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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Monday, September 19, 2016

Bible Readings for September 19, 2016

Today our passages are Isaiah 30:12–33:12; Galatians 5:1-12; Psalm 63:1-11; and Proverbs 23:22. 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 30:12-33:12 (The Message)

 12-14Therefore, The Holy of Israel says this:
   "Because you scorn this Message,
Preferring to live by injustice
   and shape your lives on lies,
This perverse way of life
   will be like a towering, badly built wall
That slowly, slowly tilts and shifts,
   and then one day, without warning, collapses—
Smashed to bits like a piece of pottery,
   smashed beyond recognition or repair,
Useless, a pile of debris
   to be swept up and thrown in the trash."

God Takes the Time to Do Everything Right
 15-17God, the Master, The Holy of Israel,
   has this solemn counsel:
"Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
   and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
   in complete dependence on me—
The very thing
   you've been unwilling to do.
You've said, 'Nothing doing! We'll rush off on horseback!'
   You'll rush off, all right! Just not far enough!
You've said, 'We'll ride off on fast horses!'
   Do you think your pursuers ride old nags?
Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker.
   Before a mere five you'll all run off.
There'll be nothing left of you—
   a flagpole on a hill with no flag,
   a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off."
 18But God's not finished. He's waiting around to be gracious to you.
   He's gathering strength to show mercy to you.
God takes the time to do everything right—everything.
   Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

 19-22Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you'll find it's grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he'll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he'll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: "This is the right road. Walk down this road." You'll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You'll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, "Good riddance!"
 23-26God will provide rain for the seeds you sow. The grain that grows will be abundant. Your cattle will range far and wide. Oblivious to war and earthquake, the oxen and donkeys you use for hauling and plowing will be fed well near running brooks that flow freely from mountains and hills. Better yet, on the Day God heals his people of the wounds and bruises from the time of punishment, moonlight will flare into sunlight, and sunlight, like a whole week of sunshine at once, will flood the land.
 27-28Look, God's on his way,
   and from a long way off!
Smoking with anger,
   immense as he comes into view,
Words steaming from his mouth,
   searing, indicting words!
A torrent of words, a flash flood of words
   sweeping everyone into the vortex of his words.
He'll shake down the nations in a sieve of destruction,
   herd them into a dead end.

 29-33But you will sing,
   sing through an all-night holy feast!
Your hearts will burst with song,
   make music like the sound of flutes on parade,
En route to the mountain of God,
   on the way to the Rock of Israel.
God will sound out in grandiose thunder,
   display his hammering arm,
Furiously angry, showering sparks—
   cloudburst, storm, hail!
Oh yes, at God's thunder
   Assyria will cower under the clubbing.
Every blow God lands on them with his club
   is in time to the music of drums and pipes,
God in all-out, two-fisted battle,
   fighting against them.
Topheth's fierce fires are well prepared,
   ready for the Assyrian king.
The Topheth furnace is deep and wide,
   well stoked with hot-burning wood.
God's breath, like a river of burning pitch,
   starts the fire.

Isaiah 31

Impressed by Military Mathematics
 1-3Doom to those who go off to Egypt thinking that horses can help them,
Impressed by military mathematics,
   awed by sheer numbers of chariots and riders—
And to The Holy of Israel, not even a glance,
   not so much as a prayer to God.
Still, he must be reckoned with,
   a most wise God who knows what he's doing.
He can call down catastrophe.
   He's a God who does what he says.
He intervenes in the work of those who do wrong,
   stands up against interfering evildoers.
Egyptians are mortal, not God,
   and their horses are flesh, not Spirit.
When God gives the signal, helpers and helped alike
   will fall in a heap and share the same dirt grave.
 4-5This is what God told me:
   "Like a lion, king of the beasts,
   that gnaws and chews and worries its prey,
Not fazed in the least by a bunch of shepherds
   who arrive to chase it off,
So God-of-the-Angel-Armies comes down
   to fight on Mount Zion, to make war from its heights.
And like a huge eagle hovering in the sky,
   God-of-the-Angel-Armies protects Jerusalem.
I'll protect and rescue it.
   Yes, I'll hover and deliver."

 6-7Repent, return, dear Israel, to the One you so cruelly abandoned. On the day you return, you'll throw away—every last one of you—the no-gods your sinful hands made from metal and wood.
 8-9"Assyrians will fall dead,
   killed by a sword-thrust but not by a soldier,
   laid low by a sword not swung by a mortal.
Assyrians will run from that sword, run for their lives,
   and their prize young men made slaves.
Terrorized, that rock-solid people will fall to pieces,
   their leaders scatter hysterically."
God's Decree on Assyria.
   His fire blazes in Zion,
   his furnace burns hot in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 32

Safe Houses, Quiet Gardens
 1-8 But look! A king will rule in the right way, and his leaders will carry out justice.
Each one will stand as a shelter from high winds,
   provide safe cover in stormy weather.
Each will be cool running water in parched land,
   a huge granite outcrop giving shade in the desert.
Anyone who looks will see,
   anyone who listens will hear.
The impulsive will make sound decisions,
   the tongue-tied will speak with eloquence.
No more will fools become celebrities,
   nor crooks be rewarded with fame.
For fools are fools and that's that,
   thinking up new ways to do mischief.
They leave a wake of wrecked lives
   and lies about God,
Turning their backs on the homeless hungry,
   ignoring those dying of thirst in the streets.
And the crooks? Underhanded sneaks they are,
   inventive in sin and scandal,
Exploiting the poor with scams and lies,
   unmoved by the victimized poor.
But those who are noble make noble plans,
   and stand for what is noble.
 9-14Take your stand, indolent women!
   Listen to me!
Indulgent, indolent women,
   listen closely to what I have to say.
In just a little over a year from now,
   you'll be shaken out of your lazy lives.
The grape harvest will fail,
   and there'll be no fruit on the trees.
Oh tremble, you indolent women.
   Get serious, you pampered dolls!
Strip down and discard your silk fineries.
   Put on funeral clothes.
Shed honest tears for the lost harvest,
   the failed vintage.
Weep for my people's gardens and farms
   that grow nothing but thistles and thornbushes.
Cry tears, real tears, for the happy homes no longer happy,
   the merry city no longer merry.
The royal palace is deserted,
   the bustling city quiet as a morgue,
The emptied parks and playgrounds
   taken over by wild animals,
   delighted with their new home.

 15-20Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured
   down on us from above
And the badlands desert grows crops
   and the fertile fields become forests.
Justice will move into the badlands desert.
   Right will build a home in the fertile field.
And where there's Right, there'll be Peace
   and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust.
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood—
   in safe houses, in quiet gardens.
The forest of your pride will be clear-cut,
   the city showing off your power leveled.
But you will enjoy a blessed life,
   planting well-watered fields and gardens,
   with your farm animals grazing freely.

Isaiah 33

The Ground Under Our Feet Mourns
 1 Doom to you, Destroyer, not yet destroyed;
And doom to you, Betrayer,
   not yet betrayed.
When you finish destroying,
   your turn will come—destroyed!
When you quit betraying,
   your turn will come—betrayed!
 2-4God, treat us kindly. You're our only hope.
   First thing in the morning, be there for us!
   When things go bad, help us out!
You spoke in thunder and everyone ran.
   You showed up and nations scattered.
Your people, for a change, got in on the loot,
   picking the field clean of the enemy spoils.

 5-6God is supremely esteemed. His center holds.
   Zion brims over with all that is just and right.
God keeps your days stable and secure—
   salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus,
   and best of all, Zion's treasure, Fear-of-God.

 7-9But look! Listen!
   Tough men weep openly.
   Peacemaking diplomats are in bitter tears.
The roads are empty—
   not a soul out on the streets.
The peace treaty is broken,
   its conditions violated,
   its signers reviled.
The very ground under our feet mourns,
   the Lebanon mountains hang their heads,
Flowering Sharon is a weed-choked gully,
   and the forests of Bashan and Carmel? Bare branches.

 10-12"Now I'm stepping in," God says.
   "From now on, I'm taking over.
   The gloves come off. Now see how mighty I am.
There's nothing to you.
   Pregnant with chaff, you produce straw babies;
   full of hot air, you self-destruct.
You're good for nothing but fertilizer and fuel.
   Earth to earth—and the sooner the better.

Galatians 5:1-12 (The Message)

Galatians 5

The Life of Freedom
 1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.  2-3I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ's hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law. 4-6I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.
 7-10You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn't come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don't toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.
 11-12As for the rumor that I continue to preach the ways of circumcision (as I did in those pre-Damascus Road days), that is absurd. Why would I still be persecuted, then? If I were preaching that old message, no one would be offended if I mentioned the Cross now and then—it would be so watered-down it wouldn't matter one way or the other. Why don't these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!

Psalm 63:1-11 (The Message)

Psalm 63

A David Psalm, When He Was out in the Judean Wilderness
 1 God—you're my God! I can't get enough of you!
   I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God,
      traveling across dry and weary deserts.

 2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
      drinking in your strength and glory.
   In your generous love I am really living at last!
      My lips brim praises like fountains.
   I bless you every time I take a breath;
      My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

 5-8 I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;
      I smack my lips. It's time to shout praises!
   If I'm sleepless at midnight,
      I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
   Because you've always stood up for me,
      I'm free to run and play.
   I hold on to you for dear life,
      and you hold me steady as a post.

 9-11 Those who are out to get me are marked for doom,
      marked for death, bound for hell.
   They'll die violent deaths;
      jackals will tear them limb from limb.
   But the king is glad in God;
      his true friends spread the joy,
   While small-minded gossips
      are gagged for good.


Proverbs 23:22 (The Message)

Buy Wisdom, Education, Insight
 22-25 Listen with respect to the father who raised you,
   and when your mother grows old, don't neglect her.
Buy truth—don't sell it for love or money;
   buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.
Parents rejoice when their children turn out well;
   wise children become proud parents.
So make your father happy!
   Make your mother proud!

Verse of the Day
“Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.” - Ephesians 4:29
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American humorist, writer, teacher, television host, and journalist, Sam Levenson wrote, “Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”

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