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.

The Bible in a Year is a ministry of Cove Presbyterian Church. We need your support to keep posting. If you find it helpful, you can support this blog by your contributions. They may be sent to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062. You can also use the PayPal link below:

Image result for paypal donate

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bible Readings for September 20, 2016

Today our passages are Isaiah 33:13–36:22; Galatians 5:13-26; Psalm 64:1-10; and Proverbs 23:23. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If 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 33:13-36:22 (The Message)

 13-14"If you're far away,
   get the reports on what I've done,
And if you're in the neighborhood,
   pay attention to my record.
The sinners in Zion are rightly terrified;
   the godless are at their wit's end:
'Who among us can survive this firestorm?
   Who of us can get out of this purge with our lives?'"

 15-16The answer's simple:
   Live right,
   speak the truth,
   despise exploitation,
   refuse bribes,
   reject violence,
   avoid evil amusements.
This is how you raise your standard of living!
   A safe and stable way to live.
   A nourishing, satisfying way to live.

God Makes All the Decisions Here
 17-19Oh, you'll see the king—a beautiful sight!
   And you'll take in the wide vistas of land.
In your mind you'll go over the old terrors:
   "What happened to that Assyrian inspector who condemned and confiscated?
And the one who gouged us of taxes?
   And that cheating moneychanger?"
Gone! Out of sight forever! Their insolence
   nothing now but a fading stain on the carpet!
No more putting up with a language you can't understand,
   no more sounds of gibberish in your ears.
 20-22Just take a look at Zion, will you?
   Centering our worship in festival feasts!
Feast your eyes on Jerusalem,
   a quiet and permanent place to live.
No more pulling up stakes and moving on,
   no more patched-together lean-tos.
Instead, God! God majestic, God himself the place
   in a country of broad rivers and streams,
But rivers blocked to invading ships,
   off-limits to predatory pirates.
For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king.
   God runs this place and he'll keep us safe.

 23Ha! Your sails are in shreds,
   your mast wobbling,
   your hold leaking.
The plunder is free for the taking, free for all—
   for weak and strong, insiders and outsiders.

 24No one in Zion will say, "I'm sick."
   Best of all, they'll all live guilt-free.

Isaiah 34

The Fires Burning Day and Night
 1 Draw in close now, nations. Listen carefully, you people. Pay attention!
Earth, you, too, and everything in you.
   World, and all that comes from you.
 2-4And here's why: God is angry,
   good and angry with all the nations,
So blazingly angry at their arms and armies
   that he's going to rid earth of them, wipe them out.
The corpses, thrown in a heap,
   will stink like the town dump in midsummer,
Their blood flowing off the mountains
   like creeks in spring runoff.
Stars will fall out of the sky
   like overripe, rotting fruit in the orchard,
And the sky itself will be folded up like a blanket
   and put away in a closet.
All that army of stars, shriveled to nothing,
   like leaves and fruit in autumn, dropping and rotting!

 5-7"Once I've finished with earth and sky,
   I'll start in on Edom.
I'll come down hard on Edom,
   a people I've slated for total termination."
God has a sword, thirsty for blood and more blood,
   a sword hungry for well-fed flesh,
Lamb and goat blood,
   the suet-rich kidneys of rams.
Yes, God has scheduled a sacrifice in Bozrah, the capital,
   the whole country of Edom a slaughterhouse.
A wholesale slaughter, wild animals
   and farm animals alike slaughtered.
The whole country soaked with blood,
   all the ground greasy with fat.

 8-15It's God's scheduled time for vengeance,
   the year all Zion's accounts are settled.
Edom's streams will flow sluggish, thick with pollution,
   the soil sterile, poisoned with waste,
The whole country
   a smoking, stinking garbage dump—
The fires burning day and night,
   the skies black with endless smoke.
Generation after generation of wasteland—
   no more travelers through this country!
Vultures and skunks will police the streets;
   owls and crows will feel at home there.
God will reverse creation. Chaos!
   He will cancel fertility. Emptiness!
Leaders will have no one to lead.
   They'll name it No Kingdom There,
A country where all kings
   and princes are unemployed.
Thistles will take over, covering the castles,
   fortresses conquered by weeds and thornbushes.
Wild dogs will prowl the ruins,
   ostriches have the run of the place.
Wildcats and hyenas will hunt together,
   demons and devils dance through the night.
The night-demon Lilith, evil and rapacious,
   will establish permanent quarters.
Scavenging carrion birds will breed and brood,
   infestations of ominous evil.

 16-17Get and read God's book:
   None of this is going away,
   this breeding, brooding evil.
God has personally commanded it all.
   His Spirit set it in motion.
God has assigned them their place,
   decreed their fate in detail.
This is permanent—
   generation after generation, the same old thing.

Isaiah 35

The Voiceless Break into Song
 1-2 Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower—
Like the crocus in spring, bursting into blossom,
   a symphony of song and color.
Mountain glories of Lebanon—a gift.
   Awesome Carmel, stunning Sharon—gifts.
God's resplendent glory, fully on display.
   God awesome, God majestic.
 3-4Energize the limp hands,
   strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls,
   "Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here,
   on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
   He's on his way! He'll save you!"

 5-7Blind eyes will be opened,
   deaf ears unstopped,
Lame men and women will leap like deer,
   the voiceless break into song.
Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness,
   streams flow in the desert.
Hot sands will become a cool oasis,
   thirsty ground a splashing fountain.
Even lowly jackals will have water to drink,
   and barren grasslands flourish richly.

 8-10There will be a highway
   called the Holy Road.
No one rude or rebellious
   is permitted on this road.
It's for God's people exclusively—
   impossible to get lost on this road.
   Not even fools can get lost on it.
No lions on this road,
   no dangerous wild animals—
Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.
   Only the redeemed will walk on it.
The people God has ransomed
   will come back on this road.
They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion,
   unfading halos of joy encircling their heads,
Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness
   as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.

Isaiah 36

It's Their Fate That's at Stake
 1-3 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria made war on all the fortress cities of Judah and took them. Then the king of Assyria sent his general, the "Rabshekah," accompanied by a huge army, from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah. The general stopped at the aqueduct where it empties into the upper pool on the road to the public laundry. Three men went out to meet him: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, in charge of the palace; Shebna the secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the official historian.  4-7The Rabshekah said to them, "Tell Hezekiah that the Great King, the king of Assyria, says this: 'What kind of backing do you think you have against me? You're bluffing and I'm calling your bluff. Your words are no match for my weapons. What kind of backup do you have now that you've rebelled against me? Egypt? Don't make me laugh. Egypt is a rubber crutch. Lean on Egypt and you'll end up flat on your face. That's all Pharaoh king of Egypt is to anyone who leans on him. And if you try to tell me, "We're leaning on our God," isn't it a bit late? Hasn't Hezekiah just gotten rid of all the places of worship, telling you, "You've got to worship at this altar"?
 8-9"'Be reasonable. Face the facts: My master the king of Assyria will give you two thousand horses if you can put riders on them. You can't do it, can you? So how do you think, depending on flimsy Egypt's chariots and riders, you can stand up against even the lowest-ranking captain in my master's army?
 10"'And besides, do you think I came all this way to destroy this land without first getting God's blessing? It was your God who told me, Make war on this land. Destroy it.'"
 11Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah answered the Rabshekah, "Please talk to us in Aramaic. We understand Aramaic. Don't talk to us in Hebrew within earshot of all the people gathered around."
 12But the Rabshekah replied, "Do you think my master has sent me to give this message to your master and you but not also to the people clustered here? It's their fate that's at stake. They're the ones who are going to end up eating their own excrement and drinking their own urine."
 13-15Then the Rabshekah stood up and called out loudly in Hebrew, the common language, "Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria! Don't listen to Hezekiah's lies. He can't save you. And don't pay any attention to Hezekiah's pious sermons telling you to lean on God, telling you 'God will save us, depend on it. God won't let this city fall to the king of Assyria.'
 16-20"Don't listen to Hezekiah. Listen to the king of Assyria's offer: 'Make peace with me. Come and join me. Everyone will end up with a good life, with plenty of land and water, and eventually something far better. I'll turn you loose in wide open spaces, with more than enough fertile and productive land for everyone.' Don't let Hezekiah mislead you with his lies, 'God will save us.' Has that ever happened? Has any god in history ever gotten the best of the king of Assyria? Look around you. Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? The gods of Sepharvaim? Did the gods do anything for Samaria? Name one god that has ever saved its countries from me. So what makes you think that God could save Jerusalem from me?'"
 21The three men were silent. They said nothing, for the king had already commanded, "Don't answer him."
 22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, tearing their clothes in defeat and despair, went back and reported what the Rabshekah had said to Hezekiah.

Galatians 5:13-26 (The Message)

 13-15It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?
 16-18My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
 19-21It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
   This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.
 22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
 23-24Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
 25-26Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

Psalm 64:1-10 (The Message)

Psalm 64

A David Psalm
 1 Listen and help, O God. I'm reduced to a whine
   And a whimper, obsessed
      with feelings of doomsday.

 2-6 Don't let them find me—
      the conspirators out to get me,
   Using their tongues as weapons,
      flinging poison words,
      poison-tipped arrow-words.
   They shoot from ambush,
      shoot without warning,
      not caring who they hit.
   They keep fit doing calisthenics
      of evil purpose,
   They keep lists of the traps
      they've secretly set.
   They say to each other,
      "No one can catch us,
      no one can detect our perfect crime."
   The Detective detects the mystery
      in the dark of the cellar heart.

 7-8 The God of the Arrow shoots!
      They double up in pain,
   Fall flat on their faces
      in full view of the grinning crowd.

 9-10 Everyone sees it. God's
      work is the talk of the town.
   Be glad, good people! Fly to God!
      Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.


Proverbs 23:23 (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
“People of Zion, celebrate in honor of the LORD your God! He is generous and has sent the autumn and spring rains in the proper seasons.” - Joel 2:23
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Oscar WildeThought for the Day

Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet, Oscar Wilde wrote, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”

No comments:

Post a Comment