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, September 6, 2016

Bible Readings for September 6, 2016

Today our passages are Song of Songs 1:1–4:16; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24; Psalm 50:1-23; and Proverbs 22:22-23. 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.

Song of Songs 1-4:16 (The Message)

Song of Songs 1

 1The Song—best of all songs—Solomon's song! The Woman  2-3 Kiss me—full on the mouth!
   Yes! For your love is better than wine,
   headier than your aromatic oils.
The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook.
   No wonder everyone loves to say your name!

 4 Take me away with you! Let's run off together!
   An elopement with my King-Lover!
We'll celebrate, we'll sing,
   we'll make great music.
Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine.
   Everyone loves you—of course! And why not?

 5-6 I am weathered but still elegant,
   oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem,
Weather-darkened like Kedar desert tents,
   time-softened like Solomon's Temple hangings.
Don't look down on me because I'm dark,
   darkened by the sun's harsh rays.
My brothers ridiculed me and sent me to work in the fields.
   They made me care for the face of the earth,
   but I had no time to care for my own face.

 7 Tell me where you're working
   —I love you so much—
Tell me where you're tending your flocks,
   where you let them rest at noontime.
Why should I be the one left out,
   outside the orbit of your tender care?

The Man
 8 If you can't find me, loveliest of all women,
   it's all right. Stay with your flocks.
Lead your lambs to good pasture.
   Stay with your shepherd neighbors.

 9-11 You remind me of Pharaoh's
   well-groomed and satiny mares.
Pendant earrings line the elegance of your cheeks;
   strands of jewels illumine the curve of your throat.
I'm making jewelry for you, gold and silver jewelry
   that will mark and accent your beauty.
The Woman
 12-14 When my King-Lover lay down beside me,
   my fragrance filled the room.
His head resting between my breasts—
   the head of my lover was a sachet of sweet myrrh.
My beloved is a bouquet of wildflowers
   picked just for me from the fields of Engedi.
The Man
 15 Oh, my dear friend! You're so beautiful!
   And your eyes so beautiful—like doves!
The Woman
 16-17 And you, my dear lover—you're so handsome!
   And the bed we share is like a forest glen.
We enjoy a canopy of cedars
   enclosed by cypresses, fragrant and green.

Song of Solomon 2

    I'm just a wildflower picked from the plains of Sharon, a lotus blossom from the valley pools.
The Man
 2 A lotus blossoming in a swamp of weeds—
   that's my dear friend among the girls in the village.
The Woman
 3-4 As an apricot tree stands out in the forest,
   my lover stands above the young men in town.
All I want is to sit in his shade,
   to taste and savor his delicious love.
He took me home with him for a festive meal,
   but his eyes feasted on me!

 5-6 Oh! Give me something refreshing to eat—and quickly!
   Apricots, raisins—anything. I'm about to faint with love!
His left hand cradles my head,
   and his right arm encircles my waist!

 7 Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem,
   by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer:
Don't excite love, don't stir it up,
   until the time is ripe—and you're ready.

 8-10 Look! Listen! There's my lover!
   Do you see him coming?
Vaulting the mountains,
   leaping the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle, graceful;
   like a young stag, virile.
Look at him there, on tiptoe at the gate,
   all ears, all eyes—ready!
My lover has arrived
   and he's speaking to me!
The Man
 10-14 Get up, my dear friend,
   fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over;
   the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over.
   The whole world's a choir—and singing!
Spring warblers are filling the forest
   with sweet arpeggios.
Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed,
   and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms.
Oh, get up, dear friend,
   my fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Come, my shy and modest dove—
   leave your seclusion, come out in the open.
Let me see your face,
   let me hear your voice.
For your voice is soothing
   and your face is ravishing.
The Woman
 15 Then you must protect me from the foxes,
   foxes on the prowl,
Foxes who would like nothing better
   than to get into our flowering garden.

 16-17 My lover is mine, and I am his.
   Nightly he strolls in our garden,
Delighting in the flowers
   until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.    Turn to me, dear lover.
   Come like a gazelle.
Leap like a wild stag
   on delectable mountains!

Song of Solomon 3

    Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover.
   I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.
So I got up, went out and roved the city,
   hunting through streets and down alleys.
I wanted my lover in the worst way!
   I looked high and low, and didn't find him.
And then the night watchmen found me
   as they patrolled the darkened city.
   "Have you seen my dear lost love?" I asked.
No sooner had I left them than I found him,
   found my dear lost love.
I threw my arms around him and held him tight,
   wouldn't let him go until I had him home again,
   safe at home beside the fire.

 5 Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem,
   by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer:
Don't excite love, don't stir it up,
   until the time is ripe—and you're ready.

 6-10 What's this I see, approaching from the desert,
   raising clouds of dust,
Filling the air with sweet smells
   and pungent aromatics?
Look! It's Solomon's carriage,
   carried and guarded by sixty soldiers,
   sixty of Israel's finest,
All of them armed to the teeth,
   trained for battle,
   ready for anything, anytime.
King Solomon once had a carriage built
   from fine-grained Lebanon cedar.
He had it framed with silver and roofed with gold.
   The cushions were covered with a purple fabric,
   the interior lined with tooled leather.

 11 Come and look, sisters in Jerusalem.
   Oh, sisters of Zion, don't miss this!
My King-Lover,
   dressed and garlanded for his wedding,
   his heart full, bursting with joy!

Song of Solomon 4

The Man
 1-5 You're so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled
By your hair as it flows and shimmers,
   like a flock of goats in the distance
   streaming down a hillside in the sunshine.
Your smile is generous and full—
   expressive and strong and clean.
Your lips are jewel red,
   your mouth elegant and inviting,
   your veiled cheeks soft and radiant.
The smooth, lithe lines of your neck
   command notice—all heads turn in awe and admiration!
Your breasts are like fawns,
   twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers.

 6-7 The sweet, fragrant curves of your body,
   the soft, spiced contours of your flesh
Invite me, and I come. I stay
   until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.
You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love,
   beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.

 8-15 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride.
   Leave Lebanon behind, and come.
Leave your high mountain hideaway.
   Abandon your wilderness seclusion,
Where you keep company with lions
   and panthers guard your safety.
You've captured my heart, dear friend.
   You looked at me, and I fell in love.
   One look my way and I was hopelessly in love!
How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend—
   far more pleasing than a fine, rare wine,
   your fragrance more exotic than select spices.
The kisses of your lips are honey, my love,
   every syllable you speak a delicacy to savor.
Your clothes smell like the wild outdoors,
   the ozone scent of high mountains.
Dear lover and friend, you're a secret garden,
   a private and pure fountain.
Body and soul, you are paradise,
   a whole orchard of succulent fruits—
Ripe apricots and peaches,
   oranges and pears;
Nut trees and cinnamon,
   and all scented woods;
Mint and lavender,
   and all herbs aromatic;
A garden fountain, sparkling and splashing,
   fed by spring waters from the Lebanon mountains.
The Woman
 16 Wake up, North Wind,
   get moving, South Wind!
Breathe on my garden,
   fill the air with spice fragrance.    Oh, let my lover enter his garden!
   Yes, let him eat the fine, ripe fruits.

2 Corinthians 8:16-24 (The Message)

 10-20So here's what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart's been in the right place all along. You've got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can't. The heart regulates the hands. This isn't so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you're shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written,

   Nothing left over to the one with the most,
   Nothing lacking to the one with the least.
I thank God for giving Titus the same devoted concern for you that I have. He was most considerate of how we felt, but his eagerness to go to you and help out with this relief offering is his own idea. We're sending a companion along with him, someone very popular in the churches for his preaching of the Message. But there's far more to him than popularity. He's rock-solid trustworthy. The churches handpicked him to go with us as we travel about doing this work of sharing God's gifts to honor God as well as we can, taking every precaution against scandal.
 20-22We don't want anyone suspecting us of taking one penny of this money for ourselves. We're being as careful in our reputation with the public as in our reputation with God. That's why we're sending another trusted friend along. He's proved his dependability many times over, and carries on as energetically as the day he started. He's heard much about you, and liked what he's heard—so much so that he can't wait to get there.
 23-24I don't need to say anything further about Titus. We've been close associates in this work of serving you for a long time. The brothers who travel with him are delegates from churches, a real credit to Christ. Show them what you're made of, the love I've been talking up in the churches. Let them see it for themselves!

Psalm 50:1-23 (The Message)

Psalm 50

An Asaph Psalm
 1-3 The God of gods—it's God!—speaks out, shouts, "Earth!"
      welcomes the sun in the east,
      farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
   From the dazzle of Zion,
      God blazes into view.
   Our God makes his entrance,
      he's not shy in his coming.
   Starbursts of fireworks precede him.

 4-5 He summons heaven and earth as a jury,
      he's taking his people to court:
   "Round up my saints who swore
      on the Bible their loyalty to me."

 6 The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court,
      that here God is judge.

 7-15 "Are you listening, dear people? I'm getting ready to speak;
      Israel, I'm about ready to bring you to trial.
   This is God, your God,
      speaking to you.
   I don't find fault with your acts of worship,
      the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer.
   But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull,
      or more and more goats from your herds?
   Every creature in the forest is mine,
      the wild animals on all the mountains.
   I know every mountain bird by name;
      the scampering field mice are my friends.
   If I get hungry, do you think I'd tell you?
      All creation and its bounty are mine.
   Do you think I feast on venison?
      or drink draughts of goats' blood?
   Spread for me a banquet of praise,
      serve High God a feast of kept promises,
   And call for help when you're in trouble—
      I'll help you, and you'll honor me."

 16-21 Next, God calls up the wicked:    "What are you up to, quoting my laws,
      talking like we are good friends?
   You never answer the door when I call;
      you treat my words like garbage.
   If you find a thief, you make him your buddy;
      adulterers are your friends of choice.
   Your mouth drools filth;
      lying is a serious art form with you.
   You stab your own brother in the back,
      rip off your little sister.
   I kept a quiet patience while you did these things;
      you thought I went along with your game.
   I'm calling you on the carpet, now,
      laying your wickedness out in plain sight.

 22-23 "Time's up for playing fast and
      loose with me.
   I'm ready to pass sentence,
      and there's no help in sight!
   It's the praising life that honors me.
      As soon as you set your foot on the Way,
   I'll show you my salvation."
A David Psalm, After He Was Confronted by Nathan
    About the Affair with Bathsheba


Proverbs 22:22-23 (The Message)

 22-23 Don't walk on the poor just because they're poor,
   and don't use your position to crush the weak,
Because God will come to their defense;
   the life you took, he'll take from you and give back to them.

Verse of the Day
“Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them.” - John 14:23
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Frances Wright.jpgThought for the Day

Scottish-born lecturer, writer, freethinker, feminist, abolitionist, and social reformer, who became a US citizen in 1825, Frances Wright wrote, “Liberty means, not the mere voting at elections, but the free and fearless exercise of the mental faculties, and that self-possession which springs out of well-reasoned opinions and consistent practice.”

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