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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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bible Readings for May 2, 2017

Today our passages are Judges 15:1–16:31; John 2:1-25; Psalm 103:1-22; and Proverbs 14:17-19. 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 15-16:31 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 15

 1Later, during the wheat harvest, Samson went to visit the young woman he thought was still his wife. a<="" value="[a]" >[] He brought along a young goat as a gift and said to her father, " I want to go into my wife's bedroom." " You can't do that," he replied.     2" When you left the way you did, I thought you were divorcing [b<="">] her. So I arranged for her to marry one of the young men who were at your party. But my younger daughter is even prettier, and you can have her as your wife."
    3" This time," Samson answered, " I have a good reason for really hurting some Philistines."
Samson Takes Revenge
 4Samson went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them together in pairs with oil-soaked rags around their tails.     5Then Samson took the foxes into the Philistine wheat fields that were ready to be harvested. He set the rags on fire and let the foxes go. The wheat fields went up in flames, and so did the stacks of wheat that had already been cut. Even the Philistine vineyards and olive orchards burned.
    6Some of the Philistines started asking around, " Who could have done such a thing?"
   "It was Samson," someone told them. "He married the daughter of that man in Timnah, but then the man gave Samson's wife to one of the men at the wedding."
   The Philistine leaders went to Timnah and burned to death Samson's wife and her father. [c<="">]
    7When Samson found out what they had done, he went to them and said, " You killed them! And I won't rest until I get even with you."
    8Then Samson started hacking them to pieces with his sword. [d<="">] Samson left Philistia and went to live in the cave at Etam Rock.
    9But it wasn't long before the Philistines invaded Judah [e<="">] and set up a huge army camp at Jawbone. [f<="">]
    10The people of Judah asked, " Why have you invaded our land?"
   The Philistines answered, " We've come to get Samson. We're going to do the same things to him that he did to our people."
    11Three thousand men from Judah went to the cave at Etam Rock and said to Samson, " Don't you know that the Philistines rule us, and they will punish us for what you did?"
   " I was only getting even with them," Samson replied. " They did the same things to me first."
    12" We came here to tie you up and turn you over to them," said the men of Judah.
   " I won't put up a fight," Samson answered, " but you have to promise not to hurt me yourselves."
    13-14" We promise," the men said. " We will only tie you up and turn you over to the Philistines. We won't kill you." Then they tied up his hands and arms with two brand-new ropes and led him away from Etam Rock.
   When the Philistines saw that Samson was being brought to their camp at Jawbone, they started shouting and ran toward him. But the LORD's Spirit took control of Samson, and Samson broke the ropes, as though they were pieces of burnt cloth.
    15Samson glanced around and spotted the jawbone of a donkey. The jawbone had not yet dried out, so it was still hard and heavy. Samson grabbed it and started hitting Philistines--he killed a thousand of them!
    16After the fighting was over, he made up this poem about what he had done to the Philistines:
   I used a donkey's jawbone
   to kill a thousand men;
   I beat them with this jawbone
   over and over again. [g<="">]
    17Samson tossed the jawbone on the ground and decided to call the place Jawbone Hill. [h<="">] It is still called that today.
    18Samson was so thirsty that he prayed, " Our LORD, you helped me win a battle against a whole army. Please don't let me die of thirst now. Those heathen Philistines will carry off my dead body."
    19Samson was tired and weary, but God sent water gushing from a rock. [i<="">] Samson drank some and felt strong again. Samson named the place Caller Spring, [j<="">] because he had called out to God for help. The spring is still there at Jawbone.
    20Samson was a leader [k<="">] of Israel for twenty years, but the Philistines were still the rulers of Israel.

Judges 16

Samson Carries Off the Gates of Gaza
 1One day while Samson was in Gaza, he saw a prostitute and went to her house to spend the night.     2The people who lived in Gaza found out he was there, and they decided to kill him at sunrise. So they went to the city gate and waited all night in the guardrooms on each side of the gate. [l<="">]
    3But Samson got up in the middle of the night and went to the town gate. He pulled the gate doors and doorposts out of the wall and put them on his shoulders. Then he carried them all the way to the top of the hill that overlooks Hebron, [m<="">] where he set the doors down, still closed and locked.
Delilah Tricks Samson
 4Some time later, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in Sorek Valley.     5The Philistine rulers [n<="">] went to Delilah and said, " Trick Samson into telling you what makes him so strong and what can make him weak. Then we can tie him up so he can't get away. If you find out his secret, we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver." [o<="">]
    6The next time Samson was at Delilah's house, she asked, " Samson, what makes you so strong? How can I tie you up so you can't get away? Come on, you can tell me."
    7Samson answered, " If someone ties me up with seven new bowstrings that have never been dried, [p<="">] it will make me just as weak as anyone else."
    8-9The Philistine rulers gave seven new bowstrings to Delilah. They also told some of their soldiers to go to Delilah's house and hide in the room where Samson and Delilah were. If the bowstrings made Samson weak, they would be able to capture him.
   Delilah tied up Samson with the bowstrings and shouted, " Samson, the Philistines are attacking!"
   Samson snapped the bowstrings, as though they were pieces of scorched string. The Philistines had not found out why Samson was so strong.
    10" You lied and made me look like a fool," Delilah said. " Now tell me. How can I really tie you up?"
    11Samson answered, " Use some new ropes. If I'm tied up with ropes that have never been used, I'll be just as weak as anyone else."
    12Delilah got new ropes and again had some Philistines hide in the room. Then she tied up Samson's arms and shouted, " Samson, the Philistines are attacking!"
   Samson snapped the ropes as if they were threads.
    13" You're still lying and making a fool of me," Delilah said. " Tell me how I can tie you up!"
   " My hair is in seven braids," Samson replied. " If you weave my braids into the threads on a loom and nail the loom [q<="">] to a wall, then I will be as weak as anyone else."
    14While Samson was asleep, Delilah wove his braids into the threads on a loom and nailed the loom to a wall. [r<="">] Then she shouted, " Samson, the Philistines are attacking !" Samson woke up and pulled the loom free from its posts in the ground and from the nails in the wall. Then he pulled his hair free from the woven cloth.
    15" Samson," Delilah said, " you claim to love me, but you don't mean it! You've made me look like a fool three times now, and you still haven't told me why you are so strong."
    16Delilah started nagging and pestering him day after day, until he couldn't stand it any longer.
    17Finally, Samson told her the truth. " I have belonged to God [s<="">] ever since I was born, so my hair has never been cut. If it were ever cut off, my strength would leave me, and I would be as weak as anyone else."
    18Delilah realized that he was telling the truth. So she sent someone to tell the Philistine rulers, " Come to my house one more time. Samson has finally told me the truth."
   The Philistine rulers went to Delilah's house, and they brought along the silver they had promised her.
    19Delilah had lulled Samson to sleep with his head resting in her lap. She signaled to one of the Philistine men as she began cutting off Samson's seven braids. And by the time she was finished, Samson's strength was gone. Delilah tied him up
    20and shouted, " Samson, the Philistines are attacking!"
   Samson woke up and thought, " I'll break loose and escape, just as I always do." He did not realize that the LORD had stopped helping him.
    21The Philistines grabbed Samson and poked out his eyes. They took him to the prison in Gaza and chained him up. Then they put him to work, turning a millstone to grind grain.
    22But they didn't cut his hair any more, so it started growing back.
    23The Philistine rulers threw a big party and sacrificed a lot of animals to their god Dagon. The rulers said:
   Samson was our enemy,
   but our god Dagon
   helped us capture him!
    24-25Everyone there was having a good time, and they shouted, " Bring out Samson--he's still good for a few more laughs!"
   The rulers had Samson brought from the prison, and when the people saw him, this is how they praised their god:
   Samson ruined our crops
   and killed our people.
   He was our enemy,
   but our god
   helped us
   capture him.
   They made fun of Samson for a while, then they told him to stand near the columns that supported the roof.
    26A young man was leading Samson by the hand, and Samson said to him, " I need to lean against something. Take me over to the columns that hold up the roof."
    27The Philistine rulers were celebrating in a temple packed with people and with three thousand [t<="">] more on the flat roof. They had all been watching Samson and making fun of him. [u<="">]
    28Samson prayed, " Please remember me, LORD God. The Philistines poked out my eyes, but make me strong one last time, so I can take revenge for at least one of my eyes!" [v<="">]
    29Samson was standing between the two middle columns that held up the roof. He felt around and found one column with his right hand, and the other with his left hand.
    30Then he shouted, " Let me die with the Philistines!" He pushed against the columns as hard as he could, and the temple collapsed with the Philistine rulers and everyone else still inside. Samson killed more Philistines when he died than he had killed during his entire life.
    31His brothers and the rest of his family went to Gaza and took his body back home. They buried him in his father's tomb, [w<="">] which was located between Zorah and Eshtaol. Samson was a leader [x<="">] of Israel for twenty years.
  1. Judges 15:1 Samson went to visit. . . his wife: See the note at 8.31.
  2. Judges 15:2 divorcing: It was often very easy for a husband to divorce his wife.
  3. Judges 15:6 and her father: Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts and two ancient translations " and her family."
  4. Judges 15:8 hacking. . . sword: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. Judges 15:9 Judah: Samson belonged to the Dan tribe, but his hideout in the cave at Etam Rock was in Judah, a few miles southwest of Bethlehem.
  6. Judges 15:9 Jawbone: Or " Lehi" (see verse 17).
  7. Judges 15:16 I beat. . . again: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. Judges 15:17 Jawbone Hill: Or " Ramath-Lehi."
  9. Judges 15:19 God sent. . a rock: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. Judges 15:19 Caller Spring: Or " Enhakkore."
  11. Judges 15:20 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  12. Judges 16:2 guardrooms. . . gate: The gate was often in a part of the town wall that was thicker and taller than the rest of the wall, and that had rooms where guards stayed when they were on duty.
  13. Judges 16:3 Hebron: About forty miles from Gaza.
  14. Judges 16:5 Philistine rulers: There were five rulers, each one controlling part of Philistia.
  15. Judges 16:5 silver: About 140 pounds of silver altogether.
  16. Judges 16:7 new bowstrings. . . dried: The string for a bow was often made from sinews or internal organs of animals. These strings were made while the animal tissues were still moist, and they became much stronger, once they were dry.
  17. Judges 16:13 loom: A large wooden frame on which cloth is woven.
  18. Judges 16:14 If you weave. . . to a wall: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation; Hebrew " Weave my braids into the threads on a loom. She nailed the loom to a wall."
  19. Judges 16:17 belonged to God: See the note at 13.3-5.
  20. Judges 16:27 three thousand: Hebrew; some manuscripts of one ancient translation " seven hundred."
  21. Judges 16:27 They. . . him: Samson may have been in a courtyard visible from the roof.
  22. Judges 16:28 one of my eyes: Or " my eyes."
  23. Judges 16:31 buried him in his father's tomb: Several family members were often buried in one tomb.
  24. Judges 16:31 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.

John 2:1-25 (Contemporary English Version)

John 2

Jesus at a Wedding in Cana
 1Three days later Mary, the mother of Jesus, was at a wedding feast in the village of Cana in Galilee. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited and were there.     3When the wine was all gone, Mary said to Jesus, "They don't have any more wine."
    4Jesus replied, "Mother, my time hasn't yet come: a<="" value="[a]" >[] You must not tell me what to do." 5Mary then said to the servants, "Do whatever Jesus tells you to do."
    6At the feast there were six stone water jars that were used by the people for washing themselves in the way that their religion said they must. Each jar held about twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus told the servants to fill them to the top with water. Then after the jars had been filled, 8he said, "Now take some water and give it to the man in charge of the feast."
   The servants did as Jesus told them, 9and the man in charge drank some of the water that had now turned into wine. He did not know where the wine had come from, but the servants did. He called the bridegroom over 10and said, "The best wine is always served first. Then after the guests have had plenty, the other wine is served. But you have kept the best until last!"
    11This was Jesus' first miracle, [b<="">] and he did it in the village of Cana in Galilee. There Jesus showed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. 12After this, he went with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples to the town of Capernaum, where they stayed for a few days.
Jesus in the Temple
(Matthew 21.12,13; Mark 11.15-17; Luke 19.45,46)
 13Not long before the Jewish festival of Passover, Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14There he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves in the temple. He also saw moneychangers sitting at their tables. 15So he took some rope and made a whip. Then he chased everyone out of the temple, together with their sheep and cattle. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins.     16Jesus said to the people who had been selling doves, "Get those doves out of here! Don't make my Father's house a marketplace."
    17The disciples then remembered that the Scriptures say, "My love for your house burns in me like a fire."
    18The Jewish leaders asked Jesus, "What miracle [c<="">] will you work to show us why you have done this?" 19"Destroy this temple," Jesus answered, "and in three days I will build it again!"
    20The leaders replied, "It took forty-six years to build this temple. What makes you think you can rebuild it in three days?"
    21But Jesus was talking about his body as a temple. 22And when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered what he had told them. Then they believed the Scriptures and the words of Jesus.
Jesus Knows What People Are Like
 23In Jerusalem during Passover many people put their faith in Jesus, because they saw him work miracles. [d<="">] 24But Jesus knew what was in their hearts, and he would not let them have power over him. 25No one had to tell him what people were like. He already knew.    
  1. John 2:4 my time hasn't yet come: The time when the true glory of Jesus would be seen, and he would be recognized as God's Son (see 12.23).
  2. John 2:11 miracle: The Greek text has " sign." In the Gospel of John the word " sign" is used for the miracle itself and as a way of pointing to Jesus as the Son of God.
  3. John 2:18 miracle: The Greek text has " sign." In the Gospel of John the word " sign" is used for the miracle itself and as a way of pointing to Jesus as the Son of God.
  4. John 2:23 from above: Or " in a new way." The same Greek word is used in verses 7,31.

Psalm 103:1-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 103

(By David.)
The LORD's Wonderful Love
 1With all my heart    I praise the LORD,
   and with all that I am
   I praise his holy name!
    2With all my heart
   I praise the LORD!
   I will never forget
   how kind he has been.
    3The LORD forgives our sins,
   heals us when we are sick,
    4and protects us from death.
   His kindness and love
   are a crown on our heads.
    5Each day that we live, a<="" value="[a]" >[] he provides for our needs
   and gives us the strength
   of a young eagle.
    6For all who are mistreated,
   the LORD brings justice.
    7He taught his Law to Moses
   and showed all Israel
   what he could do.
    8The LORD is merciful!
   He is kind and patient,
   and his love never fails.
    9The LORD won't always be angry
   and point out our sins;
    10he doesn't punish us
   as our sins deserve.
    11How great is God's love for all
   who worship him?
   Greater than the distance
   between heaven and earth!
    12How far has the LORD taken
   our sins from us?
   Farther than the distance
   from east to west!
    13Just as parents are kind
   to their children,
   the LORD is kind
   to all who worship him,
    14because he knows
   we are made of dust.
    15We humans are like grass
   or wild flowers
   that quickly bloom.
    16But a scorching wind blows,
   and they quickly wither
   to be forever forgotten.
    17The LORD is always kind
   to those who worship him,
   and he keeps his promises
   to their descendants
    18who faithfully obey him.
    19God has set up his kingdom
   in heaven,
   and he rules
   the whole creation.
    20All of you mighty angels,
   who obey God's commands,
   come and praise your LORD!
    21All of you thousands
   who serve and obey God,
   come and praise your LORD!
    22All of God's creation
   and all that he rules,
   come and praise your LORD!
   With all my heart
   I praise the LORD!
  1. Psalm 103:5 Each. . . live: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 14:17-19 (Contemporary English Version)

17Fools have quick tempers,
   and no one likes you
   if you can't be trusted.
    18Stupidity leads to foolishness;
   be smart and learn.
    19The wicked will come crawling
   to those who obey God.

Verse of the Day

“We are certain that God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him. And if we know that God listens when we pray, we are sure that our prayers have already been answered.” - 1 John 5:14-15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for horace roman poetThought for the Day

The leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus, Horace wrote, “The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbor.”

A Joke for the Day
Old Couple
An elderly couple who were childhood sweethearts had married & settled down in their old neighborhood.
To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary they walk down to their old school. There, they hold hands as they find the desk they shared & where he had carved "I love you, Sally".
On their way back home, a bag of money falls out of an armoured car practically at their feet. She quickly picks it up, & they don't know what to do with it so they take it home. There, she counts the money, & its fifty-thousand dollars.
The husband says: "We've got to give it back".
She says, "Finders keepers" & puts the money back in the bag & hides it up in their attic.
The next day, two policemen are going from door-to-door in the neighbourhood looking for the money show up at their home.
One knocks on the door & says: "Pardon me, but did either of you find any money that fell out of an armored car yesterday?"
She says: "No".
The husband says: "She's lying. She hid it up in the attic."
She says: "Don't believe him, he's getting senile."
But the policemen sit the man down & begin to question him.
One says: "Tell us the story from the beginning."
The old man says: "Well, when Sally & I were walking home from school yesterday ..."

At this, the policeman looks at his partner & says: "We're outta here ..." 

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