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.”

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