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 26, 2016

Bible Readings for September 26, 2016

Today our passages are Isaiah 48:12–50:11; Ephesians 4:17-32; Psalm 69:1-18; and Proverbs 24:5-6. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you missed a day, you can find all the readings at our blog, The Bible in a Year. 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 by using the link below.

Isaiah 48:12-50:11 (The Message)

 12-13"Listen, Jacob. Listen, Israel—
   I'm the One who named you!
I'm the One.
   I got things started and, yes, I'll wrap them up.
Earth is my work, handmade.
   And the skies—I made them, too, horizon to horizon.
When I speak, they're on their feet, at attention.

 14-16"Come everybody, gather around, listen:
   Who among the gods has delivered the news?
I, God, love this man Cyrus, and I'm using him
   to do what I want with Babylon.
I, yes I, have spoken. I've called him.
   I've brought him here. He'll be successful.
Come close, listen carefully:
   I've never kept secrets from you.
   I've always been present with you."

Your Progeny, Like Grains of Sand
 16-19And now, the Master, God, sends me and his Spirit
   with this Message from God,
   your Redeemer, The Holy of Israel:
"I am God, your God,
   who teaches you how to live right and well.
   I show you what to do, where to go.
If you had listened all along to what I told you,
   your life would have flowed full like a river,
   blessings rolling in like waves from the sea.
Children and grandchildren are like sand,
   your progeny like grains of sand.
There would be no end of them,
   no danger of losing touch with me."
 20Get out of Babylon! Run from the Babylonians!
   Shout the news. Broadcast it.
Let the world know, the whole world.
   Tell them, "God redeemed his dear servant Jacob!"

 21They weren't thirsty when he led them through the deserts.
   He made water pour out of the rock;
   he split the rock and the water gushed.

 22"There is no peace," says God, "for the wicked."

Isaiah 49

A Light for the Nations
 1-3 Listen, far-flung islands,
   pay attention, faraway people:
God put me to work from the day I was born.
   The moment I entered the world he named me.
He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate.
   He kept his hand on me to protect me.
He made me his straight arrow
   and hid me in his quiver.
He said to me, "You're my dear servant,
   Israel, through whom I'll shine."
 4But I said, "I've worked for nothing.
   I've nothing to show for a life of hard work.
Nevertheless, I'll let God have the last word.
   I'll let him pronounce his verdict."

 5-6"And now," God says,
   this God who took me in hand
   from the moment of birth to be his servant,
To bring Jacob back home to him,
   to set a reunion for Israel—
What an honor for me in God's eyes!
   That God should be my strength!
He says, "But that's not a big enough job for my servant—
   just to recover the tribes of Jacob,
   merely to round up the strays of Israel.
I'm setting you up as a light for the nations
   so that my salvation becomes global!"

 7God, Redeemer of Israel, The Holy of Israel,
   says to the despised one, kicked around by the nations,
   slave labor to the ruling class:
"Kings will see, get to their feet—the princes, too—
   and then fall on their faces in homage
Because of God, who has faithfully kept his word,
   The Holy of Israel, who has chosen you."

 8-12God also says:

   "When the time's ripe, I answer you.
   When victory's due, I help you.
I form you and use you
   to reconnect the people with me,
To put the land in order,
   to resettle families on the ruined properties.
I tell prisoners, 'Come on out. You're free!'
   and those huddled in fear, 'It's all right. It's safe now.'
There'll be foodstands along all the roads,
   picnics on all the hills—
Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty,
   shade from the sun, shelter from the wind,
For the Compassionate One guides them,
   takes them to the best springs.
I'll make all my mountains into roads,
   turn them into a superhighway.
Look: These coming from far countries,
   and those, out of the north,
These streaming in from the west,
   and those from all the way down the Nile!"

 13Heavens, raise the roof! Earth, wake the dead!
   Mountains, send up cheers!
God has comforted his people.
   He has tenderly nursed his beaten-up, beaten-down people.

 14But Zion said, "I don't get it. God has left me.
   My Master has forgotten I even exist."

 15-18"Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
   walk away from the baby she bore?
But even if mothers forget,
   I'd never forget you—never.
Look, I've written your names on the backs of my hands.
   The walls you're rebuilding are never out of my sight.
Your builders are faster than your wreckers.
   The demolition crews are gone for good.
Look up, look around, look well!
   See them all gathering, coming to you?
As sure as I am the living God"—God's Decree—
   "you're going to put them on like so much jewelry,
   you're going to use them to dress up like a bride.

 19-21"And your ruined land?
   Your devastated, decimated land?
Filled with more people than you know what to do with!
   And your barbarian enemies, a fading memory.
The children born in your exile will be saying,
   'It's getting too crowded here. I need more room.'
And you'll say to yourself,
   'Where on earth did these children come from?
I lost everything, had nothing, was exiled and penniless.
   So who reared these children?
   How did these children get here?'"

 22-23The Master, God, says:

   "Look! I signal to the nations,
   I raise my flag to summon the people.
Here they'll come: women carrying your little boys in their arms,
   men carrying your little girls on their shoulders.
Kings will be your babysitters,
   princesses will be your nursemaids.
They'll offer to do all your drudge work—
   scrub your floors, do your laundry.
You'll know then that I am God.
   No one who hopes in me ever regrets it."

 24-26Can plunder be retrieved from a giant,
   prisoners of war gotten back from a tyrant?
But God says, "Even if a giant grips the plunder
   and a tyrant holds my people prisoner,
I'm the one who's on your side,
   defending your cause, rescuing your children.
And your enemies, crazed and desperate, will turn on themselves,
   killing each other in a frenzy of self-destruction.
Then everyone will know that I, God,
   have saved you—I, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Isaiah 50

Who Out There Fears God?
 1-3 God says: "Can you produce your mother's divorce papers
   proving I got rid of her?
Can you produce a receipt
   proving I sold you?
Of course you can't.
   It's your sins that put you here,
   your wrongs that got you shipped out.
So why didn't anyone come when I knocked?
   Why didn't anyone answer when I called?
Do you think I've forgotten how to help?
   Am I so decrepit that I can't deliver?
I'm as powerful as ever,
   and can reverse what I once did:
I can dry up the sea with a word,
   turn river water into desert sand,
And leave the fish stinking in the sun,
   stranded on dry land . . .
Turn all the lights out in the sky
   and pull down the curtain."
 4-9The Master, God, has given me
   a well-taught tongue,
So I know how to encourage tired people.
   He wakes me up in the morning,
Wakes me up, opens my ears
   to listen as one ready to take orders.
The Master, God, opened my ears,
   and I didn't go back to sleep,
   didn't pull the covers back over my head.
I followed orders,
   stood there and took it while they beat me,
   held steady while they pulled out my beard,
Didn't dodge their insults,
   faced them as they spit in my face.
And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me,
   so I'm not disgraced.
Therefore I set my face like flint,
   confident that I'll never regret this.
My champion is right here.
   Let's take our stand together!
Who dares bring suit against me?
   Let him try!
Look! the Master, God, is right here.
   Who would dare call me guilty?
Look! My accusers are a clothes bin of threadbare
   socks and shirts, fodder for moths!

 10-11Who out there fears God,
   actually listens to the voice of his servant?
For anyone out there who doesn't know where you're going,
   anyone groping in the dark,
Here's what: Trust in God.
   Lean on your God!
But if all you're after is making trouble,
   playing with fire,

   Go ahead and see where it gets you.
   Set your fires, stir people up, blow on the flames,
But don't expect me to just stand there and watch.
   I'll hold your feet to those flames.

Ephesians 4:17-32 (The Message)

The Old Way Has to Go
 17-19And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.  20-24But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
 25What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ's body we're all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
 26-27Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
 28Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can't work.
 29Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
 30Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.
 31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Psalm 69:1-18 (The Message)

Psalm 69

A David Psalm
 1 God, God, save me! I'm in over my head,

 2 Quicksand under me, swamp water over me;
   I'm going down for the third time.

 3 I'm hoarse from calling for help,
   Bleary-eyed from searching the sky for God.

 4 I've got more enemies than hairs on my head;
   Sneaks and liars are out to knife me in the back.
   What I never stole
   Must I now give back?

 5 God, you know every sin I've committed;
   My life's a wide-open book before you.

 6 Don't let those who look to you in hope
   Be discouraged by what happens to me,
   Dear Lord! God of the armies!

   Don't let those out looking for you
   Come to a dead end by following me—
   Please, dear God of Israel!

 7 Because of you I look like an idiot,
   I walk around ashamed to show my face.

 8 My brothers shun me like a bum off the street;
   My family treats me like an unwanted guest.

 9 I love you more than I can say.
   Because I'm madly in love with you,
   They blame me for everything they dislike about you.

 10 When I poured myself out in prayer and fasting,
   All it got me was more contempt.

 11 When I put on a sad face,
   They treated me like a clown.

 12 Now drunks and gluttons
   Make up drinking songs about me.

 13 And me? I pray.
   God, it's time for a break!

   God, answer in love!
   Answer with your sure salvation!

 14 Rescue me from the swamp,
   Don't let me go under for good,

   Pull me out of the clutch of the enemy;
   This whirlpool is sucking me down.

 15 Don't let the swamp be my grave, the Black Hole
   Swallow me, its jaws clenched around me.

 16 Now answer me, God, because you love me;
   Let me see your great mercy full-face.

 17 Don't look the other way; your servant can't take it.
   I'm in trouble. Answer right now!

 18 Come close, God; get me out of here.
   Rescue me from this deathtrap.

Proverbs 24:5-6 (The Message)

 5-6 It's better to be wise than strong;
   intelligence outranks muscle any day.
Strategic planning is the key to warfare;
   to win, you need a lot of good counsel.

Verse of the Day
“We know that God has said he will punish and take revenge. We also know that the Scriptures say the Lord will judge his people. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” - Hebrews 10:30-31
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

Irish poet, diarist and editor, William Allingham wrote, “Autumn’s the mellow time.”

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