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, March 14, 2016

Bible Readings for March 14, 2016

Today our passages are Numbers 21:1–22:20; Luke 1:26-56; Psalm 57:1-11; and Proverbs 11:9-11. 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.

Numbers 21-22:20 (The Message)

Numbers 21

 1The Canaanite king of Arad, ruling in the Negev, heard that Israel was advancing up the road to Atharim. He attacked Israel and took prisoners of war.  2 Israel vowed a vow to God: "If you will give this people into our power, we'll destroy their towns and present the ruins to you as a holy destruction."
 3 God listened to Israel's prayer and gave them the Canaanites. They destroyed both them and their towns, a holy destruction. They named the place Hormah (Holy Destruction).
The Snake of Fiery Copper
4-5 They set out from Mount Hor along the Red Sea Road, a detour around the land of Edom. The people became irritable and cross as they traveled. They spoke out against God and Moses: "Why did you drag us out of Egypt to die in this godforsaken country? No decent food; no water—we can't stomach this stuff any longer."  6-7 So God sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit them and many in Israel died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke out against God and you. Pray to God; ask him to take these snakes from us."
   Moses prayed for the people.
 8 God said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live."
 9 So Moses made a snake of fiery copper and put it on top of a flagpole. Anyone bitten by a snake who then looked at the copper snake lived.
Camping on the Way to Moab
10-15 The People of Israel set out and camped at Oboth. They left Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim in the wilderness that faces Moab on the east. They went from there and pitched camp in the Zered Valley. Their next camp was alongside the Arnon River, which marks the border between Amorite country and Moab. The Book of the Wars of God refers to this place:

   Waheb in Suphah,
      the canyons of Arnon;
   Along the canyon ravines
      that lead to the village Ar
   And lean hard against
      the border of Moab.
 16-18 They went on to Beer (The Well), where God said to Moses, "Gather the people; I'll give them water." That's where Israel sang this song:

      Erupt, Well!
   Sing the Song of the Well,
      the well sunk by princes,
   Dug out by the peoples' leaders
      digging with their scepters and staffs.

 19-20 From the wilderness their route went from Mattanah to Nahaliel to Bamoth (The Heights) to the valley that opens into the fields of Moab from where Pisgah (The Summit) rises and overlooks Jeshimon (Wasteland).
 21-22 Israel sent emissaries to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, "Let us cross your land. We won't trespass into your fields or drink water in your vineyards. We'll keep to the main road, the King's Road, until we're through your land."
 23-27 But Sihon wouldn't let Israel go through. Instead he got his army together and marched into the wilderness to fight Israel. At Jahaz he attacked Israel. But Israel fought hard, beat him soundly, and took possession of his land from the Arnon all the way to the Jabbok right up to the Ammonite border. They stopped there because the Ammonite border was fortified. Israel took and occupied all the Amorite cities, including Heshbon and all its surrounding villages. Heshbon was the capital city of Sihon king of the Amorites. He had attacked the former king of Moab and captured all his land as far north as the river Arnon. That is why the folk singers sing,

   Come to Heshbon to rebuild the city,
      restore Sihon's town.

 28-29 Fire once poured out of Heshbon,
      flames from the city of Sihon;
   Burning up Ar of Moab,
      the natives of Arnon's heights.
   Doom, Moab!
      The people of Chemosh, done for!
   Sons turned out as fugitives, daughters abandoned as captives
       to the king of the Amorites, to Sihon.

 30 Oh, but we finished them off:
      Nothing left of Heshbon as far as Dibon;
   Devastation as far off as Nophah,
      scorched earth all the way to Medeba.

 31-32 Israel moved in and lived in Amorite country. Moses sent men to scout out Jazer. They captured its villages and drove away the Amorites who lived there.
 33 Then they turned north on the road to Bashan. Og king of Bashan marched out with his entire army to meet Moses in battle at Edrei.
 34 God said to Moses, "Don't be afraid of him. I'm making a present of him to you, him and all his people and his land. Treat him the same as Sihon king of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon."
 35 So they attacked him, his sons, and all the people—there was not a single survivor. Israel took the land.

Numbers 22

 1 The People of Israel marched on and camped on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho.  2-3 Balak son of Zippor learned of all that Israel had done to the Amorites. The people of Moab were in a total panic because of Israel. There were so many of them! They were terrorized. 4-5 Moab spoke to the leaders of Midian: "Look, this mob is going to clean us out—a bunch of crows picking a carcass clean."
   Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent emissaries to get Balaam son of Beor, who lived at Pethor on the banks of the Euphrates River, his homeland.
 5-6 Balak's emissaries said, "Look. A people has come up out of Egypt, and they're all over the place! And they're pressing hard on me. Come and curse them for me—they're too much for me. Maybe then I can beat them; we'll attack and drive them out of the country. You have a reputation: Those you bless stay blessed; those you curse stay cursed."
 7-8 The leaders of Moab and Midian were soon on their way, with the fee for the cursing tucked safely in their wallets. When they got to Balaam, they gave him Balak's message.
   "Stay here for the night," Balaam said. "In the morning I'll deliver the answer that God gives me."
   The Moabite nobles stayed with him.
 9 Then God came to Balaam. He asked, "So who are these men here with you?"
 10-11 Balaam answered, "Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent them with a message: 'Look, the people that came up out of Egypt are all over the place! Come and curse them for me. Maybe then I'll be able to attack and drive them out of the country.'"
 12 God said to Balaam, "Don't go with them. And don't curse the others—they are a blessed people."
 13 The next morning Balaam got up and told Balak's nobles, "Go back home; God refuses to give me permission to go with you."
 14 So the Moabite nobles left, came back to Balak, and said, "Balaam wouldn't come with us."
 15-17 Balak sent another group of nobles, higher ranking and more distinguished. They came to Balaam and said, "Balak son of Zippor says, 'Please, don't refuse to come to me. I will honor and reward you lavishly— anything you tell me to do, I'll do; I'll pay anything—only come and curse this people.'"
 18-19 Balaam answered Balak's servants: "Even if Balak gave me his house stuffed with silver and gold, I wouldn't be able to defy the orders of my God to do anything, whether big or little. But come along and stay with me tonight as the others did; I'll see what God will say to me this time."
 20 God came to Balaam that night and said, "Since these men have come all this way to see you, go ahead and go with them. But make sure you do absolutely nothing other than what I tell you."

Luke 1:26-56 (The Message)

A Virgin Conceives
 26-28In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin's name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

   Good morning!
   You're beautiful with God's beauty,
   Beautiful inside and out!
   God be with you.
 29-33She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

   He will be great,
      be called 'Son of the Highest.'
   The Lord God will give him
      the throne of his father David;
   He will rule Jacob's house forever—
      no end, ever, to his kingdom."
 34Mary said to the angel, "But how? I've never slept with a man."
 35The angel answered,

   The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
      the power of the Highest hover over you;
   Therefore, the child you bring to birth
      will be called Holy, Son of God.
 36-38"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."
   And Mary said,

   Yes, I see it all now:
      I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.
   Let it be with me
      just as you say.
   Then the angel left her.
Blessed Among Women
 39-45Mary didn't waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah's house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,

   You're so blessed among women,
      and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
   And why am I so blessed that
      the mother of my Lord visits me?
   The moment the sound of your
      greeting entered my ears,
   The babe in my womb
      skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
   Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
      believed every word would come true!
 46-55And Mary said,

   I'm bursting with God-news;
      I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
      God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
      I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
   What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
      the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
   His mercy flows in wave after wave
      on those who are in awe before him.
   He bared his arm and showed his strength,
      scattered the bluffing braggarts.
   He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
      pulled victims out of the mud.
   The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
      the callous rich were left out in the cold.
   He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
      he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
   It's exactly what he promised,
      beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
 56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.

Psalm 57:1-11 (The Message)

Psalm 57

A David Psalm, When He Hid in a Cave from Saul
 1-3 Be good to me, God—and now! I've run to you for dear life.
   I'm hiding out under your wings
      until the hurricane blows over.
   I call out to High God,
      the God who holds me together.
   He sends orders from heaven and saves me,
      he humiliates those who kick me around.
   God delivers generous love,
      he makes good on his word.

 4 I find myself in a pride of lions
      who are wild for a taste of human flesh;
   Their teeth are lances and arrows,
      their tongues are sharp daggers.

 5 Soar high in the skies, O God!
      Cover the whole earth with your glory!

 6 They booby-trapped my path;
      I thought I was dead and done for.
   They dug a mantrap to catch me,
      and fell in headlong themselves.

 7-8 I'm ready, God, so ready,
      ready from head to toe,
   Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
      "Wake up, soul!
   Wake up, harp! wake up, lute!
      Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!"

 9-10 I'm thanking you, God, out loud in the streets,
      singing your praises in town and country.
   The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
      every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.

 11 Soar high in the skies, O God!
      Cover the whole earth with your glory!


Proverbs 11:9-11 (The Message)

 9 The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction;
   the common sense of the godly preserves them.

 10 When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
   when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.

 11 When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes;
   evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.

Verse of the Day
“Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love. If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful.” - 2 Peter 1:5-8
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Einstein 1921 by F Schmutzer - restoration.jpgThought for the Day

German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein wrote, “Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual. Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible. Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found.”

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