and you fed yourselves without feeding my sheep. 9-10So I, the LORD, will punish you! I will rescue my sheep from you and never let you be their shepherd again or butcher them for food. I, the LORD, have spoken.
The LORD Is the Good Shepherd
 11The LORD God then said:    I will look for my sheep and take care of them myself, 12just as a shepherd looks for lost sheep. My sheep have been lost since that dark and miserable day when they were scattered throughout the nations. [c] But I will rescue them 13and bring them back from the foreign nations where they now live. I will be their shepherd and will let them graze on Israel's mountains and in the valleys and fertile fields. 14They will be safe as they feed on grassy meadows and green hills. 15I promise to take care of them and keep them safe, 16to look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off, to bandage those that are hurt and protect the ones that are weak. I will also slaughter [d] those that are fat and strong, because I always do right.
Judgment on the Strong Sheep
 17The LORD God said to his sheep, the people of Israel:    I will carefully watch each one of you to decide which ones are the strong sheep and which ones are weak. 18Some of you eat the greenest grass, then trample down what's left when you finish. Others drink clean water, then step in the water to make the rest of it muddy. 19That means my other sheep have nothing fit to eat or drink.
    20So I, the LORD God, will separate you strong sheep from the weak. 21You strong ones have used your powerful horns to chase off those that are weak, 22but I will rescue them and no longer let them be mistreated. I will separate the good from the bad.
    23After that, I will give you a shepherd from the family of my servant King David. All of you, both strong and weak, will have the same shepherd, and he will take good care of you. 24He will be your leader, and I will be your God. I, the LORD, have spoken.
A Bright Future for the LORD's Sheep
The LORD God said:
 25The people of Israel are my sheep, and I solemnly promise that they will live in peace. I will chase away every wild animal from the desert and the forest, so my sheep will not be afraid. 26They will live around my holy mountain, [e] and I will bless them by sending more than enough rain 27to make their trees produce fruit and their crops to grow. I will set them free from slavery and let them live safely in their own land. Then they will know that I am the LORD. 28Foreign nations will never again rob them, and wild animals will no longer kill and eat them. They will have nothing to fear. 29I will make their fields produce large amounts of crops, so they will never again go hungry or be laughed at by foreigners. 30Then everyone will know that I protect my people Israel. I, the LORD, make this promise. 31They are my sheep; I am their God, and I take care of them.
  1. Ezekiel 33:21 Twelve years. . . tenth month: Probably December of 586 B.C.
  2. Ezekiel 33:22 I could once again speak: See 3.27.
  3. Ezekiel 34:12 dark and miserable day. . . nations: That is, the day the Babylonians defeated Jerusalem and led its people away as prisoners.
  4. Ezekiel 34:16 slaughter: Hebrew; three ancient translations "take care of."
  5. Ezekiel 34:26 my holy mountain: That is, Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

Hebrews 13:1-25 (Contemporary English Version)

Hebrews 13

Service That Pleases God
 1Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord's followers should.     2Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it.
    3Remember the Lord's people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don't forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.
    4Have respect for marriage. Always be faithful to your partner, because God will punish anyone who is immoral or unfaithful in marriage.
    5Don't fall in love with money. Be satisfied with what you have. The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us. 6That should make you feel like saying,
   "The Lord helps me!
   Why should I be afraid
   of what people
   can do to me?"
    7Don't forget about your leaders who taught you God's message. Remember what kind of lives they lived and try to have faith like theirs.
    8Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9Don't be fooled by any kind of strange teachings. It is better to receive strength from God's undeserved kindness than to depend on certain foods. After all, these foods don't really help the people who eat them. 10But we have an altar where even the priests who serve in the place of worship have no right to eat.
    11After the high priest offers the blood of animals as a sin offering, the bodies of those animals are burned outside the camp. 12Jesus himself suffered outside the city gate, so that his blood would make people holy. 13That's why we should go outside the camp to Jesus and share in his disgrace. 14On this earth we don't have a city that lasts forever, but we are waiting for such a city.
    15Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus. 16But don't forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God.
    17Obey your leaders and do what they say. They are watching over you, and they must answer to God. So don't make them sad as they do their work. Make them happy. Otherwise, they won't be able to help you at all.
    18Pray for us. Our consciences are clear, and we always try to live right. 19I especially want you to pray that I can visit you again soon.
Final Prayers and Greetings
 20God gives peace, and he raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Now Jesus is like a Great Shepherd whose blood was used to make God's eternal agreement with his flock. [a] 21I pray that God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen. 22My friends, I have written only a short letter to encourage you, and I beg you to pay close attention to what I have said.     23By now you surely must know that our friend Timothy is out of jail. If he gets here in time, I will bring him with me when I come to visit you.
    24Please give my greetings to your leaders and to the rest of the Lord's people.
   His followers from Italy send you their greetings.
    25I pray that God will be kind to all of you! [b]
  1. Hebrews 13:20 whose blood was used to make God's eternal agreement with his flock: See 9.18-22.
  2. Hebrews 13:25 to all of you: Some manuscripts add "Amen."

Psalm 115:1-18 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 115

The LORD Deserves To Be Praised
 1We don't deserve praise!    The LORD alone deserves
   all of the praise,
   because of his love
   and faithfulness.
    2Why should the nations ask,
   "Where is your God?"
    3Our God is in the heavens,
   doing as he chooses.
    4The idols of the nations
   are made of silver and gold.
    5They have a mouth and eyes,
   but they can't speak or see.
    6Their ears can't hear,
   and their noses can't smell.
    7Their hands have no feeling,
   their legs don't move,
   and they can't make a sound.
    8Everyone who made the idols
   and all who trust them
   are just as helpless
   as those useless gods.
    9People of Israel,
   you must trust the LORD
   to help and protect you.
    10Family of Aaron the priest,
   you must trust the LORD
   to help and protect you.
    11All of you worship the LORD,
   so you must trust him
   to help and protect you.
    12The LORD will not forget
   to give us his blessing;
   he will bless all of Israel
   and the family of Aaron.
    13All who worship the LORD,
   no matter who they are,
   will receive his blessing.
    14I pray that the LORD
   will let your family
   and your descendants
   always grow strong.
    15May the LORD who created
   the heavens and the earth
   give you his blessing.
    16The LORD has kept the heavens
   for himself,
   but he has given the earth
   to us humans.
    17The dead are silent
   and cannot praise the LORD,
    18but we will praise him
   now and forevermore.
   Shout praises to the LORD!

Proverbs 27:21-22 (Contemporary English Version)

21Gold and silver are tested
   in a red-hot furnace,
   but we are tested by praise.
    22No matter how hard
   you beat a fool,
   you can't pound out
   the foolishness.

Verse of the Day

“Open my mind and let me discover the wonders of your Law.” - Psalm 119:18
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Robert nozick.jpg
Thought for the Day

American philosopher who was most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s, Robert Nozick wrote, “Any persons may attempt to unite kindred spirits, but, whatever their hopes and longings, none have the right to impose their vision of unity upon the rest.”

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