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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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bible Readings for October 30, 2016

Today our passages are Lamentations 2:20–3:66; Hebrews 1:1-14; Psalm 102:1-28; and Proverbs 26:21-22. 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.

Lamentations 2:20-3:66 (The Message)

 20"Look at us, God. Think it over. Have you ever treated anyone like this?
   Should women eat their own babies, the very children they raised?
   Should priests and prophets be murdered in the Master's own Sanctuary?

 21"Boys and old men lie in the gutters of the streets,
   my young men and women killed in their prime.
   Angry, you killed them in cold blood, cut them down without mercy.

 22"You invited, like friends to a party, men to swoop down in attack
   so that on the big day of God's wrath no one would get away.
   The children I loved and reared—gone, gone, gone."

Lamentations 3

God Locked Me Up in Deep Darkness
 1-3 I'm the man who has seen trouble,
   trouble coming from the lash of God's anger.
He took me by the hand and walked me
   into pitch-black darkness.
Yes, he's given me the back of his hand
   over and over and over again.
 4-6He turned me into a scarecrow
   of skin and bones, then broke the bones.
He hemmed me in, ganged up on me,
   poured on the trouble and hard times.
He locked me up in deep darkness,
   like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.

 7-9He shuts me in so I'll never get out,
   manacles my hands, shackles my feet.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
   he locks up my prayers and throws away the key.
He sets up blockades with quarried limestone.
   He's got me cornered.

 10-12He's a prowling bear tracking me down,
   a lion in hiding ready to pounce.
He knocked me from the path and ripped me to pieces.
   When he finished, there was nothing left of me.
He took out his bow and arrows
   and used me for target practice.

 13-15He shot me in the stomach
   with arrows from his quiver.
Everyone took me for a joke,
   made me the butt of their mocking ballads.
He forced rotten, stinking food down my throat,
   bloated me with vile drinks.

 16-18He ground my face into the gravel.
   He pounded me into the mud.
I gave up on life altogether.
   I've forgotten what the good life is like.
I said to myself, "This is it. I'm finished.
   God is a lost cause."

It's a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God
 19-21I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
   the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
   the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
   and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
 22-24God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
   his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
   How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
   He's all I've got left.

 25-27God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
   to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
   quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
   to stick it out through the hard times.

 28-30When life is heavy and hard to take,
   go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:
   Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
   The "worst" is never the worst.

 31-33Why? Because the Master won't ever
   walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
   His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
   in throwing roadblocks in the way:

 34-36Stomping down hard
   on luckless prisoners,
Refusing justice to victims
   in the court of High God,
Tampering with evidence—
   the Master does not approve of such things.

God Speaks Both Good Things and Hard Things into Being
 37-39Who do you think "spoke and it happened"?
   It's the Master who gives such orders.
Doesn't the High God speak everything,
   good things and hard things alike, into being?
And why would anyone gifted with life
   complain when punished for sin?
 40-42Let's take a good look at the way we're living
   and reorder our lives under God.
Let's lift our hearts and hands at one and the same time,
   praying to God in heaven:
"We've been contrary and willful,
   and you haven't forgiven.

 43-45"You lost your temper with us, holding nothing back.
   You chased us and cut us down without mercy.
You wrapped yourself in thick blankets of clouds
   so no prayers could get through.
You treated us like dirty dishwater,
   threw us out in the backyard of the nations.

 46-48"Our enemies shout abuse,
   their mouths full of derision, spitting invective.
We've been to hell and back.
   We've nowhere to turn, nowhere to go.
Rivers of tears pour from my eyes
   at the smashup of my dear people.

 49-51"The tears stream from my eyes,
   an artesian well of tears,
Until you, God, look down from on high,
   look and see my tears.
When I see what's happened to the young women in the city,
   the pain breaks my heart.

 52-54"Enemies with no reason to be enemies
   hunted me down like a bird.
They threw me into a pit,
   then pelted me with stones.
Then the rains came and filled the pit.
   The water rose over my head. I said, 'It's all over.'

 55-57"I called out your name, O God,
   called from the bottom of the pit.
You listened when I called out, 'Don't shut your ears!
   Get me out of here! Save me!'
You came close when I called out.
   You said, 'It's going to be all right.'

 58-60"You took my side, Master;
   you brought me back alive!
God, you saw the wrongs heaped on me.
   Give me my day in court!
Yes, you saw their mean-minded schemes,
   their plots to destroy me.

 61-63"You heard, God, their vicious gossip,
   their behind-my-back plots to ruin me.
They never quit, these enemies of mine, dreaming up mischief,
   hatching out malice, day after day after day.
Sitting down or standing up—just look at them!—
   they mock me with vulgar doggerel.

 64-66"Make them pay for what they've done, God.
   Give them their just deserts.
Break their miserable hearts!
   Damn their eyes!
Get good and angry. Hunt them down.
   Make a total demolition here under your heaven!"

Hebrews 1:1-14 (The Message)

Hebrews 1

 1-3Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God's nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!
The Son Is Higher than Angels
 3-6After he finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took his honored place high in the heavens right alongside God, far higher than any angel in rank and rule. Did God ever say to an angel, "You're my Son; today I celebrate you" or "I'm his Father, he's my Son"? When he presents his honored Son to the world, he says, "All angels must worship him."  7Regarding angels he says,

   The messengers are winds,
      the servants are tongues of fire.
8-9But he says to the Son,
   You're God, and on the throne for good;
      your rule makes everything right.
   You love it when things are right;
      you hate it when things are wrong.
   That is why God, your God,
      poured fragrant oil on your head,
   Marking you out as king,
      far above your dear companions.
10-12And again to the Son,
   You, Master, started it all, laid earth's foundations,
      then crafted the stars in the sky.
   Earth and sky will wear out, but not you;
      they become threadbare like an old coat;
   You'll fold them up like a worn-out cloak,
      and lay them away on the shelf.
   But you'll stay the same, year after year;
      you'll never fade, you'll never wear out.
13And did he ever say anything like this to an angel?
   Sit alongside me here on my throne
   Until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.

 14Isn't it obvious that all angels are sent to help out with those lined up to receive salvation?

Psalm 102:1-28 (The Message)

Psalm 102

 1-2 God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries.
   Don't turn your back on me
      just when I need you so desperately.
   Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
      And hurry—this can't wait!

 3-11 I'm wasting away to nothing,
      I'm burning up with fever.
   I'm a ghost of my former self,
      half-consumed already by terminal illness.
   My jaws ache from gritting my teeth;
      I'm nothing but skin and bones.
   I'm like a buzzard in the desert,
      a crow perched on the rubble.
   Insomniac, I twitter away,
      mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.
   All day long my enemies taunt me,
      while others just curse.
   They bring in meals—casseroles of ashes!
      I draw drink from a barrel of my tears.
   And all because of your furious anger;
      you swept me up and threw me out.
   There's nothing left of me—
      a withered weed, swept clean from the path.

 12-17 Yet you, God, are sovereign still,
      always and ever sovereign.
   You'll get up from your throne and help Zion—
      it's time for compassionate help.
   Oh, how your servants love this city's rubble
      and weep with compassion over its dust!
   The godless nations will sit up and take notice
      —see your glory, worship your name—
   When God rebuilds Zion,
      when he shows up in all his glory,
   When he attends to the prayer of the wretched.
      He won't dismiss their prayer.

 18-22 Write this down for the next generation
      so people not yet born will praise God:
   "God looked out from his high holy place;
      from heaven he surveyed the earth.
   He listened to the groans of the doomed,
      he opened the doors of their death cells."
   Write it so the story can be told in Zion,
      so God's praise will be sung in Jerusalem's streets
   And wherever people gather together
      along with their rulers to worship him.

 23-28 God sovereignly brought me to my knees,
      he cut me down in my prime.
   "Oh, don't," I prayed, "please don't let me die.
      You have more years than you know what to do with!
   You laid earth's foundations a long time ago,
      and handcrafted the very heavens;
   You'll still be around when they're long gone,
      threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes.
   You'll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
      but year after year you're as good as new.
   Your servants' children will have a good place to live
      and their children will be at home with you."


Proverbs 26:21-22 (The Message)

 21 A quarrelsome person in a dispute
   is like kerosene thrown on a fire.

 22 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
   do you want junk like that in your belly?

Verse of the Day

“You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God's gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn't something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Jules Renard.jpg
Thought for the Day

French author and member of the Académie Goncourt, Jules Renard wrote, “On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.”

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