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, June 29, 2016

Bible Readings for June 29, 2016

Today our passages are 2 Kings 15:1–16:20; Acts 19:13-41; Psalm 147:1-20; and Proverbs 18:4-5. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you missed a day, you can find all the readings at our blog, The Bible in a Year. If 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 15-16:20 (The Message)

2 Kings 15

Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah
 1-5 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah became king in Judah. He was sixteen years old when he began his rule and he was king for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jecoliah. She was from Jerusalem. He did well in the eyes of God, following in the footsteps of his father Amaziah. But he also failed to get rid of the local sex-and-religion shrines; they continued to be popular with the people. God afflicted the king with a bad skin disease until the day of his death. He lived in the palace but no longer acted as king; his son Jotham ran the government and ruled the country.  6-7 The rest of the life and times of Azariah, everything he accomplished, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. Azariah died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Jotham his son was king after him.
Zechariah of Israel
8-9 In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in Samaria. He lasted only six months. He lived a bad life before God, no different from his ancestors. He continued in the line of Jeroboam son of Nebat who led Israel into a life of sin.  10 Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against him, assassinated him in public view, and took over as king.
 11-12 The rest of the life and times of Zechariah is written plainly in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. That completed the word of God that was given to Jehu, namely, "For four generations your sons will sit on the throne of Israel." Zechariah was the fourth.
Shallum of Israel
13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah. He was king in Samaria for only a month.  14 Menahem son of Gadi came up from Tirzah to Samaria. He attacked Shallum son of Jabesh and killed him. He then became king.
 15 The rest of the life and times of Shallum and the account of the conspiracy are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
Menahem of Israel
16 Using Tirzah as his base, Menahem opened his reign by smashing Tiphsah, devastating both the town and its suburbs because they didn't welcome him with open arms. He savagely ripped open all the pregnant women.  17-18 In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel. He ruled from Samaria for ten years. As far as God was concerned he lived an evil life. Sin for sin, he repeated the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.
 19-20 Then Tiglath-Pileser III king of Assyria showed up and attacked the country. But Menahem made a deal with him: He bought his support by handing over about thirty-seven tons of silver. He raised the money by making every landowner in Israel pay fifty shekels to the king of Assyria. That satisfied the king of Assyria, and he left the country.
 21-22 The rest of the life and times of Menahem, everything he did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Menahem died and joined his ancestors. His son Pekahiah became the next king.
Pekahiah of Israel
23-24 In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel. He ruled in Samaria for two years. In God's eyes he lived an evil life. He stuck to the old sin tracks of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.  25 And then his military aide Pekah son of Remaliah conspired against him—killed him in cold blood while he was in his private quarters in the royal palace in Samaria. He also killed Argob and Arieh. Fifty Gadites were in on the conspiracy with him. After the murder he became the next king.
 26 The rest of the life and times of Pekahiah, everything he did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
Pekah of Israel
27-28 In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Samaria. He ruled for twenty years. In God's view he lived an evil life; he didn't deviate so much as a hair's breadth from the path laid down by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.  29 During the reign of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser III king of Assyria invaded the country. He captured Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee—the whole country of Naphtali—and took everyone captive to Assyria.
 30 But then Hoshea son of Elah mounted a conspiracy against Pekah son of Remaliah. He assassinated him and took over as king. This was in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah.
 31 The rest of the life and times of Pekah, everything he did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
Jotham of Judah
32-35 In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah became king in Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok. He acted well in God's eyes, following in the steps of his father Uzziah. But he didn't interfere with the traffic to the neighborhood sex-and-religion shrines; they continued, as popular as ever. The construction of the High Gate to The Temple of God was his work.  36-38 The rest of the life and times of Jotham, the record of his work, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. It was during these years that God began sending Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah to attack Judah. Jotham died and joined his ancestors. They buried him in the family cemetery in the City of David. His son Ahaz was the next king.

2 Kings 16

Ahaz of Judah
 1-4 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king and he ruled for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He didn't behave in the eyes of his God; he wasn't at all like his ancestor David. Instead he followed in the track of the kings of Israel. He even indulged in the outrageous practice of "passing his son through the fire"—a truly abominable act he picked up from the pagans God had earlier thrown out of the country. He also participated in the activities of the neighborhood sex-and-religion shrines that flourished all over the place.  5 Then Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel ganged up against Jerusalem, throwing a siege around the city, but they couldn't make further headway against Ahaz.
 6 At about this same time and on another front, the king of Edom recovered the port of Elath and expelled the men of Judah. The Edomites occupied Elath and have been there ever since.
 7-8 Ahaz sent envoys to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria with this message: "I'm your servant and your son. Come and save me from the heavy-handed invasion of the king of Aram and the king of Israel. They're attacking me right now." Then Ahaz robbed the treasuries of the palace and The Temple of God of their gold and silver and sent them to the king of Assyria as a bribe.
 9 The king of Assyria responded to him. He attacked and captured Damascus. He deported the people to Nineveh as exiles. Rezin he killed.
 10-11 King Ahaz went to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria in Damascus. The altar in Damascus made a great impression on him. He sent back to Uriah the priest a drawing and set of blueprints of the altar. Uriah the priest built the altar to the specifications that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus. By the time the king returned from Damascus, Uriah had completed the altar.
 12-14 The minute the king saw the altar he approached it with reverence and arranged a service of worship with a full course of offerings: Whole-Burnt-Offerings with billows of smoke, Grain-Offerings, libations of Drink-Offerings, the sprinkling of blood from the Peace-Offerings—the works. But the old bronze Altar that signaled the presence of God he displaced from its central place and pushed it off to the side of his new altar.
 15 Then King Ahaz ordered Uriah the priest: "From now on offer all the sacrifices on the new altar, the great altar: morning Whole-Burnt-Offerings, evening Grain-Offerings, the king's Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Grain-Offerings, the people's Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Grain-Offerings, and also their Drink-Offerings. Splash all the blood from the burnt offerings and sacrifices against this altar. The old bronze Altar will be for my personal use.
 16 The priest Uriah followed King Ahaz's orders to the letter.
 17-18 Then King Ahaz proceeded to plunder The Temple furniture of all its bronze. He stripped the bronze from The Temple furnishings, even salvaged the four bronze oxen that supported the huge basin, The Sea, and set The Sea unceremoniously on the stone pavement. Finally, he removed any distinctive features from within The Temple that were offensive to the king of Assyria.
 19-20 The rest of the life and times of Ahaz is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. Ahaz died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Hezekiah became the next king.

Acts 19:13-41 (The Message)

 13-16Some itinerant Jewish exorcists who happened to be in town at the time tried their hand at what they assumed to be Paul's "game." They pronounced the name of the Master Jesus over victims of evil spirits, saying, "I command you by the Jesus preached by Paul!" The seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were trying to do this on a man when the evil spirit talked back: "I know Jesus and I've heard of Paul, but who are you?" Then the possessed man went berserk—jumped the exorcists, beat them up, and tore off their clothes. Naked and bloody, they got away as best they could.
 17-20It was soon news all over Ephesus among both Jews and Greeks. The realization spread that God was in and behind this. Curiosity about Paul developed into reverence for the Master Jesus. Many of those who thus believed came out of the closet and made a clean break with their secret sorceries. All kinds of witches and warlocks came out of the woodwork with their books of spells and incantations and made a huge bonfire of them. Someone estimated their worth at fifty thousand silver coins. In such ways it became evident that the Word of the Master was now sovereign and prevailed in Ephesus.
The Goddess Artemis
 21-22After all this had come to a head, Paul decided it was time to move on to Macedonia and Achaia provinces, and from there to Jerusalem. "Then," he said, "I'm off to Rome. I've got to see Rome!" He sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, on to Macedonia and then stayed for a while and wrapped things up in Asia.  23-26But before he got away, a huge ruckus occurred over what was now being referred to as "the Way." A certain silversmith, Demetrius, conducted a brisk trade in the manufacture of shrines to the goddess Artemis, employing a number of artisans in his business. He rounded up his workers and others similarly employed and said, "Men, you well know that we have a good thing going here—and you've seen how Paul has barged in and discredited what we're doing by telling people that there's no such thing as a god made with hands. A lot of people are going along with him, not only here in Ephesus but all through Asia province.
 27"Not only is our little business in danger of falling apart, but the temple of our famous goddess Artemis will certainly end up a pile of rubble as her glorious reputation fades to nothing. And this is no mere local matter—the whole world worships our Artemis!"
 28-31That set them off in a frenzy. They ran into the street yelling, "Great Artemis of the Ephesians! Great Artemis of the Ephesians!" They put the whole city in an uproar, stampeding into the stadium, and grabbing two of Paul's associates on the way, the Macedonians Gaius and Aristarchus. Paul wanted to go in, too, but the disciples wouldn't let him. Prominent religious leaders in the city who had become friendly to Paul concurred: "By no means go near that mob!"
 32-34Some were yelling one thing, some another. Most of them had no idea what was going on or why they were there. As the Jews pushed Alexander to the front to try to gain control, different factions clamored to get him on their side. But he brushed them off and quieted the mob with an impressive sweep of his arms. But the moment he opened his mouth and they knew he was a Jew, they shouted him down: "Great Artemis of the Ephesians! Great Artemis of the Ephesians!"—on and on and on, for over two hours.
 35-37Finally, the town clerk got the mob quieted down and said, "Fellow citizens, is there anyone anywhere who doesn't know that our dear city Ephesus is protector of glorious Artemis and her sacred stone image that fell straight out of heaven? Since this is beyond contradiction, you had better get hold of yourselves. This is conduct unworthy of Artemis. These men you've dragged in here have done nothing to harm either our temple or our goddess.
 38-41"So if Demetrius and his guild of artisans have a complaint, they can take it to court and make all the accusations they want. If anything else is bothering you, bring it to the regularly scheduled town meeting and let it be settled there. There is no excuse for what's happened today. We're putting our city in serious danger. Rome, remember, does not look kindly on rioters." With that, he sent them home.

Psalm 147:1-20 (The Message)

Psalm 147

    Hallelujah! It's a good thing to sing praise to our God;
      praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.

 2-6 God's the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
      who regathers Israel's scattered exiles.
   He heals the heartbroken
      and bandages their wounds.
   He counts the stars
      and assigns each a name.
   Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
      we'll never comprehend what he knows and does.
   God puts the fallen on their feet again
      and pushes the wicked into the ditch.

 7-11 Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
      play music on your instruments to God,
   Who fills the sky with clouds,
      preparing rain for the earth,
   Then turning the mountains green with grass,
      feeding both cattle and crows.
   He's not impressed with horsepower;
      the size of our muscles means little to him.
   Those who fear God get God's attention;
      they can depend on his strength.

 12-18 Jerusalem, worship God!
      Zion, praise your God!
   He made your city secure,
      he blessed your children among you.
   He keeps the peace at your borders,
      he puts the best bread on your tables.
   He launches his promises earthward—
      how swift and sure they come!
   He spreads snow like a white fleece,
      he scatters frost like ashes,
   He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
      who can survive his winter?
   Then he gives the command and it all melts;
      he breathes on winter—suddenly it's spring!

 19-20 He speaks the same way to Jacob,
      speaks words that work to Israel.
   He never did this to the other nations;
      they never heard such commands.


Proverbs 18:4-5 (The Message)

 4 Many words rush along like rivers in flood,
   but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs.

 5 It's not right to go easy on the guilty,
   or come down hard on the innocent.

Verse of the Day
“You, LORD, will always treat me with kindness. Your love never fails. You have made us what we are. Don't give up on us now!” - Psalm 138:8
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day
American composer and lyricist, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history, Irving Berlin wrote, “Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.”

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