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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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bible Readings for February 3, 2016

Today our passages are Exodus 17:8–19:15; Matthew 22:34–23:12; Psalm 27:7-14; and Proverbs 6:27-35. 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 17:8-19:15 (The Message)

8-9 Amalek came and fought Israel at Rephidim. Moses ordered Joshua: "Select some men for us and go out and fight Amalek. Tomorrow I will take my stand on top of the hill holding God's staff."

 10-13 Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses' hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.
 14 God said to Moses, "Write this up as a reminder to Joshua, to keep it before him, because I will most certainly wipe the very memory of Amalek off the face of the Earth."
 15-16 Moses built an altar and named it "God My Banner." He said,

   Salute God's rule!
   God at war with Amalek
   Always and forever!

Exodus 18

 1-4 Jethro, priest of Midian and father-in-law to Moses, heard the report of all that God had done for Moses and Israel his people, the news that God had delivered Israel from Egypt. Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, had taken in Zipporah, Moses' wife who had been sent back home, and her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (Sojourner) for he had said, "I'm a sojourner in a foreign land"; the name of the other was Eliezer (God's-Help) because "The God of my father is my help and saved me from death by Pharaoh."  5-6 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought Moses his sons and his wife there in the wilderness where he was camped at the mountain of God. He had sent a message ahead to Moses: "I, your father-in-law, am coming to you with your wife and two sons."
 7-8 Moses went out to welcome his father-in-law. He bowed to him and kissed him. Each asked the other how things had been with him. Then they went into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law the story of all that God had done to Pharaoh and Egypt in helping Israel, all the trouble they had experienced on the journey, and how God had delivered them.
 9-11 Jethro was delighted in all the good that God had done for Israel in delivering them from Egyptian oppression. Jethro said, "Blessed be God who has delivered you from the power of Egypt and Pharaoh, who has delivered his people from the oppression of Egypt. Now I know that God is greater than all gods because he's done this to all those who treated Israel arrogantly."
 12 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a Whole-Burnt-Offering and sacrifices to God. And Aaron, along with all the elders of Israel, came and ate the meal with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God.
 13-14 The next day Moses took his place to judge the people. People were standing before him all day long, from morning to night. When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What's going on here? Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself, letting everybody line up before you from morning to night?"
 15-16 Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me. I judge between a man and his neighbor and teach them God's laws and instructions."
 17-23 Moses' father-in-law said, "This is no way to go about it. You'll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can't do this alone. Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They'll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They'll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they'll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you'll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also."
 24-27 Moses listened to the counsel of his father-in-law and did everything he said. Moses picked competent men from all Israel and set them as leaders over the people who were organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They took over the everyday work of judging among the people. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but in the routine cases they were the judges. Then Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law who went home to his own country.

Exodus 19

Mount Sinai
 1-2 Three months after leaving Egypt the Israelites entered the Wilderness of Sinai. They followed the route from Rephidim, arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai, and set up camp. Israel camped there facing the mountain.  3-6 As Moses went up to meet God, God called down to him from the mountain: "Speak to the House of Jacob, tell the People of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you'll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you're special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.'
   "This is what I want you to tell the People of Israel."
 7 Moses came back and called the elders of Israel together and set before them all these words which God had commanded him.
 8 The people were unanimous in their response: "Everything God says, we will do." Moses took the people's answer back to God.

9 God said to Moses, "Get ready. I'm about to come to you in a thick cloud so that the people can listen in and trust you completely when I speak with you." Again Moses reported the people's answer to God.

 10-13 God said to Moses, "Go to the people. For the next two days get these people ready to meet the Holy God. Have them scrub their clothes so that on the third day they'll be fully prepared, because on the third day God will come down on Mount Sinai and make his presence known to all the people. Post boundaries for the people all around, telling them, 'Warning! Don't climb the mountain. Don't even touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain dies—a certain death. And no one is to touch that person, he's to be stoned. That's right—stoned. Or shot with arrows, shot to death. Animal or man, whichever—put to death.'
   "A long blast from the horn will signal that it's safe to climb the mountain."
 14-15 Moses went down the mountain to the people and prepared them for the holy meeting. They gave their clothes a good scrubbing. Then he addressed the people: "Be ready in three days. Don't sleep with a woman."

Matthew 22:34-23:12 (The Message)

The Most Important Command
 34-36When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?"
 37-40Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
David's Son and Master
 41-42As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with his own test question: "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said, "David's son."
 43-45Jesus replied, "Well, if the Christ is David's son, how do you explain that David, under inspiration, named Christ his 'Master'?

   God said to my Master,
         "Sit here at my right hand
      until I make your enemies your footstool."
"Now if David calls him 'Master,' how can he at the same time be his son?"
 46That stumped them, literalists that they were. Unwilling to risk losing face again in one of these public verbal exchanges, they quit asking questions for good.

Matthew 23

Religious Fashion Shows
 1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law. You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer.
 4-7"Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.'
 8-10"Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
 11-12"Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Psalm 27:7-14 (The Message)

 7-9 Listen, God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs:
      "Be good to me! Answer me!"
   When my heart whispered, "Seek God,"
      my whole being replied,
   "I'm seeking him!"
      Don't hide from me now!

 9-10 You've always been right there for me;
      don't turn your back on me now.
   Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;
      you've always kept the door open.
   My father and mother walked out and left me,
      but God took me in.

 11-12 Point me down your highway, God;
      direct me along a well-lighted street;
      show my enemies whose side you're on.
   Don't throw me to the dogs,
      those liars who are out to get me,
      filling the air with their threats.

 13-14 I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness
      in the exuberant earth.
   Stay with God!
      Take heart. Don't quit.
   I'll say it again:
      Stay with God.

Proverbs 6:27-35 (The Message)

 24-35 They'll protect you from wanton women,
   from the seductive talk of some temptress.
Don't lustfully fantasize on her beauty,
   nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes.
You can buy an hour with a whore for a loaf of bread,
   but a wanton woman may well eat you alive.
Can you build a fire in your lap
   and not burn your pants?
Can you walk barefoot on hot coals
   and not get blisters?
It's the same when you have sex with your neighbor's wife:
   Touch her and you'll pay for it. No excuses.
Hunger is no excuse
   for a thief to steal;
When he's caught he has to pay it back,
   even if he has to put his whole house in hock.
Adultery is a brainless act,
   soul-destroying, self-destructive;
Expect a bloody nose, a black eye,
   and a reputation ruined for good.
For jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband;
   wild for revenge, he won't make allowances.
Nothing you say or pay will make it all right;
   neither bribes nor reason will satisfy him.

Verse of the Day
“But I will sing about your strength, my God, and I will celebrate because of your love. You are my fortress, my place of protection in times of trouble.” - Psalm 59:16
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day
German Romantic writer, best known for his humorous novels and stories, Jean Paul wrote, “The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”

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