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, August 24, 2016

Bible Readings for August 24, 2016

Today our passages are Job 12:1–15:35; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-13; and Proverbs 21:30-31. 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.

Job 12-15:35 (The Message)

Job 12

Job Answers Zophar
Put Your Ear to the Earth
 1-3 Job answered:    "I'm sure you speak for all the experts,
   and when you die there'll be no one left to tell us how to live.
But don't forget that I also have a brain—
   I don't intend to play second fiddle to you.
   It doesn't take an expert to know these things.

 4-6 "I'm ridiculed by my friends:
   'So that's the man who had conversations with God!'
Ridiculed without mercy:
   'Look at the man who never did wrong!'
It's easy for the well-to-do to point their fingers in blame,
   for the well-fixed to pour scorn on the strugglers.
Crooks reside safely in high-security houses,
   insolent blasphemers live in luxury;
   they've bought and paid for a god who'll protect them.

 7-12 "But ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
   let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
   Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
   that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand—
Every living soul, yes,
   every breathing creature?
Isn't this all just common sense,
   as common as the sense of taste?
Do you think the elderly have a corner on wisdom,
   that you have to grow old before you understand life?

From God We Learn How to Live
 13-25 "True wisdom and real power belong to God;
   from him we learn how to live,
   and also what to live for.
If he tears something down, it's down for good;
   if he locks people up, they're locked up for good.
If he holds back the rain, there's a drought;
   if he lets it loose, there's a flood.
Strength and success belong to God;
   both deceived and deceiver must answer to him.
He strips experts of their vaunted credentials,
   exposes judges as witless fools.
He divests kings of their royal garments,
   then ties a rag around their waists.
He strips priests of their robes,
   and fires high officials from their jobs.
He forces trusted sages to keep silence,
   deprives elders of their good sense and wisdom.
He dumps contempt on famous people,
   disarms the strong and mighty.
He shines a spotlight into caves of darkness,
   hauls deepest darkness into the noonday sun.
He makes nations rise and then fall,
   builds up some and abandons others.
He robs world leaders of their reason,
   and sends them off into no-man's-land.
They grope in the dark without a clue,
   lurching and staggering like drunks."

Job 13

I'm Taking My Case to God
 1-5"Yes, I've seen all this with my own eyes, heard and understood it with my very own ears.
Everything you know, I know,
   so I'm not taking a backseat to any of you.
I'm taking my case straight to God Almighty;
   I've had it with you—I'm going directly to God.
You graffiti my life with lies.
   You're a bunch of pompous quacks!
I wish you'd shut your mouths—
   silence is your only claim to wisdom.

 6-12 "Listen now while I make my case,
   consider my side of things for a change.
Or are you going to keep on lying 'to do God a service'?
   to make up stories 'to get him off the hook'?
Why do you always take his side?
   Do you think he needs a lawyer to defend himself?
How would you fare if you were in the dock?
   Your lies might convince a jury—but would they
      convince God?
He'd reprimand you on the spot
   if he detected a bias in your witness.
Doesn't his splendor put you in awe?
   Aren't you afraid to speak cheap lies before him?
Your wise sayings are knickknack wisdom,
   good for nothing but gathering dust.

 13-19 "So hold your tongue while I have my say,
   then I'll take whatever I have coming to me.
Why do I go out on a limb like this
   and take my life in my hands?
Because even if he killed me, I'd keep on hoping.
   I'd defend my innocence to the very end.
Just wait, this is going to work out for the best—my salvation!
   If I were guilt-stricken do you think I'd be doing this—
   laying myself on the line before God?
You'd better pay attention to what I'm telling you,
   listen carefully with both ears.
Now that I've laid out my defense,
   I'm sure that I'll be acquitted.
Can anyone prove charges against me?
   I've said my piece. I rest my case.
Why Does God Stay Hidden and Silent?
 20-27 "Please, God, I have two requests;
   grant them so I'll know I count with you:
First, lay off the afflictions;
   the terror is too much for me.
Second, address me directly so I can answer you,
   or let me speak and then you answer me.
How many sins have been charged against me?
   Show me the list—how bad is it?
Why do you stay hidden and silent?
   Why treat me like I'm your enemy?
Why kick me around like an old tin can?
   Why beat a dead horse?
You compile a long list of mean things about me,
   even hold me accountable for the sins of my youth.
You hobble me so I can't move about.
   You watch every move I make,
   and brand me as a dangerous character.

 28 "Like something rotten, human life fast decomposes,
   like a moth-eaten shirt or a mildewed blouse."

Job 14

If We Die, Will We Live Again?
 1-17"We're all adrift in the same boat:
   too few days, too many troubles.
We spring up like wildflowers in the desert and then wilt,
   transient as the shadow of a cloud.
Do you occupy your time with such fragile wisps?
   Why even bother hauling me into court?
There's nothing much to us to start with;
   how do you expect us to amount to anything?
Mortals have a limited life span.
   You've already decided how long we'll live—
   you set the boundary and no one can cross it.
So why not give us a break? Ease up!
   Even ditchdiggers get occasional days off.
For a tree there is always hope.
   Chop it down and it still has a chance—
   its roots can put out fresh sprouts.
Even if its roots are old and gnarled,
   its stump long dormant,
At the first whiff of water it comes to life,
   buds and grows like a sapling.
But men and women? They die and stay dead.
   They breathe their last, and that's it.
Like lakes and rivers that have dried up,
   parched reminders of what once was,
So mortals lie down and never get up,
   never wake up again—never.
Why don't you just bury me alive,
   get me out of the way until your anger cools?
But don't leave me there!
   Set a date when you'll see me again.
If we humans die, will we live again? That's my question.
   All through these difficult days I keep hoping,
   waiting for the final change—for resurrection!
Homesick with longing for the creature you made,
   you'll call—and I'll answer!
You'll watch over every step I take,
   but you won't keep track of my missteps.
My sins will be stuffed in a sack
   and thrown into the sea—sunk in deep ocean.

 18-22 "Meanwhile, mountains wear down
   and boulders break up,
Stones wear smooth
   and soil erodes,
   as you relentlessly grind down our hope.
You're too much for us.
   As always, you get the last word.
We don't like it and our faces show it,
   but you send us off anyway.
If our children do well for themselves, we never know it;
   if they do badly, we're spared the hurt.
Body and soul, that's it for us—
   a lifetime of pain, a lifetime of sorrow."

Job 15

Eliphaz Attacks Again
You Trivialize Religion
 1-16 Eliphaz of Teman spoke a second time: "If you were truly wise, would you sound so much like a
   windbag, belching hot air?
Would you talk nonsense in the middle of a serious argument,
   babbling baloney?
Look at you! You trivialize religion,
   turn spiritual conversation into empty gossip.
It's your sin that taught you to talk this way.
   You chose an education in fraud.
Your own words have exposed your guilt.
   It's nothing I've said—you've incriminated yourself!
Do you think you're the first person to have to deal with
      these things?
   Have you been around as long as the hills?
Were you listening in when God planned all this?
   Do you think you're the only one who knows anything?
What do you know that we don't know?
   What insights do you have that we've missed?
Gray beards and white hair back us up—
   old folks who've been around a lot longer than you.
Are God's promises not enough for you,
   spoken so gently and tenderly?
Why do you let your emotions take over,
   lashing out and spitting fire,
Pitting your whole being against God
   by letting words like this come out of your mouth?
Do you think it's possible for any mere mortal to be sinless
      in God's sight,
   for anyone born of a human mother to get it all together?
Why, God can't even trust his holy angels.
   He sees the flaws in the very heavens themselves,
So how much less we humans, smelly and foul,
   who lap up evil like water?
Always at Odds with God
 17-26 "I've a thing or two to tell you, so listen up!
   I'm letting you in on my views;
It's what wise men and women have always taught,
   holding nothing back from what they were taught
By their parents, back in the days
   when they had this land all to themselves:
Those who live by their own rules, not God's, can expect
      nothing but trouble,
   and the longer they live, the worse it gets.
Every little sound terrifies them.
   Just when they think they have it made, disaster strikes.
They despair of things ever getting better—
   they're on the list of people for whom things always turn out
      for the worst.
They wander here and there,
   never knowing where the next meal is coming from—
   every day is doomsday!
They live in constant terror,
   always with their backs up against the wall
Because they insist on shaking their fists at God,
   defying God Almighty to his face,
Always and ever at odds with God,
   always on the defensive.

 27-35 "Even if they're the picture of health,
   trim and fit and youthful,
They'll end up living in a ghost town
   sleeping in a hovel not fit for a dog,
   a ramshackle shack.
They'll never get ahead,
   never amount to a hill of beans.
And then death—don't think they'll escape that!
   They'll end up shriveled weeds,
   brought down by a puff of God's breath.
There's a lesson here: Whoever invests in lies,
   gets lies for interest,
Paid in full before the due date.
   Some investment!
They'll be like fruit frost-killed before it ripens,
   like buds sheared off before they bloom.
The godless are fruitless—a barren crew;
   a life built on bribes goes up in smoke.
They have sex with sin and give birth to evil.
   Their lives are wombs for breeding deceit."


1 Corinthians 15:29-58 (The Message)

 29Why do you think people offer themselves to be baptized for those already in the grave? If there's no chance of resurrection for a corpse, if God's power stops at the cemetery gates, why do we keep doing things that suggest he's going to clean the place out someday, pulling everyone up on their feet alive?
 30-33And why do you think I keep risking my neck in this dangerous work? I look death in the face practically every day I live. Do you think I'd do this if I wasn't convinced of your resurrection and mine as guaranteed by the resurrected Messiah Jesus? Do you think I was just trying to act heroic when I fought the wild beasts at Ephesus, hoping it wouldn't be the end of me? Not on your life! It's resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection, that undergirds what I do and say, the way I live. If there's no resurrection, "We eat, we drink, the next day we die," and that's all there is to it. But don't fool yourselves. Don't let yourselves be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk. "Bad company ruins good manners."
 34Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts. Ignorance of God is a luxury you can't afford in times like these. Aren't you embarrassed that you've let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?
 35-38Some skeptic is sure to ask, "Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this 'resurrection body' look like?" If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a "dead" seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don't look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.
 39-41You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form. You get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness. And we're only looking at pre-resurrection "seeds"—who can imagine what the resurrection "plants" will be like!
 42-44This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we're raised, we're raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that's planted is no beauty, but when it's raised, it's glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!
 45-49We follow this sequence in Scripture: The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit. Physical life comes first, then spiritual—a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven. The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. In the same way that we've worked from our earthy origins, let's embrace our heavenly ends.
 50I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don't in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very "nature" is to die, so how could they "naturally" end up in the Life kingdom?
 51-57But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

   Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
   Who got the last word, oh, Death?
   Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

 58With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

Psalm 39:1-13 (The Message)

Psalm 39

A David Psalm
 1-3 I'm determined to watch steps and tongue so they won't land me in trouble.
   I decided to hold my tongue
      as long as Wicked is in the room.
   "Mum's the word," I said, and kept quiet.
      But the longer I kept silence
   The worse it got—
      my insides got hotter and hotter.
   My thoughts boiled over;
      I spilled my guts.

 4-6 "Tell me, what's going on, God?
      How long do I have to live?
      Give me the bad news!
   You've kept me on pretty short rations;
      my life is string too short to be saved.
   Oh! we're all puffs of air.
      Oh! we're all shadows in a campfire.
   Oh! we're just spit in the wind.
      We make our pile, and then we leave it.

 7-11 "What am I doing in the meantime, Lord?
      Hoping, that's what I'm doing—hoping
   You'll save me from a rebel life,
      save me from the contempt of dunces.
   I'll say no more, I'll shut my mouth,
      since you, Lord, are behind all this.
      But I can't take it much longer.
   When you put us through the fire
      to purge us from our sin,
      our dearest idols go up in smoke.
   Are we also nothing but smoke?

 12-13 "Ah, God, listen to my prayer, my
      cry—open your ears.
   Don't be callous;
      just look at these tears of mine.
   I'm a stranger here. I don't know my way—
      a migrant like my whole family.
   Give me a break, cut me some slack
      before it's too late and I'm out of here."


Proverbs 21:30-31 (The Message)

 30 Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived,
   can get the better of God.

 31 Do your best, prepare for the worst—
   then trust God to bring victory.

Verse of the Day
“[When the LORD Saves You from Death]I love you, LORD! You answered my prayers. You paid attention to me, and so I will pray to you as long as I live.” - Psalm 116:1-2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Samuel Butler by Charles Gogin.jpg
Thought for the Day
Iconoclastic Victorian-era English author, Samuel Butler wrote, “God cannot alter the past, though historians can.”

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