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, June 26, 2016

Bible Readings for June 26, 2016

Today our passages are 2 Kings 9:14–10:31; Acts 17:1-34; Psalm 144:1-15; and Proverbs 17:27-28. 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.

2 Kings 9:14-10:31 (The Message)

 14-15 That ignited the conspiracy of Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi against Joram.
    Meanwhile, Joram and the entire army were defending Ramoth Gilead against Hazael king of Aram. Except that Joram had pulled back to Jezreel to convalesce from the injuries he got from the Arameans in the battle with Hazael king of Aram.
    Jehu said, "If you really want me as king, don't let anyone sneak out of the city and blab the news in Jezreel."
 16 Then Jehu mounted a chariot and rode to Jezreel, where Joram was in bed, resting. King Ahaziah of Judah had come down to visit Joram.
 17 A sentry standing duty on the watchtower in Jezreel saw the company of Jehu arrive. He said, "I see a band of men."
    Joram said, "Get a horseman and send him out to meet them and inquire, 'Is anything wrong?'"
 18 The horseman rode out to meet Jehu and said, "The king wants to know if there's anything wrong."
    Jehu said, "What's it to you whether things are right or wrong? Fall in behind me."
    The sentry said, "The messenger reached them, but he's not returning."
 19 The king then sent a second horseman. When he reached them he said, "The king wants to know if there's anything wrong."
    Jehu said, "What's it to you whether things are right or wrong? Fall in behind me."
 20 The sentry said, "The messenger reached them, but he's not returning. The driving is like the driving of Jehu son of Nimshi—crazy!"
 21 Joram ordered, "Get my chariot ready!" They hitched up his chariot. Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah, each in his own chariot, drove out to meet Jehu. They met in the field of Naboth of Jezreel.
 22 When Joram saw Jehu he called out, "Good day, Jehu!"
    Jehu answered, "What's good about it? How can there be anything good about it as long as the promiscuous whoring and sorceries of your mother Jezebel pollute the country?"
 23 Joram wheeled his chariot around and fled, yelling to Ahaziah, "It's a trap, Ahaziah!"
 24 Jehu pulled on his bow and released an arrow; it hit Joram between the shoulder blades and went right through his heart. He slumped to his knees in his chariot.
 25-26 Jehu ordered Bidkar, his lieutenant, "Quick—throw him into the field of Naboth of Jezreel. Remember when you and I were driving our chariots behind Ahab his father? That's when God pronounced this doom upon him: 'As surely as I saw the blood of murdered Naboth and his sons yesterday, you'll pay for it on this exact piece of ground. God's word!' So take him and throw him out in the field. God's instructions carried out to the letter!"
 27 Ahaziah king of Judah saw what was going on and made his escape on the road toward Beth Haggan. Jehu chased him, yelling out, "Get him, too!" Jehu's troops shot and wounded him in his chariot on the hill up to Gur, near Ibleam. He was able to make it as far as Megiddo; there he died.
 28 His aides drove on to Jerusalem. They buried him in the family plot in the City of David.
 29 In the eleventh year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king of Judah.
 30-31 When Jezebel heard that Jehu had arrived in Jezreel, she made herself up—put on eyeshadow and arranged her hair—and posed seductively at the window. When Jehu came through the city gate, she called down, "So, how are things, 'Zimri,' you dashing king-killer?"
 32 Jehu looked up at the window and called, "Is there anybody up there on my side?" Two or three palace eunuchs looked out.
 33 He ordered, "Throw her down!" They threw her out the window. Her blood spattered the wall and the horses, and Jehu trampled her under his horse's hooves.
 34 Then Jehu went inside and ate his lunch. During lunch he gave orders, "Take care of that damned woman; give her a decent burial—she is, after all, a king's daughter."
 35-36 They went out to bury her, but there was nothing left of her but skull, feet, and hands. They came back and told Jehu. He said, "It's God's word, the word spoken by Elijah the Tishbite:
    In the field of Jezreel,
      dogs will eat Jezebel;

 37 The body of Jezebel will be like
      dog-droppings on the ground in Jezreel.
   Old friends and lovers will say,
      'I wonder, is this Jezebel?'"

2 Kings 10

 1-2Ahab had seventy sons still living in Samaria. Jehu wrote letters addressed to the officers of Jezreel, the city elders, and those in charge of Ahab's sons, and posted them to Samaria. The letters read:  2-3 This letter is fair warning. You're in charge of your master's children, chariots, horses, fortifications, and weapons. Pick the best and most capable of your master's sons and put him on the throne. Prepare to fight for your master's position.
 4 They were absolutely terrified at the letter. They said, "Two kings have already been wiped out by him; what hope do we have?"
 5 So they sent the warden of the palace, the mayor of the city, the elders, and the guardians to Jehu with this message: "We are your servants. Whatever you say, we'll do. We're not making anyone king here. You're in charge—do what you think best."
 6-7 Then Jehu wrote a second letter:
   If you are on my side and are willing to follow my orders, here's what you do: Decapitate the sons of your master and bring the heads to me by this time tomorrow in Jezreel.
    The king's sons numbered seventy. The leaders of the city had taken responsibility for them. When they got the letter, they took the king's sons and killed all seventy. Then they put the heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.
 8 A messenger reported to Jehu: "They've delivered the heads of the king's sons."
    He said, "Stack them in two piles at the city gate until morning."
 9-10 In the morning Jehu came out, stood before the people, and addressed them formally: "Do you realize that this very day you are participants in God's righteous workings? True, I am the one who conspired against my master and assassinated him. But who, do you suppose, is responsible for this pile of skulls? Know this for certain: Not a single syllable that God spoke in judgment on the family of Ahab is canceled; you're seeing it with your own eyes—God doing what, through Elijah, he said he'd do."
 11 Then Jehu proceeded to kill everyone who had anything to do with Ahab's family in Jezreel—leaders, friends, priests. He wiped out the entire lot.
 12-13 That done, he brushed himself off and set out for Samaria. Along the way, at Beth Eked (Binding House) of the Shepherds, he met up with some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah.
    Jehu said, "Who are you?"
    They said, "We're relatives of Ahaziah and we've come down to a reunion of the royal family."
 14 "Grab them!" ordered Jehu. They were taken and then massacred at the well of Beth Eked. Forty-two of them—no survivors.
 15 He went on from there and came upon Jehonadab the Recabite who was on his way to meet him. Greeting him, he said, "Are we together and of one mind in this?"
    Jehonadab said, "We are—count on me."
    "Then give me your hand," said Jehu.
    They shook hands on it and Jehonadab stepped up into the chariot with Jehu.
 16 "Come along with me," said Jehu, "and witness my zeal for God." Together they proceeded in the chariot.
 17 When they arrived in Samaria, Jehu massacred everyone left in Samaria who was in any way connected with Ahab—a mass execution, just as God had told Elijah.
 18-19 Next, Jehu got all the people together and addressed them:
      Ahab served Baal small-time; Jehu will serve him big-time.
"Get all the prophets of Baal here—everyone who served him, all his priests. Get everyone here; don't leave anyone out. I have a great sacrifice to offer Baal. If you don't show up, you won't live to tell about it." (Jehu was lying, of course. He planned to destroy all the worshipers of Baal.)

 20 Jehu ordered, "Make preparation for a holy convocation for Baal." They did and posted the date.
 21 Jehu then summoned everyone in Israel. They came in droves—every worshiper of Baal in the country. Nobody stayed home. They came and packed the temple of Baal to capacity.
 22 Jehu directed the keeper of the wardrobe, "Get robes for all the servants of Baal." He brought out their robes.
 23-24 Jehu and Jehonadab the Recabite now entered the temple of Baal and said, "Double-check and make sure that there are no worshipers of God in here; only Baal-worshipers are allowed." Then they launched the worship, making the sacrifices and burnt offerings.
    Meanwhile, Jehu had stationed eighty men outside with orders: "Don't let a single person escape; if you do, it's your life for his life."
 25-27 When Jehu had finished with the sacrificial solemnities, he signaled to the officers and guards, "Enter and kill! No survivors!"
    And the bloody slaughter began. The officers and guards threw the corpses outside and cleared the way to enter the inner shrine of Baal. They hauled out the sacred phallic stone from the temple of Baal and pulverized it. They smashed the Baal altars and tore down the Baal temple. It's been a public toilet ever since.
 28 And that's the story of Jehu's wasting of Baal in Israel.
 29 But for all that, Jehu didn't turn back from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, the sins that had dragged Israel into a life of sin—the golden calves in Bethel and Dan stayed.
 30 God commended Jehu: "You did well to do what I saw was best. You did what I ordered against the family of Ahab. As reward, your sons will occupy the throne of Israel for four generations."
 31 Even then, though, Jehu wasn't careful to walk in God's ways and honor the God of Israel from an undivided heart. He didn't turn back from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.

Acts 17:1-34 (The Message)

Acts 17

 1-3 They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. He opened up the texts so they understood what they'd been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that "this Jesus I'm introducing you to is that Messiah."  4-5Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.
 5-7They broke into Jason's house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn't find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, "These people are out to destroy the world, and now they've shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!"
 8-9The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.
 10-12That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul's message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence.  13-15But it wasn't long before reports got back to the Thessalonian hardline Jews that Paul was at it again, preaching the Word of God, this time in Berea. They lost no time responding, and created a mob scene there, too. With the help of his friends, Paul gave them the slip—caught a boat and put out to sea. Silas and Timothy stayed behind. The men who helped Paul escape got him as far as Athens and left him there. Paul sent word back with them to Silas and Timothy: "Come as quickly as you can!"
 16The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols.  17-18He discussed it with the Jews and other like-minded people at their meeting place. And every day he went out on the streets and talked with anyone who happened along. He got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations. Some of them dismissed him with sarcasm: "What an airhead!" But others, listening to him go on about Jesus and the resurrection, were intrigued: "That's a new slant on the gods. Tell us more."
 19-21These people got together and asked him to make a public presentation over at the Areopagus, where things were a little quieter. They said, "This is a new one on us. We've never heard anything quite like it. Where did you come up with this anyway? Explain it so we can understand." Downtown Athens was a great place for gossip. There were always people hanging around, natives and tourists alike, waiting for the latest tidbit on most anything.
 22-23So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. "It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I'm here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you're dealing with.
 24-29"The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn't make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?
 30-31"God overlooks it as long as you don't know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he's calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead."
 32-34At the phrase "raising him from the dead," the listeners split: Some laughed at him and walked off making jokes; others said, "Let's do this again. We want to hear more." But that was it for the day, and Paul left. There were still others, it turned out, who were convinced then and there, and stuck with Paul—among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris.

Psalm 144:1-15 (The Message)

Psalm 144

A David Psalm
 1-2 Blessed be God, my mountain, who trains me to fight fair and well.
   He's the bedrock on which I stand,
      the castle in which I live,
      my rescuing knight,
   The high crag where I run for dear life,
      while he lays my enemies low.

 3-4 I wonder why you care, God
      why do you bother with us at all?
   All we are is a puff of air;
      we're like shadows in a campfire.

 5-8 Step down out of heaven, God;
      ignite volcanoes in the hearts of the mountains.
   Hurl your lightnings in every direction;
      shoot your arrows this way and that.
   Reach all the way from sky to sea:
      pull me out of the ocean of hate,
      out of the grip of those barbarians
   Who lie through their teeth,
      who shake your hand
      then knife you in the back.

 9-10 O God, let me sing a new song to you,
      let me play it on a twelve-string guitar—
   A song to the God who saved the king,
      the God who rescued David, his servant.

 11 Rescue me from the enemy sword,
      release me from the grip of those barbarians
   Who lie through their teeth,
      who shake your hand
      then knife you in the back.

 12-14 Make our sons in their prime
      like sturdy oak trees,
   Our daughters as shapely and bright
      as fields of wildflowers.
   Fill our barns with great harvest,
      fill our fields with huge flocks;
   Protect us from invasion and exile—
      eliminate the crime in our streets.

 15 How blessed the people who have all this!
   How blessed the people who have God for God!


Proverbs 17:27-28 (The Message)

 27 The one who knows much says little;
   an understanding person remains calm.

 28 Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise;
   as long as they keep their mouths shut, they're smart.

Verse of the Day
“Stop being angry and don't try to take revenge. I am the LORD, and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself.” - Leviticus 19:18
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Plato Silanion Musei Capitolini MC1377.jpg
Thought for the Day
A philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, Plato wrote, “Man - a being in search of meaning.” 

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