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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Friday, October 7, 2016

Bible Readings for October 7, 2016

Today our passages are Jeremiah 8:8–9:26; Colossians 3:1-17; Psalm 78:32-55; and Proverbs 24:27. 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 8:8-9:26 (The Message)

 8-9"'How can you say, "We know the score.
   We're the proud owners of God's revelation"?
Look where it's gotten you—stuck in illusion.
   Your religion experts have taken you for a ride!
Your know-it-alls will be unmasked,
   caught and shown up for what they are.
Look at them! They know everything but God's Word.
   Do you call that "knowing"?

 10-12"'So here's what will happen to the know-it-alls:
   I'll make them wifeless and homeless.
Everyone's after the dishonest dollar,
   little people and big people alike.
Prophets and priests and everyone in between
   twist words and doctor truth.
My dear Daughter—my people—broken, shattered,
   and yet they put on Band-Aids,
Saying, "It's not so bad. You'll be just fine."
   But things are not "just fine"!
Do you suppose they are embarrassed
   over this outrage?
Not really. They have no shame.
   They don't even know how to blush.
There's no hope for them. They've hit bottom
   and there's no getting up.
As far as I'm concerned,
   they're finished.'" God has spoken.

 13"'I went out to see if I could salvage anything'"
   —God's Decree—
   "'but found nothing:
Not a grape, not a fig,
   just a few withered leaves.
I'm taking back
   everything I gave them.'"

 14-16So why are we sitting here, doing nothing?
   Let's get organized.
Let's go to the big city
   and at least die fighting.
We've gotten God's ultimatum:
   We're damned if we do and damned if we don't—
   damned because of our sin against him.
We hoped things would turn out for the best,
   but it didn't happen that way.
We were waiting around for healing—
   and terror showed up!
From Dan at the northern borders
   we hear the hooves of horses,
Horses galloping, horses neighing.
   The ground shudders and quakes.
They're going to swallow up the whole country.
   Towns and people alike—fodder for war.

 17"'What's more, I'm dispatching
   poisonous snakes among you,
Snakes that can't be charmed,
   snakes that will bite you and kill you.'"
         God's Decree!

Advancing from One Evil to the Next
 18-22I drown in grief.
   I'm heartsick.
Oh, listen! Please listen! It's the cry of my dear people
   reverberating through the country.
Is God no longer in Zion?
   Has the King gone away?
Can you tell me why they flaunt their plaything-gods,
   their silly, imported no-gods before me?
The crops are in, the summer is over,
   but for us nothing's changed.
   We're still waiting to be rescued.
For my dear broken people, I'm heartbroken.
   I weep, seized by grief.
Are there no healing ointments in Gilead?
   Isn't there a doctor in the house?
So why can't something be done
   to heal and save my dear, dear people?

Jeremiah 9

 1-2 I wish my head were a well of water and my eyes fountains of tears
So I could weep day and night
   for casualties among my dear, dear people.
At times I wish I had a wilderness hut,
   a backwoods cabin,
Where I could get away from my people
   and never see them again.
They're a faithless, feckless bunch,
   a congregation of degenerates.
 3-6"Their tongues shoot out lies
   like a bow shoots arrows—
A mighty army of liars,
   the sworn enemies of truth.
They advance from one evil to the next,
   ignorant of me."
         God's Decree.
"Be wary of even longtime neighbors.
   Don't even trust your grandmother!
Brother schemes against brother,
   like old cheating Jacob.
Friend against friend
   spreads malicious gossip.
Neighbors gyp neighbors,
   never telling the truth.
They've trained their tongues to tell lies,
   and now they can't tell the truth.
They pile wrong upon wrong, stack lie upon lie,
   and refuse to know me."
      God's Decree.

 7-9Therefore, God-of-the-Angel-Armies says:

   "Watch this! I'll melt them down
   and see what they're made of.
What else can I do
   with a people this wicked?
Their tongues are poison arrows!
   Deadly lies stream from their mouths.
Neighbor greets neighbor with a smile,
   'Good morning! How're things?'
   while scheming to do away with him.
Do you think I'm going to stand around and do nothing?"
   God's Decree.
"Don't you think I'll take serious measures
   against a people like this?

 10-11"I'm lamenting the loss of the mountain pastures.
   I'm chanting dirges for the old grazing grounds.
They've become deserted wastelands too dangerous for travelers.
   No sounds of sheep bleating or cattle mooing.
Birds and wild animals, all gone.
   Nothing stirring, no sounds of life.
I'm going to make Jerusalem a pile of rubble,
   fit for nothing but stray cats and dogs.
I'm going to reduce Judah's towns to piles of ruins
   where no one lives!"

 12I asked, "Is there anyone around bright enough to tell us what's going on here? Anyone who has the inside story from God and can let us in on it?
   "Why is the country wasted?
   "Why no travelers in this desert?"
 13-15God's answer: "Because they abandoned my plain teaching. They wouldn't listen to anything I said, refused to live the way I told them to. Instead they lived any way they wanted and took up with the Baal gods, who they thought would give them what they wanted—following the example of their parents." And this is the consequence. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so:
   "I'll feed them with pig slop.
   "I'll give them poison to drink.
 16"Then I'll scatter them far and wide among godless peoples that neither they nor their parents have ever heard of, and I'll send Death in pursuit until there's nothing left of them."
A Life That Is All Outside but No Inside
 17-19A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:    "Look over the trouble we're in and call for help.
   Send for some singers who can help us mourn our loss.
Tell them to hurry—
   to help us express our loss and lament,
Help us get our tears flowing,
   make tearful music of our crying.
Listen to it!
   Listen to that torrent of tears out of Zion:
'We're a ruined people,
   we're a shamed people!
We've been driven from our homes
   and must leave our land!'"

 20-21Mourning women! Oh, listen to God's Message!
   Open your ears. Take in what he says.
Teach your daughters songs for the dead
   and your friends the songs of heartbreak.
Death has climbed in through the window,
   broken into our bedrooms.
Children on the playgrounds drop dead,
   and young men and women collapse at their games.

 22Speak up! "God's Message:
   "'Dead bodies everywhere, scattered at random
   like sheep and goat dung in the fields,
Like wheat cut down by reapers
   and left to rot where it falls.'"

 23-24God's Message:
   "Don't let the wise brag of their wisdom.
   Don't let heroes brag of their exploits.
Don't let the rich brag of their riches.
   If you brag, brag of this and this only:
That you understand and know me.
   I'm God, and I act in loyal love.
I do what's right and set things right and fair,
   and delight in those who do the same things.
These are my trademarks."
   God's Decree.

 25-26"Stay alert! It won't be long now"—God's Decree!—"when I will personally deal with everyone whose life is all outside but no inside: Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab. All these nations are big on performance religion—including Israel, who is no better."

Colossians 3:1-17 (The Message)

Colossians 3

He Is Your Life
 1-2 So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.  3-4Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
 5-8And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
 9-11Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
 12-14So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
 15-17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Psalm 78:32-55 (The Message)

 32-37 And—can you believe it?—they kept right on sinning;
      all those wonders and they still wouldn't believe!
   So their lives dribbled off to nothing—
      nothing to show for their lives but a ghost town.
   When he cut them down, they came running for help;
      they turned and pled for mercy.
   They gave witness that God was their rock,
      that High God was their redeemer,
   But they didn't mean a word of it;
      they lied through their teeth the whole time.
   They could not have cared less about him,
      wanted nothing to do with his Covenant.

 38-55 And God? Compassionate!
      Forgave the sin! Didn't destroy!
   Over and over he reined in his anger,
      restrained his considerable wrath.
   He knew what they were made of;
      he knew there wasn't much to them,
   How often in the desert they had spurned him,
      tried his patience in those wilderness years.
   Time and again they pushed him to the limit,
      provoked Israel's Holy God.
   How quickly they forgot what he'd done,
      forgot their day of rescue from the enemy,
   When he did miracles in Egypt,
      wonders on the plain of Zoan.
   He turned the River and its streams to blood—
      not a drop of water fit to drink.
   He sent flies, which ate them alive,
      and frogs, which bedeviled them.
   He turned their harvest over to caterpillars,
      everything they had worked for to the locusts.
   He flattened their grapevines with hail;
      a killing frost ruined their orchards.
   He pounded their cattle with hail,
      let thunderbolts loose on their herds.
   His anger flared,
      a wild firestorm of havoc,
   An advance guard of disease-carrying angels
      to clear the ground, preparing the way before him.
   He didn't spare those people,
      he let the plague rage through their lives.
   He killed all the Egyptian firstborns,
      lusty infants, offspring of Ham's virility.
   Then he led his people out like sheep,
      took his flock safely through the wilderness.
   He took good care of them; they had nothing to fear.
      The Sea took care of their enemies for good.
   He brought them into his holy land,
      this mountain he claimed for his own.
   He scattered everyone who got in their way;
      he staked out an inheritance for them—
      the tribes of Israel all had their own places.

Proverbs 24:27 (The Message)

 27 First plant your fields;
   then build your barn.

Verse of the Day

“[(A psalm by David when he was in the desert of Judah.)][God's Love Means More than Life]You are my God. I worship you. In my heart, I long for you, as I would long for a stream in a scorching desert.” - Psalm 63:1
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Vince LombardiThought for the Day

American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League (NFL), Vince Lombardi wrote, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

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