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, October 11, 2016

Bible Readings for October 11, 2016

Today our passages are Jeremiah 16:16–18:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:1–5:3; Psalm 81:1-16; and Proverbs 25:6-7. 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 by using the link below.

Jeremiah 16:16-18:23 (The Message)

 16-17"Now, watch for what comes next: I'm going to assemble a bunch of fishermen." God's Decree! "They'll go fishing for my people and pull them in for judgment. Then I'll send out a party of hunters, and they'll hunt them out in all the mountains, hills, and caves. I'm watching their every move. I haven't lost track of a single one of them, neither them nor their sins. 
 18"They won't get by with a thing. They'll pay double for everything they did wrong. They've made a complete mess of things, littering their lives with their obscene no-gods, leaving piles of stinking god-junk all over the place." 
 19-20God, my strength, my stronghold,
   my safe retreat when trouble descends:
The godless nations will come
   from earth's four corners, saying,
"Our ancestors lived on lies,
   useless illusions, all smoke."
Can mortals manufacture gods?
   Their factories turn out no-gods! 

 21"Watch closely now. I'm going to teach these wrongheaded people.
   Starting right now, I'm going to teach them
Who I am and what I do,
   teach them the meaning of my name, God—'I Am.'" 

Jeremiah 17

The Heart Is Hopelessly Dark and Deceitful
 1-2 "Judah's sin is engraved with a steel chisel,
A steel chisel with a diamond point—
   engraved on their granite hearts,
   engraved on the stone corners of their altars.
The evidence against them is plain to see:
   sex-and-religion altars and sacred sex shrines
Anywhere there's a grove of trees,
   anywhere there's an available hill. 
 3-4"I'll use your mountains as roadside stands
   for giving away everything you have.
All your 'things' will serve as reparations
   for your sins all over the country.
You'll lose your gift of land,
   The inheritance I gave you.
I'll make you slaves of your enemies
   in a far-off and strange land.
My anger is hot and blazing and fierce,
   and no one will put it out." 

 5-6God's Message: 
   "Cursed is the strong one
   who depends on mere humans,
Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone
   and sets God aside as dead weight.
He's like a tumbleweed on the prairie,
   out of touch with the good earth.
He lives rootless and aimless
   in a land where nothing grows. 

 7-8"But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
   the woman who sticks with God.
They're like trees replanted in Eden,
   putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
   never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
   bearing fresh fruit every season. 

 9-10"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
   a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart
   and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
   I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
   not as they pretend to be." 

 11Like a cowbird that cheats by laying its eggs
   in another bird's nest
Is the person who gets rich by cheating.
   When the eggs hatch, the deceit is exposed.
What a fool he'll look like then! 

 12-13From early on your Sanctuary was set high,
   a throne of glory, exalted!
O God, you're the hope of Israel.
   All who leave you end up as fools,
Deserters with nothing to show for their lives,
   who walk off from God, fountain of living waters—
   and wind up dead! 

 14-18God, pick up the pieces.
   Put me back together again.
   You are my praise!
Listen to how they talk about me:
   "So where's this 'Word of God'?
   We'd like to see something happen!"
But it wasn't my idea to call for Doomsday.
   I never wanted trouble.
You know what I've said.
   It's all out in the open before you.
Don't add to my troubles.
   Give me some relief!
Let those who harass me be harassed, not me.
   Let them be disgraced, not me.
Bring down upon them the day of doom.
   Lower the boom. Boom! 

Keep the Sabbath Day Holy
 19-20God's Message to me: "Go stand in the People's Gate, the one used by Judah's kings as they come and go, and then proceed in turn to all the gates of Jerusalem. Tell them, 'Listen, you kings of Judah, listen to God's Message—and all you people who go in and out of these gates, you listen!  21-23"'This is God's Message. Be careful, if you care about your lives, not to desecrate the Sabbath by turning it into just another workday, lugging stuff here and there. Don't use the Sabbath to do business as usual. Keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. They never did it, as you know. They paid no attention to what I said and went about their own business, refusing to be guided or instructed by me. 
 24-26"'But now, take seriously what I tell you. Quit desecrating the Sabbath by busily going about your own work, and keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing business as usual. Then kings from the time of David and their officials will continue to ride through these gates on horses or in chariots. The people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem will continue to pass through them, too. Jerusalem will always be filled with people. People will stream in from all over Judah, from the province of Benjamin, from the Jerusalem suburbs, from foothills and mountains and deserts. They'll come to worship, bringing all kinds of offerings—animals, grains, incense, expressions of thanks—into the Sanctuary of God. 
 27"'But if you won't listen to me, won't keep the Sabbath holy, won't quit using the Sabbath for doing your own work, busily going in and out of the city gates on your self-important business, then I'll burn the gates down. In fact, I'll burn the whole city down, palaces and all, with a fire nobody will be able to put out!'" 

Jeremiah 18

To Worship the Big Lie
 1-2 God told Jeremiah, "Up on your feet! Go to the potter's house. When you get there, I'll tell you what I have to say." 3-4So I went to the potter's house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot. 5-10Then God's Message came to me: "Can't I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?" God's Decree! "Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel. At any moment I may decide to pull up a people or a country by the roots and get rid of them. But if they repent of their wicked lives, I will think twice and start over with them. At another time I might decide to plant a people or country, but if they don't cooperate and won't listen to me, I will think again and give up on the plans I had for them.  11"So, tell the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem my Message: 'Danger! I'm shaping doom against you, laying plans against you. Turn back from your doomed way of life. Straighten out your lives.' 
 12"But they'll just say, 'Why should we? What's the point? We'll live just the way we've always lived, doom or no doom.'" 
 13-17God's Message: 
   "Ask around.
   Survey the godless nations.
Has anyone heard the likes of this?
   Virgin Israel has become a slut!
Does snow disappear from the Lebanon peaks?
   Do alpine streams run dry?
But my people have left me
   to worship the Big Lie.
They've gotten off the track,
   the old, well-worn trail,
And now bushwhack through underbrush
   in a tangle of roots and vines.
Their land's going to end up a mess—
   a fool's memorial to be spit on.
Travelers passing through
   will shake their heads in disbelief.
I'll scatter my people before their enemies,
   like autumn leaves in a high wind.
On their day of doom, they'll stare at my back as I walk away,
   catching not so much as a glimpse of my face." 

 18Some of the people said, "Come on, let's cook up a plot against Jeremiah. We'll still have the priests to teach us the law, wise counselors to give us advice, and prophets to tell us what God has to say. Come on, let's discredit him so we don't have to put up with him any longer."

 19-23And I said to God: 

   "God, listen to me!
   Just listen to what my enemies are saying.
Should I get paid evil for good?
   That's what they're doing. They've made plans to kill me!
Remember all the times I stood up for them before you,
   speaking up for them,
   trying to soften your anger?
But enough! Let their children starve!
   Let them be massacred in battle!
Let their wives be childless and widowed,
   their friends die and their proud young men be killed.
Let cries of panic sound from their homes
   as you surprise them with war parties!
They're all set to lynch me.
   The noose is practically around my neck!
But you know all this, God.
   You know they're determined to kill me.
Don't whitewash their crimes,
   don't overlook a single sin!
Round the bunch of them up before you.
   Strike while the iron of your anger is hot!"

1 Thessalonians 4-5:3 (The Message)

1 Thessalonians 4

You're God-Taught
 1-3 One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life.    Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. 
 4-5Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God. 
 6-7Don't run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God's concerns, and he will take care of them. We've warned you about this before. God hasn't invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside. 
 8If you disregard this advice, you're not offending your neighbors; you're rejecting God, who is making you a gift of his Holy Spirit. 
 9-10Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don't need me to tell you what to do. You're God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! You're already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it. 
 11-12Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You've heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends. 
The Master's Coming
 13-14And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don't want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.  15-18And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master's word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they'll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God's trumpet blast! He'll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they'll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we'll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words. 

1 Thessalonians 5

 1-3I don't think, friends, that I need to deal with the question of when all this is going to happen. You know as well as I that the day of the Master's coming can't be posted on our calendars. He won't call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would. About the time everybody's walking around complacently, congratulating each other—"We've sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!"—suddenly everything will fall apart. It's going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.

Psalm 81:1-16 (The Message)

Psalm 81

An Asaph Psalm
 1-5 A song to our strong God! a shout to the God of Jacob!
   Anthems from the choir, music from the band,
      sweet sounds from lute and harp,
   Trumpets and trombones and horns:
      it's festival day, a feast to God!
   A day decreed by God,
      solemnly ordered by the God of Jacob.
   He commanded Joseph to keep this day
      so we'd never forget what he did in Egypt.
      I hear this most gentle whisper from One
      I never guessed would speak to me:

 6-7 "I took the world off your shoulders,
      freed you from a life of hard labor.
   You called to me in your pain;
      I got you out of a bad place.
   I answered you from where the thunder hides,
      I proved you at Meribah Fountain.

 8-10 "Listen, dear ones—get this straight;
      O Israel, don't take this lightly.
   Don't take up with strange gods,
      don't worship the latest in gods.
   I'm God, your God, the very God
      who rescued you from doom in Egypt,
   Then fed you all you could eat,
      filled your hungry stomachs.

 11-12 "But my people didn't listen,
      Israel paid no attention;
   So I let go of the reins and told them, 'Run!
      Do it your own way!'

 13-16 "Oh, dear people, will you listen to me now?
      Israel, will you follow my map?
   I'll make short work of your enemies,
      give your foes the back of my hand.
   I'll send the God-haters cringing like dogs,
      never to be heard from again.
   You'll feast on my fresh-baked bread
      spread with butter and rock-pure honey."

Proverbs 25:6-7 (The Message)

 6-7 Don't work yourself into the spotlight;
   don't push your way into the place of prominence.
It's better to be promoted to a place of honor
   than face humiliation by being demoted. 

Verse of the Day

“[(A psalm by David for Jeduthun, the music leader.)][God Is Powerful and Kind]Only God can save me, and I calmly wait for him.” - Psalm 62:1 
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Gilbert Stuart Williamstown Portrait of George Washington.jpg
Thought for the Day

The first President of the United States (1789–97), the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, George Washington wrote, “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”

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