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, February 1, 2016

Bible Readings for February 1, 2016

Today our passages are Exodus 13:17–15:18; Matthew 21:23-46; Psalm 26:1-12; and Proverbs 6:16-19. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. PetersonIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.
Exodus 13:17-15:18 (The Message)
 17 It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn't lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, "If the people encounter war, they'll change their minds and go back to Egypt."
 18 So God led the people on the wilderness road, looping around to the Red Sea. The Israelites left Egypt in military formation.
 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly swear to do it, saying, "God will surely hold you accountable, so make sure you bring my bones from here with you."
 20-22 They moved on from Succoth and then camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness. God went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night. The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people.

Exodus 14

The Story and Song of Salvation
 1-2 God spoke to Moses: "Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon.  3-4 "Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are lost; they're confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.' Then I'll make Pharaoh's heart stubborn again and he'll chase after them. And I'll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God."
   And that's what happened.
 5-7 When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, "What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?" So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along.
 8-9 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh's horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.
 10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them— Egyptians! Coming at them!
   They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, "Weren't the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn't we tell you this would happen? Didn't we tell you, 'Leave us alone here in Egypt—we're better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.'"
 13 Moses spoke to the people: "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you're never going to see them again.

 14 God will fight the battle for you.
      And you? You keep your mouths shut!"

15-16 God said to Moses: "Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

 17-18 "Meanwhile I'll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I'll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God."
 19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn't come near each other all night.
 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.
 22-25 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.
   The Egyptians said, "Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!"
 26 God said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen."
 27-28 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh's army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived.
 29-31 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.

Exodus 15

 1-8 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to God, giving voice together,

   I'm singing my heart out to God—what a victory!
      He pitched horse and rider into the sea.
   God is my strength, God is my song,
      and, yes! God is my salvation.
   This is the kind of God I have
      and I'm telling the world!
   This is the God of my father—
      I'm spreading the news far and wide!
   God is a fighter,
      pure God, through and through.
   Pharaoh's chariots and army
      he dumped in the sea,
   The elite of his officers
      he drowned in the Red Sea.
   Wild ocean waters poured over them;
      they sank like a rock in the deep blue sea.
   Your strong right hand, God, shimmers with power;
      your strong right hand shatters the enemy.
   In your mighty majesty
      you smash your upstart enemies,
   You let loose your hot anger
      and burn them to a crisp.
   At a blast from your nostrils
      the waters piled up;
   Tumbling streams dammed up,
      wild oceans curdled into a swamp.

 9 The enemy spoke,
      "I'll pursue, I'll hunt them down,
   I'll divide up the plunder,
      I'll glut myself on them;
   I'll pull out my sword,
      my fist will send them reeling."

 10-11 You blew with all your might
      and the sea covered them.
   They sank like a lead weight
      in the majestic waters.
   Who compares with you
      among gods, O God?
   Who compares with you in power,
      in holy majesty,
   In awesome praises,
      wonder-working God?

 12-13 You stretched out your right hand
      and the Earth swallowed them up.
   But the people you redeemed,
      you led in merciful love;
   You guided them under your protection
      to your holy pasture.

 14-18 When people heard, they were scared;
      Philistines writhed and trembled;
   Yes, even the head men in Edom were shaken,
      and the big bosses in Moab.
   Everybody in Canaan
      panicked and fell faint.
   Dread and terror
      sent them reeling.
   Before your brandished right arm
      they were struck dumb like a stone,
   Until your people crossed over and entered, O God,
      until the people you made crossed over and entered.
   You brought them and planted them
      on the mountain of your heritage,
   The place where you live,
      the place you made,
   Your sanctuary, Master,
      that you established with your own hands.
   Let God rule
      forever, for eternity!


Matthew 21:23-46 (The Message)

True Authority
 23Then he was back in the Temple, teaching. The high priests and leaders of the people came up and demanded, "Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?"
 24-25Jesus responded, "First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I'll answer yours. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?"
 25-27They were on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, "If we say 'heaven,' he'll ask us why we didn't believe him; if we say 'humans,' we're up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet." They decided to concede that round to Jesus. "We don't know," they answered.
   Jesus said, "Then neither will I answer your question.
The Story of Two Sons
 28"Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, 'Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.'
 29"The son answered, 'I don't want to.' Later on he thought better of it and went.
 30"The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, 'Sure, glad to.' But he never went.
 31-32"Which of the two sons did what the father asked?"
   They said, "The first."
   Jesus said, "Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God's kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn't care enough to change and believe him.
The Story of the Greedy Farmhands
 33-34"Here's another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.
 35-37"The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. 'Surely,' he thought, 'they will respect my son.'
 38-39"But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. 'This is the heir! Let's kill him and have it all for ourselves.' They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him.
 40"Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?"
 41"He'll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance," they answered. "Then he'll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it's time."
 42-44Jesus said, "Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles:

   The stone the masons threw out
      is now the cornerstone.
   This is God's work;
      we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!
"This is the way it is with you. God's kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed."
 45-46When the religious leaders heard this story, they knew it was aimed at them. They wanted to arrest Jesus and put him in jail, but, intimidated by public opinion, they held back. Most people held him to be a prophet of God.

Psalm 26:1-12 (The Message)

Psalm 26

A David Psalm
 1 Clear my name, God; I've kept an honest shop.
   I've thrown in my lot with you, God, and
      I'm not budging.

 2 Examine me, God, from head to foot,
      order your battery of tests.
   Make sure I'm fit
      inside and out

 3 So I never lose
      sight of your love,
   But keep in step with you,
      never missing a beat.

 4-5 I don't hang out with tricksters,
      I don't pal around with thugs;
   I hate that pack of gangsters,
      I don't deal with double-dealers.

 6-7 I scrub my hands with purest soap,
      then join hands with the others in the great circle,
      dancing around your altar, God,
   Singing God-songs at the top of my lungs,
      telling God-stories.

 8-10 God, I love living with you;
      your house glows with your glory.
   When it's time for spring cleaning,
      don't sweep me out with the quacks and crooks,
   Men with bags of dirty tricks,
      women with purses stuffed with bribe-money.

 11-12 You know I've been aboveboard with you;
      now be aboveboard with me.
   I'm on the level with you, God;
      I bless you every chance I get.


Proverbs 6:16-19 (The Message)

Seven Things God Hates
 16-19 Here are six things God hates,
    and one more that he loathes with a passion:
      eyes that are arrogant,
      a tongue that lies,
      hands that murder the innocent,
      a heart that hatches evil plots,
      feet that race down a wicked track,
      a mouth that lies under oath,
      a troublemaker in the family.

Verse of the Day
“Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.” - Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

TMertonStudy.jpgThought for the Day

American Catholic writer and mystic, Thomas Merton wrote, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

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