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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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bible Readings for November 21, 2015

Today our passages are Ezekiel 42:1– 43:27; James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16; and Proverbs 28:6-7. 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 42-43:27 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 42

The Sacred Rooms for the Priests
 1-2After the man and I left the temple and walked back to the outer courtyard, he showed me a set of rooms on the north side of the west building. [a] This set of rooms was one hundred seventy feet long and eighty-five feet wide. 3On one side of them was the thirty-four feet of open space that ran alongside the temple, [b] and on the other side was the sidewalk that circled the outer courtyard. [c] The rooms were arranged in three levels 4with doors that opened toward the north, and in front of them was a walkway seventeen feet wide and one hundred seventy feet long. [d] 5The rooms on the top level were narrower than those on the middle level, and the rooms on the middle level were narrower than those on the bottom level. 6The rooms on the bottom level supported those on the two upper levels, and so these rooms did not have columns like other buildings in the courtyard. 7-8To the north was a privacy wall eighty-five feet long, [e] 9-10and at the east end of this wall was the door leading from the courtyard to these rooms. There was also a set of rooms on the south [f] side of the west building. 11These rooms were exactly like those on the north side, and they also had a walkway in front of them. 12The door to these rooms was at the east end of the wall that stood in front of them. 13The man then said to me:    These rooms on the north and south sides of the temple are the sacred rooms where the LORD's priests will eat the most holy offerings. These offerings include the grain sacrifices, the sacrifices for sin, and the sacrifices to make things right. 14When the priests are ready to leave the temple, they must go through these rooms before they return to the outer courtyard. They must leave their sacred clothes in these rooms and put on regular clothes before going anywhere near other people.
The Size of the Temple Area
 15After the man had finished measuring the buildings inside the temple area, he took me back through the east gate and measured the wall around this area. 16He used his measuring stick to measure the east side of this wall; it was eight hundred forty feet long. 17-19Then he measured the north side, the south side, and the west side of the wall, and they were each eight hundred forty feet long, 20and so the temple area was a perfect square. The wall around this area separated what was sacred from what was ordinary.    

Ezekiel 43

The LORD's Glory Returns to the Temple
 1The man took me back to the east gate of the temple, 2where I saw the brightness of the glory of Israel's God coming from the east. The sound I heard was as loud as ocean waves, and everything around was shining with the dazzling brightness of his glory. 3This vision was like the one I had seen when God came to destroy Jerusalem and like the one I had seen near the Chebar River.    I immediately bowed with my face to the ground, 4and the LORD's glory came through the east gate and into the temple. [g] 5The LORD's Spirit lifted me to my feet and carried me to the inner courtyard, where I saw that the LORD's glory had filled the temple. 6The man was standing beside me, and I heard the LORD [h] say from inside the temple: 7Ezekiel, son of man, this temple is my throne on earth. I will live here among the people of Israel forever. They and their kings will never again disgrace me by worshiping idols at local shrines or by setting up memorials to their dead kings. [i] 8Israel's kings built their palaces so close to my holy temple that only a wall separated them from me. Then these kings disgraced me with their evil ways, and in my fierce anger I destroyed them. 9But if the people and their kings stop worshiping other gods and tear down those memorials, I will live among them forever. 10The people of Israel must suffer shame for sinning against me, so tell them about my holy temple. Let them think about it, 11then if they are truly sorry, describe for them the design and shape of the temple, the gates, the measurements, and how the buildings are arranged. Explain the regulations about worshiping there, then write down these things, so they can study and obey them.
    12The temple area on my holy mountain must be kept sacred! This is the most important law about the temple.
The Altar
 13According to the official standards, the altar in the temple had the following measurements: Around the bottom of the altar was a gutter twenty inches wide and twenty inches deep, with a ten inch ledge on the outer rim. 14-17The altar rested on a base and had three sections, each one of them square. The bottom section was twenty-seven feet on each side and three feet high. The middle section was twenty-four feet on each side and seven feet high, and it had a ten inch rim around its outer edge. The top section, which was twenty feet on each side and seven feet high, was the place where sacrifices were burned, and the four corners of the top section looked like the horns of a bull. The steps leading up to the altar were on the east side.    
The Dedication of the Altar
 18The LORD God said:    Ezekiel, son of man, after the altar is built, it must be dedicated by offering sacrifices on it and by splattering it with blood. Here is what you must do: 19The priests of the Levi tribe from the family of Zadok the priest are the only ones who may serve in my temple--this is my law. So give them a young bull to slaughter as a sacrifice for sin. 20Take some of the animal's blood and smear it on the four corners of the altar, some on the corners of the middle section, and some more on the rim around its edge. That will purify the altar and make it fit for offering sacrifices to me. 21Then take the body of the bull outside the temple area and burn it at the special place.
    22The next day, a goat [j] that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Purify the altar with its blood, just as you did with the blood of the bull. 23Then choose a young bull and a young ram that have nothing wrong with them, 24and bring them to my temple. The priests will sprinkle salt on them [k] and offer them as sacrifices to please me. [l] 25Each day for the next seven days, you must offer a goat and a bull and a ram as sacrifices for sin. These animals must have nothing wrong with them. 26The priests will purify the altar during those days, so that it will be acceptable to me and ready to use. 27From then on, the priests will use this altar to offer sacrifices to please me and sacrifices to ask my blessing. [m] Then I will be pleased with the people of Israel. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
  1. Ezekiel 42:1 he showed me. . . the west building: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. Ezekiel 42:3 the thirty-four feet of open space. . . the temple: See 41.10.
  3. Ezekiel 42:3 the sidewalk that circled the outer courtyard: See 40.17.
  4. Ezekiel 42:4 one hundred seventy feet long: Two ancient translations; Hebrew "twenty inches long."
  5. Ezekiel 42:7 long: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 5-8.
  6. Ezekiel 42:9 south: One ancient translation; Hebrew "east."
  7. Ezekiel 43:4 the LORD's glory. . . temple: This was the same gate the LORD's glory went through when it left Jerusalem (see 10.19 and 11.22,23).
  8. Ezekiel 43:6 the LORD: Hebrew "a voice."
  9. Ezekiel 43:7 by setting up memorials to their dead kings: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. Ezekiel 43:22 goat: Hebrew "male goat."
  11. Ezekiel 43:24 The priests will sprinkle salt on them: See Leviticus 2.13.
  12. Ezekiel 43:24 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 40.38,39.
  13. Ezekiel 43:27 sacrifices to ask my blessing: These sacrifices have traditionally been called "peace offerings" or "offerings of well-being." A main purpose was to ask for the LORD's blessing, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called "sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing."


James 5:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)

James 5

Warning to the Rich
 1You rich people should cry and weep! Terrible things are going to happen to you. 2Your treasures have already rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your money has rusted, and the rust will be evidence against you, as it burns your body like fire. Yet you keep on storing up wealth in these last days. 4You refused to pay the people who worked in your fields, and now their unpaid wages are shouting out against you. The Lord All-Powerful has surely heard the cries of the workers who harvested your crops.     5While here on earth, you have thought only of filling your own stomachs and having a good time. But now you are like fat cattle on their way to be butchered. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent people, who couldn't even fight back.
Be Patient and Kind
 7My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the spring and summer rains to make their valuable crops grow. 8Be patient like those farmers and don't give up. The Lord will soon be here! 9Don't grumble about each other or you will be judged, and the judge is right outside the door.     10My friends, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They were patient, even when they had to suffer. 11In fact, we praise the ones who endured the most. You remember how patient Job was and how the Lord finally helped him. The Lord did this because he is so merciful and kind.
    12My friends, above all else, don't take an oath. You must not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else. "Yes" or "No" is all you need to say. If you say anything more, you will be condemned.
    13If you are having trouble, you should pray. And if you are feeling good, you should sing praises. 14If you are sick, ask the church leaders [a] to come and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil [b] on you in the name of the Lord. 15If you have faith when you pray for sick people, they will get well. The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned, he will forgive them. 16If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot. 17Elijah was just as human as we are, and for three and a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling. 18But when he did pray for rain, it fell from the skies and made the crops grow.
    19My friends, if any followers have wandered away from the truth, you should try to lead them back. 20If you turn sinners from the wrong way, you will save them from death, and many of their sins will be forgiven.
  1. James 5:14 church leaders: Or "elders" or "presbyters" or "priests."
  2. James 5:14 olive oil: The Jewish people used olive oil for healing.

Psalm 119:1-16 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 119

In Praise of the Law of the LORD
 1Our LORD, you bless everyone    who lives right
   and obeys your Law.
    2You bless all of those
   who follow your commands
   from deep in their hearts
    3and who never do wrong
   or turn from you.
    4You have ordered us always
   to obey your teachings;
    5I don't ever want to stray
   from your laws.
    6Thinking about your commands
   will keep me from doing
   some foolish thing.
    7I will do right and praise you
   by learning to respect
   your perfect laws.
    8I will obey all of them!
   Don't turn your back on me.
    9Young people can live
   a clean life
   by obeying your word.
    10I worship you
   with all my heart.
   Don't let me walk away
   from your commands.
    11I treasure your word
   above all else;
   it keeps me from sinning
   against you.
    12I praise you, LORD!
   Teach me your laws.
    13With my own mouth,
   I tell others the laws
   that you have spoken.
    14Obeying your instructions
   brings as much happiness
   as being rich.
    15I will study your teachings
   and follow your footsteps.
    16I will take pleasure
   in your laws
   and remember your words.

Proverbs 28:6-7 (Contemporary English Version)

6It's better to be poor
   and live right,
   than to be rich
   and dishonest.
    7It makes good sense
   to obey the Law of God,
   but you disgrace your parents
   if you make friends
   with worthless nobodies.

Verse of the Day

“I never stop thanking my God for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, who helps you speak and understand so well.” - 1 Corinthians 1:4-5
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

Early Christian theologian and philosopher, Augustine of Hippo wrote, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”

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