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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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bible Readings for November 17, 2015

Today our passages are Ezekiel 35:1–36:38; James 1:1-18; Psalm 116:1-19; and Proverbs 27:23-27. 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 35-36:38 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 35

Edom Will Be a Wasteland
 1The LORD said:     2Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the people of Edom [a] 3and say to them: I, the LORD God,
   am now your enemy!
   And I will turn your nation
   into an empty wasteland,
    4leaving your towns in ruins.
   Your land will be a desert,
   and then you will know
   that I am the LORD.
    5People of Edom, not only have you been Israel's longtime enemy, you simply watched when disaster wiped out its people as punishment for their sins. 6And so, as surely as I am the living LORD God, you are guilty of murder and must be put to death. 7I will destroy your nation and kill anyone who travels through it. 8Dead bodies will cover your mountains and fill up your valleys, 9and your land will lie in ruins forever. No one will live in your towns ever again. You will know that I am the LORD.
    10You thought the nations of Judah and Israel belonged to you, and that you could take over their territory. But I am their God, 11and as surely as I live, I will punish you for treating my people with anger and hatred. Then they will know that I, the LORD, am punishing you! 12And you will finally realize that I heard you laugh at their destruction and say their land was yours to take. 13You even insulted me, but I heard it all.
    14Everyone on earth will celebrate when I destroy you, 15just as you celebrated when Israel was destroyed. Your nation of Edom will be nothing but a wasteland. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD.

Ezekiel 36

A Message for Israel's Mountains
 1The LORD said:    Ezekiel, son of man, tell the mountains of Israel 2that I, the LORD God, am saying:
   Your enemies sneered and said that you mountains belonged to them. 3They ruined and crushed you from every side, and foreign nations captured and made fun of you. 4So all you mountains and hills, streams and valleys, listen to what I will do. Your towns may now lie in ruins, and nations may laugh and insult you. 5But in my fierce anger, I will turn against those nations, and especially the Edomites, because they laughed at you the loudest and took over your pasturelands. 6You have suffered long enough, and, I, the LORD God, am very angry! Nations have insulted you, 7so I will now insult and disgrace them. That is my solemn promise.
    8Trees will grow on you mountains of Israel and produce fruit for my people, because they will soon come home. 9I will take care of you by plowing your soil and planting crops on your fertile slopes. 10The people of Israel will return and rebuild your ruined towns and live in them. 11Children will be born, and animals will give birth to their young. You will no longer be deserted as you are now, but you will be covered with people and treated better than ever. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
    12I will bring my people Israel home, and they will live on you mountains, because you belong to them, and your fertile slopes will never again let them starve. 13It's true that you have been accused of not producing enough food and of letting your people starve. 14-15But I, the LORD, promise that you won't hear other nations laugh and sneer at you ever again. From now on, you will always produce plenty of food for your people. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
The LORD Will Be Honored
 16The LORD said:     17Ezekiel, son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own country, they made the land unclean by the way they behaved, just as a woman's monthly period makes her unclean. 18They committed murders and worshiped idols, which made the land even worse. So in my anger, I punished my people 19and scattered them throughout the nations, just as they deserved. 20Wherever they went, my name was disgraced, because foreigners insulted my people by saying I had forced them out of their own land.
    21I care what those foreigners think of me, 22so tell the Israelites that I am saying:
   You have disgraced my holy name among the nations where you now live. So you don't deserve what I'm going to do for you. I will lead you home to bring honor to my name 23and to show foreign nations that I am holy. Then they will know that I am the LORD God. I have spoken.
    24I will gather you from the foreign nations and bring you home. 25I will sprinkle you with clean water, and you will be clean and acceptable to me. I will wash away everything that makes you unclean, and I will remove your disgusting idols. 26I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful. You will have only pure thoughts, 27because I will put my Spirit in you and make you eager to obey my laws and teachings. 28You will once again live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
    29I will protect you from anything that makes you unclean. Your fields will overflow with grain, and no one will starve. 30Your trees will be filled with fruit, and crops will grow in your fields, so that you will never again feel ashamed for not having enough food. 31You will remember your evil ways and hate yourselves for what you've done. 32People of Israel, I'm not doing these things for your sake. You sinned against me, and you must suffer shame and disgrace for what you have done. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
    33After I have made you clean, I will let you rebuild your ruined towns and let you live in them. 34Your land will be plowed again, and nobody will be able to see that it was once barren. 35Instead, they will say that it looks as beautiful as the garden of Eden. They won't see towns lying in ruins, but they will see your strong cities filled with people. 36Then the nearby nations that survive will know that I am the one who rebuilt the ruined places and replanted the barren fields. I, the LORD, make this promise.
    37I will once again answer your prayers, and I will let your nation grow until you are like a large flock of sheep. 38The towns that now lie in ruins will be filled with people, just as Jerusalem was once filled with sheep to be offered as sacrifices during a festival. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
  1. Ezekiel 35:2 Edom: The Hebrew text has "Mount Seir," another name for Edom.

James 1:1-18 (Contemporary English Version)

James 1

 1From James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.    Greetings to the twelve tribes scattered all over the world. [a]
Faith and Wisdom
 2My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. 3You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. 4But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.     5If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won't correct you for asking. 6But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. 7-8If you are that kind of person, you can't make up your mind, and you surely can't be trusted. So don't expect the Lord to give you anything at all.
Poor People and Rich People
 9Any of God's people who are poor should be glad that he thinks so highly of them. 10But any who are rich should be glad when God makes them humble. Rich people will disappear like wild flowers 11scorched by the burning heat of the sun. The flowers lose their blossoms, and their beauty is destroyed. That is how the rich will disappear, as they go about their business.    
Trials and Temptations
 12God will bless you, if you don't give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, [b] just as he rewards everyone who loves him. 13Don't blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn't use evil to tempt others. 14We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. 15Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead.     16Don't be fooled, my dear friends. 17Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing. 18He wanted us to be his own special people, [c] and so he sent the true message to give us new birth.
  1. James 1:1 twelve tribes scattered all over the world: James is saying that the Lord's followers are like the tribes of Israel that were scattered everywhere by their enemies.
  2. James 1:12 a glorious life: The Greek text has "the crown of life." In ancient times an athlete who had won a contest was rewarded with a crown of flowers as a sign of victory.
  3. James 1:18 his own special people: The Greek text has "the first of his creatures." The Law of Moses taught that the first-born of all animals and the first part of the harvest were special and belonged to the Lord.

Psalm 116:1-19 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 116

When the LORD Saves You from Death
 1I love you, LORD!    You answered my prayers.
    2You paid attention to me,
   and so I will pray to you
   as long as I live.
    3Death attacked from all sides,
   and I was captured
   by its painful chains.
   But when I was really hurting,
    4I prayed and said,
   please don't let me die!"
    5You are kind, LORD,
   so good and merciful.
    6You protect ordinary people,
   and when I was helpless,
   you saved me
    7and treated me so kindly
   that I don't need
   to worry anymore.
    8You, LORD, have saved
   my life from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling.
    9Now I will walk at your side
   in this land of the living.
    10I was faithful to you
   when I was suffering,
    11though in my confusion I said,
   "I can't trust anyone!"
    12What must I give you, LORD,
   for being so good to me?
    13I will pour out an offering
   of wine to you,
   and I will pray in your name
   because you
   have saved me.
    14I will keep my promise to you
   when your people meet.
    15You are deeply concerned
   when one of your loyal people
   faces death.
    16I worship you, LORD,
   just as my mother did,
   and you have rescued me
   from the chains of death.
    17I will offer you a sacrifice
   to show how grateful I am,
   and I will pray.
    18I will keep my promise to you
   when your people
   at your temple
   in Jerusalem.
   Shout praises to the LORD!

Proverbs 27:23-27 (Contemporary English Version)

23You should take good care
   of your sheep and goats,
    24because wealth and honor
   don't last forever.
    25After the hay is cut
   and the new growth appears
   and the harvest is over,
    26you can sell lambs and goats
   to buy clothes and land.
    27From the milk of the goats,
   you can make enough cheese
   to feed your family
   and all your servants.

Verse of the Day

“Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk.” - Psalm 119:105
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion, Joseph Campbell wrote, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

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