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, November 19, 2015

Bible Readings for November 19, 2015

Today our passages are Ezekiel 39:1– 40:27; James 2:18–3:18; Psalm 118:1-18; and Proverbs 28:2. 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 39-40:27 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 39

Gog Is Defeated
The LORD said:
 1Ezekiel, son of man, condemn Gog and tell him:    You are the ruler of Meshech and Tubal, but I, the LORD, am your enemy! 2I will turn you around and drag you from the north until you reach the mountains of Israel. 3I will knock the bow out of your left hand and the arrows out of your right hand, 4and you and your army will die on those mountains. Then birds and wild animals will eat the flesh 5of your dead bodies left lying in open fields. I, the LORD, have spoken.
    6I will set fire to the land of Magog and to those nations along the seacoast that think they are so secure, and they will know that I am the LORD.
    7My people Israel will know me, and they will no longer disgrace my holy name. Everyone on earth will know that I am the holy LORD God of Israel. 8The day is coming when these things will happen, just as I have promised.
    9When that day comes, the people in the towns of Israel will collect the weapons of their dead enemies. They will use these shields, bows and arrows, spears, and clubs as firewood, and there will be enough to last for seven years. 10They will burn these weapons instead of gathering sticks or chopping down trees. That's how the Israelites will take revenge on those who robbed and abused them. I, the LORD, have spoken.
The Burial of Gog
The LORD said:
 11After Gog has been destroyed, I will bury him and his army in Israel, in Travelers' [a] Valley, east of the Dead Sea. That graveyard will be so large that it will block the way of anyone who tries to walk through the valley, [b] which will then be known as "The Valley of Gog's Army." [c] 12The Israelites will spend seven months burying dead bodies and cleaning up their land. 13Everyone will help with the burial, and they will be honored for this on the day the brightness of my glory is seen. 14After those seven months, the people will appoint a group of men to look for any dead bodies left unburied. This must be done for seven months to make sure that the land is no longer unclean. 15Whenever they find a human bone, they will set up a marker next to it. Then the gravediggers will bury it in "The Valley of Gog's Army" 16near the town of "Gog's Army." After that, the land will be pure again. 17Ezekiel, son of man, I am going to hold a feast on Israel's mountains and offer sacrifices there. So invite all the birds and wild animals to come from every direction and eat the meat of sacrifices and drink the blood. The birds and animals 18will feast on the bodies of warriors and foreign rulers that I will sacrifice like sheep, goats, and bulls. 19I want the birds and animals to eat until they are full and drink until they are drunk. 20They will come to my table and stuff themselves with the flesh of horses and warriors of every kind. I, the LORD God, have spoken.    
Israel Will Be Restored
The LORD said:
 21When I punish the nations of the earth, they will see the brightness of my glory. 22The people of Israel will know from then on that I am the LORD their God. 23Foreign nations will realize that the Israelites were forced to leave their own land because they sinned against me. I turned my back on my people and let enemies attack and kill them. 24Their lives were wicked and corrupt, and they deserved to be punished.     25Now I will show mercy to the people of Israel and bring them back from the nations where they are living. They are Jacob's descendants, so I will bless them and show that I am holy. 26They will live safely in their own land, but will be ashamed when they remember their evil ways and how they disgraced me. [d] 27Foreign nations will watch as I take the Israelites from enemy lands and bring them back home, and those nations will see that I am holy. 28My people will realize that I, the LORD their God, sent them away as prisoners and now will bring them back to their own land. 29Never again will I turn my back on the people of Israel, and my Spirit will live in them. I, the LORD, have spoken.

Ezekiel 40

Ezekiel Sees the Future Temple in Jerusalem
 1-2Twenty-five years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, and fourteen years after the Babylonians had captured Jerusalem, the LORD's power took control of me on the tenth day of the first month. [e] The LORD showed me some visions in which I was carried to the top of a high mountain in Jerusalem. I looked to the south and saw what looked like a city full of buildings. 3In my vision the LORD took me closer, and I saw a man who was sparkling like polished bronze. He was standing near one of the gates and was holding a tape measure in one hand and a measuring stick in the other. 4The man said, "Ezekiel, son of man, pay close attention to everything I'm going to show you--that's why you've been brought here. Listen carefully, because you must tell the people of Israel what you see."
The East Gate
 5The first thing I saw was an outer wall that completely surrounded the temple area. The man took his measuring stick, which was ten feet long, and measured the wall; it was ten feet high and ten feet thick. 6-7Then he went to the east gate, where he walked up steps that led to a long passageway. On each side of this passageway were three guardrooms, which were ten feet square, and they were separated by walls over eight feet thick. The man measured the distance between the opening of the gate and the first guardroom, and it was ten feet, the thickness of the outer wall.    At the far end of this passageway, I saw an entrance room that faced the courtyard of the temple itself. There was also a distance of ten feet between the last guardroom and the entrance room 8-9at the end of the passageway. The man measured this room: It was thirteen feet from the doorway to the opposite wall, and the distance from the doorway to the wall on either side was three feet. 10The three guardrooms on each side of the passageway were the same size, and the walls that separated them were the same thickness.
    11Next, the man measured the width of the passageway, and it was twenty-two feet, but the two doors of the gate were only sixteen feet wide. [f] 12In front of the guardrooms, which were ten feet square, was a railing about twenty inches high and twenty inches thick. 13The man measured the distance from the back wall [g] of one of these rooms to the same spot in the room directly across the passageway, and it was forty-two feet. 14He measured the entrance room at the far end of the passageway, and it was thirty-four feet wide. [h] 15Finally, he measured the total length of the passageway, from the outer wall to the entrance room, and it was eighty-five feet. 16The three walls in the guardrooms had small windows in them, just like the ones in the entrance room. [i] The walls along the passageway were decorated with carvings of palm trees.
The Outer Courtyard
 17The man then led me through the passageway and into the outer courtyard of the temple, where I saw thirty rooms built around the outside of the courtyard. [j] These side rooms were built against the outer wall, and in front of them was a sidewalk that circled the courtyard. 18This was known as the lower sidewalk, and it was eighty-five feet wide. 19I saw the gates that led to the inner courtyard of the temple and noticed that they were higher than those leading to the outer courtyard. The man measured the distance between the outer and inner gates, and it was one hundred seventy feet. [k]
The North Gate
 20Next, the man measured the north gate that led to the outer courtyard. 21This gate also had three guardrooms on each side of a passageway. The measurements of these rooms, the walls between them, and the entrance room at the far end of the passageway were exactly the same as those of the east gate. The north gate was also eighty-five feet long and forty-two feet wide, 22and the windows, the entrance room, and the carvings of palm trees were just like those in the east gate. The entrance room also faced the courtyard of the temple and had seven steps leading up to it. 23Directly across the outer courtyard was a gate that led to the inner courtyard, just as there was for the east gate. The man measured the distance between the outer and inner gate, and it was one hundred seventy feet.    
The South Gate
 24The man then took me to the south gate. He measured the walls and the entrance room of this gate, and the measurements were exactly the same as those of the other two gates. 25There were windows in the guardrooms of this gate and in the entrance room, just like the others, and this gate was also eighty-five feet long and forty-two feet wide. 26Seven steps led up to the gate; the entrance room was at the far end of the passageway and faced the courtyard of the temple. Carvings of palm trees decorated the walls along the passageway. 27And directly across the outer courtyard was a gate on the south side of the inner courtyard. The man measured the distance between the outer and inner gate, and it was also one hundred seventy feet.    
  1. Ezekiel 39:11 Travelers': Hebrew "Abarim."
  2. Ezekiel 39:11 That graveyard. . . the valley: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Ezekiel 39:11 Gog's Army: Hebrew "Hamon-Gog."
  4. Ezekiel 39:26 me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 26.
  5. Ezekiel 40:1 Twenty-five years. . . first month: Probably March of 573 B.C.
  6. Ezekiel 40:11 the width of the passageway. . . twenty-two feet. . . the two doors of the gate. . . sixteen feet wide: The doors themselves probably were hung on stone sockets, which could explain the six-foot difference in width between the passageway and the doors.
  7. Ezekiel 40:13 back wall: One ancient translation; Hebrew "roof."
  8. Ezekiel 40:14 wide: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 14.
  9. Ezekiel 40:16 just like the ones in the entrance room: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. Ezekiel 40:17 thirty rooms built around the outside of the courtyard: These were probably used by worshipers as places to meet and share sacrificial meals (see, for example, Jeremiah 35.2).
  11. Ezekiel 40:19 feet: The Hebrew text adds "the east and the north."

James 2:18-3:18 (Contemporary English Version)

18Suppose someone disagrees and says, "It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds."
   I would answer, "Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them." 19You surely believe there is only one God. That's fine. Even demons believe this, and it makes them shake with fear.
    20Does some stupid person want proof that faith without deeds is useless? 21Well, our ancestor Abraham pleased God by putting his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him. 22Now you see how Abraham's faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did. 23This is what the Scriptures mean by saying, "Abraham had faith in God, and God was pleased with him." That's how Abraham became God's friend.
    24You can now see that we please God by what we do and not only by what we believe. 25For example, Rahab had been a prostitute. But she pleased God when she welcomed the spies and sent them home by another way.
    26Anyone who doesn't breathe is dead, and faith that doesn't do anything is just as dead!

James 3

The Tongue
 1My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others. 2All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.     3By putting a bit into the mouth of a horse, we can turn the horse in different directions. 4It takes strong winds to move a large sailing ship, but the captain uses only a small rudder to make it go in any direction. 5Our tongues are small too, and yet they brag about big things.
   It takes only a spark to start a forest fire! 6The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person's entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed. 8But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison.
    9-10My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both praises and curses. We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people who were created to be like God, and this isn't right. 11Can clean water and dirty water both flow from the same spring? 12Can a fig tree produce olives or a grapevine produce figs? Does fresh water come from a well full of salt water?
Wisdom from Above
 13Are any of you wise or sensible? Then show it by living right and by being humble and wise in everything you do. 14But if your heart is full of bitter jealousy and selfishness, don't brag or lie to cover up the truth. 15That kind of wisdom doesn't come from above. It is earthly and selfish and comes from the devil himself. 16Whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble and do all sorts of cruel things. 17But the wisdom that comes from above leads us to be pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. 18When peacemakers plant seeds of peace, they will harvest justice.

Psalm 118:1-18 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 118

The LORD Is Always Merciful
 1Tell the LORD    how thankful you are,
   because he is kind
   and always merciful.
    2Let Israel shout,
   "God is always merciful!"
    3Let the family of Aaron
   the priest shout,
   "God is always merciful!"
    4Let every true worshiper
   of the LORD shout,
   "God is always merciful!"
    5When I was really hurting,
   I prayed to the LORD.
   He answered my prayer,
   and took my worries away.
    6The LORD is on my side,
   and I am not afraid
   of what others can do to me.
    7With the LORD on my side,
   I will defeat all
   of my hateful enemies.
    8It is better to trust the LORD
   for protection
   than to trust anyone else,
    9including strong leaders.
    10Nations surrounded me,
   but I got rid of them
   by the power of the LORD.
    11They attacked from all sides,
   but I got rid of them
   by the power of the LORD.
    12They swarmed around like bees,
   but by the power of the LORD,
   I got rid of them
   and their fiery sting.
    13Their attacks were so fierce
   that I nearly fell,
   but the LORD helped me.
    14My power and my strength
   come from the LORD,
   and he has saved me.
    15From the tents of God's people
   come shouts of victory:
   "The LORD is powerful!
    16With his mighty arm
   the LORD wins victories!
   The LORD is powerful!"
    17And so my life is safe,
   and I will live to tell
   what the LORD has done.
    18He punished me terribly,
   but he did not let death
   lay its hands on me.

Proverbs 28:2 (Contemporary English Version)

2In time of civil war
   there are many leaders,
   but a sensible leader
   restores law and order. [a]
  1. Proverbs 28:2 but. . . order: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Verse of the Day
“[BOOK I][(Psalms 1-41)][The Way to Happiness]God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won't follow sinners or join in sneering at God. Instead, the Law of the LORD makes them happy, and they think about it day and night.” - Psalm 1:1-2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

British-American anthropologist who popularized the study of topics such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development, Ashley Montagu wrote, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.”

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