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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Monday, May 1, 2017

Bible Readings for May 1, 2017

Today our passages are Judges 13:1–14:20; John 1:29-51; Psalm 102:1-28; and Proverbs 14:15-16. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version. If 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 13-14:20 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 13

Samson Is Born
 1Once again the Israelites started disobeying the LORD. So he let the Philistines take control of Israel for forty years.     2Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zorah. His wife was not able to have children,
    3-5but one day an angel from the LORD appeared to her and said:
   You have never been able to have any children, but very soon you will be pregnant and have a son. He will belong to God belong to God: The Hebrew text has "be a Nazirite of God." Nazirites were dedicated to God and had to from the day he is born, so his hair must never be cut. And even before he is born, you must not drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God's laws.
   Your son will begin to set Israel free from the Philistines.
    6She went to Manoah and said, " A prophet who looked like an angel of God came and talked to me. I was so frightened, that I didn't even ask where he was from. He didn't tell me his name,
    7but he did say that I'm going to have a baby boy. I'm not supposed to drink any wine or beer or eat any food forbidden by God's laws. Our son will belong to God for as long as he lives."
    8Then Manoah prayed, " Our LORD, please send that prophet again and let him tell us what to do for the son we are going to have."
    9God answered Manoah's prayer, and the angel went back to Manoah's wife while she was resting in the fields. Manoah wasn't there at the time,
    10so she found him and said, " That same man is here again! He's the one I saw the other day."
    11Manoah went with his wife and asked the man, " Are you the one who spoke to my wife?"
   " Yes, I am," he answered.
    12Manoah then asked, " When your promise comes true, what rules must he obey and what will be his work?"
    13" Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her," the LORD's angel answered.
    14" She must not eat or drink anything made from grapes. She must not drink wine or beer or eat anything forbidden by God's laws. I told her exactly what to do."
    15" Please," Manoah said, " stay here with us for just a little while, and we'll fix a young goat for you to eat."
    16Manoah didn't realize that he was really talking to one of the LORD's angels.
   The angel answered, " I can stay for a little while, although I won't eat any of your food. But if you would like to offer the goat as a sacrifice to the LORD, that would be fine."
    17Manoah said, " Tell us your name, so we can honor you after our son is born."
    18" No," the angel replied. " You don't need to know my name. And if you did, you couldn't understand it."
    19So Manoah took a young goat over to a large rock he had chosen for an altar, and he built a fire on the rock. Then he killed the goat, and offered it with some grain as a sacrifice to the LORD. But then an amazing thing happened.
    20The fire blazed up toward the sky, and the LORD's angel went up toward heaven in the fire. Manoah and his wife bowed down low when they saw what happened.
    21The angel was gone, but Manoah and his wife realized that he was one of the LORD's angels.
    22Manoah said, " We have seen an angel. a<="" value="[a]" >[] Now we're going to die." [b<="">]
    23" The LORD isn't going to kill us," Manoah's wife responded. " The LORD accepted our sacrifice and grain offering, and he let us see something amazing. Besides, he told us that we're going to have a son."
    24Later, Manoah's wife did give birth to a son, and she named him Samson. As the boy grew, the LORD blessed him.
    25Then, while Samson was staying at Dan's Camp [c<="">] between the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol, the Spirit of the LORD took control of him.

Judges 14

Samson Gets Married
 1One day, Samson went to Timnah, where he saw a Philistine woman.     2When he got back home, he told his parents, " I saw a Philistine woman in Timnah, and I want to marry her. Get her for me!" [d<="">]
    3His parents answered, " There are a lot of women in our clan and even more in the rest of Israel. Those Philistines are pagans. Why would you want to marry one of their women?"
   " She looks good to me," Samson answered. " Get her for me!"
    4At that time, the Philistines were in control of Israel, and the LORD wanted to stir up trouble for them. That's why he made Samson desire that woman.
    5As Samson and his parents reached the vineyards near Timnah, a fierce young lion suddenly roared and attacked Samson.
    6But the LORD's Spirit took control of Samson, and with his bare hands he tore the lion apart, as though it had been a young goat. His parents didn't know what he had done, and he didn't tell them.
    7When they got to Timnah, Samson talked to the woman, and he was sure that she was the one for him.
    8Later, [e<="">] Samson returned to Timnah for the wedding. And when he came near the place where the lion had attacked, he left the road to see what was left of the lion. He was surprised to see that bees were living in the lion's skeleton, and that they had made some honey.
    9He scooped up the honey in his hands and ate some of it as he walked along. When he got back to his parents, he gave them some of the honey, and they ate it too. But he didn't tell them he had found the honey in the skeleton of a lion. [f<="">]
    10While Samson's father went to make the final arrangements with the bride and her family, Samson threw a big party, [g<="">] as grooms [h<="">] usually did.
    11When the Philistines saw what Samson was like, they told thirty of their young men to stay with him at the party.
    12Samson told the thirty young men, " This party will last for seven days. Let's make a bet: I'll tell you a riddle, and if you can tell me the right answer before the party is over, I'll give each one of you a shirt and a full change of clothing.
    13But if you can't tell me the answer, then each of you will have to give me a shirt and a full change of clothing."
   " It's a bet!" the Philistines said. " Tell us the riddle."
    14Samson said:
   Once so strong and mighty--
   now so sweet and tasty!
   Three days went by, and the Philistine young men had not come up with the right answer.
    15Finally, on the seventh [i<="">] day of the party they went to Samson's bride and said, " You had better trick your husband into telling you the answer to his riddle. Have you invited us here just to rob us? If you don't find out the answer, we will burn you and your family to death."
    16Samson's bride went to him and started crying in his arms. " You must really hate me," she sobbed. " If you loved me at all, you would have told me the answer to your riddle."
   " But I haven't even told my parents the answer!" Samson replied. " Why should I tell you?"
    17For the entire seven days of the party, she had been whining and trying to get the answer from him. But that seventh day she put so much pressure on Samson that he finally gave in and told her the answer. She went straight to the young men and told them.
    18Before sunset that day, the men of the town went to Samson with this answer:
   A lion is the strongest--
   honey is the sweetest!
   Samson replied,
   This answer you have given me
   doubtless came
   from my bride-to-be.
    19Then the LORD's Spirit took control of Samson. He went to Ashkelon, [j<="">] where he killed thirty men and took their clothing. Samson then gave it to the thirty young men at Timnah and stormed back home to his own family.
    20The father of the bride had Samson's wife marry one of the thirty young men that had been at Samson's party. [k<="">]
  1. Judges 13:22 angel: The Hebrew text has " god," which can be used of God or of other supernatural beings.
  2. Judges 13:22 We have seen an angel. Now we're going to die: Some people believed that if they saw the LORD or one of the LORD's angels, they would die.
  3. Judges 13:25 Dan's Camp: Or " Mahaneh-Dan."
  4. Judges 14:2 Get her for me: At that time, parents arranged marriages for their children.
  5. Judges 14:8 Later: Or " The following year."
  6. Judges 14:9 But he didn't tell them. . . skeleton of a lion: To eat anything that had touched a skeleton was against God's laws (see Leviticus 11.27-40).
  7. Judges 14:10 party: The Hebrew term means a party that involved a lot of drinking.
  8. Judges 14:10 grooms: Or " warriors."
  9. Judges 14:15 Finally, on the seventh: Hebrew; three ancient translations " on the fourth."
  10. Judges 14:19 Ashkelon: Another Philistine town.
  11. Judges 14:20 one. . . at Samson's party: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

John 1:29-51 (Contemporary English Version)

The Lamb of God
 29The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said:    Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30He is the one I told you about when I said, "Someone else will come. He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born." 31I didn't know who he was. But I came to baptize you with water, so that everyone in Israel would see him.
    32I was there and saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven. And the Spirit stayed on him. 33Before this I didn't know who he was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water had told me, "You will see the Spirit come down and stay on someone. Then you will know that he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit." 34I saw this happen, and I tell you that he is the Son of God.
The First Disciples of Jesus
 35The next day, John was there again, and two of his followers were with him. 36When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, "Here is the Lamb of God!" 37John's two followers heard him, and they went with Jesus.     38When Jesus turned and saw them, he asked, "What do you want?"
   They answered, "Rabbi, where do you live?" The Hebrew word "Rabbi" means "Teacher."
    39Jesus replied, "Come and see!" It was already about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with him and saw where he lived. So they stayed on for the rest of the day.
    40One of the two men who had heard John and had gone with Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and tell him, "We have found the Messiah!" The Hebrew word "Messiah" means the same as the Greek word "Christ."
    42Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, "Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas." This name can be translated as "Peter." a<="" value="[a]" >[]
Jesus Chooses Philip and Nathanael
 43-44The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. There he met Philip, who was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. Jesus said to Philip, "Come with me."     45Philip then found Nathanael and said, "We have found the one that Moses and the Prophets [b<="">] wrote about. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth." 46Nathanael asked, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?"
   Philip answered, "Come and see."
    47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said, "Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn't deceitful." [c<="">] 48"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.
   Jesus answered, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."
    49Nathanael said, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God and the King of Israel!"
    50Jesus answered, "Did you believe me just because I said that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see something even greater. 51I tell you for certain that you will see heaven open and God's angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man." [d<="">]
  1. John 1:42 Peter: The Aramaic name " Cephas" and the Greek name " Peter" each mean " rock."
  2. John 1:45 Moses and the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
  3. John 1:47 Israel. . . isn't deceitful: Israel (meaning " a man who wrestled with God" or " a prince of God" ) was the name that the Lord gave to Jacob (meaning " cheater" or " deceiver" ), the famous ancestor of the Jewish people.
  4. John 1:51 going up and coming down on the Son of Man: When Jacob (see the note at verse 47) was running from his brother Esau, he had a dream in which he saw angels going up and down on a ladder from earth to heaven (see Genesis 32.22-32)

Psalm 102:1-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 102

(A prayer for someone who hurts and needs to ask the LORD for help.)
A Prayer in Time of Trouble
 1I pray to you, LORD!    Please listen.
    2Don't hide from me
   in my time of trouble.
   Pay attention to my prayer
   and quickly give an answer.
    3My days disappear like smoke,
   and my bones are burning
   as though in a furnace.
    4I am wasting away like grass,
   and my appetite is gone.
    5My groaning never stops,
   and my bones can be seen
   through my skin.
    6I am like a lonely owl
   in the desert
    7or a restless sparrow
   alone on a roof.
    8My enemies insult me all day,
   and they use my name
   for a curse word.
    9Instead of food,
   I have ashes to eat
   and tears to drink,
    10because you are furious
   and have thrown me aside.
    11My life fades like a shadow
   at the end of day
   and withers like grass.
    12Our LORD, you are King forever
   and will always be famous.
    13You will show pity to Zion
   because the time has come.
    14We, your servants,
   love each stone in the city,
   and we are sad to see them
   lying in the dirt.
    15Our LORD, the nations
   will honor you,
   and all kings on earth
   will praise your glory.
    16You will rebuild
   the city of Zion.
   Your glory will be seen,
    17and the prayers of the homeless
   will be answered.
    18Future generations must also
   praise the LORD,
   so write this for them:
    19"From his holy temple,
   the LORD looked down
   at the earth.
    20He listened to the groans
   of prisoners,
   and he rescued everyone
   who was doomed to die."
    21All Jerusalem should praise
   you, our LORD,
    22when people from every nation
   meet to worship you.
    23I should still be strong,
   but you, LORD, have made
   an old person of me.
    24You will live forever!
   Years mean nothing to you.
   Don't cut my life in half!
    25In the beginning, LORD,
   you laid the earth's foundation
   and created the heavens.
    26They will all disappear
   and wear out like clothes.
   You change them,
   as you would a coat,
   but you last forever.
    27You are always the same.
   Years cannot change you.
    28Every generation of those
   who serve you
   will live in your presence.

Proverbs 14:15-16 (Contemporary English Version)

15Don't be stupid
   and believe all you hear;
   be smart and know
   where you are headed.
    16Only a stupid fool
   is never cautious--
   so be extra careful
   and stay out of trouble.

Verse of the Day

“But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him.” - Hebrews 11:6
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Joseph HellerThought for the Day

American author of novels, short stories, plays and screenplays, Joseph Heller wrote, “Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck.”

Image result for college students taking an examA Joke for the Day
Professor Markowitz was teaching a graduate level class at New York University. On the mid-term exam he included a huge amount of material. As tension in the room built, people were sighing and gasping aloud.

The following week Professor Markowitz tossed the graded papers on his desk and announced, 'Class, after I left here last week, God spoke to me. He said, 'Thanks, professor. I haven't heard from some of those people in years!''

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