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, December 17, 2016

Bible Reading for December 17, 2016

Today, our passages are Nahum 1:1–3:19; Revelation 8:1-13; Psalm 136:1-26; and Proverbs 30:7-9. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. 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.

Nahum 1-3:19 (The Message)

Nahum 1

God Is Serious Business
 1 A report on the problem of Nineveh, the way God gave Nahum of Elkosh to see it:  2-6God is serious business.
   He won't be trifled with.
He avenges his foes.
   He stands up against his enemies, fierce and raging.
But God doesn't lose his temper.
   He's powerful, but it's a patient power.
Still, no one gets by with anything.
   Sooner or later, everyone pays.
Tornadoes and hurricanes
   are the wake of his passage,
Storm clouds are the dust
   he shakes off his feet.
He yells at the sea: It dries up.
   All the rivers run dry.
The Bashan and Carmel mountains shrivel,
   the Lebanon orchards shrivel.
Mountains quake in their roots,
   hills dissolve into mud flats.
Earth shakes in fear of God.
   The whole world's in a panic.
Who can face such towering anger?
   Who can stand up to this fierce rage?
His anger spills out like a river of lava,
   his fury shatters boulders.

 7-10God is good,
   a hiding place in tough times.
He recognizes and welcomes
   anyone looking for help,
No matter how desperate the trouble.
   But cozy islands of escape
He wipes right off the map.
   No one gets away from God.
Why waste time conniving against God?
   He's putting an end to all such scheming.
For troublemakers, no second chances.
   Like a pile of dry brush,
Soaked in oil,
   they'll go up in flames.

A Think Tank for Lies
 11Nineveh's an anthill
   of evil plots against God,
A think tank for lies
   that seduce and betray.
 12-13And God has something to say about all this:
   "Even though you're on top of the world,
With all the applause and all the votes,
   you'll be mowed down flat.

   "I've afflicted you, Judah, true,
   but I won't afflict you again.
From now on I'm taking the yoke from your neck
   and splitting it up for kindling.
I'm cutting you free
   from the ropes of your bondage."

 14God's orders on Nineveh:
   "You're the end of the line.
   It's all over with Nineveh.
I'm gutting your temple.
   Your gods and goddesses go in the trash.
I'm digging your grave. It's an unmarked grave.
   You're nothing—no, you're less than nothing!"

 15Look! Striding across the mountains—
   a messenger bringing the latest good news: peace!
A holiday, Judah! Celebrate!
   Worship and recommit to God!
No more worries about this enemy.
   This one is history. Close the books.

Nahum 2

Israel's Been to Hell and Back
 1 The juggernaut's coming! Post guards, lay in supplies.
Get yourselves together,
   get ready for the big battle.
 2God has restored the Pride of Jacob,
   the Pride of Israel.
Israel's lived through hard times.
   He's been to hell and back.

 3-12Weapons flash in the sun,
   the soldiers splendid in battle dress,
Chariots burnished and glistening,
   ready to charge,
A spiked forest of brandished spears,
   lethal on the horizon.
The chariots pour into the streets.
   They fill the public squares,
Flaming like torches in the sun,
   like lightning darting and flashing.
The Assyrian king rallies his men,
   but they stagger and stumble.
They run to the ramparts
   to stem the tide, but it's too late.
Soldiers pour through the gates.
   The palace is demolished.
Soon it's all over:
   Nineveh stripped, Nineveh doomed,
Maids and slaves moaning like doves,
   beating their breasts.
Nineveh is a tub
   from which they've pulled the plug.
Cries go up, "Do something! Do something!"
   but it's too late. Nineveh's soon empty—nothing.
Other cries come: "Plunder the silver!
   Plunder the gold!
A bonanza of plunder!
   Take everything you want!"
Doom! Damnation! Desolation!
   Hearts sink,
   knees fold,
   stomachs retch,
   faces blanch.
So, what happened to the famous
   and fierce Assyrian lion
And all those cute Assyrian cubs?
   To the lion and lioness
Cozy with their cubs,
   fierce and fearless?
To the lion who always returned from the hunt
   with fresh kills for lioness and cubs,
The lion lair heaped with bloody meat,
   blood and bones for the royal lion feast?

 13"Assyria, I'm your enemy,"
   says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
"I'll torch your chariots. They'll go up in smoke.
   'Lion Country' will be strewn with carcasses.
The war business is over—you're out of work:
   You'll have no more wars to report,
No more victories to announce.
   You're out of war work forever."

Nahum 3

Let the Nations Get Their Fill of the Ugly Truth
 1-4 Doom to Murder City— full of lies, bursting with loot, addicted to violence!
Horns blaring, wheels clattering,
   horses rearing, chariots lurching,
Horsemen galloping,
   brandishing swords and spears,
Dead bodies rotting in the street,
   corpses stacked like cordwood,
Bodies in every gutter and alley,
   clogging every intersection!
And whores! Whores without end!
   Whore City,
Fatally seductive, you're the Witch of Seduction,
   luring nations to their ruin with your evil spells.
 5-7"I'm your enemy, Whore Nineveh—
   I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
I'll strip you of your seductive silk robes
   and expose you on the world stage.
I'll let the nations get their fill of the ugly truth
   of who you really are and have been all along.
I'll pelt you with dog dung
   and place you on a pedestal: 'Slut on Exhibit.'
Everyone who sees you will gag and say,
   'Nineveh's a pigsty:
What on earth did we ever see in her?
   Who would give her a second look? Ugh!'"

Past the Point of No Return
 8-13Do you think you're superior to Egyptian Thebes,
   proudly invincible on the River Nile,
Protected by the great River,
   walled in by the River, secure?
Ethiopia stood guard to the south,
   Egypt to the north.
Put and Libya, strong friends,
   were ready to step in and help.
But you know what happened to her:
   The whole city was marched off to a refugee camp,
Her babies smashed to death
   in public view on the streets,
Her prize leaders auctioned off,
   her celebrities put in chain gangs.
Expect the same treatment, Nineveh.
   You'll soon be staggering like a bunch of drunks,
Wondering what hit you,
   looking for a place to sleep it off.
All your forts are like peach trees,
   the lush peaches ripe, ready for the picking.
One shake of the tree and they fall
   straight into hungry mouths.
Face it: Your warriors are wimps.
   You're sitting ducks.
Your borders are gaping doors, inviting
   your enemies in. And who's to stop them?
 14-15Store up water for the siege.
   Shore up your defenses.
Get down to basics: Work the clay
   and make bricks.
Sorry. Too late.
   Enemy fire will burn you up.
Swords will cut you to pieces.
   You'll be chewed up as if by locusts.

 15-17Yes, as if by locusts—a fitting fate,
   for you yourselves are a locust plague.
You've multiplied shops and shopkeepers—
   more buyers and sellers than stars in the sky!
A plague of locusts, cleaning out the neighborhood
   and then flying off.
Your bureaucrats are locusts,
   your brokers and bankers are locusts.
Early on, they're all at your service,
   full of smiles and promises,
But later when you return with questions or complaints,
   you'll find they've flown off and are nowhere to be found.

 18-19King of Assyria! Your shepherd-leaders,
   in charge of caring for your people,
Are busy doing everything else but.
   They're not doing their job,
And your people are scattered and lost.
   There's no one to look after them.
You're past the point of no return.
   Your wound is fatal.
When the story of your fate gets out,
   the whole world will applaud and cry "Encore!"
Your cruel evil has seeped
   into every nook and cranny of the world.
   Everyone has felt it and suffered.

Revelation 8:1-13 (The Message)

Revelation 8

 1 When the Lamb ripped off the seventh seal, Heaven fell quiet— complete silence for about half an hour. Blowing the Trumpets  2-4I saw the Seven Angels who are always in readiness before God handed seven trumpets. Then another Angel, carrying a gold censer, came and stood at the Altar. He was given a great quantity of incense so that he could offer up the prayers of all the holy people of God on the Golden Altar before the Throne. Smoke billowed up from the incense-laced prayers of the holy ones, rose before God from the hand of the Angel.
 5Then the Angel filled the censer with fire from the Altar and heaved it to earth. It set off thunders, voices, lightnings, and an earthquake.
 6-7The Seven Angels with the trumpets got ready to blow them. At the first trumpet blast, hail and fire mixed with blood were dumped on earth. A third of the earth was scorched, a third of the trees, and every blade of green grass—burned to a crisp.
 8-9The second Angel trumpeted. Something like a huge mountain blazing with fire was flung into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood, a third of the living sea creatures died, and a third of the ships sank.
 10-11The third Angel trumpeted. A huge Star, blazing like a torch, fell from Heaven, wiping out a third of the rivers and a third of the springs. The Star's name was Wormwood. A third of the water turned bitter, and many people died from the poisoned water.
 12The fourth Angel trumpeted. A third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were hit, blacked out by a third, both day and night in one-third blackout.
 13I looked hard; I heard a lone eagle, flying through Middle-Heaven, crying out ominously, "Doom! Doom! Doom to everyone left on earth! There are three more Angels about to blow their trumpets. Doom is on its way!"

Psalm 136:1-26 (The Message)

Psalm 136

    Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.
   Thank the God of all gods,
      His love never quits.
   Thank the Lord of all lords.
      His love never quits.

 4-22 Thank the miracle-working God,
      His love never quits.
   The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
      His love never quits.
   The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
      His love never quits.
   The God who filled the skies with light,
      His love never quits.
   The sun to watch over the day,
      His love never quits.
   Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
      His love never quits.
   The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn,
      His love never quits.
   And rescued Israel from Egypt's oppression,
      His love never quits.
   Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand,
      His love never quits.
   Split the Red Sea right in half,
      His love never quits.
   Led Israel right through the middle,
      His love never quits.
   Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea,
      His love never quits.
   The God who marched his people through the desert,
      His love never quits.
   Smashed huge kingdoms right and left,
      His love never quits.
   Struck down the famous kings,
      His love never quits.
   Struck Sihon the Amorite king,
      His love never quits.
   Struck Og the Bashanite king,
      His love never quits.
   Then distributed their land as booty,
      His love never quits.
   Handed the land over to Israel.
      His love never quits.

 23-26 God remembered us when we were down,
      His love never quits.
   Rescued us from the trampling boot,
      His love never quits.
   Takes care of everyone in time of need.
      His love never quits.
   Thank God, who did it all!
      His love never quits!

Proverbs 30:7-9 (The Message)

 7-9 And then he prayed, "God, I'm asking for two things
   before I die; don't refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips
   and liars from my presence.
Give me enough food to live on,
   neither too much nor too little.
If I'm too full, I might get independent,
   saying, 'God? Who needs him?'
If I'm poor, I might steal
   and dishonor the name of my God."

Verse of the Day

“While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, "Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:20-21
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Phillips Brooks.jpg
Thought for the Day

American Episcopal clergyman and author, long the Rector of Boston's Trinity Church and briefly Bishop of Massachusetts, and particularly remembered as lyricist of the Christmas hymn, "O Little Town of Bethlehem", Phillips Brooks wrote, “Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.”

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