Yesterday, our passages were Zechariah 8:1-23; Revelation 16:1-21; Psalm 144:1-15; and Proverbs 30:29-31. 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.
Zechariah 8:1-23 (The Message)
Rebuilding the Temple1-2 And then these Messages from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: "I am zealous for Zion—I care!
I'm angry about Zion—I'm involved!"
3"I've come back to Zion,
I've moved back to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem's new names will be Truth City,
and Mountain of God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
and Mount Holiness."
4-5A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the streets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes—a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing—a good city to grow up in."
6A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"Do the problems of returning and rebuilding by just a few survivors seem too much? But is anything too much for me? Not if I have my say."
7-8A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"I'll collect my people from countries to the east and countries to the west. I'll bring them back and move them into Jerusalem. They'll be my people and I'll be their God. I'll stick with them and do right by them."
9-10A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"Get a grip on things. Hold tight, you who are listening to what I say through the preaching of the prophets. The Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies has been reestablished. The Temple is being rebuilt. We've come through a hard time: You worked for a pittance and were lucky to get that; the streets were dangerous; you could never let down your guard; I had turned the world into an armed camp.
11-12"But things have changed. I'm taking the side of my core of surviving people:
Sowing and harvesting will resume,
Vines will grow grapes,
Gardens will flourish,
Dew and rain will make everything green.
12-13"My core survivors will get everything they need—and more. You've gotten a reputation as a bad-news people, you people of Judah and Israel, but I'm coming to save you. From now on, you're the good-news people. Don't be afraid. Keep a firm grip on what I'm doing."
Keep Your Lives Simple and Honest14-17A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: "In the same way that I decided to punish you when your ancestors made me angry, and didn't pull my punches, at this time I've decided to bless Jerusalem and the country of Judah. Don't be afraid. And now here's what I want you to do: Tell the truth, the whole truth, when you speak. Do the right thing by one another, both personally and in your courts. Don't cook up plans to take unfair advantage of others. Don't do or say what isn't so. I hate all that stuff. Keep your lives simple and honest." Decree of God.
18-19Again I received a Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"The days of mourning set for the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months will be turned into days of feasting for Judah—celebration and holiday. Embrace truth! Love peace!"
20-21A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"People and their leaders will come from all over to see what's going on. The leaders will confer with one another: 'Shouldn't we try to get in on this? Get in on God's blessings? Pray to God-of-the-Angel-Armies? What's keeping us? Let's go!'
22"Lots of people, powerful nations—they'll come to Jerusalem looking for what they can get from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, looking to get a blessing from God."
23A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"At that time, ten men speaking a variety of languages will grab the sleeve of one Jew, hold tight, and say, 'Let us go with you. We've heard that God is with you.'"
Revelation 16:1-21 (The Message)
Pouring Out the Seven Disasters1 I heard a shout of command from the Temple to the Seven Angels: "Begin! Pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on earth!" 2The first Angel stepped up and poured his bowl out on earth: Loathsome, stinking sores erupted on all who had taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped its image. 3The second Angel poured his bowl on the sea: The sea coagulated into blood, and everything in it died.
4-7The third Angel poured his bowl on rivers and springs: The waters turned to blood. I heard the Angel of Waters say,
Righteous you are, and your judgments are righteous,
The Is, The Was, The Holy.
They poured out the blood of saints and prophets
so you've given them blood to drink—
they've gotten what they deserve!
Just then I heard the Altar chime in,
Yes, O God, the Sovereign-Strong!
Your judgments are true and just!
8-9The fourth Angel poured his bowl on the sun: Fire blazed from the sun and scorched men and women. Burned and blistered, they cursed God's Name, the God behind these disasters. They refused to repent, refused to honor God.
10-11The fifth Angel poured his bowl on the throne of the Beast: Its kingdom fell into sudden eclipse. Mad with pain, men and women bit and chewed their tongues, cursed the God-of-Heaven for their torment and sores, and refused to repent and change their ways.
12-14The sixth Angel poured his bowl on the great Euphrates River: It dried up to nothing. The dry riverbed became a fine roadbed for the kings from the East. From the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet I saw three foul demons crawl out—they looked like frogs. These are demon spirits performing signs. They're after the kings of the whole world to get them gathered for battle on the Great Day of God, the Sovereign-Strong.
15"Keep watch! I come unannounced, like a thief. You're blessed if, awake and dressed, you're ready for me. Too bad if you're found running through the streets, naked and ashamed."
16The frog-demons gathered the kings together at the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.
17-21The seventh Angel poured his bowl into the air: From the Throne in the Temple came a shout, "Done!" followed by lightning flashes and shouts, thunder crashes and a colossal earthquake—a huge and devastating earthquake, never an earthquake like it since time began. The Great City split three ways, the cities of the nations toppled to ruin. Great Babylon had to drink the wine of God's raging anger—God remembered to give her the cup! Every island fled and not a mountain was to be found. Hailstones weighing a ton plummeted, crushing and smashing men and women as they cursed God for the hail, the epic disaster of hail.
Psalm 144:1-15 (The Message)
A David Psalm1-2 Blessed be God, my mountain, who trains me to fight fair and well.
He's the bedrock on which I stand,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight,
The high crag where I run for dear life,
while he lays my enemies low.
3-4 I wonder why you care, God—
why do you bother with us at all?
All we are is a puff of air;
we're like shadows in a campfire.
5-8 Step down out of heaven, God;
ignite volcanoes in the hearts of the mountains.
Hurl your lightnings in every direction;
shoot your arrows this way and that.
Reach all the way from sky to sea:
pull me out of the ocean of hate,
out of the grip of those barbarians
Who lie through their teeth,
who shake your hand
then knife you in the back.
9-10 O God, let me sing a new song to you,
let me play it on a twelve-string guitar—
A song to the God who saved the king,
the God who rescued David, his servant.
11 Rescue me from the enemy sword,
release me from the grip of those barbarians
Who lie through their teeth,
who shake your hand
then knife you in the back.
12-14 Make our sons in their prime
like sturdy oak trees,
Our daughters as shapely and bright
as fields of wildflowers.
Fill our barns with great harvest,
fill our fields with huge flocks;
Protect us from invasion and exile—
eliminate the crime in our streets.
15 How blessed the people who have all this!
How blessed the people who have God for God!
Proverbs 30:29-31 (The Message)
Four Dignitaries29-31 There are three solemn dignitaries,
four that are impressive in their bearing—
a lion, king of the beasts, deferring to none;
a rooster, proud and strutting;
a billy goat;
a head of state in stately procession.
Verse of the Day