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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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bible Readings for May 1, 2016

Today our passages are Judges 13:1–14:20; John 1:1-51; Psalm 102:1-28; and Proverbs 14:15-16. 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.

Judges 13-14:20 (The Message)

Judges 13

1And then the People of Israel were back at it again, doing what was evil in God's sight. God put them under the domination of the Philistines for forty years. 2-5 At that time there was a man named Manoah from Zorah from the tribe of Dan. His wife was barren and childless. The angel of God appeared to her and told her, "I know that you are barren and childless, but you're going to become pregnant and bear a son. But take much care: Drink no wine or beer; eat nothing ritually unclean. You are, in fact, pregnant right now, carrying a son. No razor will touch his head—the boy will be God's Nazirite from the moment of his birth. He will launch the deliverance from Philistine oppression."
6-7 The woman went to her husband and said, "A man of God came to me. He looked like the angel of God—terror laced with glory! I didn't ask him where he was from and he didn't tell me his name, but he told me, 'You're pregnant. You're going to give birth to a son. Don't drink any wine or beer and eat nothing ritually unclean. The boy will be God's Nazirite from the moment of birth to the day of his death.'"
8 Manoah prayed to God: "Master, let the man of God you sent come to us again and teach us how to raise this boy who is to be born."
9-10 God listened to Manoah. God's angel came again to the woman. She was sitting in the field; her husband Manoah wasn't there with her. She jumped to her feet and ran and told her husband: "He's back! The man who came to me that day!"
11 Manoah got up and, following his wife, came to the man. He said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to my wife?"
He said, "I am."
12 Manoah said, "So. When what you say comes true, what do you have to tell us about this boy and his work?"
13-14 The angel of God said to Manoah, "Keep in mind everything I told the woman. Eat nothing that comes from the vine: Drink no wine or beer; eat no ritually unclean foods. She's to observe everything I commanded her."
15 Manoah said to the angel of God, "Please, stay with us a little longer; we'll prepare a meal for you—a young goat."
16 God's angel said to Manoah, "Even if I stay, I won't eat your food. But if you want to prepare a Whole-Burnt-Offering for God, go ahead—offer it!" Manoah had no idea that he was talking to the angel of God.
17 Then Manoah asked the angel of God, "What's your name? When your words come true, we'd like to honor you."
18 The angel of God said, "What's this? You ask for my name? You wouldn't understand—it's sheer wonder."
19-21 So Manoah took the kid and the Grain-Offering and sacrificed them on a rock altar to God who works wonders. As the flames leapt up from the altar to heaven, God's angel also ascended in the altar flames. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell facedown to the ground. Manoah and his wife never saw the angel of God again.
21-22 Only then did Manoah realize that this was God's angel. He said to his wife, "We're as good as dead! We've looked on God!"
23 But his wife said, "If God were planning to kill us, he wouldn't have accepted our Whole-Burnt-Offering and Grain-Offering, or revealed all these things to us—given us this birth announcement."
24-25 The woman gave birth to a son. They named him Samson. The boy grew and God blessed him. The Spirit of God began working in him while he was staying at a Danite camp between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 14

1-2 Samson went down to Timnah. There in Timnah a woman caught his eye, a Philistine girl. He came back and told his father and mother, "I saw a woman in Timnah, a Philistine girl; get her for me as my wife." 3 His parents said to him, "Isn't there a woman among the girls in the neighborhood of our people? Do you have to go get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?"
But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me. She's the one I want— she's the right one."
4 (His father and mother had no idea that God was behind this, that he was arranging an opportunity against the Philistines. At the time the Philistines lorded it over Israel.)
5-6 Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. When he got to the vineyards of Timnah, a young lion came at him, roaring. The Spirit of God came on him powerfully and he ripped it open barehanded, like tearing a young goat. But he didn't tell his parents what he had done.
7 Then he went on down and spoke to the woman. In Samson's eyes, she was the one.
8-9 Some days later when he came back to get her, he made a little detour to look at what was left of the lion. And there a wonder: a swarm of bees in the lion's carcass—and honey! He scooped it up in his hands and kept going, eating as he went. He rejoined his father and mother and gave some to them and they ate. But he didn't tell them that he had scooped out the honey from the lion's carcass.
10-11 His father went on down to make arrangements with the woman, while Samson prepared a feast there. That's what the young men did in those days. Because the people were wary of him, they arranged for thirty friends to mingle with him.
12-13 Samson said to them: "Let me put a riddle to you. If you can figure it out during the seven days of the feast, I'll give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of fine clothing. But if you can't figure it out then you'll give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of fine clothing."
13-14 They said, "Put your riddle. Let's hear it." So he said,
From the eater came something to eat,
From the strong came something sweet.

14-15 They couldn't figure it out. After three days they were still stumped. On the fourth day they said to Samson's bride, "Worm the answer out of your husband or we'll burn you and your father's household. Have you invited us here to bankrupt us?"
16 So Samson's bride turned on the tears, saying to him, "You hate me. You don't love me. You've told a riddle to my people but you won't even tell me the answer."
He said, "I haven't told my own parents—why would I tell you?"
17 But she turned on the tears all the seven days of the feast. On the seventh day, worn out by her nagging, he told her. Then she went and told it to her people.
18 The men of the town came to him on the seventh day, just before sunset and said,
What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?
And Samson said,
If you hadn't plowed with my heifer,
You wouldn't have found out my riddle.

19-20 Then the Spirit of God came powerfully on him. He went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, stripped them, and gave their clothing to those who had solved the riddle. Stalking out, smoking with anger, he went home to his father's house. Samson's bride became the wife of the best man at his wedding.

John 1:1-51 (The Message)

John 1

The Life-Light
1-2 The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.
3-5Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn't put it out.
6-8There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.
9-13The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn't even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn't want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
not blood-begotten,
not flesh-begotten,
not sex-begotten.
14The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
15John pointed him out and called, "This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word."

16-18We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.
Thunder in the Desert
19-20When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest. He didn't evade the question. He told the plain truth: "I am not the Messiah."
21They pressed him, "Who, then? Elijah?"
"I am not."
"The Prophet?"
22Exasperated, they said, "Who, then? We need an answer for those who sent us. Tell us something—anything!—about yourself."
23"I'm thunder in the desert: 'Make the road straight for God!' I'm doing what the prophet Isaiah preached."
24-25Those sent to question him were from the Pharisee party. Now they had a question of their own: "If you're neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why do you baptize?"
26-27John answered, "I only baptize using water. A person you don't recognize has taken his stand in your midst. He comes after me, but he is not in second place to me. I'm not even worthy to hold his coat for him."
28These conversations took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing at the time.
The God-Revealer
29-31The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I've been talking about, 'the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.' I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God."
32-34John clinched his witness with this: "I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, 'The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' That's exactly what I saw happen, and I'm telling you, there's no question about it: This is the Son of God."
Come, See for Yourself
35-36The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb."
37-38The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, "What are you after?"
They said, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?"
39He replied, "Come along and see for yourself."
They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.
40-42Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard John's witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, "We've found the Messiah" (that is, "Christ"). He immediately led him to Jesus.
Jesus took one look up and said, "You're John's son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas" (or Peter, which means "Rock").
43-44The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, "Come, follow me." (Philip's hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.)
45-46Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, "We've found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It's Jesus, Joseph's son, the one from Nazareth!" Nathanael said, "Nazareth? You've got to be kidding."
But Philip said, "Come, see for yourself."
47When Jesus saw him coming he said, "There's a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body."
48Nathanael said, "Where did you get that idea? You don't know me."
Jesus answered, "One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree."
49Nathanael exclaimed, "Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!"
50-51Jesus said, "You've become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven't seen anything yet! Before this is over you're going to see heaven open and God's angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again."

Psalm 102:1-28 (The Message)

Psalm 102

1-2 God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries.
Don't turn your back on me
just when I need you so desperately.
Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
And hurry—this can't wait!

3-11 I'm wasting away to nothing,
I'm burning up with fever.
I'm a ghost of my former self,
half-consumed already by terminal illness.
My jaws ache from gritting my teeth;
I'm nothing but skin and bones.
I'm like a buzzard in the desert,
a crow perched on the rubble.
Insomniac, I twitter away,
mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
while others just curse.
They bring in meals—casseroles of ashes!
I draw drink from a barrel of my tears.
And all because of your furious anger;
you swept me up and threw me out.
There's nothing left of me—
a withered weed, swept clean from the path.

12-17 Yet you, God, are sovereign still,
always and ever sovereign.
You'll get up from your throne and help Zion—
it's time for compassionate help.
Oh, how your servants love this city's rubble
and weep with compassion over its dust!
The godless nations will sit up and take notice
—see your glory, worship your name—
When God rebuilds Zion,
when he shows up in all his glory,
When he attends to the prayer of the wretched.
He won't dismiss their prayer.

18-22 Write this down for the next generation
so people not yet born will praise God:
"God looked out from his high holy place;
from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed,
he opened the doors of their death cells."
Write it so the story can be told in Zion,
so God's praise will be sung in Jerusalem's streets
And wherever people gather together
along with their rulers to worship him.

23-28 God sovereignly brought me to my knees,
he cut me down in my prime.
"Oh, don't," I prayed, "please don't let me die.
You have more years than you know what to do with!
You laid earth's foundations a long time ago,
and handcrafted the very heavens;
You'll still be around when they're long gone,
threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes.
You'll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
but year after year you're as good as new.
Your servants' children will have a good place to live
and their children will be at home with you."

Proverbs 14:15-16 (The Message)

15 The gullible believe anything they're told;
the prudent sift and weigh every word.

16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;
fools are headstrong and reckless.

Verse of the Day
“But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him.” - Hebrews 11:6
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day
A Syrian who was brought as a slave to Italy, but by his wit and talent he won the favour of his master, who freed and educated him, Publilius Syrus wrote, “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”

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