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, June 24, 2017

Bible Readings for June 24, 2017

Today our passages are 2 Kings 6:1–7:20; Acts 15:36–16:15; Psalm 142:1-7; and Proverbs 17:24-25. 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.

2 Kings 6-7:20 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 6

Elisha Makes an Ax Head Float
 1One day the prophets said to Elisha, "The place where we meet with you is too small. 2Why don't we build a new meeting place near the Jordan River? Each of us could get some wood, then we could build it."    "That's a good idea," Elisha replied, "get started."
    3"Aren't you going with us?" one of the prophets asked.
   "Yes, I'll go," Elisha answered, 4and he left with them.
   They went to the Jordan River and began chopping down trees. 5While one of the prophets was working, his ax head fell off and dropped into the water. "Oh!" he shouted. "Sir, I borrowed this ax."
    6"Where did it fall in?" Elisha asked. The prophet pointed to the place, and Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. The ax head floated to the top of the water.
    7"Now get it," Elisha told him. And the prophet reached in and grabbed it.
Elisha Stops an Invasion of the Syrian Army
 8Time after time, when the king of Syria was at war against the Israelites, he met with his officers and announced, "I've decided where we will set up camp."     9Each time, Elisha [a] would send this warning to the king of Israel: "Don't go near there. That's where the Syrian troops have set up camp." [b] 10So the king would warn the Israelite troops in that place to be on guard. 11The king of Syria was furious when he found out what was happening. He called in his officers and asked, "Which one of you has been telling the king of Israel our plans?"
    12"None of us, Your Majesty," one of them answered. "It's an Israelite named Elisha. He's a prophet, so he can tell his king everything--even what you say in your own room."
    13"Find out where he is!" the king ordered. "I'll send soldiers to bring him here."
   They learned that Elisha was in the town of Dothan [c] and reported it to the king. 14He ordered his best troops to go there with horses and chariots. They marched out during the night and surrounded the town. 15When Elisha's servant got up the next morning, he saw that Syrian troops had the town surrounded. "Sir, what are we going to do?" he asked.
    16"Don't be afraid," Elisha answered. "There are more troops on our side than on theirs." 17Then he prayed, "LORD, please help him to see." And the LORD let the servant see that the hill [d] was covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots all around Elisha. 18As the Syrian army came closer, Elisha prayed, "LORD, make those soldiers blind!" And the LORD blinded them with a bright light.
    19Elisha told the enemy troops, "You've taken the wrong road and are in the wrong town. Follow me. I'll lead you to the man you're looking for." Elisha led them straight to the capital city of Samaria.
    20When all the soldiers were inside the city, Elisha prayed, "LORD, now let them see again." The LORD let them see that they were standing in the middle of Samaria.
    21The king of Israel saw them and asked Elisha, "Should I kill them, sir?"
    22"No!" Elisha answered. "You didn't capture these troops in battle, so you have no right to kill them. Instead, give them something to eat and drink and let them return to their leader."
    23The king ordered a huge meal to be prepared for Syria's army, and when they finished eating, he let them go.
   For a while, the Syrian troops stopped invading Israel's territory.
King Benhadad of Syria Attacks Samaria
 24Some time later, King Benhadad of Syria [e] called his entire army together, then they marched to Samaria and attacked. 25They kept up the attack until there was nothing to eat in the city. In fact, a donkey's head cost about two pounds of silver, and a small bowl of pigeon droppings [f] cost about two ounces of silver. 26One day as the king of Israel [g] was walking along the top of the city wall, a woman shouted to him, "Please, Your Majesty, help me!" 27"Let the LORD help you!" the king said. "Do you think I have grain or wine to give you?" 28Then he asked, "What's the matter anyway?"    The woman answered, "Another woman and I were so hungry that we agreed to eat our sons. She said if we ate my son one day, we could eat hers the next day. 29So yesterday we cooked my son and ate him. But today when I went to her house to eat her son, she had hidden him."
    30The king tore off his clothes in sorrow, and since he was on top of the city wall, the people saw that he was wearing sackcloth underneath. 31He said, "I pray that God will punish me terribly, if Elisha's head is still on his shoulders by this time tomorrow." 32Then he sent a messenger to Elisha.
   Elisha was home at the time, and the important leaders of Israel were meeting with him. Even before the king's messenger arrived, Elisha told the leaders, "That murderer [h] is sending someone to cut off my head. When you see him coming, shut the door and don't let him in. I'm sure the king himself will be right behind him." 33Before Elisha finished talking, the messenger [i] came up and said, "The LORD has made all these terrible things happen to us. Why should I think he will help us now?"

2 Kings 7

 1Elisha answered, "I have a message for you. The LORD promises that tomorrow here in Samaria, you will be able to buy a large sack of flour or two large sacks of barley for almost nothing."     2The chief officer there with the king replied, "I don't believe it! Even if the LORD sent a rainstorm, it couldn't produce that much grain by tomorrow."
   "You will see it happen, but you won't eat any of the food," Elisha warned him.
The Syrian Army Stops Its Attack
 3About the same time, four men with leprosy [j] were just outside the gate of Samaria. They said to each other, "Why should we sit here, waiting to die? 4There's nothing to eat in the city, so we would starve if we went inside. But if we stay out here, we will die for sure. Let's sneak over to the Syrian army camp and surrender. They might kill us, but they might not." 5-8That evening the four men got up and left for the Syrian camp. As they walked toward the camp, the Lord caused the Syrian troops to hear what sounded like the roar of a huge cavalry. The soldiers said to each other, "Listen! The king of Israel must have hired Hittite and Egyptian troops to attack us. Let's get out of here!" So they ran out of their camp that night, leaving their tents and horses and donkeys.    When the four men with leprosy reached the edge of the Syrian camp, no one was there. They walked into one of the tents, where they ate and drank, before carrying off clothes, as well as silver and gold. They hid all this, then walked into another tent; they took what they wanted and hid it too.
    9They said to each other, "This isn't right. Today is a day to celebrate, and we haven't told anyone else what has happened. If we wait until morning, we will be punished. Let's go to the king's palace right now and tell the good news."
    10They went back to Samaria and shouted up to the guards at the gate, "We've just come from the Syrian army camp, and all the soldiers are gone! The tents are empty, and the horses and donkeys are still tied up. We didn't see or hear anybody."
    11The guards reported the news to the king's palace. 12The king got out of bed and said to his officers, "I know what those Syrians are doing. They know we're starving, so they're hiding in the fields, hoping we will go out to look for food. When we do, they can capture us and take over our city."
    13One of his officers replied, "We have a few horses left--why don't we let some men take five of them and go to the Syrian camp and see what's happening? We're going to die anyway like those who have already died." [k] 14They found two chariots, and the king commanded the men to find out what had happened to the Syrian troops. 15The men rode as far as the Jordan River. All along the way they saw clothes and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away as they escaped. Then they went back to the king and told him what they had seen.
    16At once the people went to the Syrian camp and carried off what was left. They took so much that a large sack of flour and two large sacks of barley sold for almost nothing, just as the LORD had promised.
    17The king of Israel had put his chief officer in charge of the gate, but he died when the people trampled him as they rushed out of the city. 18Earlier, when the king was at Elisha's house, Elisha had told him that flour or barley would sell for almost nothing. 19But the officer refused to believe that even the LORD could do that. So Elisha warned him that he would see it happen, but would not eat any of the food. 20And that's exactly what happened--the officer was trampled to death.
  1. 2 Kings 6:9 Elisha: Hebrew "the man of God."
  2. 2 Kings 6:9 have set up camp: Or "are going."
  3. 2 Kings 6:13 Dothan: About ten miles north of Samaria.
  4. 2 Kings 6:17 the hill: The hill on which the town was built.
  5. 2 Kings 6:24 King Benhadad of Syria: This may or may not be the same Benhadad mentioned in 1 Kings 20.1. Several of the Syrian kings were named Benhadad.
  6. 2 Kings 6:25 pigeon droppings: This may have been used for food or to burn for fuel. It also may have been a popular name for roasted beans or the shells of certain seeds.
  7. 2 Kings 6:26 the king of Israel: Probably either Jehoahaz or Jehoash, but possibly even Joram.
  8. 2 Kings 6:32 That murderer: Hebrew "That murderer's son."
  9. 2 Kings 6:33 messenger: Or "king" (see 7.2,18); the two Hebrew words are very similar.
  10. 2 Kings 7:3 leprosy: See the note at 5.1.
  11. 2 Kings 7:13 We're going. . . died: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Acts 15:36-16:15 (Contemporary English Version)

Paul and Barnabas Go Their Separate Ways
 36Sometime later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit the Lord's followers in the cities where we preached his message. Then we will know how they are doing." 37Barnabas wanted to take along John, whose other name was Mark. 38But Paul did not want to, because Mark had left them in Pamphylia and had stopped working with them.     39Paul and Barnabas argued, then each of them went his own way. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, 40but Paul took Silas and left after the followers had placed them in God's care. 41They traveled through Syria and Cilicia, encouraging the churches.

Acts 16

Timothy Works with Paul and Silas
 1Paul and Silas went back to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a follower named Timothy. His mother was also a follower. She was Jewish, and his father was Greek. 2The Lord's followers in Lystra and Iconium said good things about Timothy, 3and Paul wanted him to go with them. But Paul first had him circumcised, because all the Jewish people around there knew that Timothy's father was Greek. [a] 4As Paul and the others went from city to city, they told the followers what the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem had decided, and they urged them to follow these instructions. 5The churches became stronger in their faith, and each day more people put their faith in the Lord.    
Paul's Vision in Troas
 6Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia. 7After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them. 8So they went on through [b] Mysia until they came to Troas. 9During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" 10After Paul had seen the vision, we began looking for a way to go to Macedonia. We were sure that God had called us to preach the good news there.    
Lydia Becomes a Follower of the Lord
 11We sailed straight from Troas to Samothrace, and the next day we arrived in Neapolis. 12From there we went to Philippi, which is a Roman colony in the first district of Macedonia. [c] We spent several days in Philippi. 13Then on the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to a place by the river, where we thought there would be a Jewish meeting place for prayer. We sat down and talked with the women who came. 14One of them was Lydia, who was from the city of Thyatira and sold expensive purple cloth. She was a worshiper of the Lord God, and he made her willing to accept what Paul was saying. 15Then after she and her family were baptized, she kept on begging us, "If you think I really do have faith in the Lord, come stay in my home." Finally, we accepted her invitation.    
  1. Acts 16:3 had him circumcised. . . Timothy's father was Greek: Timothy would not have been acceptable to the Jews unless he had been circumcised, and Greeks did not circumcise their sons.
  2. Acts 16:8 went on through: Or "passed by."
  3. Acts 16:12 in the first district of Macedonia: Some manuscripts have "and the leading city of Macedonia."

Psalm 142:1-7 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 142

(A special psalm and a prayer by David when he was in the cave.)
A Prayer for Help
 1I pray to you, LORD.    I beg for mercy.
    2I tell you all of my worries
   and my troubles,
    3and whenever I feel low,
   you are there to guide me.
   A trap has been hidden
   along my pathway.
    4Even if you look,
   you won't see anyone
   who cares enough
   to walk beside me.
   There is no place to hide,
   and no one who really cares.
    5I pray to you, LORD!
   You are my place of safety,
   and you are my choice
   in the land of the living.
   Please answer my prayer.
   I am completely helpless.
    6Help! They are chasing me,
   and they are too strong.
    7Rescue me from this prison,
   so I can praise your name.
   And when your people notice
   your wonderful kindness to me,
   they will rush to my side.

Proverbs 17:24-25 (Contemporary English Version)

24Anyone with wisdom knows
   what makes good sense,
   but fools can never
   make up their minds.
    25Foolish children bring sorrow
   to their father
   and pain to their mother.

Verse of the Day

“But the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and protect you from harm.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Henry Ward Beecher - Brady-Handy.jpgThought for the Day

American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad.”

A Joke for the Day
Image result for Veterinarians catsOne Sunday, in counting the money in the weekly offering, the Pastor of a small church found a pink envelope containing $1,000. It happened again the next week!
The following Sunday, he watched as the offering was collected and saw an elderly woman put the distinctive pink envelope on the plate. This went on for weeks until the pastor, overcome by curiosity, approached her.
"Ma'am, I couldn't help but notice that you put $1,000 a week in the collection plate," he stated.
"Why yes," she replied, "every week my son sends me money and I give some of it to the church."
The pastor replied, "That's wonderful. But $1000 is a lot, are you sure you can afford this? How much does he send you?"
The elderly woman answered, "$10,000 a week."
The pastor was amazed. "Your son is very successful; what does he do for a living?"
"He is a veterinarian," she answered.
"That's an honorable profession, but I had no idea they made that much money," the pastor said. "Where does he practice?"

The woman answered proudly, "In Nevada .. He has two cat houses, one in Las Vegas, and one in Reno" 

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