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, October 3, 2016

Bible Readings for October 2, 2016

Today our passages are Isaiah 66:1-24; Philippians 3:4b-21; Psalm 74:1-23; and Proverbs 24:15-16. 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 66:1-24 (The Message)

Isaiah 66

Living Worship to God
 1-2 God's Message: "Heaven's my throne,
   earth is my footstool.
What sort of house could you build for me?
   What holiday spot reserve for me?
I made all this! I own all this!"
   God's Decree.
"But there is something I'm looking for:
   a person simple and plain,
   reverently responsive to what I say.
 3-4"Your acts of worship
   are acts of sin:
Your sacrificial slaughter of the ox
   is no different from murdering the neighbor;
Your offerings for worship,
   no different from dumping pig's blood on the altar;
Your presentation of memorial gifts,
   no different from honoring a no-god idol.
You choose self-serving worship,
   you delight in self-centered worship—disgusting!
Well, I choose to expose your nonsense
   and let you realize your worst fears,
Because when I invited you, you ignored me;
   when I spoke to you, you brushed me off.
You did the very things I exposed as evil,
   you chose what I hate."

 5But listen to what God has to say
   to you who reverently respond to his Word:
"Your own families hate you
   and turn you out because of me.
They taunt you, 'Let us see God's glory!
   If God's so great, why aren't you happy?'
But they're the ones
   who are going to end up shamed."

 6Rumbles of thunder from the city!
   A voice out of the Temple!
God's voice,
   handing out judgment to his enemies:

 7-9"Before she went into labor,
   she had the baby.
Before the birth pangs hit,
   she delivered a son.
Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?
   Has anyone seen anything like this?
A country born in a day?
   A nation born in a flash?
But Zion was barely in labor
   when she had her babies!
Do I open the womb
   and not deliver the baby?
Do I, the One who delivers babies,
   shut the womb?

 10-11"Rejoice, Jerusalem,
   and all who love her, celebrate!
And all you who have shed tears over her,
   join in the happy singing.
You newborns can satisfy yourselves
   at her nurturing breasts.
Yes, delight yourselves and drink your fill
   at her ample bosom."

 12-13God's Message:

   "I'll pour robust well-being into her like a river,
   the glory of nations like a river in flood.
You'll nurse at her breasts,
   nestle in her bosom,
   and be bounced on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
   so I'll comfort you.
   You will be comforted in Jerusalem."

 14-16You'll see all this and burst with joy
   —you'll feel ten feet tall—
As it becomes apparent that God is on your side
   and against his enemies.
For God arrives like wildfire
   and his chariots like a tornado,
A furious outburst of anger,
   a rebuke fierce and fiery.
For it's by fire that God brings judgment,
   a death sentence on the human race.
Many, oh so many,
   are under God's sentence of death:

 17"All who enter the sacred groves for initiation in those unholy rituals that climaxed in that foul and obscene meal of pigs and mice will eat together and then die together." God's Decree.
 18-21"I know everything they've ever done or thought. I'm going to come and then gather everyone—all nations, all languages. They'll come and see my glory. I'll set up a station at the center. I'll send the survivors of judgment all over the world: Spain and Africa, Turkey and Greece, and the far-off islands that have never heard of me, who know nothing of what I've done nor who I am. I'll send them out as missionaries to preach my glory among the nations. They'll return with all your long-lost brothers and sisters from all over the world. They'll bring them back and offer them in living worship to God. They'll bring them on horses and wagons and carts, on mules and camels, straight to my holy mountain Jerusalem," says God. "They'll present them just as Israelites present their offerings in a ceremonial vessel in the Temple of God. I'll even take some of them and make them priests and Levites," says God.
 22-23"For just as the new heavens and new earth
   that I am making will stand firm before me"
         —God's Decree—
"So will your children
   and your reputation stand firm.
Month after month and week by week,
   everyone will come to worship me," God says.

 24"And then they'll go out and look at what happened
   to those who rebelled against me. Corpses!
Maggots endlessly eating away on them,
   an endless supply of fuel for fires.
Everyone who sees what's happened
   and smells the stench retches."

Philippians 3:4-21 (The Message)

 2-6Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they're interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ's praise as we do it. We couldn't carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God's law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God's law Book.
 7-9The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness.
 10-11I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
Focused on the Goal
 12-14I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.  15-16So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.
 17-19Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
 20-21But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

Psalm 74:1-23 (The Message)

Psalm 74

An Asaph Psalm
 1 You walked off and left us, and never looked back. God, how could you do that?
   We're your very own sheep;
      how can you stomp off in anger?

 2-3 Refresh your memory of us—you bought us a long time ago.
      Your most precious tribe—you paid a good price for us!
      Your very own Mount Zion—you actually lived here once!
   Come and visit the site of disaster,
      see how they've wrecked the sanctuary.

 4-8 While your people were at worship, your enemies barged in,
      brawling and scrawling graffiti.
   They set fire to the porch;
      axes swinging, they chopped up the woodwork,
   Beat down the doors with sledgehammers,
      then split them into kindling.
   They burned your holy place to the ground,
      violated the place of worship.
   They said to themselves, "We'll wipe them all out,"
      and burned down all the places of worship.

 9-17 There's not a sign or symbol of God in sight,
      nor anyone to speak in his name,
      no one who knows what's going on.
   How long, God, will barbarians blaspheme,
      enemies curse and get by with it?
   Why don't you do something? How long are you going
      to sit there with your hands folded in your lap?
   God is my King from the very start;
      he works salvation in the womb of the earth.
   With one blow you split the sea in two,
      you made mincemeat of the dragon Tannin.
   You lopped off the heads of Leviathan,
      then served them up in a stew for the animals.
   With your finger you opened up springs and creeks,
      and dried up the wild floodwaters.
   You own the day, you own the night;
      you put stars and sun in place.
   You laid out the four corners of earth,
      shaped the seasons of summer and winter.

 18-21 Mark and remember, God, all the enemy
      taunts, each idiot desecration.
   Don't throw your lambs to the wolves;
      after all we've been through, don't forget us.
   Remember your promises;
      the city is in darkness, the countryside violent.
   Don't leave the victims to rot in the street;
      make them a choir that sings your praises.

 22-23 On your feet, O God—
      stand up for yourself!
   Do you hear what they're saying about you,
      all the vile obscenities?
   Don't tune out their malicious filth,
      the brawling invective that never lets up.


Proverbs 24:15-16 (The Message)

 15-16 Don't interfere with good people's lives;
   don't try to get the best of them.
No matter how many times you trip them up,
   God-loyal people don't stay down long;
Soon they're up on their feet,
   while the wicked end up flat on their faces.

Verse of the Day
“Don't fall into the trap of being a coward – trust the LORD, and you will be safe.” - Proverbs 29:25
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Walter Winchell 1960.JPG
Thought for the Day

American newspaper and radio gossip commentator, Walter Winchell wrote, “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

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