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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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bible Readings for August 27, 2016

Today our passages are Job 23:1–27:23; 2 Corinthians 1:12–2:11; Psalm 41:1-13; and Proverbs 22:5-6. 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 23-27:23 (The Message)

Job 23

Job's Defense
I'm Completely in the Dark
1-7 Job replied: < >"I'm not letting up—I'm standing my ground.
My complaint is legitimate.
God has no right to treat me like this—
it isn't fair!
If I knew where on earth to find him,
I'd go straight to him.
I'd lay my case before him face-to-face,
give him all my arguments firsthand.
I'd find out exactly what he's thinking,
discover what's going on in his head.
Do you think he'd dismiss me or bully me?
No, he'd take me seriously.
He'd see a straight-living man standing before him;
my Judge would acquit me for good of all charges.

8-9 "I travel East looking for him—I find no one;
then West, but not a trace;
I go North, but he's hidden his tracks;
then South, but not even a glimpse.

10-12 "But he knows where I am and what I've done.
He can cross-examine me all he wants, and I'll pass the test
with honors.
I've followed him closely, my feet in his footprints,
not once swerving from his way.
I've obeyed every word he's spoken,
and not just obeyed his advice—I've treasured it.

13-17 "But he is singular and sovereign. Who can argue with him?
He does what he wants, when he wants to.
He'll complete in detail what he's decided about me,
and whatever else he determines to do.
Is it any wonder that I dread meeting him?
Whenever I think about it, I get scared all over again.
God makes my heart sink!
God Almighty gives me the shudders!
I'm completely in the dark,
I can't see my hand in front of my face."

Job 24

An Illusion of Security
1-12"But if Judgment Day isn't hidden from the Almighty, why are we kept in the dark?
There are people out there getting by with murder—
stealing and lying and cheating.
They rip off the poor
and exploit the unfortunate,
Push the helpless into the ditch,
bully the weak so that they fear for their lives.
The poor, like stray dogs and cats,
scavenge for food in back alleys.
They sort through the garbage of the rich,
eke out survival on handouts.
Homeless, they shiver through cold nights on the street;
they've no place to lay their heads.
Exposed to the weather, wet and frozen,
they huddle in makeshift shelters.
Nursing mothers have their babies snatched from them;
the infants of the poor are kidnapped and sold.
They go about patched and threadbare;
even the hard workers go hungry.
No matter how backbreaking their labor,
they can never make ends meet.
People are dying right and left, groaning in torment.
The wretched cry out for help
and God does nothing, acts like nothing's wrong!

13-17 "Then there are those who avoid light at all costs,
who scorn the light-filled path.
When the sun goes down, the murderer gets up—
kills the poor and robs the defenseless.
Sexual predators can't wait for nightfall,
thinking, 'No one can see us now.'
Burglars do their work at night,
but keep well out of sight through the day.
They want nothing to do with light.
Deep darkness is morning for that bunch;
they make the terrors of darkness their companions in crime.

18-25 "They are scraps of wood floating on the water—
useless, cursed junk, good for nothing.
As surely as snow melts under the hot, summer sun,
sinners disappear in the grave.
The womb has forgotten them, worms have relished them—
nothing that is evil lasts.
they prey on those less fortunate.
However much they strut and flex their muscles,
there's nothing to them. They're hollow.
They may have an illusion of security,
but God has his eye on them.
They may get their brief successes,
but then it's over, nothing to show for it.
Like yesterday's newspaper,
they're used to wrap up the garbage.
You're free to try to prove me a liar,
but you won't be able to do it."

Job 25

Bildad's Third Attack
Even the Stars Aren't Perfect in God's Eyes
1-6 Bildad the Shuhite again attacked Job: "God is sovereign, God is fearsome—
everything in the cosmos fits and works in his plan.
Can anyone count his angel armies?
Is there any place where his light doesn't shine?
How can a mere mortal presume to stand up to God?
How can an ordinary person pretend to be guiltless?
Why, even the moon has its flaws,
even the stars aren't perfect in God's eyes,
So how much less, plain men and women—
slugs and maggots by comparison!"

Job 26

Job's Defense
God Sets a Boundary Between Light and Darkness
1-4 Job answered: "Well, you've certainly been a great help to a helpless man!
You came to the rescue just in the nick of time!
What wonderful advice you've given to a mixed-up man!
What amazing insights you've provided!
Where in the world did you learn all this?
How did you become so inspired?

5-14 "All the buried dead are in torment,
and all who've been drowned in the deep, deep sea.
Hell is ripped open before God,
graveyards dug up and exposed.
He spreads the skies over unformed space,
hangs the earth out in empty space.
He pours water into cumulus cloud-bags
and the bags don't burst.
He makes the moon wax and wane,
putting it through its phases.
He draws the horizon out over the ocean,
sets a boundary between light and darkness.
Thunder crashes and rumbles in the skies.
Listen! It's God raising his voice!
By his power he stills sea storms,
by his wisdom he tames sea monsters.
With one breath he clears the sky,
with one finger he crushes the sea serpent.
And this is only the beginning,
a mere whisper of his rule.
Whatever would we do if he really raised his voice!"

Job 27

No Place to Hide
1-6 Having waited for Zophar, Job now resumed his defense: "God-Alive! He's denied me justice!
God Almighty! He's ruined my life!
But for as long as I draw breath,
and for as long as God breathes life into me,
I refuse to say one word that isn't true.
I refuse to confess to any charge that's false.
There is no way I'll ever agree to your accusations.
I'll not deny my integrity even if it costs me my life.
I'm holding fast to my integrity and not loosening my grip—
and, believe me, I'll never regret it.

7-10 "Let my enemy be exposed as wicked!
Let my adversary be proven guilty!
What hope do people without God have when life is cut short?
when God puts an end to life?
Do you think God will listen to their cry for help
when disaster hits?
What interest have they ever shown in the Almighty?
Have they ever been known to pray before?

11-12 "I've given you a clear account of God in action,
suppressed nothing regarding God Almighty.
The evidence is right before you. You can all see it for yourselves,
so why do you keep talking nonsense?

13-23 "I'll quote your own words back to you:
"'This is how God treats the wicked,
this is what evil people can expect from God Almighty:
Their children—all of them—will die violent deaths;
they'll never have enough bread to put on the table.
They'll be wiped out by the plague,
and none of the widows will shed a tear when they're gone.
Even if they make a lot of money
and are resplendent in the latest fashions,
It's the good who will end up wearing the clothes
and the decent who will divide up the money.
They build elaborate houses
that won't survive a single winter.
They go to bed wealthy
and wake up poor.
Terrors pour in on them like flash floods—
a tornado snatches them away in the middle of the night,
A cyclone sweeps them up—gone!
Not a trace of them left, not even a footprint.
Catastrophes relentlessly pursue them;
they run this way and that, but there's no place to hide—
Pummeled by the weather,
blown to kingdom come by the storm.'"

2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11 (The Message)

12-14Now that the worst is over, we're pleased we can report that we've come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world—and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn't by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised. Don't try to read between the lines or look for hidden meanings in this letter. We're writing plain, unembellished truth, hoping that you'll now see the whole picture as well as you've seen some of the details. We want you to be as proud of us as we are of you when we stand together before our Master Jesus.
15-16Confident of your welcome, I had originally planned two great visits with you—coming by on my way to Macedonia province, and then again on my return trip. Then we could have had a bon-voyage party as you sent me off to Judea. That was the plan.
17-19Are you now going to accuse me of being flip with my promises because it didn't work out? Do you think I talk out of both sides of my mouth—a glib yes one moment, a glib no the next? Well, you're wrong. I try to be as true to my word as God is to his. Our word to you wasn't a careless yes canceled by an indifferent no. How could it be? When Silas and Timothy and I proclaimed the Son of God among you, did you pick up on any yes-and-no, on-again, off-again waffling? Wasn't it a clean, strong Yes?
20-22Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.
23Now, are you ready for the real reason I didn't visit you in Corinth? As God is my witness, the only reason I didn't come was to spare you pain. I was being considerate of you, not indifferent, not manipulative.
24We're not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We're partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.

2 Corinthians 2

1-2That's why I decided not to make another visit that could only be painful to both of us. If by merely showing up I would put you in an embarrassingly painful position, how would you then be free to cheer and refresh me? 3-4That was my reason for writing a letter instead of coming—so I wouldn't have to spend a miserable time disappointing the very friends I had looked forward to cheering me up. I was convinced at the time I wrote it that what was best for me was also best for you. As it turned out, there was pain enough just in writing that letter, more tears than ink on the parchment. But I didn't write it to cause pain; I wrote it so you would know how much I care—oh, more than care—love you!
5-8Now, regarding the one who started all this—the person in question who caused all this pain—I want you to know that I am not the one injured in this as much as, with a few exceptions, all of you. So I don't want to come down too hard. What the majority of you agreed to as punishment is punishment enough. Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it. My counsel now is to pour on the love.
9-11The focus of my letter wasn't on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church. So if you forgive him, I forgive him. Don't think I'm carrying around a list of personal grudges. The fact is that I'm joining in with your forgiveness, as Christ is with us, guiding us. After all, we don't want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we're not oblivious to his sly ways!

Psalm 41:1-13 (The Message)

Psalm 41

A David Psalm
1-3Dignify those who are down on their luck; you'll feel good—that's what God does.
God looks after us all,
makes us robust with life—
Lucky to be in the land,
we're free from enemy worries.
Whenever we're sick and in bed,
God becomes our nurse,
nurses us back to health.

4-7 I said, "God, be gracious!
Put me together again—
my sins have torn me to pieces."
My enemies are wishing the worst for me;
they make bets on what day I will die.
If someone comes to see me,
he mouths empty platitudes,
All the while gathering gossip about me
to entertain the street-corner crowd.
These "friends" who hate me
whisper slanders all over town.
They form committees
to plan misery for me.

8-9 The rumor goes out, "He's got some dirty,
deadly disease. The doctors
have given up on him."
Even my best friend, the one I always told everything
—he ate meals at my house all the time!—
has bitten my hand.

10 God, give grace, get me up on my feet.
I'll show them a thing or two.

11-12 Meanwhile, I'm sure you're on my side—
no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp!
You know me inside and out, you hold me together,
you never fail to stand me tall in your presence
so I can look you in the eye.

13 Blessed is God, Israel's God,
always, always, always.
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Proverbs 22:5-6 (The Message)

5 The perverse travel a dangerous road, potholed and mud-slick;
if you know what's good for you, stay clear of it.

6 Point your kids in the right direction—
when they're old they won't be lost.

Verse of the Day
“The LORD gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.” - Isaiah 26:3
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Blaise Pascal Versailles.JPG
Thought for the Day
French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher, Blaise Pascal wrote, “Love has reasons which reason cannot understand.”

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