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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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bible Readings for September 15, 2016

Today our passages are Isaiah 19:1–21:17; Galatians 2:1-16; Psalm 59:1-17; and Proverbs 23:13-14. 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.

Isaiah 19-21:17 (The Message)

Isaiah 19

Anarchy and Chaos and Killing!
1 A Message concerning Egypt: Watch this! God riding on a fast-moving cloud,
moving in on Egypt!
The god-idols of Egypt shudder and shake,
Egyptians paralyzed by panic.
2-4God says, "I'll make Egyptian fight Egyptian,
brother fight brother, neighbor fight neighbor,
City fight city, kingdom fight kingdom—
anarchy and chaos and killing!
I'll knock the wind out of the Egyptians.
They won't know coming from going.
They'll go to their god-idols for answers;
they'll conjure ghosts and hold séances, desperate for answers.
But I'll turn the Egyptians
over to a tyrant most cruel.
I'll put them under the rule of a mean, merciless king."
Decree of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

5-10The River Nile will dry up,
the riverbed baked dry in the sun.
The canals will become stagnant and stink,
every stream touching the Nile dry up.
River vegetation will rot away
the banks of the Nile-baked clay,
The riverbed hard and smooth,
river grasses dried up and gone with the wind.
Fishermen will complain
that the fishing's been ruined.
Textile workers will be out of work, all weavers
and workers in linen and cotton and wool
Dispirited, depressed in their forced idleness—
everyone who works for a living, jobless.

11-15The princes of Zoan are fools,
the advisors of Pharaoh stupid.
How could any of you dare tell Pharaoh,
"Trust me: I'm wise. I know what's going on.
Why, I'm descended from the old wisdom of Egypt"?
There's not a wise man or woman left in the country.
If there were, one of them would tell you
what God-of-the-Angel-Armies has in mind for Egypt.
As it is, the princes of Zoan are all fools
and the princes of Memphis, dunces.
The honored pillars of your society
have led Egypt into detours and dead ends.
God has scrambled their brains,
Egypt's become a falling-down-in-his-own-vomit drunk.
Egypt's hopeless, past helping,
a senile, doddering old fool.

16-17On that Day, Egyptians will be like hysterical schoolgirls, screaming at the first hint of action from God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Little Judah will strike terror in Egyptians! Say "Judah" to an Egyptian and see panic. The word triggers fear of the God-of-the-Angel-Armies' plan against Egypt.
18On that Day, more than one city in Egypt will learn to speak the language of faith and promise to follow God-of-the-Angel-Armies. One of these cities will be honored with the title "City of the Sun."
19-22On that Day, there will be a place of worship to God in the center of Egypt and a monument to God at its border. It will show how the God-of-the-Angel-Armies has helped the Egyptians. When they cry out in prayer to God because of oppressors, he'll send them help, a savior who will keep them safe and take care of them. God will openly show himself to the Egyptians and they'll get to know him on that Day. They'll worship him seriously with sacrifices and burnt offerings. They'll make vows and keep them. God will wound Egypt, first hit and then heal. Egypt will come back to God, and God will listen to their prayers and heal them, heal them from head to toe.
23On that Day, there will be a highway all the way from Egypt to Assyria: Assyrians will have free range in Egypt and Egyptians in Assyria. No longer rivals, they'll worship together, Egyptians and Assyrians!
24-25On that Day, Israel will take its place alongside Egypt and Assyria, sharing the blessing from the center. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who blessed Israel, will generously bless them all: "Blessed be Egypt, my people!...Blessed be Assyria, work of my hands!...Blessed be Israel, my heritage!"

Isaiah 20

Exposed to Mockery and Jeers
1-2 In the year the field commander, sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought and took it, God told Isaiah son of Amoz, "Go, take off your clothes and sandals," and Isaiah did it, going about naked and barefooted. 3-6Then God said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has walked around town naked and barefooted for three years as a warning sign to Egypt and Ethiopia, so the king of Assyria is going to come and take the Egyptians as captives and the Ethiopians as exiles. He'll take young and old alike and march them out of there naked and barefooted, exposed to mockery and jeers—the bared buttocks of Egypt on parade! Everyone who has put hope in Ethiopia and expected help from Egypt will be thrown into confusion. Everyone who lives along this coast will say, 'Look at them! Naked and barefooted, shuffling off to exile! And we thought they were our best hope, that they'd rescue us from the king of Assyria. Now what's going to happen to us? How are we going to get out of this?'"

Isaiah 21

The Betrayer Betrayed
1-4A Message concerning the desert at the sea: As tempests drive through the Negev Desert,
coming out of the desert, that terror-filled place,
A hard vision is given me:
The betrayer betrayed, the plunderer plundered.
Attack, Elam!
Lay siege, Media!
Persians, attack!
Attack, Babylon!
I'll put an end to
all the moaning and groaning.
Because of this news I'm doubled up in pain,
writhing in pain like a woman having a baby,
Baffled by what I hear,
undone by what I see.
Absolutely stunned,
I had hoped for a relaxed evening,
but it has turned into a nightmare.
5The banquet is spread,
the guests reclining in luxurious ease,
Eating and drinking, having a good time,
and then, "To arms, princes! The fight is on!"

6-9The Master told me, "Go, post a lookout.
Have him report whatever he spots.
When he sees horses and wagons in battle formation,
lines of donkeys and columns of camels,
Tell him to keep his ear to the ground,
note every whisper, every rumor."
Just then, the lookout shouted,
"I'm at my post, Master,
Sticking to my post day after day
and all through the night!
I watched them come,
the horses and wagons in battle formation.
I heard them call out the war news in headlines:
'Babylon fallen! Fallen!
And all its precious god-idols
smashed to pieces on the ground.'"

10Dear Israel, you've been through a lot,
you've been put through the mill.
The good news I get from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
the God of Israel, I now pass on to you.

11-12A Message concerning Edom:
A voice calls to me
from the Seir mountains in Edom,
"Night watchman! How long till daybreak?
How long will this night last?"
The night watchman calls back,
"Morning's coming,
But for now it's still night.
If you ask me again, I'll give the same answer."

13-15A Message concerning Arabia:
You'll have to camp out in the desert badlands,
you caravans of Dedanites.
Haul water to the thirsty,
greet fugitives with bread.
Show your desert hospitality,
you who live in Tema.
The desert's swarming with refugees
escaping the horrors of war.

16-17The Master told me, "Hang on. Within one year—I'll sign a contract on it!—the arrogant brutality of Kedar, those hooligans of the desert, will be over, nothing much left of the Kedar toughs." The God of Israel says so.

Galatians 2:1-16 (The Message)

Galatians 2

What Is Central?
1-5Fourteen years after that first visit, Barnabas and I went up to Jerusalem and took Titus with us. I went to clarify with them what had been revealed to me. At that time I placed before them exactly what I was preaching to the non-Jews. I did this in private with the leaders, those held in esteem by the church, so that our concern would not become a controversial public issue, marred by ethnic tensions, exposing my years of work to denigration and endangering my present ministry. Significantly, Titus, non-Jewish though he was, was not required to be circumcised. While we were in conference we were infiltrated by spies pretending to be Christians, who slipped in to find out just how free true Christians are. Their ulterior motive was to reduce us to their brand of servitude. We didn't give them the time of day. We were determined to preserve the truth of the Message for you. 6-10As for those who were considered important in the church, their reputation doesn't concern me. God isn't impressed with mere appearances, and neither am I. And of course these leaders were able to add nothing to the message I had been preaching. It was soon evident that God had entrusted me with the same message to the non-Jews as Peter had been preaching to the Jews. Recognizing that my calling had been given by God, James, Peter, and John—the pillars of the church—shook hands with me and Barnabas, assigning us to a ministry to the non-Jews, while they continued to be responsible for reaching out to the Jews. The only additional thing they asked was that we remember the poor, and I was already eager to do that.
11-13Later, when Peter came to Antioch, I had a face-to-face confrontation with him because he was clearly out of line. Here's the situation. Earlier, before certain persons had come from James, Peter regularly ate with the non-Jews. But when that conservative group came from Jerusalem, he cautiously pulled back and put as much distance as he could manage between himself and his non-Jewish friends. That's how fearful he was of the conservative Jewish clique that's been pushing the old system of circumcision. Unfortunately, the rest of the Jews in the Antioch church joined in that hypocrisy so that even Barnabas was swept along in the charade.
14But when I saw that they were not maintaining a steady, straight course according to the Message, I spoke up to Peter in front of them all: "If you, a Jew, live like a non-Jew when you're not being observed by the watchdogs from Jerusalem, what right do you have to require non-Jews to conform to Jewish customs just to make a favorable impression on your old Jerusalem cronies?"
15-16We Jews know that we have no advantage of birth over "non-Jewish sinners." We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.

Psalm 59:1-17 (The Message)

Psalm 59

1-2 My God! Rescue me from my enemies, defend me from these mutineers.
Rescue me from their dirty tricks,
save me from their hit men.

3-4 Desperadoes have ganged up on me,
they're hiding in ambush for me.
I did nothing to deserve this, God,
crossed no one, wronged no one.
All the same, they're after me,
determined to get me.

4-5 Wake up and see for yourself! You're God,
God-of-Angel-Armies, Israel's God!
Get on the job and take care of these pagans,
don't be soft on these hard cases.

6-7 They return when the sun goes down,
They howl like coyotes, ringing the city.
Then suddenly they're all at the gate,
Snarling invective, drawn daggers in their teeth.
They think they'll never get caught.

8-10 But you, God, break out laughing;
you treat the godless nations like jokes.
Strong God, I'm watching you do it,
I can always count on you.
God in dependable love shows up on time,
shows me my enemies in ruin.

11-13 Don't make quick work of them, God,
lest my people forget.
Bring them down in slow motion,
take them apart piece by piece.
Let all their mean-mouthed arrogance
catch up with them,
Catch them out and bring them down
—every muttered curse
—every barefaced lie.
Finish them off in fine style!
Finish them off for good!
Then all the world will see
that God rules well in Jacob,
everywhere that God's in charge.

14-15 They return when the sun goes down,
They howl like coyotes, ringing the city.
They scavenge for bones,
And bite the hand that feeds them.

16-17 And me? I'm singing your prowess,
shouting at cockcrow your largesse,
For you've been a safe place for me,
a good place to hide.
Strong God, I'm watching you do it,
I can always count on you—
God, my dependable love.
A David Psalm, When He Fought Against
Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah and Joab Killed Twelve Thousand Edomites at the Valley of Salt

Proverbs 23:13-14 (The Message)

13-14 Don't be afraid to correct your young ones;
a spanking won't kill them.
A good spanking, in fact, might save them
from something worse than death.

Verse of the Day

“and are sure that God loves us. God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us.” - 1 John 4:16
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

Irish-born poet, journalist and fiction writer, John Boyle O'Reilly wrote, “Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.”

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