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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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bible Readings for October 8, 2016

Today our passages are Jeremiah 10:1–11:23; Colossians 3:18–4:18; Psalm 78:56-72; and Proverbs 24:28-29. 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 10-11:23 (The Message)

Jeremiah 10

The Stick Gods
1-5 Listen to the Message that God is sending your way, House of Israel. Listen most carefully: "Don't take the godless nations as your models.
Don't be impressed by their glamour and glitz,
no matter how much they're impressed.
The religion of these peoples
is nothing but smoke.
An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down,
then shaped by a woodsman's ax.
They trim it with tinsel and balls,
use hammer and nails to keep it upright.
It's like a scarecrow in a cabbage patch—can't talk!
Dead wood that has to be carried—can't walk!
Don't be impressed by such stuff.
It's useless for either good or evil."

6-9All this is nothing compared to you, O God.
You're wondrously great, famously great.
Who can fail to be impressed by you, King of the nations?
It's your very nature to be worshiped!
Look far and wide among the elite of the nations.
The best they can come up with is nothing compared to you.
Stupidly, they line them up—a lineup of sticks,
good for nothing but making smoke.
Gilded with silver foil from Tarshish,
covered with gold from Uphaz,
Hung with violet and purple fabrics—
no matter how fancy the sticks, they're still sticks.

10But God is the real thing—
the living God, the eternal King.
When he's angry, Earth shakes.
Yes, and the godless nations quake.

11-15"Tell them this, 'The stick gods
who made nothing, neither sky nor earth,
Will come to nothing
on the earth and under the sky.'"
But it is God whose power made the earth,
whose wisdom gave shape to the world,
who crafted the cosmos.
He thunders, and rain pours down.
He sends the clouds soaring.
He embellishes the storm with lightnings,
launches wind from his warehouse.
Stick-god worshipers looking mighty foolish,
god-makers embarrassed by their handmade gods!
Their gods are frauds—dead sticks,
deadwood gods, tasteless jokes.
When the fires of judgment come, they'll be ashes.

16But the Portion-of-Jacob is the real thing.
He put the whole universe together
And pays special attention to Israel.
His name? God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

17-18Grab your bags,
all you who are under attack.
God has given notice:
"Attention! I'm evicting
Everyone who lives here,
And right now—yes, right now!
I'm going to press them to the limit,
squeeze the life right out of them."

19-20But it's a black day for me!
Hopelessly wounded,
I said, "Why, oh why
did I think I could bear it?"
My house is ruined—
the roof caved in.
Our children are gone—
we'll never see them again.
No one left to help in rebuilding,
no one to make a new start!

21It's because our leaders are stupid.
They never asked God for counsel,
And so nothing worked right.
The people are scattered all over.

22But listen! Something's coming!
A big commotion from the northern borders!
Judah's towns about to be smashed,
left to all the stray dogs and cats!

23-25I know, God, that mere mortals
can't run their own lives,
That men and women
don't have what it takes to take charge of life.
So correct us, God, as you see best.
Don't lose your temper. That would be the end of us.
Vent your anger on the godless nations,
who refuse to acknowledge you,
And on the people
who won't pray to you—
The very ones who've made hash out of Jacob,
yes, made hash
And devoured him whole,
people and pastures alike.

Jeremiah 11

The Terms of This Covenant
1The Message that came to Jeremiah from God: 2-4"Preach to the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them this: 'This is God's Message, the Message of Israel's God to you. Anyone who does not keep the terms of this covenant is cursed. The terms are clear. I made them plain to your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt, out of the iron furnace of suffering.
4-5"'Obey what I tell you. Do exactly what I command you. Your obedience will close the deal. You'll be mine and I'll be yours. This will provide the conditions in which I will be able to do what I promised your ancestors: to give them a fertile and lush land. And, as you know, that's what I did.'"
"Yes, God," I replied. "That's true."
6-8God continued: "Preach all this in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. Say, 'Listen to the terms of this covenant and carry them out! I warned your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt and I've kept up the warnings. I haven't quit warning them for a moment. I warned them from morning to night: "Obey me or else!" But they didn't obey. They paid no attention to me. They did whatever they wanted to do, whenever they wanted to do it, until finally I stepped in and ordered the punishments set out in the covenant, which, despite all my warnings, they had ignored.'"
9-10Then God said, "There's a conspiracy among the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. They've plotted to reenact the sins of their ancestors—the ones who disobeyed me and decided to go after other gods and worship them. Israel and Judah are in this together, mindlessly breaking the covenant I made with their ancestors."
11-13"Well, your God has something to say about this: Watch out! I'm about to visit doom on you, and no one will get out of it. You're going to cry for help but I won't listen. Then all the people in Judah and Jerusalem will start praying to the gods you've been sacrificing to all these years, but it won't do a bit of good. You've got as many gods as you have villages, Judah! And you've got enough altars for sacrifices to that impotent sex god Baal to put one on every street corner in Jerusalem!"
14"And as for you, Jeremiah, I don't want you praying for this people. Nothing! Not a word of petition. Indeed, I'm not going to listen to a single syllable of their crisis-prayers."
Promises and Pious Programs
15-16"What business do the ones I love have figuring out
how to get off the hook? And right in the house of worship!
Do you think making promises and devising pious programs
will save you from doom?
Do you think you can get out of this
by becoming more religious?
A mighty oak tree, majestic and glorious—
that's how I once described you.
But it will only take a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning
to leave you a shattered wreck.
17"I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who planted you—yes, I have pronounced doom on you. Why? Because of the disastrous life you've lived, Israel and Judah alike, goading me to anger with your continuous worship and offerings to that sorry god Baal."
18-19God told me what was going on. That's how I knew.
You, God, opened my eyes to their evil scheming.
I had no idea what was going on—naive as a lamb
being led to slaughter!
I didn't know they had it in for me,
didn't know of their behind-the-scenes plots:
"Let's get rid of the preacher.
That will stop the sermons!
Let's get rid of him for good.
He won't be remembered for long."

20Then I said, "God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
you're a fair judge.
You examine and cross-examine
human actions and motives.
I want to see these people shown up and put down!
I'm an open book before you. Clear my name."

21-23That sent a signal to God, who spoke up: "Here's what I'll do to the men of Anathoth who are trying to murder you, the men who say, 'Don't preach to us in God's name or we'll kill you.' Yes, it's God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking. Indeed! I'll call them to account: Their young people will die in battle, their children will die of starvation, and there will be no one left at all, none. I'm visiting the men of Anathoth with doom. Doomsday!"

Colossians 3:18-4:18 (The Message)

18Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.
19Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don't take advantage of them.
20Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.
21Parents, don't come down too hard on your children or you'll crush their spirits.
22-25Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.

Colossians 4

1 And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don't forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven.
Pray for Open Doors
2-4Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don't forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I'm locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ plain as day to them. 5-6Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
7-9My good friend Tychicus will tell you all about me. He's a trusted minister and companion in the service of the Master. I've sent him to you so that you would know how things are with us, and so he could encourage you in your faith. And I've sent Onesimus with him. Onesimus is one of you, and has become such a trusted and dear brother! Together they'll bring you up-to-date on everything that has been going on here.
10-11Aristarchus, who is in jail here with me, sends greetings; also Mark, cousin of Barnabas (you received a letter regarding him; if he shows up, welcome him); and also Jesus, the one they call Justus. These are the only ones left from the old crowd who have stuck with me in working for God's kingdom. Don't think they haven't been a big help!
12-13Epaphras, who is one of you, says hello. What a trooper he has been! He's been tireless in his prayers for you, praying that you'll stand firm, mature and confident in everything God wants you to do. I've watched him closely, and can report on how hard he has worked for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
14Luke, good friend and physician, and Demas both send greetings.
15Say hello to our friends in Laodicea; also to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.
16After this letter has been read to you, make sure it gets read also in Laodicea. And get the letter that went to Laodicea and have it read to you.
17And, oh, yes, tell Archippus, "Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your very best."
18I'm signing off in my own handwriting—Paul. Remember to pray for me in this jail. Grace be with you.

Psalm 78:56-72 (The Message)

56-64 But they kept on giving him a hard time,
rebelled against God, the High God,
refused to do anything he told them.
They were worse, if that's possible, than their parents:
traitors—crooked as a corkscrew.
Their pagan orgies provoked God's anger,
their obscene idolatries broke his heart.
When God heard their carryings-on, he was furious;
he posted a huge No over Israel.
He walked off and left Shiloh empty,
abandoned the shrine where he had met with Israel.
He let his pride and joy go to the dogs,
turned his back on the pride of his life.
He turned them loose on fields of battle;
angry, he let them fend for themselves.
Their young men went to war and never came back;
their young women waited in vain.
Their priests were massacred,
and their widows never shed a tear.

65-72 Suddenly the Lord was up on his feet
like someone roused from deep sleep,
shouting like a drunken warrior.
He hit his enemies hard, sent them running,
yelping, not daring to look back.
He disqualified Joseph as leader,
told Ephraim he didn't have what it takes,
And chose the Tribe of Judah instead,
Mount Zion, which he loves so much.
He built his sanctuary there, resplendent,
solid and lasting as the earth itself.
Then he chose David, his servant,
handpicked him from his work in the sheep pens.
One day he was caring for the ewes and their lambs,
the next day God had him shepherding Jacob,
his people Israel, his prize possession.
His good heart made him a good shepherd;
he guided the people wisely and well.

Proverbs 24:28-29 (The Message)

28-29 Don't talk about your neighbors behind their backs—
no slander or gossip, please.
Don't say to anyone, "I'll get back at you for what you did to me.
I'll make you pay for what you did!"

Verse of the Day

“I alone am the LORD; only I can rescue you. I promised to save you, and I kept my promise. You are my witnesses that no other god did this. I, the LORD, have spoken.” - Isaiah 43:11-12
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Robert Frost NYWTS.jpg
Thought for the Day

American poet, Robert Frost wrote, “A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.”

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