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, August 14, 2016

Bible Readings for August 14, 2016

Today our passages are Nehemiah 7:61–9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18; Psalm 33:12-22; and Proverbs 21:11-12. 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.

Nehemiah 7:61-9:21 (The Message)

 61-63 These are those who came from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer. They weren't able to prove their ancestry, whether they were true Israelites or not:
      The sons of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, 642.
   Likewise with these priestly families:
      The sons of Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai, who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and took that name.

 64-65 They looked high and low for their family records but couldn't find them. And so they were barred from priestly work as ritually unclean. The governor ruled that they could not eat from the holy food until a priest could determine their status by using the Urim and Thummim.
 66-69 The total count for the congregation was 42,360. That did not include the male and female slaves who numbered 7,337. There were also 245 male and female singers. And there were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.
 70-72 Some of the heads of families made voluntary offerings for the work. The governor made a gift to the treasury of 1,000 drachmas of gold (about nineteen pounds), 50 bowls, and 530 garments for the priests. Some of the heads of the families made gifts to the treasury for the work; it came to 20,000 drachmas of gold and 2,200 minas of silver (about one and a third tons). Gifts from the rest of the people totaled 20,000 drachmas of gold (about 375 pounds), 2,000 minas of silver, and 67 garments for the priests.
 73 The priests, Levites, security guards, singers, and Temple support staff, along with some others, and the rest of the People of Israel, all found a place to live in their own towns.

Nehemiah 8

Ezra and The Revelation
 1 By the time the seventh month arrived, the People of Israel were settled in their towns. Then all the people gathered as one person in the town square in front of the Water Gate and asked the scholar Ezra to bring the Book of The Revelation of Moses that God had commanded for Israel.  2-3 So Ezra the priest brought The Revelation to the congregation, which was made up of both men and women—everyone capable of understanding. It was the first day of the seventh month. He read it facing the town square at the Water Gate from early dawn until noon in the hearing of the men and women, all who could understand it. And all the people listened—they were all ears—to the Book of The Revelation.
 4 The scholar Ezra stood on a wooden platform constructed for the occasion. He was flanked on the right by Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, and on the left by Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
 5-6 Ezra opened the book. Every eye was on him (he was standing on the raised platform) and as he opened the book everyone stood. Then Ezra praised God, the great God, and all the people responded, "Oh Yes! Yes!" with hands raised high. And then they fell to their knees in worship of God, their faces to the ground.
 7-8 Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, all Levites, explained The Revelation while people stood, listening respectfully. They translated the Book of The Revelation of God so the people could understand it and then explained the reading.
 9 Nehemiah the governor, along with Ezra the priest and scholar and the Levites who were teaching the people, said to all the people, "This day is holy to God, your God. Don't weep and carry on." They said this because all the people were weeping as they heard the words of The Revelation.
 10 He continued, "Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don't have anything: This day is holy to God. Don't feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!"
 11 The Levites calmed the people, "Quiet now. This is a holy day. Don't be upset."
 12 So the people went off to feast, eating and drinking and including the poor in a great celebration. Now they got it; they understood the reading that had been given to them.

13-15 On the second day of the month the family heads of all the people, the priests, and the Levites gathered around Ezra the scholar to get a deeper understanding of the words of The Revelation. They found written in The Revelation that God commanded through Moses that the People of Israel are to live in booths during the festival of the seventh month. So they published this decree and had it posted in all their cities and in Jerusalem: "Go into the hills and collect olive branches, pine branches, myrtle branches, palm branches, and any other leafy branches to make booths, as it is written."

16-17 So the people went out, brought in branches, and made themselves booths on their roofs, courtyards, the courtyards of The Temple of God, the Water Gate plaza, and the Ephraim Gate plaza. The entire congregation that had come back from exile made booths and lived in them. The People of Israel hadn't done this from the time of Joshua son of Nun until that very day—a terrific day! Great joy!

 18 Ezra read from the Book of The Revelation of God each day, from the first to the last day—they celebrated the feast for seven days. On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly in accordance with the decree.

Nehemiah 9

 1-3 Then on the twenty-fourth day of this month, the People of Israel gathered for a fast, wearing burlap and faces smudged with dirt as signs of repentance. The Israelites broke off all relations with foreigners, stood up, and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their parents. While they stood there in their places, they read from the Book of The Revelation of God, their God, for a quarter of the day. For another quarter of the day they confessed and worshiped their God.  4-5 A group of Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani—stood on the platform and cried out to God, their God, in a loud voice. The Levites Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said, "On your feet! Bless God, your God, for ever and ever!"
 5-6 Blessed be your glorious name,
   exalted above all blessing and praise! You're the one,
   God, you alone; You made the heavens,
   the heavens of heavens, and all angels; The earth and everything on it,
   the seas and everything in them; You keep them all alive;
   heaven's angels worship you!

 7-8 You're the one, God, the God
   who chose Abram And brought him from Ur of the Chaldees
   and changed his name to Abraham. You found his heart to be steady and true to you
   and signed a covenant with him, A covenant to give him the land of the Canaanites,
   the Hittites, and the Amorites, The Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites,
   —to give it to his descendants. And you kept your word
   because you are righteous.

 9-15 You saw the anguish of our parents in Egypt.
   You heard their cries at the Red Sea; You amazed Pharaoh, his servants, and the people of his land
   with wonders and miracle-signs. You knew their bullying arrogance against your people;
   you made a name for yourself that lasts to this day. You split the sea before them;
   they crossed through and never got their feet wet; You pitched their pursuers into the deep;
   they sank like a rock in the storm-tossed sea. By day you led them with a Pillar of Cloud,
   and by night with a Pillar of Fire To show them the way
   they were to travel. You came down onto Mount Sinai,
   you spoke to them out of heaven; You gave them instructions on how to live well,
   true teaching, sound rules and commands; You introduced them
   to your Holy Sabbath; Through your servant Moses you decreed
   commands, rules, and instruction. You gave bread from heaven for their hunger,
   you sent water from the rock for their thirst. You told them to enter and take the land,
   which you promised to give them.

 16-19 But they, our ancestors, were arrogant;
   bullheaded, they wouldn't obey your commands. They turned a deaf ear, they refused
   to remember the miracles you had done for them; They turned stubborn, got it into their heads
   to return to their Egyptian slavery. And you, a forgiving God,
   gracious and compassionate, Incredibly patient, with tons of love—
   you didn't dump them. Yes, even when they cast a sculpted calf
   and said, "This is your god Who brought you out of Egypt,"
   and continued from bad to worse, You in your amazing compassion
   didn't walk off and leave them in the desert. The Pillar of Cloud didn't leave them;
   daily it continued to show them their route; The Pillar of Fire did the same by night,
   showed them the right way to go.

 20-23 You gave them your good Spirit
   to teach them to live wisely. You never stinted with your manna,
   gave them plenty of water to drink. You supported them forty years in that desert;
   they had everything they needed; Their clothes didn't wear out
   and their feet never blistered. You gave them kingdoms and peoples,
   establishing generous boundaries. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon
   and the country of Og king of Bashan. You multiplied children for them,
   rivaling the stars in the night skies, And you brought them into the land
   that you promised their ancestors
   they would get and own.

1 Corinthians 9:1-18 (The Message)

1 Corinthians 9

 1-2 And don't tell me that I have no authority to write like this. I'm perfectly free to do this—isn't that obvious? Haven't I been given a job to do? Wasn't I commissioned to this work in a face-to-face meeting with Jesus, our Master? Aren't you yourselves proof of the good work that I've done for the Master? Even if no one else admits the authority of my commission, you can't deny it. Why, my work with you is living proof of my authority!  3-7I'm not shy in standing up to my critics. We who are on missionary assignments for God have a right to decent accommodations, and we have a right to support for us and our families. You don't seem to have raised questions with the other apostles and our Master's brothers and Peter in these matters. So, why me? Is it just Barnabas and I who have to go it alone and pay our own way? Are soldiers self-employed? Are gardeners forbidden to eat vegetables from their own gardens? Don't milkmaids get to drink their fill from the pail?
 8-12I'm not just sounding off because I'm irritated. This is all written in the scriptural law. Moses wrote, "Don't muzzle an ox to keep it from eating the grain when it's threshing." Do you think Moses' primary concern was the care of farm animals? Don't you think his concern extends to us? Of course. Farmers plow and thresh expecting something when the crop comes in. So if we have planted spiritual seed among you, is it out of line to expect a meal or two from you? Others demand plenty from you in these ways. Don't we who have never demanded deserve even more?
 12-14But we're not going to start demanding now what we've always had a perfect right to. Our decision all along has been to put up with anything rather than to get in the way or detract from the Message of Christ. All I'm concerned with right now is that you not use our decision to take advantage of others, depriving them of what is rightly theirs. You know, don't you, that it's always been taken for granted that those who work in the Temple live off the proceeds of the Temple, and that those who offer sacrifices at the altar eat their meals from what has been sacrificed? Along the same lines, the Master directed that those who spread the Message be supported by those who believe the Message.
 15-18Still, I want it made clear that I've never gotten anything out of this for myself, and that I'm not writing now to get something. I'd rather die than give anyone ammunition to discredit me or impugn my motives. If I proclaim the Message, it's not to get something out of it for myself. I'm compelled to do it, and doomed if I don't! If this was my own idea of just another way to make a living, I'd expect some pay. But since it's not my idea but something solemnly entrusted to me, why would I expect to get paid? So am I getting anything out of it? Yes, as a matter of fact: the pleasure of proclaiming the Message at no cost to you. You don't even have to pay my expenses!

Psalm 33:12-22 (The Message)

 10-12 God takes the wind out of Babel pretense,
      he shoots down the world's power-schemes.
   God's plan for the world stands up,
      all his designs are made to last.
   Blessed is the country with God for God;
      blessed are the people he's put in his will.

 13-15 From high in the skies God looks around,
      he sees all Adam's brood.
   From where he sits
      he overlooks all us earth-dwellers.
   He has shaped each person in turn;
      now he watches everything we do.

 16-17 No king succeeds with a big army alone,
      no warrior wins by brute strength.
   Horsepower is not the answer;
      no one gets by on muscle alone.

 18-19 Watch this: God's eye is on those who respect him,
      the ones who are looking for his love.
   He's ready to come to their rescue in bad times;
      in lean times he keeps body and soul together.

 20-22 We're depending on God;
      he's everything we need.
   What's more, our hearts brim with joy
      since we've taken for our own his holy name.
   Love us, God, with all you've got—
      that's what we're depending on.

A David Psalm, When He Outwitted
    Abimelech and Got Away


Proverbs 21:11-12 (The Message)

 11 Simpletons only learn the hard way,
   but the wise learn by listening.

 12 A God-loyal person will see right through the wicked
   and undo the evil they've planned.

Verse of the Day
“[The Letter to Laodicea]This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Laodicea: I am the one called Amen! I am the faithful and true witness and the source of God's creation. Listen to what I say. Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together.” - Revelation 3:14,20
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Frederick Douglass portrait.jpg
Thought for the Day
African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, Frederick Douglass wrote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

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