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, May 2, 2016

Bible Readings for May 2, 2016

Today our passages are Judges 15:1–16:31; John 2:1-25; Psalm 103:1-22; and Proverbs 14:17-19. 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.

Judges 15-16:31 (The Message)

Judges 15

 1-2 Later on—it was during the wheat harvest—Samson visited his bride, bringing a young goat. He said, "Let me see my wife—show me her bedroom."
    But her father wouldn't let him in. He said, "I concluded that by now you hated her with a passion, so I gave her to your best man. But her little sister is even more beautiful. Why not take her instead?"
 3 Samson said, "That does it. This time when I wreak havoc on the Philistines, I'm blameless."
 4-5 Samson then went out and caught three hundred jackals. He lashed the jackals' tails together in pairs and tied a torch between each pair of tails. He then set fire to the torches and let them loose in the Philistine fields of ripe grain. Everything burned, both stacked and standing grain, vineyards and olive orchards—everything.
 6 The Philistines said, "Who did this?"
    They were told, "Samson, son-in-law of the Timnite who took his bride and gave her to his best man."
    The Philistines went up and burned both her and her father to death.
 7 Samson then said, "If this is the way you're going to act, I swear I'll get even with you. And I'm not quitting till the job's done!"
 8 With that he tore into them, ripping them limb from limb—a huge slaughter. Then he went down and stayed in a cave at Etam Rock.

9-10 The Philistines set out and made camp in Judah, preparing to attack Lehi (Jawbone). When the men of Judah asked, "Why have you come up against us?" they said, "We're out to get Samson. We're going after Samson to do to him what he did to us."
 11 Three companies of men from Judah went down to the cave at Etam Rock and said to Samson, "Don't you realize that the Philistines already bully and lord it over us? So what's going on with you, making things even worse?"
    He said, "It was tit for tat. I only did to them what they did to me."
 12 They said, "Well, we've come down here to tie you up and turn you over to the Philistines."
    Samson said, "Just promise not to hurt me."
 13 "We promise," they said. "We will tie you up and surrender you to them but, believe us, we won't kill you." They proceeded to tie him with new ropes and led him up from the Rock.
 14-16 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him, shouting in triumph. And then the Spirit of God came on him with great power. The ropes on his arms fell apart like flax on fire; the thongs slipped off his hands. He spotted a fresh donkey jawbone, reached down and grabbed it, and with it killed the whole company. And Samson said,
    With a donkey's jawbone
   I made heaps of donkeys of them.
   With a donkey's jawbone
   I killed an entire company.
 17 When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone. He named that place Ramath Lehi (Jawbone Hill).
 18-19 Now he was suddenly very thirsty. He called out to God, "You have given your servant this great victory. Are you going to abandon me to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" So God split open the rock basin in Lehi; water gushed out and Samson drank. His spirit revived—he was alive again! That's why it's called En Hakkore (Caller's Spring). It's still there at Lehi today.
 20 Samson judged Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

Judges 16

 1-2 Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute. He went to her. The news got around: "Samson's here." They gathered around in hiding, waiting all night for him at the city gate, quiet as mice, thinking, "At sunrise we'll kill him."
 3 Samson was in bed with the woman until midnight. Then he got up, seized the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts, bolts and all, hefted them on his shoulder, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

4-5 Some time later he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek (Grapes). Her name was Delilah. The Philistine tyrants approached her and said, "Seduce him. Discover what's behind his great strength and how we can tie him up and humble him. Each man's company will give you a hundred shekels of silver."
 6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me, dear, the secret of your great strength, and how you can be tied up and humbled."
 7 Samson told her, "If they were to tie me up with seven bowstrings—the kind made from fresh animal tendons, not dried out—then I would become weak, just like anyone else."
 8-9 The Philistine tyrants brought her seven bowstrings, not dried out, and she tied him up with them. The men were waiting in ambush in her room. Then she said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He snapped the cords as though they were mere threads. The secret of his strength was still a secret.
 10 Delilah said, "Come now, Samson—you're playing with me, making up stories. Be serious; tell me how you can be tied up."
 11 He told her, "If you were to tie me up tight with new ropes, ropes never used for work, then I would be helpless, just like anybody else."
 12 So Delilah got some new ropes and tied him up. She said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" The men were hidden in the next room. He snapped the ropes from his arms like threads.
 13-14 Delilah said to Samson, "You're still playing games with me, teasing me with lies. Tell me how you can be tied up."
    He said to her, "If you wove the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on the loom and drew it tight, then I would be as helpless as any other mortal."
    When she had him fast asleep, Delilah took the seven braids of his hair and wove them into the fabric on the loom and drew it tight. Then she said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He woke from his sleep and ripped loose from both the loom and fabric!
 15 She said, "How can you say 'I love you' when you won't even trust me? Three times now you've toyed with me, like a cat with a mouse, refusing to tell me the secret of your great strength."
 16-17 She kept at it day after day, nagging and tormenting him. Finally, he was fed up—he couldn't take another minute of it. He spilled it.
    He told her, "A razor has never touched my head. I've been God's Nazirite from conception. If I were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would be as helpless as any other mortal."
 18 When Delilah realized that he had told her his secret, she sent for the Philistine tyrants, telling them, "Come quickly—this time he's told me the truth." They came, bringing the bribe money.
 19 When she got him to sleep, his head on her lap, she motioned to a man to cut off the seven braids of his hair. Immediately he began to grow weak. His strength drained from him.
 20 Then she said, "The Philistines are on you, Samson!" He woke up, thinking, "I'll go out, like always, and shake free." He didn't realize that God had abandoned him.
 21-22 The Philistines grabbed him, gouged out his eyes, and took him down to Gaza. They shackled him in irons and put him to the work of grinding in the prison. But his hair, though cut off, began to grow again.
 23-24 The Philistine tyrants got together to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They celebrated, saying,
   Our god has given us
   Samson our enemy!
And when the people saw him, they joined in, cheering their god,
   Our god has given
   Our enemy to us,
   The one who ravaged our country,
   Piling high the corpses among us.
 25-27 Then this: Everyone was feeling high and someone said, "Get Samson! Let him show us his stuff!" They got Samson from the prison and he put on a show for them.
    They had him standing between the pillars. Samson said to the young man who was acting as his guide, "Put me where I can touch the pillars that hold up the temple so I can rest against them." The building was packed with men and women, including all the Philistine tyrants. And there were at least three thousand in the stands watching Samson's performance.
 28 And Samson cried out to God:
   Master, God!
      Oh, please, look on me again,
      Oh, please, give strength yet once more.
      With one avenging blow let me be avenged
      On the Philistines for my two eyes!
 29-30 Then Samson reached out to the two central pillars that held up the building and pushed against them, one with his right arm, the other with his left. Saying, "Let me die with the Philistines," Samson pushed hard with all his might. The building crashed on the tyrants and all the people in it. He killed more people in his death than he had killed in his life.

31 His brothers and all his relatives went down to get his body. They carried him back and buried him in the tomb of Manoah his father, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
    He judged Israel for twenty years.

John 2:1-25 (The Message)

John 2

From Water to Wine
 1-3 Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were guests also. When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus' mother told him, "They're just about out of wine."
 4Jesus said, "Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn't my time. Don't push me."
 5She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, "Whatever he tells you, do it."
 6-7Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus ordered the servants, "Fill the pots with water." And they filled them to the brim.
 8"Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host," Jesus said, and they did.
 9-10When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn't know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, "Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you've saved the best till now!"
 11This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
 12After this he went down to Capernaum along with his mother, brothers, and disciples, and stayed several days.
Tear Down This Temple . . .
 13-14When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.
 15-17Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, "Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father's house into a shopping mall!" That's when his disciples remembered the Scripture, "Zeal for your house consumes me."
 18-19But the Jews were upset. They asked, "What credentials can you present to justify this?" Jesus answered, "Tear down this Temple and in three days I'll put it back together."
 20-22They were indignant: "It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you're going to rebuild it in three days?" But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.
 23-25During the time he was in Jerusalem, those days of the Passover Feast, many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him. But Jesus didn't entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn't need any help in seeing right through them.

Psalm 103:1-22 (The Message)

Psalm 103

A David Psalm
 1-2 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
   O my soul, bless God,
      don't forget a single blessing!

 3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
      He heals your diseases—every one.
      He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
      He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
      He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
      He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence.

 6-18 God makes everything come out right;
      he puts victims back on their feet.
   He showed Moses how he went about his work,
      opened up his plans to all Israel.
   God is sheer mercy and grace;
      not easily angered, he's rich in love.
   He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
      nor hold grudges forever.
   He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
      nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
   As high as heaven is over the earth,
      so strong is his love to those who fear him.
   And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
      he has separated us from our sins.
   As parents feel for their children,
      God feels for those who fear him.
   He knows us inside and out,
      keeps in mind that we're made of mud.
   Men and women don't live very long;
      like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
   But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
      leaving nothing to show they were here.
   God's love, though, is ever and always,
      eternally present to all who fear him,
   Making everything right for them and their children
      as they follow his Covenant ways
      and remember to do whatever he said.

 19-22 God has set his throne in heaven;
      he rules over us all. He's the King!
   So bless God, you angels,
      ready and able to fly at his bidding,
      quick to hear and do what he says.
   Bless God, all you armies of angels,
      alert to respond to whatever he wills.
   Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
      everything and everyone made by God.
   And you, O my soul, bless God!

Proverbs 14:17-19 (The Message)

 17 The hotheaded do things they'll later regret;
   the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.

 18 Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
   wise realists plant their feet on the ground.

 19 Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;
   the wicked will respect God-loyal people.

Verse of the Day
“We are certain that God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him. And if we know that God listens when we pray, we are sure that our prayers have already been answered.” - 1 John 5:14-15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day
Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature, William Butler Yeats wrote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

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