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, December 27, 2016

Bible Readings for December 27, 2016

Today, our passages are Zechariah 10:1–11:17; Revelation 18:1-24; Psalm 146:1-10; and Proverbs 30:33. 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.


Zechariah 10-11:17 (The Message)

Zechariah 10

God's Work of Rebuilding
1 Pray to God for rain—it's time for the spring rain— to God, the rainmaker,
Spring thunderstorm maker,
maker of grain and barley.
2-3"Store-bought gods babble gibberish.
Religious experts spout rubbish.
They pontificate hot air.
Their prescriptions are nothing but smoke.
And so the people wander like lost sheep,
poor lost sheep without a shepherd.
I'm furious with the so-called shepherds.
They're worse than billy goats, and I'll treat them like goats."

3-5God-of-the-Angel-Armies will step in
and take care of his flock, the people of Judah.
He'll revive their spirits,
make them proud to be on God's side.
God will use them in his work of rebuilding,
use them as foundations and pillars,
Use them as tools and instruments,
use them to oversee his work.
They'll be a workforce to be proud of, working as one,
their heads held high, striding through swamps and mud,
Courageous and vigorous because God is with them,
undeterred by the world's thugs.

6-12"I'll put muscle in the people of Judah;
I'll save the people of Joseph.
I know their pain and will make them good as new.
They'll get a fresh start, as if nothing had ever happened.
And why? Because I am their very own God,
I'll do what needs to be done for them.
The people of Ephraim will be famous,
their lives brimming with joy.
Their children will get in on it, too—
oh, let them feel blessed by God!
I'll whistle and they'll all come running.
I've set them free—oh, how they'll flourish!
Even though I scattered them to the far corners of earth,
they'll remember me in the faraway places.
They'll keep the story alive in their children,
and they will come back.
I'll bring them back from the Egyptian west
and round them up from the Assyrian east.
I'll bring them back to sweet Gilead,
back to leafy Lebanon.
Every square foot of land
will be marked by homecoming.
They'll sail through troubled seas, brush aside brash ocean waves.
Roaring rivers will turn to a trickle.
Gaudy Assyria will be stripped bare,
bully Egypt exposed as a fraud.
But my people—oh, I'll make them strong, God-strong!
and they'll live my way." God says so!

Zechariah 11

1-4 Open your borders to the immigrants, proud Lebanon!
Your sentinel trees will burn.
Weep, great pine trees! Mourn, you sister cedars!
Your towering trees are cordwood.
Weep Bashan oak trees!
Your thick forest is now a field of stumps.
Do you hear the wailing of shepherds?
They've lost everything they once owned.
Do you hear the outrage of the lions?
The mighty jungle of the Jordan is wasted.
Make room for the returning exiles!
Breaking the Beautiful Covenant
4-5God commanded me, "Shepherd the sheep that are soon to be slaughtered. The people who buy them will butcher them for quick and easy money. What's worse, they'll get away with it. The people who sell them will say, 'Lucky me! God's on my side; I've got it made!' They have shepherds who couldn't care less about them." 6God's Decree: "I'm washing my hands of the people of this land. From now on they're all on their own. It's dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, and the devil take the hindmost. Don't look for help from me."
7-8So I took over from the crass, money-grubbing owners, and shepherded the sheep marked for slaughter. I got myself two shepherd staffs. I named one Lovely and the other Harmony. Then I went to work shepherding the sheep. Within a month I got rid of the corrupt shepherds. I got tired of putting up with them—and they couldn't stand me.
9And then I got tired of the sheep and said, "I've had it with you—no more shepherding from me. If you die, you die; if you're attacked, you're attacked. Whoever survives can eat what's left."
10-11Then I took the staff named Lovely and broke it across my knee, breaking the beautiful covenant I had made with all the peoples. In one stroke, both staff and covenant were broken. The money-hungry owners saw me do it and knew God was behind it.
12Then I addressed them: "Pay me what you think I'm worth." They paid me an insulting sum, counting out thirty silver coins.
13God told me, "Throw it in the poor box." This stingy wage was all they thought of me and my work! So I took the thirty silver coins and threw them into the poor box in God's Temple.
14Then I broke the other staff, Harmony, across my knee, breaking the concord between Judah and Israel.
15-16God then said, "Dress up like a stupid shepherd. I'm going to install just such a shepherd in this land—a shepherd indifferent to victims, who ignores the lost, abandons the injured, and disdains decent citizens. He'll only be in it for what he can get out of it, using and abusing any and all.
17"Doom to you, useless shepherd,
walking off and leaving the sheep!
A curse on your arm!
A curse on your right eye!
Your arm will hang limp and useless.
Your right eye will go stone blind."

Revelation 18:1-24 (The Message)

Revelation 18

Doom to the City of Darkness
1-8Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven. His authority was immense, his glory flooded earth with brightness, his voice thunderous: Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon, ruined!
A ghost town for demons is all that's left!
A garrison of carrion spirits,
garrison of loathsome, carrion birds.
All nations drank the wild wine of her whoring;
kings of the earth went whoring with her;
entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her.
Just then I heard another shout out of Heaven:

Get out, my people, as fast as you can,
so you don't get mixed up in her sins,
so you don't get caught in her doom.
Her sins stink to high Heaven;
God has remembered every evil she's done.
Give her back what she's given,
double what she's doubled in her works,
double the recipe in the cup she mixed;
Bring her flaunting and wild ways
to torment and tears.
Because she gloated, "I'm queen over all,
and no widow, never a tear on my face,"
In one day, disasters will crush her—
death, heartbreak, and famine—
Then she'll be burned by fire, because God,
the Strong God who judges her,
has had enough.
9-10"The kings of the earth will see the smoke of her burning, and they'll cry and carry on, the kings who went night after night to her brothel. They'll keep their distance for fear they'll get burned, and they'll cry their lament:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
City of Babylon, strong city!
In one hour it's over, your judgment come!

11-17"The traders will cry and carry on because the bottom dropped out of business, no more market for their goods: gold, silver, precious gems, pearls; fabrics of fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet; perfumed wood and vessels of ivory, precious woods, bronze, iron, and marble; cinnamon and spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat; cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots. And slaves—their terrible traffic in human lives.

Everything you've lived for, gone!
All delicate and delectable luxury, lost!
Not a scrap, not a thread to be found!
"The traders who made millions off her kept their distance for fear of getting burned, and cried and carried on all the more:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
Dressed in the latest fashions,
adorned with the finest jewels,
in one hour such wealth wiped out!

17-19"All the ship captains and travelers by sea, sailors and toilers of the sea, stood off at a distance and cried their lament when they saw the smoke from her burning: 'Oh, what a city! There was never a city like her!' They threw dust on their heads and cried as if the world had come to an end:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
All who owned ships or did business by sea
Got rich on her getting and spending.
And now it's over—wiped out in one hour!

20"O Heaven, celebrate! And join in, saints, apostles, and prophets! God has judged her; every wrong you suffered from her has been judged."
21-24A strong Angel reached for a boulder—huge, like a millstone—and heaved it into the sea, saying,

Heaved and sunk, the great city Babylon,
sunk in the sea, not a sign of her ever again.
Silent the music of harpists and singers—
you'll never hear flutes and trumpets again.
Artisans of every kind—gone;
you'll never see their likes again.
The voice of a millstone grinding falls dumb;
you'll never hear that sound again.
The light from lamps, never again;
never again laughter of bride and groom.
Her traders robbed the whole earth blind,
and by black-magic arts deceived the nations.
The only thing left of Babylon is blood—
the blood of saints and prophets,
the murdered and the martyred.

Psalm 146:1-10 (The Message)

Psalm 146

Hallelujah! O my soul, praise God!
All my life long I'll praise God,
singing songs to my God as long as I live.

3-9 Don't put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don't have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing!
God made sky and soil,
sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what he says—
he defends the wronged,
he feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners—
he gives sight to the blind,
he lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of orphans and widows,
but makes short work of the wicked.

10 God's in charge—always.
Zion's God is God for good!


Proverbs 30:33 (The Message)

32-33 If you're dumb enough to call attention to yourself
by offending people and making rude gestures,
Don't be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.
Churned milk turns into butter;
riled emotions turn into fist fights.

Verse of the Day 

“[(By David.)][The LORD's Wonderful Love]With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been.” - Psalm 103:1-2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Marlene Dietrich in No Highway (1951) (Cropped).png
Thought for the Day

German actress and singer who held both German and American citizenship, Marlene Dietrich wrote, “A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma.”

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