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, November 27, 2016

Bible Readings for November 27, 2016

Today our passages are Daniel 4:1-37; 2 Peter 1:1-21; Psalm 119:97-112; and Proverbs 28:17-18. 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.

Daniel 4:1-37 (The Message)

Daniel 4

A Dream of a Chopped-Down Tree
 1-2 King Nebuchadnezzar to everyone, everywhere—every race, color, and creed: "Peace and prosperity to all! It is my privilege to report to you the gracious miracles that the High God has done for me. 3"His miracles are staggering,
   his wonders are surprising.
His kingdom lasts and lasts,
   his sovereign rule goes on forever.
 4-7 "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home taking it easy in my palace, without a care in the world. But as I was stretched out on my bed I had a dream that scared me—a nightmare that shook me. I sent for all the wise men of Babylon so that they could interpret the dream for me. When they were all assembled—magicians, enchanters, fortunetellers, witches—I told them the dream. None could tell me what it meant.
 8 "And then Daniel came in. His Babylonian name is Belteshazzar, named after my god, a man full of the divine Holy Spirit. I told him my dream.
 9 "'Belteshazzar,' I said, 'chief of the magicians, I know that you are a man full of the divine Holy Spirit and that there is no mystery that you can't solve. Listen to this dream that I had and interpret it for me.
 10-12 "'This is what I saw as I was stretched out on my bed. I saw a big towering tree at the center of the world. As I watched, the tree grew huge and strong. Its top reached the sky and it could be seen from the four corners of the earth. Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant—enough food for everyone! Wild animals found shelter under it, birds nested in its branches, everything living was fed and sheltered by it.
 13-15 "'And this also is what I saw as I was stretched out on my bed. I saw a holy watchman descend from heaven, and call out:

   Chop down the tree, lop off its branches,
         strip its leaves and scatter its fruit.
   Chase the animals from beneath it
         and shoo the birds from its branches.
   But leave the stump and roots in the ground,
         belted with a strap of iron and bronze in the grassy meadow.

 15-16 Let him be soaked in heaven's dew
         and take his meals with the animals that graze.
   Let him lose his mind
         and get an animal's mind in exchange,
   And let this go on
         for seven seasons.

 17 The angels announce this decree,
         the holy watchmen bring this sentence,
   So that everyone living will know
         that the High God rules human kingdoms.
   He arranges kingdom affairs however he wishes,
         and makes leaders out of losers.

 18 "'This is what I, King Nebuchadnezzar, dreamed. It's your turn, Belteshazzar—interpret it for me. None of the wise men of Babylon could make heads or tails of it, but I'm sure you can do it. You're full of the divine Holy Spirit.'"
"You Will Graze on the Grass Like an Ox"
 19 At first Daniel, who had been renamed Belteshazzar in Babylon, was upset. The thoughts that came swarming into his mind terrified him.     "Belteshazzar," the king said, "stay calm. Don't let the dream and its interpretation scare you."
    "My master," said Belteshazzar, "I wish this dream were about your enemies and its interpretation for your foes.
 20-22 "The tree you saw that grew so large and sturdy with its top touching the sky, visible from the four corners of the world; the tree with the luxuriant foliage and abundant fruit, enough for everyone; the tree under which animals took cover and in which birds built nests—you, O king, are that tree.
    "You have grown great and strong. Your royal majesty reaches sky-high, and your sovereign rule stretches to the four corners of the world.
 23-25 "But the part about the holy angel descending from heaven and proclaiming, 'Chop down the tree, destroy it, but leave stump and roots in the ground belted with a strap of iron and bronze in the grassy meadow; let him be soaked with heaven's dew and take his meals with the grazing animals for seven seasons'—this, O king, also refers to you. It means that the High God has sentenced my master the king: You will be driven away from human company and live with the wild animals. You will graze on grass like an ox. You will be soaked in heaven's dew. This will go on for seven seasons, and you will learn that the High God rules over human kingdoms and that he arranges all kingdom affairs.
 26 "The part about the tree stump and roots being left means that your kingdom will still be there for you after you learn that it is heaven that runs things.
 27 "So, king, take my advice: Make a clean break with your sins and start living for others. Quit your wicked life and look after the needs of the down-and-out. Then you will continue to have a good life."
The Loss and Regaining of a Mind and a Kingdom
 28-30 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Just twelve months later, he was walking on the balcony of the royal palace in Babylon and boasted, "Look at this, Babylon the great! And I built it all by myself, a royal palace adequate to display my honor and glory!"  31-32 The words were no sooner out of his mouth than a voice out of heaven spoke, "This is the verdict on you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your kingdom is taken from you. You will be driven out of human company and live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like an ox. The sentence is for seven seasons, enough time to learn that the High God rules human kingdoms and puts whomever he wishes in charge."
 33 It happened at once. Nebuchadnezzar was driven out of human company, ate grass like an ox, and was soaked in heaven's dew. His hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a hawk.
 34-35 "At the end of the seven years, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked to heaven. I was given my mind back and I blessed the High God, thanking and glorifying God, who lives forever:
   "His sovereign rule lasts and lasts,
   his kingdom never declines and falls.
Life on this earth doesn't add up to much,
   but God's heavenly army keeps everything going.
No one can interrupt his work,
   no one can call his rule into question.

 36-37 "At the same time that I was given back my mind, I was also given back my majesty and splendor, making my kingdom shine. All the leaders and important people came looking for me. I was reestablished as king in my kingdom and became greater than ever. And that's why I'm singing—I, Nebuchadnezzar—singing and praising the King of Heaven:
   "Everything he does is right,
   and he does it the right way.
He knows how to turn a proud person
   into a humble man or woman."

2 Peter 1:1-21 (The Message)

2 Peter 1

 1-2I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God's straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.
Don't Put It Off
 3-4Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.  5-9So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
 10-11So, friends, confirm God's invitation to you, his choice of you. Don't put it off; do it now. Do this, and you'll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The One Light in a Dark Time
 12-15Because the stakes are so high, even though you're up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I'm not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it. This is the post to which I've been assigned—keeping you alert with frequent reminders—and I'm sticking to it as long as I live. I know that I'm to die soon; the Master has made that quite clear to me. And so I am especially eager that you have all this down in black and white so that after I die, you'll have it for ready reference.  16-18We weren't, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: "This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight." We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears.
 19-21We couldn't be more sure of what we saw and heard—God's glory, God's voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You'll do well to keep focusing on it. It's the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it's not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God's Word.

Psalm 119:97-112 (The Message)

 97-104 Oh, how I love all you've revealed;
      I reverently ponder it all the day long.
   Your commands give me an edge on my enemies;
      they never become obsolete.
   I've even become smarter than my teachers
      since I've pondered and absorbed your counsel.
   I've become wiser than the wise old sages
      simply by doing what you tell me.
   I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil
      so I can spend all my time keeping your Word.
   I never make detours from the route you laid out;
      you gave me such good directions.
   Your words are so choice, so tasty;
      I prefer them to the best home cooking.
   With your instruction, I understand life;
      that's why I hate false propaganda.

 105-112 By your words I can see where I'm going;
      they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
   I've committed myself and I'll never turn back
      from living by your righteous order.
   Everything's falling apart on me, God;
      put me together again with your Word.
   Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
      teach me your holy rules.
   My life is as close as my own hands,
      but I don't forget what you have revealed.
   The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
      but I don't swerve an inch from your course.
   I inherited your book on living; it's mine forever—
      what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
   I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
      I always have and always will.

Proverbs 28:17-18 (The Message)

 17 A murderer haunted by guilt
   is doomed—there's no helping him.

 18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
   a devious life is a doomed life.

Verse of the Day
“Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” - Colossians 3:16
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American businessman, philanthropist and New Thought self-help book author, W. Clement Stone wrote, “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.”

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