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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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bible Readings for April 26, 2017

Today our passages are Judges 6:1-40; Luke 22:54–23:12; Psalm 95:1–96:13; and Proverbs 14:5-6. 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 Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Judges 6:1-40 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 6

Midian Steals Everything from Israel
 1Then once again the Israelites started disobeying the LORD, so he let the nation of Midian control Israel for seven years.     2The Midianites were so cruel that many Israelites ran to the mountains and hid in caves.
    3Every time the Israelites would plant crops, the Midianites invaded Israel together with the Amalekites and other eastern nations.
    4-5They rode in on their camels, set up their tents, and then let their livestock eat the crops as far as the town of Gaza. The Midianites stole food, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. Like a swarm of locusts, a<="" value="[a]" >[] they could not be counted, and they ruined the land wherever they went.
    6-7The Midianites took almost everything that belonged to the Israelites, and the Israelites begged the LORD for help.
    8-9Then the LORD sent a prophet to them with this message:
   I am the LORD God of Israel, so listen to what I say. You were slaves in Egypt, but I set you free and led you out of Egypt into this land. And when nations here made life miserable for you, I rescued you and helped you get rid of them and take their land.
    10I am your God, and I told you not to worship Amorite gods, even though you are living in the land of the Amorites. But you refused to listen.
The LORD Chooses Gideon
 11One day an angel from the LORD went to the town of Ophrah and sat down under the big tree that belonged to Joash, a member of the Abiezer clan. Joash's son Gideon was nearby, threshing grain in a shallow pit, where he could not be seen by the Midianites.     12The angel appeared and spoke to Gideon, " The LORD is helping you, and you are a strong warrior."
    13Gideon answered, " Please don't take this wrong, but if the LORD is helping us, then why have all of these awful things happened? We've heard how the LORD performed miracles and rescued our ancestors from Egypt. But those things happened long ago. Now the LORD has abandoned us to the Midianites."
    14Then the LORD himself said, " Gideon, you will be strong, because I am giving you the power to rescue Israel from the Midianites."
    15Gideon replied, " But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am."
    16" Gideon," the LORD answered, " you can rescue Israel because I am going to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one man."
    17Gideon said, " It's hard to believe that I'm actually talking to the LORD. Please do something so I'll know that you really are the LORD.
    18And wait here until I bring you an offering."
   " All right, I'll wait," the LORD answered.
    19Gideon went home and killed a young goat, then started boiling the meat. Next, he opened a big sack of flour and made it into thin bread. [b<="">] When the meat was done, he put it in a basket and poured the broth into a clay cooking pot. He took the meat, the broth, and the bread and placed them under the big tree.
    20God's angel said, " Gideon, put the meat and the bread on this rock, and pour the broth over them." Gideon did as he was told.
    21The angel was holding a walking stick, and he touched the meat and the bread with the end of the stick. Flames jumped from the rock and burned up the meat and the bread.
   When Gideon looked, the angel was gone.
    22Gideon realized that he had seen one of the LORD's angels. " Oh!" he moaned. " Now I'm going to die." [c<="">]
    23" Calm down!" the LORD told Gideon. " There's nothing to be afraid of. You're not going to die."
    24Gideon built an altar for worshiping the LORD and called it " The LORD Calms Our Fears." It still stands there in Ophrah, a town in the territory of the Abiezer clan.
Gideon Tears Down Baal's Altar
 25That night the LORD spoke to Gideon again:    Get your father's second-best bull, the one that's seven years old. Use it to pull down the altar where your father worships Baal and cut down the sacred pole [d<="">] next to the altar.
    26Then build an altar for worshiping me on the highest part of the hill where your town is built. Use layers of stones for my altar, not just a pile of rocks. Cut up the wood from the pole, make a fire, kill the bull, and burn it as a sacrifice to me.
    27Gideon chose ten of his servants to help him, and they did everything God had said. But since Gideon was afraid of his family and the other people in town, he did it all at night.
    28When the people of the town got up the next morning, they saw that Baal's altar had been knocked over, and the sacred pole next to it had been cut down. Then they noticed the new altar covered with the remains of the sacrificed bull.
    29" Who could have done such a thing?" they asked. And they kept on asking, until finally someone told them, " Gideon the son of Joash did it."
    30The men of the town went to Joash and said, " Your son Gideon knocked over Baal's altar and cut down the sacred pole next to it. Hand him over, so we can kill him!"
    31The crowd pushed closer and closer, but Joash replied, " Are you trying to take revenge for Baal? Are you trying to rescue Baal? If you are, you will be the ones who are put to death, and it will happen before another day dawns. If Baal really is a god, let him take his own revenge on someone who tears down his altar."
    32That same day, Joash changed Gideon's name to Jerubbaal, explaining, " He tore down Baal's altar, so let Baal take revenge himself." [e<="">]
Gideon Defeats the Midianites
 33All the Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern nations got together and crossed the Jordan River. Then they invaded the land of Israel and set up camp in Jezreel Valley.     34The LORD's Spirit took control of Gideon, and Gideon blew a signal on a trumpet to tell the men in the Abiezer clan to follow him.
    35He also sent messengers to the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, telling the men of these tribes to come and join his army. Then they set out toward the enemy camp.
    36-37Gideon prayed to God, " I know that you promised to help me rescue Israel, but I need proof. Tonight I'll put some wool on the stone floor of that threshing-place over there. If you really will help me rescue Israel, then tomorrow morning let there be dew on the wool, but let the stone floor be dry."
    38And that's just what happened. Early the next morning, Gideon got up and checked the wool. He squeezed out enough water to fill a bowl.
    39But Gideon prayed to God again. " Don't be angry at me," Gideon said. " Let me try this just one more time, so I'll really be sure you'll help me. Only this time, let the wool be dry and the stone floor be wet with dew."
    40That night, God made the stone floor wet with dew, but he kept the wool dry.
  1. Judges 6:4 locusts: Insects like grasshoppers that travel in swarms and cause great damage to crops.
  2. Judges 6:19 thin bread: Bread made without yeast, since there was no time for the dough to rise.
  3. Judges 6:22 Now I'm going to die: The Hebrew text has " I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face." Some people believed that if they saw one of the LORD's angels, they would die (see 13.22).
  4. Judges 6:25 sacred pole: Or " sacred tree," used as a symbol of Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility.
  5. Judges 6:32 Jerubbaal. . . take revenge himself: In Hebrew, " Jerubbaal" means " Let Baal take revenge."

Luke 22:54-23:12 (Contemporary English Version)

Peter Says He Doesn't Know Jesus
(Matthew 26.57,58,67-75; Mark 14.53,54,66-72; John 18.12-18, 25-27)
 54Jesus was arrested and led away to the house of the high priest, while Peter followed at a distance. 55Some people built a fire in the middle of the courtyard and were sitting around it. Peter sat there with them, 56and a servant girl saw him. Then after she had looked at him carefully, she said, "This man was with Jesus!"     57Peter said, "Woman, I don't even know that man!"
    58A little later someone else saw Peter and said, "You are one of them!"
   "No, I'm not!" Peter replied.
    59About an hour later another man insisted, "This man must have been with Jesus. They both come from Galilee."
    60Peter replied, "I don't know what you are talking about!" Right then, while Peter was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
    61The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered that the Lord had said, "Before a rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will say three times that you don't know me." 62Then Peter went out and cried hard.
    63The men who were guarding Jesus made fun of him and beat him. 64They put a blindfold on him and said, "Tell us who struck you!" 65They kept on insulting Jesus in many other ways.
Jesus Is Questioned by the Council
(Matthew 26.59-66; Mark 14.55-64; John 18.19-24)
 66At daybreak the nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses got together and brought Jesus before their council. 67They said, "Tell us! Are you the Messiah?"    Jesus replied, "If I said so, you wouldn't believe me. 68And if I asked you a question, you wouldn't answer. 69But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right side of God All-Powerful."
    70Then they asked, "Are you the Son of God?" a<="" value="[a]" >[] Jesus answered, "You say I am!" [b<="">] 71They replied, "Why do we need more witnesses? He said it himself!"

Luke 23

Pilate Questions Jesus
(Matthew 27.1,2,11-14; Mark 15.1-5; John 18.28-38)
 1Everyone in the council got up and led Jesus off to Pilate. 2They started accusing him and said, "We caught this man trying to get our people to riot and to stop paying taxes to the Emperor. He also claims that he is the Messiah, our king."     3Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
   "Those are your words," Jesus answered.
    4Pilate told the chief priests and the crowd, "I don't find him guilty of anything."
    5But they all kept on saying, "He has been teaching and causing trouble all over Judea. He started in Galilee and has now come all the way here."
Jesus Is Brought before Herod
 6When Pilate heard this, he asked, "Is this man from Galilee?" 7After Pilate learned that Jesus came from the region ruled by Herod, [c<="">] he sent him to Herod, who was in Jerusalem at that time. 8For a long time Herod had wanted to see Jesus and was very happy because he finally had this chance. He had heard many things about Jesus and hoped to see him work a miracle.     9Herod asked him a lot of questions, but Jesus did not answer. 10Then the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses stood up and accused him of all kinds of bad things.
    11Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus and insulted him. They put a fine robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. 12That same day Herod and Pilate became friends, even though they had been enemies before this.
  1. Luke 22:70 Son of God: This was one of the titles used for the kings of Israel.
  2. Luke 22:70 You say I am: Or " That's what you say."
  3. Luke 23:7 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.

Psalm 95-96:13 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 95

Worship and Obey the LORD
 1Sing joyful songs to the LORD!    Praise the mighty rock
   where we are safe.
    2Come to worship him
   with thankful hearts
   and songs of praise.
    3The LORD is the greatest God,
   king over all other gods.
    4He holds the deepest part
   of the earth in his hands,
   and the mountain peaks
   belong to him.
    5The ocean is the Lord's
   because he made it,
   and with his own hands
   he formed the dry land.
    6Bow down and worship
   the LORD our Creator!
    7The LORD is our God,
   and we are his people,
   the sheep he takes care of
   in his own pasture.
   Listen to God's voice today!
    8Don't be stubborn and rebel
   as your ancestors did
   at Meribah and Massah a<="" value="[a]" >[] out in the desert.
    9For forty years
   they tested God
   and saw
   the things he did.
    10Then God got tired of them
   and said,
   "You never show good sense,
   and you don't understand
   what I want you to do."
    11In his anger, God told them,
   "You people will never enter
   my place of rest."

Psalm 96

Sing a New Song to the LORD
 1Sing a new song to the LORD!    Everyone on this earth,
   sing praises to the LORD,
    2sing and praise his name.
   Day after day announce,
   "The LORD has saved us!"
    3Tell every nation on earth,
   "The LORD is wonderful
   and does marvelous things!
    4The LORD is great and deserves
   our greatest praise!
   He is the only God
   worthy of our worship.
    5Other nations worship idols,
   but the LORD created
   the heavens.
    6Give honor and praise
   to the LORD,
   whose power and beauty
   fill his holy temple."
    7Tell everyone of every nation,
   "Praise the glorious power
   of the LORD.
    8He is wonderful! Praise him
   and bring an offering
   into his temple.
    9Everyone on earth, now tremble
   and worship the LORD,
   majestic and holy."
    10Announce to the nations,
   "The LORD is King!
   The world stands firm,
   never to be shaken,
   and he will judge its people
   with fairness."
    11Tell the heavens and the earth
   to be glad and celebrate!
   Command the ocean to roar
   with all of its creatures
    12and the fields to rejoice
   with all of their crops.
   Then every tree in the forest
   will sing joyful songs
    13to the LORD.
   He is coming to judge
   all people on earth
   with fairness and truth.
  1. Psalm 95:8 Meribah and Massah: See the note at 81.7.

Proverbs 14:5-6 (Contemporary English Version)

5An honest witness
   tells the truth;
   a dishonest witness
   tells nothing but lies.
    6Make fun of wisdom,
   and you will never find it.
   But if you have understanding,
   knowledge comes easily.

Verse of the Day

“He is forever able to save the people he leads to God, because he always lives to speak to God for them.” - Hebrews 7:25
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art, Andy Warhol wrote, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bible Readings for April 25, 2017

Today our passages are Judges 4:1–5:31; Luke 22:35-53; Psalm 94:1-23; and Proverbs 14:3-4. 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 Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Judges 4-5:31 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 4

Deborah and Barak
 1After the death of Ehud, the Israelites again started disobeying the LORD.     2So the LORD let the Canaanite King Jabin of Hazor conquer Israel. Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, lived in Harosheth-Ha-Goiim.
    3Jabin's army had nine hundred iron chariots, and for twenty years he made life miserable for the Israelites, until finally they begged the LORD for help.
    4Deborah the wife of Lappidoth was a prophet and a leader a<="" value="[a]" >[] of Israel during those days.
    5She would sit under Deborah's Palm Tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, where Israelites would come and ask her to settle their legal cases.
    6One day, Barak the son of Abinoam was in Kedesh in Naphtali, and Deborah sent word for him to come and talk with her. When he arrived, she said:
   I have a message for you from the LORD God of Israel! You are to get together an army of ten thousand men from the Naphtali and Zebulun tribes and lead them to Mount Tabor.
    7The LORD will trick Sisera into coming out to fight you at the Kishon River. Sisera will be leading King Jabin's army as usual, and they will have their chariots, but the LORD has promised to help you defeat them.
    8" I'm not going unless you go!" Barak told her.
    9" All right, I'll go!" she replied. " But I'm warning you that the LORD is going to let a woman defeat Sisera, and no one will honor you for winning the battle."
   Deborah and Barak left for Kedesh,
    10where Barak called together the troops from Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand soldiers gathered there, and Barak led them out from Kedesh. Deborah went too.
    11At this time, Heber of the Kenite clan was living near the village of Oak in Zaanannim, [b<="">] not far from Kedesh. The Kenites were descendants of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, but Heber had moved and had set up his tents away from the rest of the clan.
    12When Sisera learned that Barak had led an army to Mount Tabor,
    13he called his troops together and got all nine hundred iron chariots ready. Then he led his army away from Harosheth-Ha-Goiim to the Kishon River.
    14Deborah shouted, " Barak, it's time to attack Sisera! Because today the LORD is going to help you defeat him. In fact, the LORD has already gone on ahead to fight for you."
   Barak led his ten thousand troops down from Mount Tabor.
    15And during the battle, the LORD confused Sisera, his chariot drivers, and his whole army. Everyone was so afraid of Barak and his army, that even Sisera jumped down from his chariot and tried to escape.
    16Barak's forces went after Sisera's chariots and army as far as Harosheth-Ha-Goiim.
   Sisera's entire army was wiped out.
    17Only Sisera escaped. He ran to Heber's camp, because Heber and his family had a peace treaty with the king of Hazor. Sisera went to the tent that belonged to Jael, Heber's wife.
    18She came out to greet him and said, " Come in, sir! Please come on in. Don't be afraid."
   After they had gone inside, Sisera lay down, and Jael covered him with a blanket.
    19" Could I have a little water?" he asked. " I'm thirsty."
   Jael opened a leather bottle and poured him some milk, then she covered him back up.
    20" Stand at the entrance to the tent," Sisera told her. " If someone comes by and asks if anyone is inside, tell them `No.' "
    21Sisera was exhausted and soon fell fast asleep. Jael took a hammer and drove a tent-peg through his head into the ground, and he died.
    22Meanwhile, Barak had been following Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. " The man you're looking for is inside," she said. " Come in and I'll show him to you."
   They went inside, and there was Sisera--dead and stretched out with a tent-peg through his skull.
    23That same day the Israelites defeated the Canaanite King Jabin, and his army was no longer powerful enough to attack the Israelites.
    24Jabin grew weaker while the Israelites kept growing stronger, and at last the Israelites destroyed him.

Judges 5

Deborah and Barak Sing for the LORD
 1After the battle was over that day, Deborah and Barak sang this song:     2We praise you, LORD!
   Our soldiers volunteered,
   ready to follow you.
    3Listen, kings and rulers,
   while I sing for the LORD,
   the God of Israel.
    4Our LORD, God of Israel,
   when you came from Seir,
   where the Edomites live,
    5rain poured from the sky,
   the earth trembled,
   and mountains shook.
    6In the time of Shamgar
   son of Anath,
   and now again in Jael's time,
   roads were too dangerous
   for caravans.
   Travelers had to take
   the back roads,
    7and villagers couldn't work
   in their fields. [c<="">] Then Deborah [d<="">] took command, protecting Israel
   as a mother
   protects her children.
    8The Israelites worshiped
   other gods,
   and the gates of their towns
   were then attacked. [e<="">] But they had no shields
   or spears to fight with.
    9I praise you, LORD,
   and I am grateful
   for those leaders and soldiers
   who volunteered.
    10Listen, everyone!
   Whether you ride a donkey
   with a padded saddle
   or have to walk.
    11Even those who carry water [f<="">] to the animals will tell you,
   " The LORD has won victories,
   and so has Israel."
   Then the LORD's people marched
   down to the town gates
    12and said, " Deborah, let's go!
   Let's sing as we march.
   Barak, capture our enemies."
    13The LORD's people who were left
   joined with their leaders
   and fought at my side. [g<="">]
    14Troops came from Ephraim,
   where Amalekites once lived.
   Others came from Benjamin;
   officers and leaders
   from Machir and Zebulun.
    15The rulers of Issachar
   came along with Deborah,
   and Issachar followed Barak
   into the valley.
   But the tribe of Reuben
   was no help at all! [h<="">]
    16Reuben, why did you stay
   among your sheep pens? [i<="">] Was it to listen to shepherds
   whistling for their sheep?
   No one could figure out
   why Reuben wouldn't come. [j<="">]
    17The people of Gilead stayed
   across the Jordan.
   Why did the tribe of Dan
   remain on their ships
   and the tribe of Asher
   stay along the coast
   near the harbors?
    18But soldiers of Zebulun
   and Naphtali
   risked their lives
   to attack the enemy. [k<="">]
    19Canaanite kings fought us
   at Taanach by the stream
   near Megiddo [l<="">] -- but they couldn't rob us
   of our silver. [m<="">]
    20From their pathways in the sky
   the stars [n<="">] fought Sisera,
    21and his soldiers were swept away
   by the ancient Kishon River.
   I will march on and be brave.
    22Sisera's horses galloped off,
   their hoofs thundering
   in retreat.
    23The LORD's angel said,
   " Put a curse on Meroz Town!
   Its people refused
   to help the LORD fight
   his powerful enemies."
    24But honor Jael,
   the wife of Heber
   from the Kenite clan.
   Give more honor to her
   than to any other woman
   who lives in tents.
   Yes, give more honor to her
   than to any other woman.
    25Sisera asked for water,
   but Jael gave him milk--
   cream in a fancy cup.
    26She reached for a tent-peg
   and held a hammer
   in her right hand.
   And with a blow to the head,
   she crushed his skull.
    27Sisera sank to his knees
   and fell dead at her feet.
    28Sisera's mother looked out
   through her window.
   " Why is he taking so long?"
   she asked.
   " Why haven't we heard
   his chariots coming?"
    29She and her wisest women
   gave the same answer:
    30" Sisera and his troops
   are finding treasures
   to bring back--
   a woman, or maybe two,
   for each man,
   and beautiful dresses
   for those women to wear." [o<="">]
    31Our LORD, we pray
   that all your enemies
   will die like Sisera.
   But let everyone who loves you
   shine brightly
   like the sun
   at dawn.
   There was peace in Israel for about forty years.
  1. Judges 4:4 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  2. Judges 4:11 the village. . . Zaanannim: Or " the oak tree in the town of Zaanannim."
  3. Judges 5:7 villagers. . . fields: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Judges 5:7 Deborah: Or " I, Deborah."
  5. Judges 5:8 The Israelites. . . attacked: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. Judges 5:11 Even. . . water: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. Judges 5:13 side: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
  8. Judges 5:15 But. . . at all: Or " But the people of Reuben couldn't make up their minds."
  9. Judges 5:16 sheep pens: Or " campfires."
  10. Judges 5:16 No. . . come: Or " The people of Reuben couldn't make up their minds."
  11. Judges 5:18 to attack the enemy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. Judges 5:19 stream near Megiddo: Probably refers to one of the streams that flow into the Kishon River.
  13. Judges 5:19 rob us of our silver: The army that won a battle would take everything of value from the dead enemy soldiers.
  14. Judges 5:20 stars: In ancient times, the stars were sometimes regarded as supernatural beings.
  15. Judges 5:30 and beautiful. . . wear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Luke 22:35-53 (Contemporary English Version)

Moneybags, Traveling Bags, and Swords
 35Jesus asked his disciples, "When I sent you out without a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals, did you need anything?"    "No!" they answered.
    36Jesus told them, "But now, if you have a moneybag, take it with you. Also take a traveling bag, and if you don't have a sword, a<="" value="[a]" >[] sell some of your clothes and buy one. 37Do this because the Scriptures say, `He was considered a criminal.' This was written about me, and it will soon come true." 38The disciples said, "Lord, here are two swords!"
   "Enough of that!" Jesus replied.
Jesus Prays
(Matthew 26.36-46; Mark 14.32-42)
 39Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives, as he often did, and his disciples went with him. 40When they got there, he told them, "Pray that you won't be tested."     41Jesus walked on a little way before he knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you will, please don't make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. [b<="">] But do what you want, and not what I want." 43Then an angel from heaven came to help him. 44Jesus was in great pain and prayed so sincerely that his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood. [c<="">] 45Jesus got up from praying and went over to his disciples. They were asleep and worn out from being so sad. 46He said to them, "Why are you asleep? Wake up and pray that you won't be tested."
Jesus Is Arrested
(Matthew 26.47-56; Mark 14.43-50; John 18.3-11)
 47While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. It was led by Judas, one of the twelve apostles. He went over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss. [d<="">] 48Jesus asked Judas, "Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"     49When Jesus' disciples saw what was about to happen, they asked, "Lord, should we attack them with a sword?" 50One of the disciples even struck at the high priest's servant with his sword and cut off the servant's right ear.
    51"Enough of that!" Jesus said. Then he touched the servant's ear and healed it.
    52Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the temple police, and the leaders who had come to arrest him. He said, "Why do you come out with swords and clubs and treat me like a criminal? 53I was with you every day in the temple, and you didn't arrest me. But this is your time, and darkness [e<="">] is in control."
  1. Luke 22:36 moneybag. . . traveling bag. . . sword: These were things that someone would take on a dangerous journey. Jesus was telling his disciples to be ready for anything that might happen. They seem to have understood what he meant (see 22.49-51).
  2. Luke 22:42 having me drink from this cup: In the Scriptures " to drink from a cup" sometimes means to suffer.
  3. Luke 22:44 Then an angel. . . like drops of blood: Verses 43,44 are not in some manuscripts.
  4. Luke 22:47 greeted him with a kiss: It was the custom for people to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
  5. Luke 22:53 darkness: Darkness stands for the power of the devil.

Psalm 94:1-23 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 94

The LORD Punishes the Guilty
 1LORD God, you punish    the guilty.
   Show what you are like
   and punish them now.
    2You judge the earth.
   Come and help us!
   Pay back those proud people
   for what they have done.
    3How long will the wicked
   celebrate and be glad?
    4All of those cruel people
   strut and boast,
    5and they crush and wound
   your chosen nation, LORD.
    6They murder widows,
   foreigners, and orphans.
    7Then they say,
   "The LORD God of Jacob
   doesn't see or know."
    8Can't you fools see?
   Won't you ever learn?
    9God gave us ears and eyes!
   Can't he hear and see?
    10God instructs the nations
   and gives knowledge to us all.
   Won't he also correct us?
    11The LORD knows how useless
   our plans really are.
    12Our LORD, you bless everyone
   that you instruct and teach
   by using your Law.
    13You give them rest
   from their troubles,
   until a pit can be dug
   for the wicked.
    14You won't turn your back
   on your chosen nation.
    15Justice and fairness
   will go hand in hand,
   and all who do right
   will follow along.
    16Who will stand up for me
   against those cruel people?
    17If you had not helped me, LORD,
   I would soon have gone
   to the land of silence. a<="" value="[a]" >[] 18When I felt my feet slipping,
   you came with your love
   and kept me steady.
    19And when I was burdened
   with worries,
   you comforted me
   and made me feel secure.
    20But you are opposed
   to dishonest lawmakers
    21who gang up to murder
   innocent victims.
    22You, LORD God, are my fortress,
   that mighty rock [b<="">] where I am safe.
    23You will pay back my enemies,
   and you will wipe them out
   for the evil they did.
  1. Psalm 94:17 land of silence: The grave or the world of the dead.
  2. Psalm 94:22 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.

Proverbs 14:3-4 (Contemporary English Version)

3Proud fools are punished
   for their stupid talk,
   but sensible talk
   can save your life.
    4Without the help of an ox
   there can be no crop,
   but with a strong ox
   a big crop is possible.

Verse of the Day

“God did this because he wanted you Gentiles to understand his wonderful and glorious mystery. And the mystery is that Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God's glory. We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all of Christ's followers will grow and become mature.” - Colossians 1:27-28
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for H. L. Mencken
Thought for the Day

American journalist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English, H. L. Mencken wrote, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bible Readings for April 23, 2017

Today our passages are Judges 1:1–2:9; Luke 21:29–22:13; Psalm 90:1–91:1; and Proverbs 13:24-25. 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 Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Judges 1-2:9 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 1

The Tribes of Judah and Simeon Fight the Canaanites
 1After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, " Which of our tribes should attack the Canaanites first?"     2" Judah!" the LORD answered. " I'll help them take the land."
    3The people of Judah went to their relatives, the Simeon tribe, and said, " Canaanites live in the land God gave us. Help us fight them, and we will help you."
   Troops from Simeon came to help Judah.
    4-5Together they attacked an army of ten thousand Canaanites and Perizzites at Bezek, and the LORD helped Judah defeat them. During the battle, Judah's army found out where the king of Bezek a<="" value="[a]" >[] was, and they attacked there.
    6Bezek tried to escape, but soldiers from Judah caught him. They cut off his thumbs and big toes,
    7and he said, " I've cut off the thumbs and big toes of seventy kings and made those kings crawl around under my table for scraps of food. Now God is paying me back." The army of Judah took the king of Bezek along with them to Jerusalem, where he died.
    8They attacked Jerusalem, [b<="">] captured it, killed everyone who lived there, and then burned it to the ground.
    9Judah's army fought the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, the Southern Desert, and the foothills to the west.
    10After that, they attacked the Canaanites who lived at Hebron, defeating the three clans called [c<="">] Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. At that time, Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba.
    11From Hebron, Judah's army went to attack Debir, which at that time was called Kiriath-Sepher.
    12Caleb [d<="">] told his troops, " The man who captures Kiriath-Sepher can marry my daughter Achsah."
    13Caleb's nephew Othniel captured Kiriath-Sepher, so Caleb let him marry Achsah. Othniel was the son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz. [e<="">]
    14Right after the wedding, Achsah started telling Othniel that he [f<="">] ought to ask her father for a field. She went to see her father, and while she was getting down from [g<="">] her donkey, Caleb asked, " What's bothering you?"
    15She answered, " I need your help. The land you gave me is in the Southern Desert, so please give me some spring-fed ponds for a water supply."
   Caleb gave her a couple of small ponds named Higher Pond and Lower Pond. [h<="">]
    16The people who belonged to the Kenite clan were the descendants of the father-in-law of Moses. They left Jericho [i<="">] with the people of Judah and settled near Arad in the Southern Desert of Judah not far from the Amalekites. [j<="">]
    17Judah's army helped Simeon's army attack the Canaanites who lived at Zephath. They completely destroyed [k<="">] the town and renamed it Hormah. [l<="">]
    18-19The LORD helped the army of Judah capture Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and the land near those towns. They also took the hill country. But the people who lived in the valleys had iron chariots, so Judah was not able to make them leave or to take their land.
    20The tribe of Judah gave the town of Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had told them to do. Caleb defeated the three Anakim [m<="">] clans [n<="">] and took over the town.
The Benjamin Tribe Does Not Capture Jerusalem
 21The Jebusites were living in Jerusalem, and the Benjamin tribe did not defeat them or capture the town. That's why Jebusites still live in Jerusalem along with the people of Benjamin.    
The Ephraim and Manasseh Tribes Capture Bethel
 22-23The Ephraim and Manasseh tribes [o<="">] were getting ready to attack Bethel, which at that time was called Luz. And the LORD helped them when they sent spies to find out as much as they could about Bethel.     24While the spies were watching the town, a man came out, and they told him, " If you show us how our army can get into the town, [p<="">] we will make sure that you aren't harmed."
    25The man showed them, and the two Israelite tribes attacked Bethel, killing everyone except the man and his family. The two tribes made the man and his family leave,
    26so they went to the land of the Hittites, [q<="">] where he built a town. He named the town Luz, and that is still its name.
Israel Does Not Get Rid of All the Canaanites
 27-28Canaanites lived in the towns of Beth-Shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and all the villages nearby. The Canaanites were determined to stay, and the Manasseh tribe never did get rid of them. But later on, when the Israelites grew more powerful, they made slaves of the Canaanites.     29The Ephraim tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived there with Israelites all around them.
    30The Zebulun tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Kitron and Nahalol, and the Canaanites stayed there with Israelites around them. But the people of Zebulun did force the Canaanites into slave labor.
    31-32The Asher tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob, and the Asher tribe lived with Canaanites all around them.
    33The Naphtali tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Beth-Shemesh and Beth-Anath, but they did force the Canaanites into slave labor. The Naphtali tribe lived with Canaanites around them.
    34The Amorites [r<="">] were strong enough to keep the tribe of Dan from settling in the valleys, so Dan had to stay in the hill country.
    35The Amorites on Mount Heres and in Aijalon and Shaalbim were also determined to stay. Later on, as Ephraim and Manasseh grew more powerful, they forced those Amorites into slave labor.
The Amorite-Edomite Border
 36The old Amorite-Edomite border used to go from Sela through Scorpion Pass [s<="">] into the hill country. [t<="">]    

Judges 2

The LORD's Angel Speaks to Israel
 1The LORD's angel went from Gilgal to Bochim [u<="">] and gave the Israelites this message from the LORD: I promised your ancestors that I would give this land to their families, and I brought your people here from Egypt. We made an agreement that I promised never to break,     2and you promised not to make any peace treaties with the other nations that live in the land. Besides that, you agreed to tear down the altars where they sacrifice to their idols. But you didn't keep your promise.
    3And so, I'll stop helping you defeat your enemies. Instead, they will be there to trap [v<="">] you into worshiping their idols.
    4The Israelites started crying loudly,
    5and they offered sacrifices to the LORD. From then on, they called that place " Crying." [w<="">]
Israel Stops Worshiping the LORD
 6-9Joshua had been faithful to the LORD. And after Joshua sent the Israelites to take the land they had been promised, they remained faithful to the LORD until Joshua died at the age of one hundred ten. He was buried on his land in Timnath-Heres, in the hill country of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash. Even though Joshua was gone, the Israelites were faithful to the LORD during the lifetime of those men who had been leaders with Joshua and who had seen the wonderful things the LORD had done for Israel.    
  1. Judges 1:4 king of Bezek: Or " Adoni-Bezek."
  2. Judges 1:8 Jerusalem: This probably refers to towns and villages belonging to Jerusalem but lying in Judah's territory south of the city wall. Jerusalem itself was just inside Benjamin's territory, but was not captured by Israel at this time (see verse 21; Joshua 15.5-9; 18.15-18).
  3. Judges 1:10 clans called: Or " warriors."
  4. Judges 1:12 Caleb: One of the leaders of Judah; see Joshua 14.6-14 and Numbers 13.6,30; 14.6,10,20-24. For verses 12-15, see Joshua 15.13-19.
  5. Judges 1:13 Othniel was the son of. . . Kenaz: Or "Othniel and Caleb both belonged to the Kenaz clan, but Othniel was younger than Caleb."
  6. Judges 1:14 Achsah. . . Othniel. . . he: Hebrew; two ancient translations " Othniel. . . Achsah. . . she."
  7. Judges 1:14 getting down from: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. Judges 1:15 spring-fed ponds. . . small ponds. . . Higher Pond and Lower Pond: Or " wells. . . wells. . . Higher Well and Lower Well."
  9. Judges 1:16 Jericho: The Hebrew text has " Town of Palm Trees," another name for Jericho.
  10. Judges 1:16 not far. . . Amalekites: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  11. Judges 1:17 completely destroyed: The Hebrew word means that the town was given completely to the LORD, and since it could not be used for normal purposes any more, it had to be destroyed.
  12. Judges 1:17 Hormah: In Hebrew " Hormah" sounds like " completely destroyed."
  13. Judges 1:20 Anakim: Perhaps a group of very large people that lived in Palestine before the Israelites (see Numbers 13.33 and Deuteronomy 2.10,11,20,21).
  14. Judges 1:20 clans: See the note at 1.10.
  15. Judges 1:22 The Ephraim and Manasseh tribes: The Hebrew text has " The Joseph family," which was divided into these two tribes named after Joseph's sons.
  16. Judges 1:24 If you. . . town: Sometimes there were small doors in the town wall that could be opened from the inside even when the main town gates were shut and locked.
  17. Judges 1:26 land of the Hittites: The Hittites had an empire centered in what is now Turkey. At one time their empire reached south into Syria, north of Israel.
  18. Judges 1:34 Amorites: Used in the general sense of nations that lived in Canaan before the Israelites.
  19. Judges 1:36 Scorpion Pass: Or " Akrabbim Pass."
  20. Judges 1:36 country: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 36.
  21. Judges 2:1 Bochim: In Hebrew " Bochim" means " crying" (see verse 5).
  22. Judges 2:3 trap: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  23. Judges 2:5 Crying: Or " Bochim."

Luke 21:29-22:13 (Contemporary English Version)

A Lesson from a Fig Tree
(Matthew 24.32-35; Mark 13.28-31)
 29Then Jesus told them a story:    When you see a fig tree or any other tree 30putting out leaves, you know that summer will soon come. 31So, when you see these things happening, you know that God's kingdom will soon be here. 32You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all of this takes place. 33The sky and the earth won't last forever, but my words will.
A Warning
 34Don't spend all of your time thinking about eating or drinking or worrying about life. If you do, the final day will suddenly catch you 35like a trap. That day will surprise everyone on earth. 36Watch out and keep praying that you can escape all that is going to happen and that the Son of Man will be pleased with you.     37Jesus taught in the temple each day, and he spent each night on the Mount of Olives. 38Everyone got up early and came to the temple to hear him teach.

Luke 22

A Plot To Kill Jesus
(Matthew 26.1-5,14,16; Mark 14.1,2,10,11; John 11.45-53)
 1The Festival of Thin Bread, also called Passover, was near. 2The chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus, because they were afraid of what the people might do. 3Then Satan entered the heart of Judas Iscariot, a<="" value="[a]" >[] who was one of the twelve apostles. 4Judas went to talk with the chief priests and the officers of the temple police about how he could help them arrest Jesus. 5They were very pleased and offered to pay Judas some money. 6He agreed and started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus when the crowds were not around.    
Jesus Eats with His Disciples
(Matthew 26.17-25; Mark 14.12-21; John 13.21-30)
 7The day had come for the Festival of Thin Bread, and it was time to kill the Passover lambs. 8So Jesus said to Peter and John, "Go and prepare the Passover meal for us to eat."     9But they asked, "Where do you want us to prepare it?"
    10Jesus told them, "As you go into the city, you will meet a man carrying a jar of water. [b<="">] Follow him into the house 11and say to the owner, `Our teacher wants to know where he can eat the Passover meal with his disciples.' 12The owner will take you upstairs and show you a large room ready for you to use. Prepare the meal there." 13Peter and John left. They found everything just as Jesus had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
  1. Luke 22:3 Iscariot: See the note at 6.16.
  2. Luke 22:10 a man carrying a jar of water: A male slave carrying water would probably mean that the family was rich.

Psalm 90-91:16 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 90

(Psalms 90-106)
(A prayer by Moses, the man of God.)
God Is Eternal
 1Our Lord, in all generations    you have been our home.
    2You have always been God--
   long before the birth
   of the mountains,
   even before you created
   the earth and the world.
    3At your command we die
   and turn back to dust,
    4but a thousand years
   mean nothing to you!
   They are merely a day gone by
   or a few hours in the night.
    5You bring our lives to an end
   just like a dream.
   We are merely tender grass
    6that sprouts and grows
   in the morning,
   but dries up by evening.
    7Your furious anger frightens
   and destroys us,
    8and you know all of our sins,
   even those we do in secret.
    9Your anger is a burden
   each day we live,
   then life ends like a sigh.
    10We can expect seventy years,
   or maybe eighty,
   if we are healthy,
   but even our best years
   bring trouble and sorrow.
   Suddenly our time is up,
   and we disappear.
    11No one knows the full power
   of your furious anger,
   but it is as great as the fear
   that we owe to you.
    12Teach us to use wisely
   all the time we have.
    13Help us, LORD! Don't wait!
   Pity your servants.
    14When morning comes,
   let your love satisfy
   all our needs.
   Then we can celebrate
   and be glad for what time
   we have left.
    15Make us happy for as long
   as you caused us trouble
   and sorrow.
    16Do wonderful things for us,
   your servants,
   and show your mighty power
   to our children.
    17Our Lord and our God,
   treat us with kindness
   and let all go well for us.
   Please let all go well!

Psalm 91

The LORD Is My Fortress
 1Live under the protection    of God Most High
   and stay in the shadow
   of God All-Powerful.
    2Then you will say to the LORD,
   "You are my fortress,
   my place of safety;
   you are my God,
   and I trust you."
    3The Lord will keep you safe
   from secret traps
   and deadly diseases.
    4He will spread his wings
   over you
   and keep you secure.
   His faithfulness is like
   a shield or a city wall. a<="" value="[a]" >[] 5You won't need to worry
   about dangers at night
   or arrows during the day.
    6And you won't fear diseases
   that strike in the dark
   or sudden disaster at noon.
    7You will not be harmed,
   though thousands fall
   all around you.
    8And with your own eyes
   you will see
   the punishment
   of the wicked.
    9The LORD Most High
   is your fortress.
   Run to him for safety,
    10and no terrible disasters
   will strike you
   or your home.
    11God will command his angels
   to protect you
   wherever you go.
    12They will carry you
   in their arms,
   and you won't hurt your feet
   on the stones.
    13You will overpower
   the strongest lions
   and the most deadly snakes.
    14The Lord says,
   "If you love me
   and truly know who I am,
   I will rescue you
   and keep you safe.
    15When you are in trouble,
   call out to me.
   I will answer and be there
   to protect and honor you.
    16You will live a long life
   and see my saving power."
  1. Psalm 91:4 city wall: One possible meaning for a difficult Hebrew word; it may possibly mean some kind of shield or weapon.

Proverbs 13:24-25 (Contemporary English Version)

24If you love your children,
   you will correct them;
   if you don't love them,
   you won't correct them.
    25If you live right,
   you will have plenty to eat;
   if you don't live right,
   you will go away empty.

Verse of the Day

“In the Scriptures God says, "I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name!” - Romans 14:11
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Max Planck 1933.jpg
Thought for the Day

German theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, Max Planck wrote, “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”