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, March 15, 2017

Bible Readings for March 15, 2017

Today our passages are Numbers 22:21–23:30; Luke 1:57-80; Psalm 58:1-11; and Proverbs 11:12-13. The readings are 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.

Numbers 22:21-23:30 (Contemporary English Version)

21So Balaam got up the next morning and saddled his donkey, then left with the Moabite officials.    
Balaam and His Donkey Meet an Angel
 22Balaam was riding his donkey to Moab, and two of his servants were with him. But God was angry that Balaam had gone, so one of the LORD's angels stood in the road to stop him. 23When Balaam's donkey saw the angel standing there with a sword, it walked off the road and into an open field. Balaam had to beat the donkey to get it back on the road.     24Then the angel stood between two vineyards, in a narrow path with a stone wall on each side. 25When the donkey saw the angel, it walked so close to one of the walls that Balaam's foot scraped against the wall. Balaam beat the donkey again.
    26The angel moved once more and stood in a spot so narrow that there was no room for the donkey to go around. 27So it just lay down. Balaam lost his temper, then picked up a stick and smacked the donkey.
    28When that happened, the LORD told the donkey to speak, and it asked Balaam, " What have I done to you that made you beat me three times?"
    29" You made me look stupid!" Balaam answered. " If I had a sword, I'd kill you here and now!"
    30" But you're my owner," replied the donkey, " and you've ridden me many times. Have I ever done anything like this before?"
   " No," Balaam admitted.
    31Just then, the LORD let Balaam see the angel standing in the road, holding a sword, and Balaam bowed down.
    32The angel said, " You had no right to treat your donkey like that! I was the one who blocked your way, because I don't think you should go to Moab. a<="" value="[a]" >[] 33If your donkey had not seen me and stopped those three times, I would have killed you and let the donkey live." 34Balaam replied, " I was wrong. I didn't know you were trying to stop me. If you don't think I should go, I'll return home right now."
    35" It's all right for you to go," the LORD's angel answered. " But you must say only what I tell you." So Balaam went on with Balak's officials.
King Balak Meets Balaam
 36When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went to meet him at the town of Ir, which is on the northern border of Moab. 37Balak asked, " Why didn't you come when I invited you the first time? Did you think I wasn't going to pay you?"     38" I'm here now," Balaam answered. " But I will say only what God tells me to say."
    39They left and went to the town of Kiriath-Huzoth, 40where Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep and gave some of the meat to Balaam and the officials who were with him.
    41The next morning, Balak took Balaam to the town of Bamoth-Baal. From there, Balaam could see some of the Israelites. [b<="">]

Numbers 23

Balaam's First Message
 1Balaam said to Balak, " Build seven altars here, then bring seven bulls and seven rams."     2After Balak had done this, they sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Then Balaam said, " Wait here beside your offerings, and I'll go somewhere to be alone. Maybe the LORD will appear to me. If he does, I will tell you everything he says." And he left.
    4When God appeared to him, Balaam said, " I have built seven altars and have sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one."
    5The LORD gave Balaam a message, then sent him back to tell Balak. 6When Balaam returned, he found Balak and his officials standing beside the offerings.
    7Balaam said:
   " King Balak of Moab brought me
   from the hills of Syria
   to curse Israel
   and announce its doom.
    8But I can't go against God!
   He did not curse
   or condemn Israel.
    9" From the mountain peaks,
   I look down and see Israel,
   the obedient people of God.
    10They are living alone in peace.
   And though they are many,
   they don't bother
   the other nations.
   " I hope to obey God
   for as long as I live
   and to die in such peace."
    11Balak said, " What are you doing? I asked you to come and place a curse on my enemies. But you have blessed them instead!"
    12Balaam answered, " I can say only what the LORD tells me."
Balaam's Second Message
 13Balak said to Balaam, " Let's go somewhere else. Maybe if you see a smaller part of the Israelites, you will be able to curse them for me." 14So he took Balaam to a field on top of Mount Pisgah where lookouts were stationed. [c<="">] Then he built seven altars there and sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one. 15" Wait here beside your offerings," Balaam said. " The LORD will appear to me over there."     16The LORD appeared to Balaam and gave him another message, then he told him to go and tell Balak. 17Balaam went back and saw him and his officials standing beside the offerings.
   Balak asked, " What did the LORD say?"
    18Balaam answered:
   " Pay close attention
   to my words--
    19God is no mere human!
   He doesn't tell lies
   or change his mind.
   God always keeps his promises.
    20" My command from God
   was to bless these people,
   and there's nothing I can do
   to change what he has done.
    21Israel's king is the LORD God.
   He lives there with them
   and intends them no harm.
    22With the strength of a wild ox,
   God led Israel out of Egypt.
    23No magic charms can work
   against them--
   just look what God has done
   for his people.
    24They are like angry lions
   ready to attack;
   and they won't rest
   until their victim
   is gobbled down."
    25Balak shouted, " If you're not going to curse Israel, then at least don't bless them."
    26" I've already told you," Balaam answered. " I will say only what the LORD tells me."
Balaam's Third Message
 27Balak said to Balaam, " Come on, let's try another place. Maybe God will let you curse Israel from there." 28So he took Balaam to Mount Peor overlooking the desert north of the Dead Sea.     29Balaam said, " Build seven altars here, then bring me seven bulls and seven rams."
    30After Balak had done what Balaam asked, he sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar.
  1. Numbers 22:32 I don't think you should go to Moab: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. Numbers 22:41 Balaam could see some of the Israelites: For a curse to work, the people or thing being cursed had to be seen.
  3. Numbers 23:14 a field. . . where lookouts were stationed: Or " Zophim Field on the top of Mount Pisgah."

Luke 1:57-80 (Contemporary English Version)

The Birth of John the Baptist
 57When Elizabeth's son was born, 58her neighbors and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad.     59Eight days later they did for the child what the Law of Moses commands. a<="" value="[a]" >[] They were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But Elizabeth said, "No! His name is John." 61The people argued, "No one in your family has ever been named John." 62So they motioned to Zechariah to find out what he wanted to name his son.
    63Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. Then he wrote, "His name is John." Everyone was amazed. 64Right away, Zechariah started speaking and praising God.
    65All the neighbors were frightened because of what had happened, and everywhere in the hill country people kept talking about these things. 66Everyone who heard about this wondered what this child would grow up to be. They knew that the Lord was with him.
Zechariah Praises the Lord
 67The Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah, and he began to speak:     68Praise the Lord,
   the God of Israel!
   He has come
   to save his people.
    69Our God has given us
   a mighty Savior [b<="">] from the family
   of David his servant.
    70Long ago the Lord promised
   by the words
   of his holy prophets
    71to save us from our enemies
   and from everyone
   who hates us.
    72God said he would be kind
   to our people
   and keep
   his sacred promise.
    73He told our ancestor Abraham
    74that he would rescue us
   from our enemies.
   Then we could serve him
   without fear,
    75by being holy and good
   as long as we live.
    76You, my son, will be called
   a prophet of God
   in heaven above.
   You will go ahead of the Lord
   to get everything ready
   for him.
    77You will tell his people
   that they can be saved
   when their sins
   are forgiven.
    78God's love and kindness
   will shine upon us
   like the sun that rises
   in the sky. [c<="">] 79On us who live
   in the dark shadow
   of death
   this light will shine
   to guide us
   into a life of peace.
    80As John grew up, God's Spirit gave him great power. John lived in the desert until the time he was sent to the people of Israel.
  1. Luke 1:59 what the Law of Moses commands: This refers to circumcision. It is the cutting off of skin from the private part of Jewish boys eight days after birth to show that they belong to the Lord.
  2. Luke 1:69 a mighty Savior: The Greek text has " a horn of salvation." In the Scriptures animal horns are often a symbol of great strength.
  3. Luke 1:78 like the sun that rises in the sky: Or " like the Messiah coming from heaven."

Psalm 58:1-11 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 58

(A special psalm by David for the music leader. To the tune "Don't Destroy." (Psalm 57; 58 Don't Destroy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.) )
A Prayer When All Goes Wrong
 1Do you mighty people a<="" value="[a]" >[] talk only to oppose justice? [b<="">] Don't you ever judge fairly?     2You are always planning evil,
   and you are brutal.
    3You have done wrong and lied
   from the day you were born.
    4Your words spread poison
   like the bite of a cobra
    5that refuses to listen
   to the snake charmer.
    6My enemies are fierce
   as lions, LORD God!
   Shatter their teeth.
   Snatch out their fangs.
    7Make them disappear
   like leaking water,
   and make their arrows miss.
    8Let them dry up like snails
   or be like a child that dies
   before seeing the sun.
    9Wipe them out quicker
   than a pot can be heated
   by setting thorns on fire. [c<="">] 10Good people will be glad
   when they see the wicked
   getting what they deserve,
   and they will wash their feet
   in their enemies' blood.
    11Everyone will say, "It's true!
   Good people are rewarded.
   God does rule the earth
   with justice."
  1. Psalm 58:1 mighty people: Or " mighty rulers" or " mighty gods."
  2. Psalm 58:1 Do. . . justice: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Psalm 58:9 Wipe. . . fire: See the note at Psalm 57.

Proverbs 11:12-13 (Contemporary English Version)

12It's stupid to say bad things
   about your neighbors.
   If you are sensible,
   you will keep quiet.
    13A gossip tells everything,
   but a true friend
   will keep a secret.

Verse of the Day

“But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Israel. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life. Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.” - Acts 4:10,12
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

L'Image et le Pouvoir - Buste cuirassé de Marc Aurèle agé - 3.jpg
Thought for the Day

Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”

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