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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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bible Readings for April 29, 2017

Today our passages are Judges 9:22–10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; and Proverbs 14:11-12. 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 9:22-10:18 (Contemporary English Version)

Abimelech Destroys Shechem
 22Abimelech had been a military commander of Israel for three years,     23-24when God decided to punish him and the leaders of Shechem for killing Gideon's seventy sons.
   So God turned the leaders of Shechem against Abimelech.
    25Then they sent some men to hide on the hilltops and watch for Abimelech and his troops, while they sent others to rob everyone that went by on the road. But Abimelech found out what they were doing.
    26One day, Gaal son of Ebed went to live in Shechem. His brothers moved there too, and soon the leaders of Shechem started trusting him.
    27The time came for the grape harvest, and the people of Shechem went into their vineyards and picked the grapes. They put the grapes in their wine-pits and walked on them to squeeze out the juice in order to make wine. Then they went into the temple of their god and threw a big party. There was a lot of eating and drinking, and before long they were cursing Abimelech.
    28Gaal said:
   Hamor was the founder of Shechem, and one of his descendants should be our ruler. But Abimelech's father was Gideon, so Abimelech isn't really one of us. He shouldn't be our king, and we shouldn't have to obey him or Zebul, who rules Shechem for him.
    29If I were the ruler of Shechem, I'd get rid of that Abimelech. I'd tell him, " Get yourself an even bigger army, and we will still defeat you."
    30Zebul was angry when he found out what Gaal had said.
    31And so he sent some messengers to Abimelech. But they had to pretend to be doing something else, or they would not have been allowed to leave Shechem. [a] Zebul told the messengers to say: Gaal the son of Ebed has come to Shechem along with his brothers, and they have persuaded the people to let Gaal rule Shechem instead of you.
    32This is what I think you should do. Lead your army here during the night and hide in the fields.
    33Get up the next morning at sunrise and rush out of your hiding places to attack the town. Gaal and his followers will come out to fight you, but you will easily defeat them.
    34So one night, Abimelech led his soldiers to Shechem. He divided them into four groups, and they all hid near the town.
    35The next morning, Gaal went out and stood in the opening of the town gate. Abimelech and his soldiers left their hiding places,
    36and Gaal saw them. Zebul was standing there with Gaal, and Gaal remarked, " Zebul, that looks like a crowd of people coming down from the mountaintops."
   " No," Zebul answered, " it's just the shadows of the mountains. It only looks like people moving."
    37" But Zebul, look over there," Gaal said. " There's a crowd coming down from the sacred mountain, [b] and another group is coming along the road from the tree where people talk with the spirits of the dead."
    38Then Zebul replied, " What good is all of your bragging now? You were the one who said Abimelech shouldn't be the ruler of Shechem. Out there is the army that you made fun of. So go out and fight them!"
    39Gaal and the leaders of Shechem went out and fought Abimelech.
    40Soon the people of Shechem turned and ran back into the town. However, Abimelech and his troops were close behind and killed many of them along the way.
    41Abimelech stayed at Arumah, [c] and Zebul forced Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.
    42The next morning, the people of Shechem were getting ready to work in their fields as usual, but someone told Abimelech about it.
    43Abimelech divided his army into three groups and set up an ambush in the fields near Shechem. When the people came out of the town, he and his army rushed out from their hiding places and attacked.
    44Abimelech and the troops with him ran to the town gate and took control of it, while two other groups attacked and killed the people who were in the fields.
    45He and his troops fought in Shechem all day, until they had killed everyone in town. Then he and his men tore down the houses and buildings and scattered salt [d] everywhere.
    46Earlier that day, the leaders of the temple of El Berith [e] at Shechem had heard about the attack. So they went into the temple fortress,
    47but Abimelech found out where they were.
    48He led his troops to Mount Zalmon, where he took an ax and chopped off a tree branch. He lifted the branch onto his shoulder and shouted, " Hurry! Cut off a branch just as I did."
    49When they all had branches, they followed Abimelech back to Shechem. They piled the branches against the fortress and set them on fire, burning down the fortress and killing about one thousand men and women.
    50After destroying Shechem, Abimelech went to Thebez. He surrounded the town and captured it.
    51But there was a tall fortress in the middle of the town, and the town leaders and everyone else went inside. Then they barred the gates and went up to the flat roof.
    52Abimelech and his army rushed to the fortress and tried to force their way inside. Abimelech himself was about to set the heavy wooden doors on fire,
    53when a woman on the roof dropped a large rock [f] on his head and cracked his skull.
    54The soldier who carried his weapons was nearby, and Abimelech told him, " Take out your sword and kill me. I don't want people to say that I was killed by a woman!" So the soldier ran his sword through Abimelech.
    55And when the Israelite soldiers saw that their leader was dead, they went back home.
    56That's how God punished Abimelech for killing his brothers and bringing shame on his father's family.
    57God also punished the people of Shechem for helping Abimelech. [g] Everything happened just as Jotham's curse said it would.

Judges 10

 1Tola was the next person to rescue Israel. He belonged to the Issachar tribe, but he lived in Shamir, a town in the hill country of Ephraim. His father was Puah, and his grandfather was Dodo.     2Tola was a leader [h] of Israel for twenty-three years, then he died and was buried in Shamir.
 3The next leader [i] of Israel was Jair, who lived in Gilead. He was a leader for twenty-two years.     4He had thirty sons, and each son had his own mule and was in charge of one town in Gilead. Those thirty towns are still called The Settlements of Jair. [j]
    5When he died, he was buried in the town of Kamon.
Israel Is Unfaithful Again
 6Before long, the Israelites began disobeying the LORD by worshiping Baal, Astarte, and gods from Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia.     7The LORD was angry at Israel and decided to let Philistia and Ammon conquer them.
    8So the same year that Jair died, Israel's army was crushed by these two nations. For eighteen years, Ammon was cruel to the Israelites who lived in Gilead, the region east of the Jordan River that had once belonged to the Amorites.
    9Then the Ammonites began crossing the Jordan and attacking the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Life was miserable for the Israelites.
    10They begged the LORD for help and confessed, " We were unfaithful to you, our LORD. We stopped worshiping you and started worshiping idols of Baal."
    11-12The LORD answered:
   In the past when you came crying to me for help, I rescued you. At one time or another I've rescued you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites. [k]
    13-14But I'm not going to rescue you any more! You've left me and gone off to worship other gods. If you're in such big trouble, go cry to them for help!
    15" We have been unfaithful," the Israelites admitted. " If we must be punished, do it yourself, but please rescue us from the Ammonites."
    16Then the Israelites got rid of the idols of the foreign gods, and they began worshiping only the LORD. Finally, there came a time when the LORD could no longer stand to see them suffer.
The Ammonites Invade Gilead
 17The rulers of Ammon called their soldiers together and led them to Gilead, where they set up camp.    The Israelites gathered at Mizpah [l] and set up camp there.
    18The leaders of Gilead asked each other, " Who can lead an attack on the Ammonites?" Then they agreed, " If we can find someone who can lead the attack, we'll make him the ruler of Gilead."
  1. Judges 9:31 But. . . Shechem: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. Judges 9:37 sacred mountain: The Hebrew text has " the navel of the land," which probably refers to Mount Gerizim as a sacred mountain linking heaven and earth.
  3. Judges 9:41 Arumah: About five miles from Shechem.
  4. Judges 9:45 scattered salt: This may have been part of a ceremony to place a curse on the town.
  5. Judges 9:46 temple of El Berith: The Hebrew text also calls all or part of this temple the " Fortress of Shechem." El Berith, " the God of the Agreement," was also known as Baal Berith, " the Lord of the Agreement" (see also 8.33; 9.4).
  6. Judges 9:53 large rock: One that was used in the grinding of grain.
  7. Judges 9:57 helping Abimelech: Hebrew " their evil" (see 9.3,4).
  8. Judges 10:2 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  9. Judges 10:3 each son had his own mule: A sign that the family was wealthy.
  10. Judges 10:4 The Settlements of Jair: Or " Havvoth-Jair."
  11. Judges 10:11 Maonites: Hebrew; one ancient translation " Midianites."
  12. Judges 10:17 Mizpah: In chapters 10-12, Mizpah is the name of a town in Gilead (see 11.29), not the same town as the Mizpah of chapters 20,21.

Luke 24:13-53 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
(Mark 16.12,13)
 13That same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, 15Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. 16But they did not know who he was.     17Jesus asked them, "What were you talking about as you walked along?"
   The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. 18Then the one named Cleopas asked Jesus, "Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn't know what was happening there these last few days?"
    19"What do you mean?" Jesus asked.
   They answered:
   Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. 20Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. 21We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened.
    22Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, 23but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back, saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn't see Jesus either.
    25Then Jesus asked the two disciples, "Why can't you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? 26Didn't you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?" 27Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets. [a] 28When the two of them came near the village where they were going, Jesus seemed to be going farther. 29They begged him, "Stay with us! It's already late, and the sun is going down." So Jesus went into the house to stay with them.
    30After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. 31At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared. 32They said to each other, "When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn't it warm our hearts?" 33So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem.
   The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together. 34And they learned from the group that the Lord was really alive and had appeared to Peter. 35Then the disciples from Emmaus told what happened on the road and how they knew he was the Lord when he broke the bread.
What Jesus' Followers Must Do
(Matthew 28.16-20; Mark 16.14-18; John 20.19-23; Acts 1.6-8)
 36While Jesus' disciples were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and greeted them. 37They were frightened and terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost.     38But Jesus said, "Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt? 39Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don't have flesh and bones as you see I have."
    40After Jesus said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41The disciples were so glad and amazed that they could not believe it. Jesus then asked them, "Do you have something to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43He took it and ate it as they watched.
    44Jesus said to them, "While I was still with you, I told you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Books of the Prophets, and in the Psalms [b] had to happen." 45Then he helped them understand the Scriptures. 46He told them:
   The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. 47They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven. So beginning in Jerusalem, 48you must tell everything that has happened. 49I will send you the one my Father has promised, [c] but you must stay in the city until you are given power from heaven.
Jesus Returns to Heaven
(Mark 16.19,20; Acts 1.9-11)
 50Jesus led his disciples out to Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them. 51As he was doing this, he left and was taken up to heaven. [d] 52After his disciples had worshiped him, [e] they returned to Jerusalem and were very happy. 53They spent their time in the temple, praising God.
  1. Luke 24:27 the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets: See the note at 16.16.
  2. Luke 24:44 Psalms: The Jewish Scriptures were made up of three parts: (1) the Law of Moses, (2) the Books of the Prophets, (3) and the Writings, which included the Psalms. Sometimes the Scriptures were just called the Law or the Law (of Moses) and the Books of the Prophets.
  3. Luke 24:49 the one my Father has promised: Jesus means the Holy Spirit.
  4. Luke 24:51 and was taken up to heaven: These words are not in some manuscripts.
  5. Luke 24:52 After his disciples had worshiped him: These words are not in some manuscripts.

Psalm 100:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 100

(A psalm of praise.)
The LORD Is God
 1Shout praises to the LORD,    everyone on this earth.
    2Be joyful and sing
   as you come in
   to worship the LORD!
    3You know the LORD is God!
   He created us,
   and we belong to him;
   we are his people,
   the sheep in his pasture.
    4Be thankful and praise the LORD
   as you enter his temple.
    5The LORD is good!
   His love and faithfulness
   will last forever.

Proverbs 14:11-12 (Contemporary English Version)

11The tent of a good person
   stands longer
   than the house
   of someone evil.
    12You may think you are
   on the right road
   and still end up dead.

Verse of the Day

“I know that my Savior lives, and at the end he will stand on this earth.” - Job 19:25
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Truman Capote by Jack Mitchell.jpgThought for the Day

American novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and actor, many of whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized as literary classics, Truman Capote wrote, “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Joke for the Day

Image result for loch ness monsterAn atheist was spending a quiet day fishing when suddenly his boat was attacked by the Loch Ness monster. In one easy flip, the beast tossed him and his boat at least a hundred feet into the air. It then opened it's mouth waiting below to swallow them both.
As the man sailed head over heels and started to fall towards the open jaws of the ferocious beast, he cried out, "Oh, God! Help me!"
Suddenly, the scene froze in place and as the atheist hung in mid-air a booming voice came out of the clouds and said, "I thought you didn't believe in Me!"
"God, come on, give me a break!" the man pleaded, "Just seconds ago I didn't believe in the Loch Ness monster either!"
"Well," said God, "now that you are a believer, you must understand that I won't work miracles to snatch you from certain death in the jaws of the monster, but I can change hearts. What would you have me do?"
The atheist thinks for a minute then says, "God, please have the Loch Ness Monster believe in You also."
God replies, "So be it."

The scene starts in motion again with the atheist falling towards the ravenous jaws of the monster. The Loch Ness Monster folds his claws together and says, "Lord, bless this food You have so graciously provided..."

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