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, June 19, 2017

Bible Readings for June 19, 2017

Today our passages are 1 Kings 20:1– 21:29; Acts 12:24–13:15; Psalm 137:1-9; and Proverbs 17:16. 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.

1 Kings 20-21:29 (Contemporary English Version)

1 Kings 20

Syria Attacks Israel
 1King Benhadad of Syria a<="" value="[a]" >[] called his army together. He was joined by thirty-two other kings with their horses and chariots, and together they marched to Samaria and attacked. 2Benhadad sent a messenger to tell King Ahab of Israel, 3"Ahab, give me your silver and gold, your wives, [b<="">] and your strongest sons!" 4"Your Majesty," Ahab replied, "everything I have is yours, including me."     5Later, Benhadad sent another messenger to say to Ahab, "I already told you to give me your silver and gold, your wives, and your children. 6But tomorrow at this time, I will send my officials into your city to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will take everything else that you [c<="">] own." 7Ahab called a meeting with the leaders of Israel and said, "Benhadad is causing real trouble. He told me to give him my wives and children, as well as my silver and gold. And I agreed."
    8"Don't listen to him!" they answered. "You don't have to do what he says."
    9So Ahab sent someone to tell Benhadad, "Your Majesty, I'll give you my silver and gold, and even my wives and children. But I won't let you have anything else."
   When Benhadad got his answer, 10he replied, "I'll completely destroy Samaria! There won't even be enough of it left for my soldiers to carry back in their hands. If I don't do it, I pray that the gods will punish me terribly."
    11Ahab then answered, "Benhadad, don't brag before the fighting even begins. Wait and see if you live through it."
    12Meanwhile, Benhadad and the other kings had been drinking in their tents. But when Ahab's reply came, he ordered his soldiers to prepare to attack Samaria, and they all got ready.
    13At that very moment, a prophet ran up to Ahab and said, "You can see that Benhadad's army is very strong. But the LORD has promised to help you defeat them today. Then you will know that the LORD is in control."
    14"Who will fight the battle?" Ahab asked.
   The prophet answered, "The young bodyguards who serve the district officials."
   "But who will lead them into battle?" Ahab asked.
   "You will!" the prophet replied.
    15So Ahab called together the two hundred thirty-two young soldiers and the seven thousand troops in Israel's army, and he got them ready to fight the Syrians.
Israel Defeats the Syrians
 16-17At noon, King Ahab and his Israelite army marched out of Samaria, with the young soldiers in front.    King Benhadad of Syria and the thirty-two kings with him were drunk when the scouts he had sent out ran up to his tent, shouting, "We just now saw soldiers marching out of Samaria!"
    18"Take them alive!" Benhadad ordered. "I don't care if they have come out to fight or to surrender."
    19The young soldiers led Israel's troops into battle, 20and each of them attacked and killed an enemy soldier. The rest of the Syrian army turned and ran, and the Israelites went after them. Benhadad and some others escaped on horses, 21but Ahab and his soldiers followed them and captured [d<="">] their horses and chariots. Ahab and Israel's army crushed the Syrians.
    22Later, the prophet [e<="">] went back and warned Ahab, "Benhadad will attack you again next spring. Build up your troops and make sure you have some good plans."
Syria Attacks Israel Again
 23Meanwhile, Benhadad's officials went to him and explained:    Israel's gods are mountain gods. We fought Israel's army in the hills, and that's why they defeated us. But if we fight them on flat land, there's no way we can lose.
    24Here's what you should do. First, get rid of those thirty-two kings and put army commanders in their places. 25Then get more soldiers, horses, and chariots, so your army will be as strong as it was before. We'll fight Israel's army on flat land and wipe them out.
   Benhadad agreed and did what they suggested.
    26In the spring, Benhadad got his army together, and they marched to the town of Aphek to attack Israel. 27The Israelites also prepared to fight. They marched out to meet the Syrians, and the two armies camped across from each other. The Syrians covered the whole area, but the Israelites looked like two little flocks of goats.
    28The prophet went to Ahab and said, "The Syrians think the LORD is a god of the hills and not of the valleys. So he has promised to help you defeat their powerful army. Then you will know that the LORD is in control."
    29For seven days the two armies stayed in their camps, facing each other. Then on the seventh day the fighting broke out, and before sunset the Israelites had killed one hundred thousand Syrian troops. 30The rest of the Syrian army ran back to Aphek, but the town wall fell and crushed twenty-seven thousand of them.
   Benhadad also escaped to Aphek and hid in the back room of a house. 31His officials said, "Your Majesty, we've heard that Israel's kings keep their agreements. We will wrap sackcloth around our waists, put ropes around our heads, and ask Ahab to let you live."
    32They dressed in sackcloth and put ropes on their heads, then they went to Ahab and said, "Your servant Benhadad asks you to let him live."
   "Is he still alive?" Ahab asked. "Benhadad is like a brother to me."
    33Benhadad's officials were trying to figure out what Ahab was thinking, and when he said "brother," they quickly replied, "You're right! You and Benhadad are like brothers."
   "Go get him," Ahab said.
   When Benhadad came out, Ahab had him climb up into his chariot.
    34Benhadad said, "I'll give back the towns my father took from your father. And you can have shops in Damascus, just as my father had in Samaria."
   Ahab replied, "If you do these things, I'll let you go free." Then they signed a peace treaty, and Ahab let Benhadad go.
A Prophet Condemns Ahab
 35About this time the LORD commanded a prophet to say to a friend, "Hit me!" But the friend refused, 36and the prophet told him, "You disobeyed the LORD, and as soon as you walk away, a lion will kill you." The friend left, and suddenly a lion killed him.     37The prophet found someone else and said, "Hit me!" So this man beat him up.
    38The prophet left and put a bandage over his face to disguise himself. Then he went and stood beside the road, waiting for Ahab to pass by.
    39When Ahab went by, the prophet shouted, "Your Majesty, right in the heat of battle, someone brought a prisoner to me and told me to guard him. He said if the prisoner got away, I would either be killed or forced to pay seventy-five pounds of silver. 40But I got busy doing other things, and the prisoner escaped."
   Ahab answered, "You will be punished just as you have said."
    41The man quickly tore the bandage off his face, and Ahab saw that he was one of the prophets. 42The prophet said, "The LORD told you to kill Benhadad, but you let him go. Now you will die in his place, and your people will die in place of his people."
    43Ahab went back to Samaria, angry and depressed.

1 Kings 21

Jezebel Has Naboth Killed
 1Naboth owned a vineyard in Jezreel near King Ahab's palace.     2One day, Ahab said, "Naboth, your vineyard is near my palace. Give it to me so I can turn it into a vegetable garden. I'll give you a better vineyard or pay whatever you want for yours."
    3Naboth answered, "This vineyard has always been in my family. I won't let you have it."
    4So Ahab went home, angry and depressed because of what Naboth had told him. He lay on his bed, just staring at the wall and refusing to eat a thing.
    5Jezebel his wife came in and asked, "What's wrong? Why won't you eat?"
    6"I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or to let me give him a better one," Ahab replied. "And he told me I couldn't have it."
    7"Aren't you the king of Israel?" Jezebel asked. "Get out of bed and eat something! Don't worry, I'll get Naboth's vineyard for you."
    8-10Jezebel wrote a letter to each of the leaders of the town where Naboth lived. In the letters she said:
   Call everyone together and tell them to go without eating [f<="">] today. When they come together, give Naboth a seat at the front. Have two liars sit across from him and swear that Naboth has cursed God and the king. Then take Naboth outside and stone him to death! She signed Ahab's name to the letters and sealed them with his seal. Then she sent them to the town leaders.
    11After receiving her letters, they did exactly what she had asked. 12They told the people that it was a day to go without eating, and when they all came together, they seated Naboth at the front. 13The two liars came in and sat across from Naboth. Then they accused him of cursing God and the king, so the people dragged Naboth outside and stoned him to death.
    14The leaders of Jezreel sent a message back to Jezebel that said, "Naboth is dead."
    15As soon as Jezebel got their message, she told Ahab, "Now you can have the vineyard Naboth refused to sell. He's dead." 16Ahab got up and went to take over the vineyard.
Elijah Condemns Ahab
 17The LORD said to Elijah the prophet, 18"King Ahab of Israel is in Naboth's vineyard right now, taking it over. 19Go tell him that I say, `Ahab, you murdered Naboth and took his property. And so, in the very spot where dogs licked up Naboth's blood, they will lick up your blood.' "    When Elijah found him, 20Ahab said, "So, my enemy, you found me at last."
   Elijah answered:
   Yes, I did! Ahab, you have managed to do everything the LORD hates. 21Now you will be punished. You and every man and boy in your family will die, whether slave or free. 22Your whole family will be wiped out, just like the families of King Jeroboam and King Baasha. You've made the LORD very angry by sinning and causing the Israelites to sin.
    23And as for Jezebel, dogs will eat her body there in Jezreel. 24Dogs will also eat the bodies of your relatives who die in town, and vultures will eat the bodies of those who die in the country.
    25-29When Ahab heard this, he tore his clothes and wore sackcloth day and night. He was depressed and refused to eat.
   Some time later, the LORD said, "Elijah, do you see how sorry Ahab is for what he did? I won't punish his family while he is still alive. I'll wait until his son is king."
   No one was more determined than Ahab to disobey the LORD. And Jezebel encouraged him. Worst of all, he had worshiped idols, just as the Amorites [g<="">] had done before the LORD forced them out of the land and gave it to Israel.
  1. 1 Kings 20:1 King Benhadad of Syria: This is probably not the same Benhadad mentioned in 15.18-21.
  2. 1 Kings 20:3 wives: Having more than one wife was allowed in those times.
  3. 1 Kings 20:6 you: Hebrew; three ancient translations "they."
  4. 1 Kings 20:21 captured: One ancient translation; Hebrew "attacked."
  5. 1 Kings 20:22 the prophet: See verse 13.
  6. 1 Kings 21:8 to go without eating: People sometimes came together to worship and to go without eating to show that they were sorry for their sins.
  7. 1 Kings 21:25 Amorites: A name sometimes used of the people who lived in Palestine before the Israelites.

Acts 12:24-13:15 (Contemporary English Version)

24God's message kept spreading. 25And after Barnabas and Saul had done the work they were sent to do, they went back to Jerusalem a<="" value="[a]" >[] with John, whose other name was Mark.

Acts 13

Barnabas and Saul Are Chosen and Sent
 1The church at Antioch had several prophets and teachers. They were Barnabas, Simeon, also called Niger, Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen, who was Herod's [b<="">] close friend, and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and going without eating, [c<="">] the Holy Spirit told them, "Appoint Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have chosen them." 3Everyone prayed and went without eating for a while longer. Next, they placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul to show that they had been appointed to do this work. Then everyone sent them on their way.
Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus
 4After Barnabas and Saul had been sent by the Holy Spirit, they went to Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus. 5They arrived at Salamis and began to preach God's message in the Jewish meeting places. They also had John [d<="">] as a helper. 6Barnabas and Saul went all the way to the city of Paphos on the other end of the island, where they met a Jewish man named Bar-Jesus. He practiced witchcraft and was a false prophet. 7He also worked for Sergius Paulus, who was very smart and was the governor of the island. Sergius Paulus wanted to hear God's message, and he sent for Barnabas and Saul. 8But Bar-Jesus, whose other name was Elymas, was against them. He even tried to keep the governor from having faith in the Lord.     9Then Saul, better known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked straight at Elymas 10and said, "You son of the devil! You are a liar, a crook, and an enemy of everything that is right. When will you stop speaking against the true ways of the Lord? 11The Lord is going to punish you by making you completely blind for a while."
   Suddenly the man's eyes were covered by a dark mist, and he went around trying to get someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he was amazed at this teaching about the Lord. So he put his faith in the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia
 13Paul and the others left Paphos and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. But John [e<="">] left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14The rest of them went on from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia. Then on the Sabbath they went to the Jewish meeting place and sat down. 15After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, [f<="">] the leaders sent someone over to tell Paul and Barnabas, "Friends, if you have anything to say that will help the people, please say it."
  1. Acts 12:25 went back to Jerusalem: Some manuscripts have "left Jerusalem," and others have "went to Antioch."
  2. Acts 13:1 Herod's: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
  3. Acts 13:2 going without eating: The Jews often went without eating as a way of showing how much they loved God. This is also called "fasting."
  4. Acts 13:5 John: Whose other name was Mark (see 12.12,25).
  5. Acts 13:13 John: Whose other name was Mark (see 12.12,25).
  6. Acts 13:15 the Law and the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.

Psalm 137:1-9 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 137

A Prayer for Revenge
 1Beside the rivers of Babylon    we thought about Jerusalem,
   and we sat down and cried.
    2We hung our small harps
   on the willow a<="" value="[a]" >[] trees. 3Our enemies had brought us here
   as their prisoners,
   and now they wanted us to sing
   and entertain them.
   They insulted us and shouted,
   "Sing about Zion!"
    4Here in a foreign land,
   how can we sing
   about the LORD?
    5Jerusalem, if I forget you,
   let my right hand go limp.
    6Let my tongue stick
   to the roof of my mouth,
   if I don't think about you
   above all else.
    7Our LORD, punish the Edomites!
   Because the day Jerusalem fell,
   they shouted,
   "Completely destroy the city!
   Tear down every building!"
    8Babylon, you are doomed!
   I pray the Lord's blessings
   on anyone who punishes you
   for what you did to us.
    9May the Lord bless everyone
   who beats your children
   against the rocks!
  1. Psalm 137:2 willow: Or " poplar."

Proverbs 17:16 (Contemporary English Version)

16Why should fools have money
   for an education
   when they refuse to learn?

Verse of the Day

“A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water.” - Ephesians 5:25-26
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Aung San Suu Kyi 2016.jpgThought for the Day

Burmese politician, diplomat, and author who is the First and incumbent State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi wrote, “Weak logic, inconsistencies and alienation from the people are common features of authoritarianism. The relentless attempts of totalitarian regimes to prevent free thought and new ideas and the persistent assertion of their own lightness bring on them an intellectual stasis which they project on to the nation at large. Intimidation and propaganda work in a duet of oppression, while the people, lapped in fear and distrust, learn to dissemble and to keep silent. And all the time the desire grows for a system which will lift them from the position of ‘rice-eating robots’ to the status of human beings who can think and speak freely and hold their heads high in the security of their rights.”

A Joke for Today
Image result for contractor in heavenA contractor dies in a car accident on his 40th birthday and finds himself at the Pearly Gates. A brass band is playing, the angels are singing a beautiful hymn, there is a huge crowd cheering and shouting his name, and absolutely everyone wants to shake his hand.
Just when he thinks things can't possibly get any better, Saint Peter himself runs over, apologizes for not greeting him personally at the Pearly Gates, shakes his hand, and says, "Congratulations son, we've been waiting a long time for you."
Totally confused and a little embarrassed, the contractor sheepishly looks at Saint Peter and says "Saint Peter, I tried to lead a God-fearing life, I loved my family, I tried to obey the 10 Commandments, but congratulations for what? I honestly don't remember doing anything really special when I was alive."
"Congratulations for what?" says Saint Peter, totally amazed at the man's modesty. "We're celebrating the fact that you lived to be 160 years old! God himself wants to see you!" The contractor is awestruck and can only look at Saint Peter with his mouth wide open. When he regains his power of speech, he looks up at Saint Peter and says "Saint Peter, I lived my life in the eternal hope that when I died I would be judged by God and be found to be worthy, but I only lived to be forty."

"That's simply impossible son," says Saint Peter. "We've added up your time sheets."

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