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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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bible Readings for August 9, 2016

Today our passages are Ezra 8:21–9:15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Psalm 31:1-8; and Proverbs 21:1-2. 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.

Ezra 8:21-9:15 (The Message)

 21-22 I proclaimed a fast there beside the Ahava Canal, a fast to humble ourselves before our God and pray for wise guidance for our journey—all our people and possessions. I was embarrassed to ask the king for a cavalry bodyguard to protect us from bandits on the road. We had just told the king, "Our God lovingly looks after all those who seek him, but turns away in disgust from those who leave him."
 23 So we fasted and prayed about these concerns. And he listened.
 24-27 Then I picked twelve of the leading priests—Sherebiah and Hashabiah with ten of their brothers. I weighed out for them the silver, the gold, the vessels, and the offerings for The Temple of our God that the king, his advisors, and all the Israelites had given:
      25 tons of silver
      100 vessels of silver valued at three and three-quarter tons of gold
      20 gold bowls weighing eighteen and a half pounds
      2 vessels of bright red copper, as valuable as gold.

 28-29 I said to them, "You are holy to God and these vessels are holy. The silver and gold are Freewill-Offerings to the God of your ancestors. Guard them with your lives until you're able to weigh them out in a secure place in The Temple of our God for the priests and Levites and family heads who are in charge in Jerusalem."
 30 The priests and Levites took charge of all that had been weighed out to them, and prepared to deliver it to Jerusalem to The Temple of our God.
 31 We left the Ahava Canal on the twelfth day of the first month to travel to Jerusalem. God was with us all the way and kept us safe from bandits and highwaymen.
 32-34 We arrived in Jerusalem and waited there three days. On the fourth day the silver and gold and vessels were weighed out in The Temple of our God into the hands of Meremoth son of Uriah, the priest. Eleazar son of Phinehas was there with him, also the Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. Everything was counted and weighed and the totals recorded.
 35 When they arrived, the exiles, now returned from captivity, offered Whole-Burnt-Offerings to the God of Israel:
      12 bulls, representing all Israel 96 rams 77 lambs 12 he-goats as an Absolution-Offering.

    All of this was sacrificed as a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God.
 36 They also delivered the king's orders to the king's provincial administration assigned to the land beyond the Euphrates. They, in turn, gave their support to the people and The Temple of God.

Ezra 9

Ezra Prays: "Look at Us...Guilty Before You"
 1-2 After all this was done, the leaders came to me and said, "The People of Israel, priests and Levites included, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring people around here with all their vulgar obscenities—Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, Amorites. They have given some of their daughters in marriage to them and have taken some of their daughters for marriage to their sons. The holy seed is now all mixed in with these other peoples. And our leaders have led the way in this betrayal."  3 When I heard all this, I ripped my clothes and my cape; I pulled hair from my head and out of my beard; I slumped to the ground, appalled.
 4-6 Many were in fear and trembling because of what God was saying about the betrayal by the exiles. They gathered around me as I sat there in despair, waiting for the evening sacrifice. At the evening sacrifice I picked myself up from my utter devastation, and in my ripped clothes and cape fell to my knees and stretched out my hands to God, my God. And I prayed:
 6-7 "My dear God, I'm so totally ashamed, I can't bear to face you. O my God—our iniquities are piled up so high that we can't see out; our guilt touches the skies. We've been stuck in a muck of guilt since the time of our ancestors until right now; we and our kings and priests, because of our sins, have been turned over to foreign kings, to killing, to captivity, to looting, and to public shame—just as you see us now.
 8-9 "Now for a brief time God, our God, has allowed us, this battered band, to get a firm foothold in his holy place so that our God may brighten our eyes and lighten our burdens as we serve out this hard sentence. We were slaves; yet even as slaves, our God didn't abandon us. He has put us in the good graces of the kings of Persia and given us the heart to build The Temple of our God, restore its ruins, and construct a defensive wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
 10-12 "And now, our God, after all this what can we say for ourselves? For we have thrown your commands to the wind, the commands you gave us through your servants the prophets. They told us, 'The land you're taking over is a polluted land, polluted with the obscene vulgarities of the people who live there; they've filled it with their moral rot from one end to the other. Whatever you do, don't give your daughters in marriage to their sons nor marry your sons to their daughters. Don't cultivate their good opinion; don't make over them and get them to like you so you can make a lot of money and build up a tidy estate to hand down to your children.'
 13-15 "And now this, on top of all we've already suffered because of our evil ways and accumulated guilt, even though you, dear God, punished us far less than we deserved and even went ahead and gave us this present escape. Yet here we are, at it again, breaking your commandments by intermarrying with the people who practice all these obscenities! Are you angry to the point of wiping us out completely, without even a few stragglers, with no way out at all? You are the righteous God of Israel. We are, right now, a small band of escapees. Look at us, openly standing here, guilty before you. No one can last long like this."

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (The Message)

1 Corinthians 5

The Mystery of Sex
 1-2I also received a report of scandalous sex within your church family, a kind that wouldn't be tolerated even outside the church: One of your men is sleeping with his stepmother. And you're so above it all that it doesn't even faze you! Shouldn't this break your hearts? Shouldn't it bring you to your knees in tears? Shouldn't this person and his conduct be confronted and dealt with?  3-5I'll tell you what I would do. Even though I'm not there in person, consider me right there with you, because I can fully see what's going on. I'm telling you that this is wrong. You must not simply look the other way and hope it goes away on its own. Bring it out in the open and deal with it in the authority of Jesus our Master. Assemble the community—I'll be present in spirit with you and our Master Jesus will be present in power. Hold this man's conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can't, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment.
 6-8Your flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it's anything but that. Yeast, too, is a "small thing," but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast. So get rid of this "yeast." Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the Feast. So let's live out our part in the Feast, not as raised bread swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread—simple, genuine, unpretentious.
 9-13I wrote you in my earlier letter that you shouldn't make yourselves at home among the sexually promiscuous. I didn't mean that you should have nothing at all to do with outsiders of that sort. Or with crooks, whether blue or white-collar. Or with spiritual phonies, for that matter. You'd have to leave the world entirely to do that! But I am saying that you shouldn't act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can't just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior. I'm not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don't we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.

Psalm 31:1-8 (The Message)

Psalm 31

A David Psalm
 1-2I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don't let me down!
      Take me seriously this time!
   Get down on my level and listen,
      and please—no procrastination!
   Your granite cave a hiding place,
      your high cliff aerie a place of safety.

 3-5 You're my cave to hide in,
      my cliff to climb.
   Be my safe leader,
      be my true mountain guide.
   Free me from hidden traps;
      I want to hide in you.
   I've put my life in your hands.
      You won't drop me,
      you'll never let me down.

 6-13 I hate all this silly religion,
      but you, God, I trust.
   I'm leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
      you saw my pain,
      you disarmed my tormentors,
   You didn't leave me in their clutches
      but gave me room to breathe.
   Be kind to me, God—
      I'm in deep, deep trouble again.
   I've cried my eyes out;
      I feel hollow inside.
   My life leaks away, groan by groan;
      my years fade out in sighs.
   My troubles have worn me out,
      turned my bones to powder.
   To my enemies I'm a monster;
      I'm ridiculed by the neighbors.
   My friends are horrified;
      they cross the street to avoid me.
   They want to blot me from memory,
      forget me like a corpse in a grave,
      discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
   The street-talk gossip has me
      "criminally insane"!
   Behind locked doors they plot
      how to ruin me for good.


Proverbs 21:1-2 (The Message)

Proverbs 21

God Examines Our Motives
 1Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses.

 2 We justify our actions by appearances;
   God examines our motives.

Verse of the Day
“Five sparrows are sold for just two pennies, but God doesn't forget a one of them. Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.” - Luke 12:6-7
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for Day
English cleric, writer and collector, well known for his eccentricities, Charles Caleb Colton wrote, “True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost.”

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