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.

The Bible in a Year is a ministry of Cove Presbyterian Church. We need your support to keep posting. If you find it helpful, you can support this blog by your contributions. They may be sent to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062. You can also use the PayPal link below:

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Bible Readings for November 24, 2017

Today our passages are  Ezekiel 47:1– 48:35; 1 Peter 2:11–3:7; Psalm 119:49-64; and Proverbs 28:12-13.  The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Ezekiel 47-48:35 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 47

The Stream Flowing from the Temple
 1The man took me back to the temple, where I saw a stream flowing from under the entrance. It began in the south part of the temple, where it ran past the altar and continued east through the courtyard.    2We walked out of the temple area through the north gate and went around to the east gate. I saw the small stream of water flowing east from the south side of the gate.
    3The man walked east, then took out his measuring stick and measured five hundred sixty yards downstream. He told me to wade through the stream there, and the water came up to my ankles. 4Then he measured another five hundred sixty yards downstream, and told me to wade through it there. The water came up to my knees. Another five hundred sixty yards downstream the water came up to my waist. 5Another five hundred sixty yards downstream, the stream had become a river that could be crossed only by swimming. 6The man said, "Ezekiel, son of man, pay attention to what you've seen."
   We walked to the riverbank, 7where I saw dozens of trees on each side. 8The man said:
   This water flows eastward to the Jordan River valley and empties into the Dead Sea, where it turns the salt water into fresh water. 9Wherever this water flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish, because it will bring life and fresh water to the Dead Sea. 10From En-Gedi to Eneglaim, people will fish in the sea and dry their nets along the coast. There will be as many kinds of fish in the Dead Sea as there are in the Mediterranean Sea. 11But the marshes along the shore will remain salty, so that people can use the salt from them.
    12Fruit trees will grow all along this river and produce fresh fruit every month. The leaves will never dry out, because they will always have water from the stream that flows from the temple, and they will be used for healing people.
The Borders of the Land
 13-14The LORD God said to the people of Israel:   When the land is divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, the Joseph tribe a] will receive two shares. Divide the land equally, because I promised your ancestors that this land would someday belong to their descendants. These are the borders of the land: 15The northern border will begin at the Mediterranean Sea, then continue eastward to Hethlon, to Lebo-Hamath, then across to Zedad, 16Berothah, b] and Sibraim, which is on the border between the two kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath. The border will end at Hazer-Hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran. 17So the northern border will run between the Mediterranean Sea and Hazar-Enon, which is on the border between Damascus and Hamath. c] 18The eastern border will begin on the border between the two kingdoms of Hauran and Damascus. It will run south along the Jordan River, which separates the territories of Gilead and Israel, and it will end at the Dead Sea near the town of Tamar. d] 19The southern border will begin at Tamar, then run southwest to the springs near Meribath-Kadesh. It will continue along the Egyptian Gorge and will end at the Mediterranean Sea.
    20The western border will run north along the Mediterranean Sea to a point just west of Lebo-Hamath.
    21That is the land to be divided among the tribes of Israel. 22It will belong to the Israelites and to any foreigners living among them whose children were born in Israel. These foreigners must be treated like any other Israelite citizen, and they will receive 23a share of the land given to the tribe where they live. I, the LORD God, have spoken.

Ezekiel 48

The Division of Land among Tribes in the North
The LORD said:
 1-7Each tribe will receive a section of land that runs from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. The northern border of Israel will run along the towns of Hethlon and Lebo-Hamath, and will end at Hazar-Enon, which is on the border between the kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath. The tribes will receive their share of land in the following order, from north to south: Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, and Judah.   
The Special Section of Land
The LORD said:
 8South of Judah's territory will be a special section of land. Its length will be eight miles, and its width will run from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. My temple will be located in this section of land.    9An area in the center of this land will belong to me. It will be eight miles long and six e] miles wide. 10I, the LORD, will give half of my sacred land to the priests. Their share will be eight miles long and three miles wide, and my temple will be right in the middle. 11Only priests who are descendants of Zadok will receive a share of this sacred land, because they remained faithful to me when the Levites and the rest of the Israelites started sinning. 12The land belonging to the priests will be the most sacred area and will lie south of the area that belongs to the Levites.
    13I will give the other half of my sacred land to the Levites. Their share will also be eight miles long and three miles wide, 14and they must never sell or trade any of this land--it is the best land and belongs to me.
    15South of my sacred land will be a section eight miles long and two miles wide. It will not be sacred, but will belong to the people of Israel and will include the city of Jerusalem, together with its houses and pastureland. 16The city will be a square: Each side will be a mile and a half long, 17and an open area four hundred twenty feet wide will surround the city. 18The land on the east and west sides of the city limits will be farmland for the people of Jerusalem; both sections will be three miles long and two miles wide. 19People from the city will farm the land, no matter which tribe they belong to.
    20And so the center of this special section of land will be for my sacred land, as well as for the city and its property. The land will be a square, eight miles on each side.
    21The regions east and west of this square of land will belong to the ruler of Israel. His property will run east to the Jordan River and west to the Mediterranean Sea. In the very center of his property will be my sacred land, as well as the temple, 22together with the share belonging to the Levites and the city of Jerusalem. The northern border of the ruler's property will be the land that belongs to Judah, and the southern border will be the land that belongs to Benjamin.
The Division of Land among Tribes in the South
The LORD God said:
 23-27South of this special section will be the land that belongs to the rest of Israel's tribes. Each tribe will receive a section of land that runs from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. The tribes will receive their share of land in the following order, from north to south: Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, and Gad.    28Gad's southern border is also the southern border of Israel. It will begin at the town of Tamar, then run southwest to the springs near Meribath-Kadesh. It will continue along the Egyptian Gorge and end at the Mediterranean Sea.
    29That's how the land of Israel will be divided among the twelve tribes. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
The Gates of Jerusalem
The LORD said:
 30-34The city of Jerusalem will have twelve gates, three on each of the four sides of the city wall. These gates will be named after the twelve tribes of Israel. The gates of Reuben, Judah, and Levi will be in the north; Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan will be in the east; Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun will be in the south; Gad, Asher, and Naphtali will be in the west. Each side of the city wall will be a mile and a half long, 35and so the total length of the wall will be six miles. The new name of the city will be "The-LORD-Is-Here!"   

  1. Ezekiel 47:13 the Joseph tribe: That is, the two tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph's sons.
  2. Ezekiel 47:16 to Lebo-Hamath, then across to Zedad, 16Berothah: One ancient translation; Hebrew "to Lebo-Zedad, 16 then across to Hamath, Berothah. "
  3. Ezekiel 47:17 which is on the border between Damascus and Hamath: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Ezekiel 47:18 near the town of Tamar: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. Ezekiel 48:9 six: The Hebrew text has "three" (but see 45.1 and the note there).

1 Peter 2:11-3:7 (Contemporary English Version)

Live as God's Servants Should
 11Dear friends, you are foreigners and strangers on this earth. So I beg you not to surrender to those desires that fight against you. 12Always let others see you behaving properly, even though they may still accuse you of doing wrong. Then on the day of judgment, they will honor God by telling the good things they saw you do.    13The Lord wants you to obey all human authorities, especially the Emperor, who rules over everyone. 14You must also obey governors, because they are sent by the Emperor to punish criminals and to praise good citizens. 15God wants you to silence stupid and ignorant people by doing right. 16You are free, but still you are God's servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong. 17Respect everyone and show special love for God's people. Honor God and respect the Emperor.
The Example of Christ's Suffering
 18Servants, you must obey your masters and always show respect to them. Do this, not only to those who are kind and thoughtful, but also to those who are cruel. 19God will bless you, even if others treat you unfairly for being loyal to him. 20You don't gain anything by being punished for some wrong you have done. But God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good. 21After all, God chose you to suffer as you follow in the footsteps of Christ, who set an example by suffering for you.    22Christ did not sin
   or ever tell a lie.
    23Although he was abused,
   he never tried to get even.
   And when he suffered,
   he made no threats.
   Instead, he had faith in God,
   who judges fairly.
    24Christ carried the burden
   of our sins.
   He was nailed to the cross,
   so that we would stop sinning
   and start living right.
   By his cuts and bruises
   you are healed.
    25You had wandered away
   like sheep.
   Now you have returned
   to the one
   who is your shepherd
   and protector.

1 Peter 3

Wives and Husbands
 1If you are a wife, you must put your husband first. Even if he opposes our message, you will win him over by what you do. No one else will have to say anything to him, 2because he will see how you honor God and live a pure life. 3Don't depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful. 4Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special.    5Long ago those women who worshiped God and put their hope in him made themselves beautiful by putting their husbands first. 6For example, Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her true children, if you do right and don't let anything frighten you.
    7If you are a husband, you should be thoughtful of your wife. Treat her with honor, because she isn't as strong as you are, and she shares with you in the gift of life. Then nothing will stand in the way of your prayers.

Psalm 119:49-64 (Contemporary English Version)

49Don't forget your promise
   to me, your servant.
   I depend on it.
    50When I am hurting,
   I find comfort in your promise
   that leads to life.
    51Conceited people sneer at me,
   but I obey your Law.
    52I find true comfort, LORD,
   because your laws have stood
   the test of time.
    53I get furious when evil people
   turn against your Law.
    54No matter where I am,
   your teachings
   fill me with songs.
    55Even in the night
   I think about you, LORD,
   and I obey your Law.
    56You have blessed me
   because I have always followed
   your teachings.
    57You, LORD, are my choice,
   and I will obey you.
    58With all my heart
   I beg you to be kind to me,
   just as you have promised.
    59I pay careful attention
   as you lead me,
   and I follow closely.
    60As soon as you command,
   I do what you say.
    61Evil people may set a trap,
   but I obey your Law.
    62Your laws are so fair
   that I wake up
   and praise you
   in the middle of the night.
    63I choose as my friends
   everyone who worships you
   and follows your teachings.
    64Our LORD, your love is seen
   all over the world.
   Teach me your laws.

Proverbs 28:12-13 (Contemporary English Version)

12When an honest person wins,
   it's time to celebrate;
   when crooks are in control,
   it's best to hide.
    13If you don't confess your sins,
   you will be a failure.
   But God will be merciful
   if you confess your sins
   and give them up.

Verse of the Day

“[Christ Brings Real Life]You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” - Colossians 2:6-7
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Anna Louise StrongThought for the Day

20th-century American journalist and activist, best known for her reporting on and support for communist movements in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, Anna Louise Strong wrote, “To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.”

Image result for child drawing a picture of godA Joke for Today

A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "but no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bible Readings for November 23, 2017

Today our passages are Ezekiel 45:13–46:24; 1 Peter 1:13–2:10; Psalm 119:33-48; and Proverbs 28:11.  The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Ezekiel 45:13-46:24 (Contemporary English Version)

13Leaders of Israel, the people must bring you one sixtieth of their grain harvests as offerings to me. 14They will also bring one percent of their olive oil. These things will be measured according to the bath, and ten baths is the same as one homer or one cor. 15Finally, they must bring one sheep out of every two hundred from their flocks.
   These offerings will be used as grain sacrifices, as well as sacrifices to please me a] and those to ask my blessing. b] I, the LORD, will be pleased with these sacrifices and will forgive the sins of my people. 16The people of Israel will bring you these offerings. 17But during New Moon Festivals, Sabbath celebrations, and other religious feasts, you leaders will be responsible for providing animals for the sacrifices, as well as the grain and wine. All these will be used for the sacrifices for sin, the grain sacrifices, the sacrifices to please me, and those to ask my blessing. I will be pleased and will forgive the sins of my people.
The Festivals
(Exodus 12.1-20; Leviticus 23.33-43)
 18The LORD God said:   On the first day of the first month, c] a young bull that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice to purify the temple. 19The priest will take some blood from this sacrifice and smear it on the doorposts of the temple, as well as on the four corners of the altar and on the doorposts of the gates that lead into the inner courtyard. 20The same ceremony must also be done on the seventh day of the month, so that anyone who sins accidentally or without knowing it will be forgiven, and so that my temple will remain holy.
    21Beginning on the fourteenth day of the first month, and continuing for seven days, everyone will celebrate Passover and eat bread made without yeast. 22On the first day, the ruler will bring a bull to offer as a sacrifice for his sins and for the sins of the people. 23Each day of the festival he is to bring seven bulls and seven rams as sacrifices to please me, d] and he must bring a goat e] as a sacrifice for sin. These animals must have nothing wrong with them. 24He will also provide twenty pounds of grain and four quarts of olive oil to be offered with each bull and each ram. 25The Festival of Shelters will begin on the fifteenth day of the seventh month f] and will continue for seven days. On each day of this festival, the ruler will provide the same number of animals that he did each day during Passover, as well as the same amount of grain and olive oil for the sacrifices.

Ezekiel 46

Various Laws for the Ruler and the People
 1The LORD said:   The east gate of the inner courtyard must remain closed during the six working days of each week. But on the Sabbath and on the first day of the month, this gate will be opened. 2Israel's ruler will go from the outer courtyard into the entrance room of this gate and stand in the doorway while the priest offers sacrifices to ask my blessing g] and sacrifices to please me. h] The ruler will bow with his face to the ground to show that he has worshiped me. Then he will leave, and the gate will remain open until evening. 3Each Sabbath and on the first day of each month, the people of Israel must also come to the east gate and worship me. 4On the Sabbath, the ruler will bring six lambs and one ram to be offered as sacrifices to please me. There must be nothing wrong with any of these animals. 5With the ram, he is to offer twenty pounds of grain, and with each of the lambs, he can offer as much as he wants. He must also offer four quarts of olive oil with every twenty pounds of grain.
    6The ruler is to bring six lambs, a bull, and a ram to be offered as sacrifices at the New Moon Festival. There must be nothing wrong with any of these animals. 7With the bull and the ram, he is to offer twenty pounds of grain, and with each of the lambs, he can offer as much as he wants. He must also offer four quarts of olive oil with every twenty pounds of grain. 8The ruler must come through the entrance room of the east gate and leave the same way.
    9When my people come to worship me during any festival, they must always leave by the opposite gate from which they came: Those who come in the north gate must leave by the south gate, and those who come in the south gate must leave by the north gate. 10Their ruler will come in at the same time they do and leave at the same time they leave.
    11At all other festivals and celebrations, twenty pounds of grain will be offered with a bull, and twenty pounds will be offered with a ram. The worshipers can offer as much grain as they want with each lamb. Four quarts of olive oil must be offered with every twenty pounds of grain.
    12If the ruler voluntarily offers a sacrifice to please me or to ask my blessing, the east gate of the inner courtyard will be opened for him. He will offer his sacrifices just as he does on each Sabbath; then he will leave, and the gate will be closed.
    13Each morning a year-old lamb that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice to please me. 14Along with it, three pounds of fine flour mixed with a quart of olive oil must be offered as a grain sacrifice. This law will never change-- 15the lamb, the flour, and the olive oil will be offered to me every morning for all time.
Laws about the Ruler's Land
 16The LORD God said:   If the ruler of Israel gives some of his land to one of his children, it will belong to the ruler's child as part of the family property.17But if the ruler gives some of his land to one of his servants, the land will belong to the servant until the Year of Celebration, when it will be returned to the ruler. i] Only the ruler's children can keep what is given to them. 18The ruler must never abuse my people by taking land from them. Any land he gives his children must already belong to him.
The Sacred Kitchens
 19The man who was showing me the temple j] then took me back to the inner courtyard. We walked to the south side of the courtyard and stopped at the door to the sacred rooms that belonged to the priests. He showed me more rooms at the western edge of the courtyard 20and said, "These are the kitchens where the priests must boil the meat to be offered as sacrifices to make things right k] and as sacrifices for sin. l] They will also bake the grain for sacrifices in these kitchens. That way, these sacred offerings won't have to be carried through the outer courtyard, where someone could accidentally touch them and be harmed." m] 21We went back to the outer courtyard and walked past the four corners. 22At each corner I saw a smaller courtyard, sixty-eight feet long and fifty feet wide. 23Around the inside of these smaller courtyards was a low wall of stones, and against the wall were places to build fires. n] 24The man said, "These are the kitchens where the temple workers will boil the meat that worshipers offer as sacrifices."

  1. Ezekiel 45:15 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 40.38,39.
  2. Ezekiel 45:15 sacrifices. . . to ask my blessing: See the note at 43.27.
  3. Ezekiel 45:18 the first month: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
  4. Ezekiel 45:23 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 40.38,39.
  5. Ezekiel 45:23 goat: See the note at 43.22.
  6. Ezekiel 45:25 seventh month: Tishri (also called Ethanim), the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-September to mid-October.
  7. Ezekiel 46:2 sacrifices to ask my blessing: See the note at 43.27.
  8. Ezekiel 46:2 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 40.38,39.
  9. Ezekiel 46:17 the Year of Celebration. . . to the ruler: This was a sacred year for Israel, traditionally called the "Year of Jubilee." During this year, all property had to go back to its original owner (see Leviticus 25.8-34).
  10. Ezekiel 46:19 The man. . . temple: See 40.3.
  11. Ezekiel 46:20 sacrifices to make things right: See the note at 40.38,39.
  12. Ezekiel 46:20 sacrifices for sin: See the note at 40.38,39.
  13. Ezekiel 46:20 someone. . . touch them and be harmed: See the note at 44.19.
  14. Ezekiel 46:23 fires: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 23.

1 Peter 1:13-2:10 (Contemporary English Version)

Chosen To Live a Holy Life
 13Be alert and think straight. Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears. 14Behave like obedient children. Don't let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be. 15Always live as God's holy people should, because God is the one who chose you, and he is holy. 16That's why the Scriptures say, "I am the holy God, and you must be holy too."    17You say that God is your Father, but God doesn't have favorites! He judges all people by what they do. So you must honor God while you live as strangers here on earth. 18You were rescued a] from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don't last forever. 19You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb. 20Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days. 21And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That's why you have put your faith and hope in God. 22You obeyed the truth, b] and your souls were made pure. Now you sincerely love each other. But you must keep on loving with all your heart. 23Do this because God has given you new birth by his message that lives on forever. 24The Scriptures say, "Humans wither like grass,
   and their glory fades
   like wild flowers.
   Grass dries up,
   and flowers fall
   to the ground.
    25But what the Lord has said
   will stand forever."
   Our good news to you is what the Lord has said.

1 Peter 2

A Living Stone and a Holy Nation
 1Stop being hateful! Quit trying to fool people, and start being sincere. Don't be jealous or say cruel things about others. 2Be like newborn babies who are thirsty for the pure spiritual milk that will help you grow and be saved. 3You have already found out how good the Lord really is.    4Come to Jesus Christ. He is the living stone that people have rejected, but which God has chosen and highly honored. 5And now you are living stones that are being used to build a spiritual house. You are also a group of holy priests, and with the help of Jesus Christ you will offer sacrifices that please God. 6It is just as God says in the Scriptures,
   "Look! I am placing in Zion
   a choice and precious
   No one who has faith
   in that one
   will be disappointed."
    7You are followers of the Lord, and that stone is precious to you. But it isn't precious to those who refuse to follow him. They are the builders who tossed aside the stone that turned out to be the most important one of all. 8They disobeyed the message and stumbled and fell over that stone, because they were doomed.
    9But you are God's chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things that he has done. The Scriptures say,
    10"Once you were nobody.
   Now you are God's people.
   At one time no one
   had pity on you.
   Now God has treated you
   with kindness.

  1. 1 Peter 1:18 rescued: The Greek word often, though not always, means payment of a price to free a slave or prisoner.
  2. 1 Peter 1:22 You obeyed the truth: Some manuscripts add "by the power of the Spirit."

Psalm 119:33-48 (Contemporary English Version)

33Point out your rules to me,
   and I won't disobey
   even one of them.
    34Help me to understand your Law;
   I promise to obey it
   with all my heart.
    35Direct me by your commands!
   I love to do what you say.
    36Make me want to obey you,
   rather than to be rich.
    37Take away my foolish desires,
   and let me find life
   by walking with you.
    38I am your servant!
   Do for me what you promised
   to those who worship you.
    39Your wonderful teachings
   protect me from the insults
   that I hate so much.
    40I long for your teachings.
   Be true to yourself
   and let me live.
    41Show me your love
   and save me, LORD,
   as you have promised.
    42Then I will have an answer
   for everyone
   who insults me
   for trusting your word.
    43I rely on your laws!
   Don't take away my chance
   to speak your truth.
    44I will keep obeying your Law
   forever and ever.
    45I have gained perfect freedom
   by following your teachings,
    46and I trust them so much
   that I tell them to kings.
    47I love your commands!
   They bring me happiness.
    48I love and respect them
   and will keep them in mind.

Proverbs 28:11 (Contemporary English Version)

11The rich think highly
   of themselves,
   but anyone poor and sensible
   sees right through them.

Verse of the Day

“Be thankful and praise the LORD as you enter his temple. The LORD is good! His love and faithfulness will last forever.” - Psalm 100:4-5
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Hjalmar branting stor bild.jpgThought for the Day

Swedish politician, Hjalmar Branting wrote, “Fraternity among nations, however, touches the deepest desire of human nature.”

A Joke for Today

Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Person asked the young programmer, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"
The programmer said, "In the neighborhood of $75,000 a year, depending on the benefit's package."

The HR Person said, "Well, what would you say to a package of 5 weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company Corvette leased every 2 years?"

The programmer sat up straight and said, "Wow!!! Are you kidding?"

The HR Person replied, "Certainly, ...but you started it."

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bible Readings for November 22, 2017

Today our passages are Ezekiel 44:1– 45:12; 1 Peter 1:1-12; Psalm 119:17-32; and Proverbs 28:8-10.  The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Ezekiel 44-45:12 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezekiel 44

The East Gate Must Remain Closed
 1The man took me back to the outer courtyard, near the east gate of the temple area. I saw that the doors to this gate were closed. 2The LORD said:
   I, the LORD God of Israel, came through this gate, so it must remain closed forever! No one must ever use it. 3The ruler of Israel may come here to eat a sacrificial meal that has been offered to me, but he must use only the entrance room of this gate.
People Who Are Not Allowed in the Temple
 4Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the temple. I saw that the brightness of the LORD's glory had filled the temple, and I immediately bowed with my face to the ground.
    5The LORD said:
   Ezekiel, son of man, I am going to give you the laws for my temple. So pay attention and listen carefully to what kind of people are allowed to come in the temple, and what kind are not. 6Tell those rebellious people of Israel:
   I, the LORD God, command you to stop your evil ways! 7My temple has been disgraced, because you have let godless, stubborn foreigners come here when sacrifices are being offered to me. You have sinned and have broken our solemn agreement. 8Instead of following the proper ways to worship me, you have put foreigners in charge of worship at my temple.
    9And so I, the LORD God, say that no godless foreigner who disobeys me will be allowed in my temple. This includes any foreigner living in Israel.
The Levites Are Punished
The LORD said:
 10Some of the Levites turned their backs on me and joined the other people of Israel in worshiping idols. So these Levites must be punished! 11They will still be allowed to serve me as temple workers by guarding the gates and by killing the animals to be sacrificed and by helping the worshipers. 12But because these Levites served the people of Israel when they worshiped idols, I, the LORD God, promise that the Levites will be punished. They did not stop the Israelites from sinning, 13and now I will no longer let the Levites serve as my priests or come near anything sacred to me. They must suffer shame and disgrace for their disgusting sins. 14They will be responsible for all the hard work that must be done in the temple.
Rules for Priests
The LORD said:
 15The priests of the Levi tribe who are descendants of Zadok the priest were faithful to me, even when the rest of the Israelites turned away. And so, these priests will continue to serve as my priests and to offer the fat and the blood of sacrifices. 16They will come into my temple, where they will offer sacrifices at my altar and lead others in worship.
    17When they come to the inner courtyard, they must wear their linen priestly clothes. My priests must never wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in this courtyard or in the temple. 18Even their turbans and underwear must be made of linen to keep my priests from sweating when they work.19And before they leave to join the other people in the outer courtyard, they must take off their priestly clothes, then place them in the sacred rooms and put on their regular clothes. a] That way, no one will touch their sacred clothes and be harmed. b] 20Priests must never shave their heads when they are mourning. But they must keep their hair properly trimmed and not let it grow too long. 21They must not drink wine before going to the inner courtyard.
    22A priest must not marry a divorced woman; he can marry only a virgin from Israel or the widow of another priest.
    23Priests must teach my people the difference between what is sacred and what is ordinary, and between what is clean and what is unclean. 24They will make decisions in difficult legal cases, according to my own laws. They must also observe the religious festivals my Law requires and must always respect the Sabbath.
    25Touching a dead body will make a person unclean. So a priest must not go near a dead body, unless it is one of his parents or children, or his brother or unmarried sister. 26If a priest touches a dead body, he is unclean and must go through a ceremony to make himself clean. Then seven days later, 27he must go to the inner courtyard of the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. After that, he may once again serve as my priest. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
    28I myself will provide for my priests, and so they won't receive any land of their own. 29Instead, they will receive part of the grain sacrifices, as well as part of the sacrifices for sin and sacrifices to make things right. They will also be given everything in Israel that has been completely dedicated to me. c]30The first part of every harvest will belong to the priests. They will also receive part of all special gifts and offerings the Israelites bring to me. And whenever any of my people bake bread, they will give their first loaf as an offering to the priests, and I will bless the homes of the people when they do this. 31Priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that has been killed by a wild animal.

Ezekiel 45

The LORD's Sacred Land
The LORD said:
 1When the land of Israel is divided among the twelve tribes, you must set aside an area that will belong to me. This sacred area will be eight miles long and six d] miles wide. 2The temple will be on a piece of land eight hundred forty feet square, and the temple will be completely surrounded by an open space eighty-four feet wide. 3-4I will give half of my sacred land, a section eight miles long and three miles wide, to the priests who serve in the temple. Their houses will be in this half, as well as my temple, which is the most sacred place of all.
    5I will give the other half of my land to the Levites who work in my temple, and the towns e] where they will live will be there. 6Next to my sacred land will be an area eight miles long and two miles wide. This will belong to the people of Israel and will include the city of Jerusalem.
Land for Israel's Ruler
The LORD said:
 7-8The regions west and east of my sacred land and the city of Jerusalem will belong to the ruler of Israel. He will be given the region between the western edge of my land and the Mediterranean Sea, and between the eastern edge of my land and the Jordan River. This will mean that the length of his property will be the same as the sections of land given to the tribes.
   This property will belong to every ruler of Israel, so they will always be fair to my people and will let them live peacefully in the land given to their tribes.
Israel's Rulers Must Be Honest
 9The LORD God said:
   You leaders of Israel have robbed and cheated my people long enough! I want you to stop sinning and start doing what is right and fair. You must never again force my people off their own land. I, the LORD, have spoken.
    10So from now on, you must use honest weights and measures. 11The ephah will be the standard dry measure, and the bath will be the standard liquid measure. Their size will be based on the homer, which will equal ten ephahs or ten baths. f] 12The standard unit of weight will be the shekel. g] One shekel will equal twenty gerahs, and sixty shekels will equal one mina.
  1. Ezekiel 44:19 take off their priestly clothes. . . put on their regular clothes: See 42.14.
  2. Ezekiel 44:19 no one will touch. . . and be harmed: Ordinary people were forbidden to touch anything that was sacred. If they did, it was believed they would somehow be harmed.
  3. Ezekiel 44:29 that has been completely dedicated to me: This translates a Hebrew word that describes property and things that were taken away from humans and given to God. In the early history of Israel, such things often had to be destroyed (see Joshua 6.15-19).
  4. Ezekiel 45:1 six: One ancient translation; Hebrew "three."
  5. Ezekiel 45:5 the towns: One ancient translation; Hebrew "the twenty rooms."
  6. Ezekiel 45:11 the homer. . . ten ephahs. . . ten baths: A homer was either a dry or a liquid measure and equaled about five bushels or fifty-five gallons; an ephah would be about a half bushel, an a bath would be about five and a half gallons.
  7. Ezekiel 45:12 the shekel: The shekel was about four-tenths of an ounce.

1 Peter 1:1-12 (Contemporary English Version)

1 Peter 1

 1From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
   To God's people who are scattered like foreigners in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
    2God the Father decided to choose you as his people, and his Spirit has made you holy. You have obeyed Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood. a] I pray that God will be kind to you and will keep on giving you peace!
A Real Reason for Hope
 3Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on. 4God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.
    5You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. b] Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. 6On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. 7Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns. 8You have never seen Jesus, and you don't see him now. But still you love him and have faith in him, and no words can tell how glad and happy 9you are to be saved. That's why you have faith.
    10Some prophets told how kind God would be to you, and they searched hard to find out more about the way you would be saved. 11The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen. 12But they were told that they were serving you and not themselves. They preached to you by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. And their message was only for you, even though angels would like to know more about it.
  1. 1 Peter 1:2 sprinkled with his blood: According to Exodus 24.3-8 the people of Israel were sprinkled with the blood of cows to show they would keep  their agreement with God. Peter says that it is the blood of Jesus that seals the agreement between God and his people (see Hebrews 9.18-21).
  2. 1 Peter 1:5 the last day: When God will judge all people.

Psalm 119:17-32 (Contemporary English Version)

17Treat me with kindness, LORD,
   so that I may live
   and do what you say.
    18Open my mind
   and let me discover
   the wonders of your Law.
    19I live here as a stranger.
   Don't keep me from knowing
   your commands.
    20What I want most of all
   and at all times
   is to honor your laws.
    21You punish those boastful,
   worthless nobodies
   who turn
   from your commands.
    22Don't let them sneer
   and insult me
   for following you.
    23I keep thinking about
   your teachings, LORD,
   even if rulers plot
   against me.
    24Your laws are my greatest joy!
   I follow their advice.
    25I am at the point of death.
   Let your teachings
   breathe new life into me.
    26When I told you my troubles,
   you answered my prayers.
   Now teach me your laws.
    27Help me to understand
   your teachings,
   and I will think about
   your marvelous deeds.
    28I am overcome with sorrow.
   Encourage me,
   as you have promised to do.
    29Keep me from being deceitful,
   and be kind enough
   to teach me your Law.
    30I am determined to be faithful
   and to respect your laws.
    31I follow your rules, LORD.
   Don't let me be ashamed.
    32I am eager to learn all
   that you want me to do;
   help me to understand
   more and more.

Proverbs 28:8-10 (Contemporary English Version)

8If you make money by charging
   high interest rates,
   you will lose it all to someone
   who cares for the poor.
    9God cannot stand the prayers
   of anyone who disobeys
   his Law.
    10By leading good people to sin,
   you dig a pit for yourself,
   but all who live right
   will have a bright future.

Verse of the Day

“Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.” - Colossians 3:15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Donny DeutschThought for the Day

American advertising executive and television personality, Donny Deutsch wrote, “My philosophy is to always find the smartest people you can. Hire people smarter than you.”

A Joke for Today

Image result for eve in the garden jokeOne day in the Garden of Eden, Eve called out to God... "Lord, I have a problem!"

"What's the problem, Eve?” 

“Lord, I know you've created me and have provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, and that hilarious comedic snake, but I'm just not happy."

"Why is that, Eve?" came the reply from above.

"Lord, I am lonely. And I'm sick to death of apples."

"Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."

"What's a 'man,' Lord?"

"This man will be a flawed creature, with aggressive tendencies, an enormous ego and an inability to empathize or listen to you properly. All in all, he'll give you a hard time.

But, he'll be bigger, faster and more muscular than you. He'll also need your advice to think properly. He'll be really good at fighting and kicking a ball about, hunting fleet-footed ruminants, and not altogether bad in the sack."

"Sounds great," says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow. "What's the catch, Lord?"

"Yeah, well.... you can have him on one condition."

"What's that, Lord?"

"You'll have to let him believe that I made him first."