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, November 15, 2016

Bible Readings for November 15, 2016

Today our passages are Ezekiel 31:1–32:32; Hebrews 12:14-29; Psalm 113:1–114:8; and Proverbs 27:18-20. 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.

Ezekiel 31-32:32 (The Message)

Ezekiel 31

The Funeral of the Big Tree
 1-9 In the eleventh year, on the first day of the third month, God's Message came to me: "Son of man, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt, that pompous old goat:    "'Who do you, astride the world,
   think you really are?
Look! Assyria was a Big Tree, huge as a Lebanon cedar,
   beautiful limbs offering cool shade,
Skyscraper high,
   piercing the clouds.
The waters gave it drink,
   the primordial deep lifted it high,
Gushing out rivers around
   the place where it was planted,
And then branching out in streams
   to all the trees in the forest.
It was immense,
   dwarfing all the trees in the forest—
Thick boughs, long limbs,
   roots delving deep into earth's waters.
All the birds of the air
   nested in its boughs.
All the wild animals
   gave birth under its branches.
All the mighty nations
   lived in its shade.
It was stunning in its majesty—
   the reach of its branches!
   the depth of its water-seeking roots!
Not a cedar in God's garden came close to it.
   No pine tree was anything like it.
Mighty oaks looked like bushes
   growing alongside it.
Not a tree in God's garden
   was in the same class of beauty.
I made it beautiful,
   a work of art in limbs and leaves,
The envy of every tree in Eden,
   every last tree in God's garden.'"

 10-13 Therefore, God, the Master, says, "'Because it skyscrapered upward, piercing the clouds, swaggering and proud of its stature, I turned it over to a world-famous leader to call its evil to account. I'd had enough. Outsiders, unbelievably brutal, felled it across the mountain ranges. Its branches were strewn through all the valleys, its leafy boughs clogging all the streams and rivers. Because its shade was gone, everybody walked off. No longer a tree—just a log. On that dead log birds perch. Wild animals burrow under it.
 14 "'That marks the end of the "big tree" nations. No more trees nourished from the great deep, no more cloud-piercing trees, no more earthborn trees taking over. They're all slated for death—back to earth, right along with men and women, for whom it's "dust to dust."
 15-17 "'The Message of God, the Master: On the day of the funeral of the Big Tree, I threw the great deep into mourning. I stopped the flow of its rivers, held back great seas, and wrapped the Lebanon mountains in black. All the trees of the forest fainted and fell. I made the whole world quake when it crashed, and threw it into the underworld to take its place with all else that gets buried. All the trees of Eden and the finest and best trees of Lebanon, well-watered, were relieved—they had descended to the underworld with it—along with everyone who had lived in its shade and all who had been killed.
 18 "'Which of the trees of Eden came anywhere close to you in splendor and size? But you're slated to be cut down to take your place in the underworld with the trees of Eden, to be a dead log stacked with all the other dead logs, among the other uncircumcised who are dead and buried.
    "'This means Pharaoh, the pompous old goat.
    "'Decree of God, the Master.'"

Ezekiel 32

A Cloud Across the Sun
 1-2 In the twelfth year, on the first day of the twelfth month, God's Message came to me: "Son of man, sing a funeral lament over Pharaoh king of Egypt. Tell him:    "'You think you're a young lion
   prowling through the nations.
You're more like a dragon in the ocean,
   snorting and thrashing about.

 3-10 "'God, the Master, says:
   "'I'm going to throw my net over you
   —many nations will get in on this operation—
   and haul you out with my dragnet.
I'll dump you on the ground
   out in an open field
And bring in all the crows and vultures
   for a sumptuous carrion lunch.
I'll invite wild animals from all over the world
   to gorge on your guts.
I'll scatter hunks of your meat in the mountains
   and strew your bones in the valleys.
The country, right up to the mountains,
   will be drenched with your blood,
   your blood filling every ditch and channel.
When I blot you out,
   I'll pull the curtain on the skies
   and shut out the stars.
I'll throw a cloud across the sun
   and turn off the moonlight.
I'll turn out every light in the sky above you
   and put your land in the dark.
         Decree of God, the Master.
I'll shake up everyone worldwide
   when I take you off captive to strange and far-off countries.
I'll shock people with you.
   Kings will take one look and shudder.
I'll shake my sword
   and they'll shake in their boots.
On the day you crash, they'll tremble,
   thinking, "That could be me!"

To Lay Your Pride Low
 11-15 "'God, the Master, says:    "'The sword of the king of Babylon
   is coming against you.
I'll use the swords of champions
   to lay your pride low,
Use the most brutal of nations
   to knock Egypt off her high horse,
   to puncture that hot-air pomposity.
I'll destroy all their livestock
   that graze along the river.
Neither human foot nor animal hoof
   will muddy those waters anymore.
I'll clear their springs and streams,
   make their rivers flow clean and smooth.
         Decree of God, the Master.
When I turn Egypt back to the wild
   and strip her clean of all her abundant produce,
When I strike dead all who live there,
   then they'll realize that I am God.'

 16"This is a funeral song. Chant it.
   Daughters of the nations, chant it.
Chant it over Egypt for the death of its pomp."
   Decree of God, the Master.

 17-19In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the first month, God's Message came to me:
   "Son of man, lament over Egypt's pompous ways.
   Send her on her way.
Dispatch Egypt
   and her proud daughter nations
To the underworld,
   down to the country of the dead and buried.
Say, 'You think you're so high and mighty?
   Down! Take your place with the heathen in that unhallowed grave!'

 20-21 "She'll be dumped in with those killed in battle. The sword is bared. Drag her off in all her proud pomp! All the big men and their helpers down among the dead and buried will greet them: 'Welcome to the grave of the heathen! Join the ranks of the victims of war!'
 22-23 "Assyria is there and its congregation, the whole nation a cemetery. Their graves are in the deepest part of the underworld, a congregation of graves, all killed in battle, these people who terrorized the land of the living.
 24-25 "Elam is there in all her pride, a cemetery—all killed in battle, dumped in her heathen grave with the dead and buried, these people who terrorized the land of the living. They carry their shame with them, along with the others in the grave. They turned Elam into a resort for the pompous dead, landscaped with heathen graves, slaughtered in battle. They once terrorized the land of the living. Now they carry their shame down with the others in deep earth. They're in the section set aside for the slain in battle.
 26-27 "Meshech-tubal is there in all her pride, a cemetery in uncircumcised ground, dumped in with those slaughtered in battle—just deserts for terrorizing the land of the living. Now they carry their shame down with the others in deep earth. They're in the section set aside for the slain. They're segregated from the heroes, the old-time giants who entered the grave in full battle dress, their swords placed under their heads and their shields covering their bones, those heroes who spread terror through the land of the living.
 28 "And you, Egypt, will be dumped in a heathen grave, along with all the rest, in the section set aside for the slain.
 29 "Edom is there, with her kings and princes. In spite of her vaunted greatness, she is dumped in a heathen grave with the others headed for the grave.
 30 "The princes of the north are there, the whole lot of them, and all the Sidonians who carry their shame to their graves—all that terror they spread with their brute power!—dumped in unhallowed ground with those killed in battle, carrying their shame with the others headed for deep earth.
 31 "Pharaoh will see them all and, pompous old goat that he is, take comfort in the company he'll keep—Pharaoh and his slaughtered army. Decree of God, the Master.
 32 "I used him to spread terror in the land of the living and now I'm dumping him in heathen ground with those killed by the sword—Pharaoh and all his pomp. Decree of God, the Master."

Hebrews 12:14-29 (The Message)

 14-17Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.
An Unshakable Kingdom
 18-21Unlike your ancestors, you didn't come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—"If an animal touches the Mountain, it's as good as dead"—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified.  22-24No, that's not your experience at all. You've come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You've come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel's—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace.
 25-27So don't turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn't get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he's told us this quite plainly—he'll also rock the heavens: "One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern." The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
 28-29Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

Psalm 113-114:8 (The Message)

Psalm 113

    Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God!
      Just to speak his name is praise!
   Just to remember God is a blessing—
      now and tomorrow and always.
   From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
      keep lifting all your praises to God!

 4-9 God is higher than anything and anyone,
      outshining everything you can see in the skies.
   Who can compare with God, our God,
      so majestically enthroned,
   Surveying his magnificent
      heavens and earth?
   He picks up the poor from out of the dirt,
      rescues the wretched who've been thrown out with the trash,
   Seats them among the honored guests,
      a place of honor among the brightest and best.
   He gives childless couples a family,
      gives them joy as the parents of children.

Psalm 114

    After Israel left Egypt, the clan of Jacob left those barbarians behind;
   Judah became holy land for him,
      Israel the place of holy rule.
   Sea took one look and ran the other way;
      River Jordan turned around and ran off.
   The mountains turned playful and skipped like rams,
      the hills frolicked like spring lambs.
   What's wrong with you, Sea, that you ran away?
      and you, River Jordan, that you turned and ran off?
   And mountains, why did you skip like rams?
      and you, hills, frolic like spring lambs?
   Tremble, Earth! You're in the Lord's presence!
      in the presence of Jacob's God.
   He turned the rock into a pool of cool water,
      turned flint into fresh spring water.

Proverbs 27:18-20 (The Message)

If you care for your orchard, you’ll enjoy its fruit;
if you honor your boss, you’ll be honored.

Just as water mirrors your face,
so your face mirrors your heart.

Hell has a voracious appetite,
and lust just never quits.

Verse of the Day
“I am in deep distress, but I love your teachings.” - Psalm 119:143
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

Transylvanian Nontrinitarian and Unitarian preacher, Ferenc Dávid wrote, “There is no greater mindlessness and absurdity than to force conscience and the spirit with external power, when only their creator has authority for them.”

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