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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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bible Readings for July 26, 2017

Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 17:1–18:34; Romans 9:22–10:13; Psalm 20:1-9; and Proverbs 20:2-3. 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 Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

2 Chronicles 17-18:34 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Chronicles 17

King Jehoshaphat of Judah
 1Jehoshaphat son of Asa became king and strengthened his defenses against Israel.    2He assigned troops to the fortified cities in Judah, as well as to other towns in Judah and to those towns in Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.
   3-4When Jehoshaphat's father had first become king of Judah, he was faithful to the LORD and refused to worship the god Baal as the kings of Israel did. Jehoshaphat followed his father's example and obeyed and worshiped the LORD. And so the LORD blessed Jehoshaphat
   5and helped him keep firm control of his kingdom. The people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, but even after he became very rich and respected,
   6he remained completely faithful to the LORD. He destroyed all the local shrines [a] in Judah, including the places where the goddess Asherah was worshiped.
   7In the third year of Jehoshaphat's rule, he chose five officials and gave them orders to teach the LORD's Law in every city and town in Judah. They were Benhail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah.
   8Their assistants were the following nine Levites: Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-Adonijah. Two priests, Elishama and Jehoram, also went along.
   9They carried with them a copy of the LORD's Law wherever they went and taught the people from it.
   10The nations around Judah were afraid of the LORD's power, so none of them attacked Jehoshaphat.
   11Philistines brought him silver and other gifts to keep peace. Some of the Arab people brought him seventy-seven hundred rams and the same number of goats.
   12As Jehoshaphat became more powerful, he built fortresses and cities
   13where he stored supplies. He also kept in Jerusalem some experienced soldiers
   14from the Judah and Benjamin tribes. These soldiers were grouped according to their clans.
   Adnah was the commander of the troops from Judah, and he had three hundred thousand soldiers under his command.
   15Jehohanan was second in command, with two hundred eighty thousand soldiers under him.
   16Amasiah son of Zichri, who had volunteered to serve the LORD, was third in command, with two hundred thousand soldiers under him.
   17Eliada was a brave warrior who commanded the troops from Benjamin. He had two hundred thousand soldiers under his command, all of them armed with bows and shields.
   18Jehozabad was second in command, with one hundred eighty thousand soldiers under him.
   19These were the troops who protected the king in Jerusalem, not counting those he had assigned to the fortified cities throughout the country.

2 Chronicles 18

Micaiah Warns King Ahab of Israel
(1 Kings 22.1-28)
 1Jehoshaphat was now very rich and famous. He signed a treaty with King Ahab of Israel by arranging the marriage of his son and Ahab's daughter.    2One day, Jehoshaphat went to visit Ahab in his capital city of Samaria. Ahab slaughtered sheep and cattle and prepared a big feast to honor Jehoshaphat and the officials with him. Ahab talked about attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead, [b]
   3and finally asked, "Jehoshaphat, would you go with me to attack Ramoth?" "Yes," Jehoshaphat answered. "My army is at your command.
   4But first let's ask the LORD what to do."
   5Ahab sent for four hundred prophets and asked, "Should I attack the city of Ramoth?"
   "Yes!" the prophets answered. "God will help you capture the city."
   6But Jehoshaphat said, "Just to make sure, is there another of the LORD's prophets we can ask?"
   7"We could ask Micaiah son of Imlah," Ahab said. "But I hate Micaiah. He always has bad news for me."
   "Don't say that!" Jehoshaphat replied.
   8Then Ahab sent someone to bring Micaiah as soon as possible.
   9All this time, Ahab and Jehoshaphat were dressed in their royal robes and were seated on their thrones at the threshing place near the gate of Samaria, listening to the prophets tell them what the LORD had said.
   10Zedekiah son of Chenaanah was one of the prophets. He had made some horns out of iron and shouted, "Ahab, the LORD says you will attack the Syrians like a bull with iron horns and wipe them out!"
   11All the prophets agreed that Ahab should attack the Syrians at Ramoth and promised that the LORD would help him defeat them.
   12Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah whispered, "Micaiah, all the prophets have good news for Ahab. Now go and say the same thing."
   13"I'll say whatever the living LORD my God tells me to say," Micaiah replied.
   14Then Micaiah went up to Ahab, who asked, "Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth?"
   "Yes!" Micaiah answered. "The LORD will help you capture the city."
   15Ahab shouted, "Micaiah, I've told you over and over to tell me the truth! What does the LORD really say?"
   16Micaiah answered, "In a vision [c] I saw Israelite soldiers wandering around, lost in the hills like sheep without a shepherd. The LORD said, `These troops have no leader. They should go home and not fight.' "
   17Ahab turned to Jehoshaphat and said, "I told you he would bring me bad news!"
   18Micaiah replied:
   I then saw the LORD seated on his throne with every creature in heaven gathered around him.
   19The LORD asked, "Who can trick Ahab and make him go to Ramoth where he will be killed?"
   They talked about it for a while,
   20then finally a spirit came forward and said to the LORD, "I can trick Ahab."
   "How?" the LORD asked.
   21"I'll make Ahab's prophets lie to him."
   "Good!" the LORD replied. "Now go and do it. You will be successful."
   22Ahab, this is exactly what has happened. The LORD made all your prophets lie to you, and he knows you will soon be destroyed.
   23Zedekiah walked over and slapped Micaiah on the face. Then he asked, "Do you really think the LORD would speak to you and not to me?"
   24Micaiah answered, "You'll find out on the day you have to hide in the back room of some house."
   25Ahab shouted, "Arrest Micaiah! Take him to Prince Joash and Governor Amon of Samaria.
   26Tell them to put him in prison and to give him nothing but bread and water until I come back safely."
   27Micaiah said, "If you do come back, I was wrong about what the LORD wanted me to say." Then he told the crowd, "Don't forget what I said!"
Ahab Dies at Ramoth
(1 Kings 22.29-35)
 28Ahab and Jehoshaphat led their armies to Ramoth in Gilead.    29Before they went into battle, Ahab said, "Jehoshaphat, I'll disguise myself, but you wear your royal robe." Ahab disguised himself and went into battle.
   30The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack only Ahab.
   31So when they saw Jehoshaphat in his robe, they thought he was Ahab and started to attack him. But Jehoshaphat prayed, and the LORD made the Syrian soldiers stop.
   32And when they realized he wasn't Ahab, they left him alone.
   33However, during the fighting a soldier shot an arrow without even aiming, and it hit Ahab between two pieces of his armor. He shouted to his chariot driver, "I've been hit! Get me out of here!"
   34The fighting lasted all day, with Ahab propped up in his chariot so he could see the Syrian troops. He stayed there until evening, and by sundown he was dead.
  1. 2 Chronicles 17:6 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
  2. 2 Chronicles 18:2 attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead: The Syrians had taken control of Ramoth (see 1 Kings 22.3,4).
  3. 2 Chronicles 18:16 vision: In ancient times, prophets often told about future events from what they had seen in visions or dreams.

Romans 9:22-10:13 (Contemporary English Version)

22God wanted to show his anger and reveal his power against everyone who deserved to be destroyed. But instead, he patiently put up with them. 23He did this by showing how glorious he is when he has pity on the people he has chosen to share in his glory. 24Whether Jews or Gentiles, we are those chosen ones, 25just as the Lord says in the book of Hosea,
   "Although they are not
   my people,
   I will make them my people.
   I will treat with love
   those nations
   that have never been loved.
    26"Once they were told,
   `You are not my people.'
   But in that very place
   they will be called
   children of the living God."
    27And this is what the prophet Isaiah said about the people of Israel,
   "The people of Israel
   are as many
   as the grains of sand
   along the beach.
   But only a few who are left
   will be saved.
    28The Lord will be quick
   and sure to do on earth
   what he has warned
   he will do."
    29Isaiah also said,
   "If the Lord All-Powerful
   had not spared some
   of our descendants,
   we would have been destroyed
   like the cities of Sodom
   and Gomorrah." [a]
Israel and the Good News
 30What does all of this mean? It means that the Gentiles were not trying to be acceptable to God, but they found that he would accept them if they had faith. 31-32It also means that the people of Israel were not acceptable to God. And why not? It was because they were trying [b] to be acceptable by obeying the Law instead of by having faith in God. The people of Israel fell over the stone that makes people stumble, 33just as God says in the Scriptures, "Look! I am placing in Zion    a stone to make people
   stumble and fall.
   But those who have faith
   in that one
   will never
   be disappointed."

Romans 10

 1Dear friends, my greatest wish and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2I know they love God, but they don't understand 3what makes people acceptable to him. So they refuse to trust God, and they try to be acceptable by obeying the Law. 4But Christ makes the Law no longer necessary [c] for those who become acceptable to God by faith.
Anyone Can Be Saved
 5Moses said that a person could become acceptable to God by obeying the Law. He did this when he wrote, "If you want to live, you must do all that the Law commands."     6But people whose faith makes them acceptable to God will never ask, "Who will go up to heaven to bring Christ down?" 7Neither will they ask, "Who will go down into the world of the dead to raise him to life?"
    8All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, "The message is as near as your mouth or your heart." And this is the same message we preach about faith. 9So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
    11The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, 12no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. 13All who call out to the Lord will be saved.
  1. Romans 9:29 Sodom and Gomorrah: During the time of Abraham the Lord destroyed these two cities because their people were so sinful.
  2. Romans 9:31 because they were trying: Or " while they were trying" or " even though they were trying."
  3. Romans 10:4 But Christ makes the Law no longer necessary: Or " But Christ gives the full meaning to the Law."

Psalm 20:1-9 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 20

(A psalm by David for the music leader.)
A Prayer for Victory
 1I pray that the LORD    will listen
   when you
   are in trouble,
   and that the God of Jacob
   will keep you safe.
    2May the LORD send help
   from his temple
   and come to your rescue
   from Mount Zion.
    3May he remember your gifts
   and be pleased
   with what you bring.
    4May God do what you want most
   and let all go well for you.
    5Then you will win victories,
   and we will celebrate,
   while raising our banners
   in the name of our God.
   May the LORD answer
   all of your prayers!
    6I am certain, LORD,
   that you will help
   your chosen king.
   You will answer my prayers
   from your holy place
   in heaven,
   and you will save me
   with your mighty arm.
    7Some people trust the power
   of chariots or horses,
   but we trust you, LORD God.
    8Others will stumble and fall,
   but we will be strong
   and stand firm.
    9Give the king victory, LORD,
   and answer our prayers. [a]
  1. Psalm 20:9 victory. . . prayers: Or " victory. He (God or the king) answers us."

Proverbs 20:2-3 (Contemporary English Version)

2An angry ruler
   is like a roaring lion--
   make either one angry,
   and you are dead.
    3It makes you look good
   when you avoid a fight--
   only fools love to quarrel.

Verse of the Day

“[The Great Faith of God's People]Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.” - Hebrews 11:1
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American scholar, author, and public speaker, Brené Brown wrote, "Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them."

A Joke for Today

A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who's dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans.

Saint Peter addresses this guy, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?"

The guy replies, "I'm Joe Cohen, taxi-driver, of Noo Yawk City."

Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi-driver, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

The taxi-driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff, and it's the minister's turn. He stands erect and booms out, "I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary's for the last forty-three years."

Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the minister, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

"Just a minute," says the minister. "That man was a taxi-driver and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?"

"Up here, we work by results," says Saint Peter. "While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed." 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bible Readings for July 25, 2017

Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 14:1–16:14; Romans 9:1-21; Psalm 19:1-14; and Proverbs 20:1. 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 Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

2 Chronicles 14-16:14 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Chronicles 14

King Asa of Judah
 1Abijah died and was buried in Jerusalem. Then his son Asa became king, and Judah had ten years of peace.    2Asa obeyed the LORD his God and did right.
   3He destroyed the local shrines [a] and the altars to foreign gods. He smashed the stone images of gods and cut down the sacred poles [b] used in worshiping the goddess Asherah.
   4Then he told everyone in Judah to worship the LORD God, just as their ancestors had done, and to obey his laws and teachings.
   5He destroyed every local shrine and incense altar in Judah.
   6The LORD blessed Judah with peace while Asa was king, and so during that time, Asa fortified many of the towns.
   7He said to the people, "Let's build walls and defense towers for these towns, and put in gates that can be locked with bars. This land still belongs to us, because we have obeyed the LORD our God. He has given us peace from all our enemies." The people did everything Asa had suggested.
   8Asa had a large army of brave soldiers: Three hundred thousand of them were from the tribe of Judah and were armed with shields and spears; two hundred eighty thousand were from Benjamin and were armed with bows and arrows.
Judah Defeats Ethiopia's Army
 9Zerah from Ethiopia [c] led an army of a million soldiers and three hundred chariots to the town of Mareshah [d] in Judah.    10Asa met him there, and the two armies prepared for battle in Zephathah Valley.
   11Asa prayed:
   LORD God, only you can help a powerless army defeat a stronger one. So we depend on you to help us. We will fight against this powerful army to honor your name, and we know that you won't be defeated. You are the LORD our God.
   12The LORD helped Asa and his army defeat the Ethiopians. The enemy soldiers ran away,
   13but Asa and his troops chased them as far as Gerar. It was a total defeat--the Ethiopians could not even fight back! [e] The soldiers from Judah took everything that had belonged to the Ethiopians.
   14The people who lived in the villages around Gerar learned what had happened and were afraid of the LORD. So Judah's army easily defeated them and carried off everything of value that they wanted from these towns.
   15They also attacked the camps where the shepherds lived and took a lot of sheep, goats, and camels. Then they went back to Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 15

Asa Destroys the Idols in Judah
 1Some time later, God spoke to Azariah son of Oded.    2At once, Azariah went to Asa and said:
   Listen to me, King Asa and you people of Judah and Benjamin. The LORD will be with you and help you, as long as you obey and worship him. But if you disobey him, he will desert you.
   3For a long time, the people of Israel did not worship the true God or listen to priests who could teach them about God. They refused to obey God's Law.
   4But whenever trouble came, Israel turned back to the LORD their God and worshiped him.
   5There was so much confusion in those days that it wasn't safe to go anywhere in Israel.
   6Nations were destroying each other, and cities were wiping out other cities, because God was causing trouble and unrest everywhere.
   7So you must be brave. Don't give up! God will honor you for obeying him.
   8As soon as Asa heard what Azariah the prophet said, he gave orders for all the idols in Judah and Benjamin to be destroyed, including those in the towns he had captured in the territory of Ephraim. He also repaired the LORD's altar that was in front of the temple porch.
   9Asa called together the people from Judah and Benjamin, as well as the people from the territories of Ephraim, West Manasseh, and Simeon who were living in Judah. Many of these people were now loyal to Asa, because they had seen that the LORD was with him.
   10In the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's rule, they all met in Jerusalem.
   11That same day, they took seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats from what they had brought back from Gerar and sacrificed them as offerings to the LORD.
   12They made a solemn promise to faithfully worship the LORD God their ancestors had worshiped,
   13and to put to death anyone who refused to obey him.
   14The crowd solemnly agreed to keep their promise to the LORD, then they celebrated by shouting and blowing trumpets and horns.
   15Everyone was happy because they had made this solemn promise, and in return, the LORD blessed them with peace from all their enemies.
   16Asa's grandmother Maacah had made a disgusting idol of the goddess Asherah, so he cut it down, crushed it, and burned it in Kidron Valley. Then he removed Maacah from her position as queen mother. [f]
   17As long as Asa lived, he was faithful to the LORD, even though he did not destroy the local shrines [g] in Israel.
   18He placed in the temple all the silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated to God.
   19There was peace in Judah until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's rule.

2 Chronicles 16

King Baasha of Israel Invades Judah
(1 Kings 15.16-22)
 1In the thirty-sixth year of Asa's rule, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and captured the town of Ramah. He started making the town stronger, and he put troops there to stop people from going in and out of Judah.    2When Asa heard about this, he took the silver and gold from his palace and from the LORD's temple. Then he sent it to Damascus with this message for King Benhadad of Syria:
   3"I think we should sign a peace treaty, just as our fathers did. This silver and gold is a present for you. Would you please break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel and force him to leave my country?"
   4Benhadad did what Asa asked and sent the Syrian army into Israel. They captured the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-Maim, [h] and all the towns in Naphtali where supplies were kept.
   5When Baasha heard about it, he stopped his work on the town of Ramah.
   6Asa ordered everyone in Judah to carry away the stones and wood Baasha had used to fortify Ramah. Then he fortified the towns of Geba and Mizpah with these same stones and wood.
Hanani the Prophet Condemns Asa
 7Soon after that happened, Hanani the prophet went to Asa and said:    You depended on the king of Syria instead of depending on the LORD your God. And so, you will never defeat the Syrian army.
   8Remember how powerful the Ethiopian [i] and Libyan army was, with all their chariots and cavalry troops! You trusted the LORD to help you then, and you defeated them.
   9The LORD is constantly watching everyone, and he gives strength to those who faithfully obey him. But you have done a foolish thing, and your kingdom will never be at peace again.
   10When Asa heard this, he was so angry that he put Hanani in prison. Asa was also cruel to some of his people. [j]
Asa Dies
(1 Kings 15.23,24)
 11Everything Asa did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.    12In the thirty-ninth year of his rule, he got a very bad foot disease, but he relied on doctors and refused to ask the LORD for help.
   13He died two years later.
   14Earlier, Asa had his own tomb cut out of a rock hill in Jerusalem. So he was buried there, and the tomb was filled with spices and sweet-smelling oils. Then the people built a bonfire in his honor.
  1. 2 Chronicles 14:3 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
  2. 2 Chronicles 14:3 sacred poles: Or "trees," used as symbols of Asherah, the goddess of fertility.
  3. 2 Chronicles 14:9 Ethiopia: See the note at 12.3.
  4. 2 Chronicles 14:9 Mareshah: About twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem.
  5. 2 Chronicles 14:13 the Ethiopians could not even fight back: Or "not one of the Ethiopians survived!"
  6. 2 Chronicles 15:16 queen mother: Or "the mother of the king," which was an important position in biblical times (see 1 Kings 2.19).
  7. 2 Chronicles 15:17 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
  8. 2 Chronicles 16:4 Abel-Maim: Also called "Abel-Bethmaacah" (see 1 Kings 15.20).
  9. 2 Chronicles 16:8 Ethiopian: See the note at 12.3.
  10. 2 Chronicles 16:10 Asa was also cruel. . . people: Or "Asa also started being cruel to some of his people."

Romans 9:1-21 (Contemporary English Version)

Romans 9

God's Choice of Israel
 1I am a follower of Christ, and the Holy Spirit is a witness to my conscience. So I tell the truth and I am not lying when I say 2my heart is broken and I am in great sorrow. 3I would gladly be placed under God's curse and be separated from Christ for the good of my own people. 4They are the descendants of Israel, and they are also God's chosen people. God showed them his glory. He made agreements with them and gave them his Law. The temple is theirs and so are the promises that God made to them. 5They have those famous ancestors, who were also the ancestors of Jesus Christ. I pray that God, who rules over all, will be praised forever! [a] Amen. 6It cannot be said that God broke his promise. After all, not all of the people of Israel are the true people of God. 7-8In fact, when God made the promise to Abraham, he meant only Abraham's descendants by his son Isaac. God was talking only about Isaac when he promised 9Sarah, "At this time next year I will return, and you will already have a son."     10Don't forget what happened to the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. 11-12Even before they were born or had done anything good or bad, the Lord told Rebekah that her older son would serve the younger one. The Lord said this to show that he makes his own choices and that it wasn't because of anything either of them had done. 13That's why the Scriptures say that the Lord liked Jacob more than Esau.
    14Are we saying that God is unfair? Certainly not! 15The Lord told Moses that he has pity and mercy on anyone he wants to. 16Everything then depends on God's mercy and not on what people want or do. 17In the Scriptures the Lord says to Pharaoh of Egypt, "I let you become Pharaoh, so that I could show you my power and be praised by all people on earth." 18Everything depends on what God decides to do, and he can either have pity on people or make them stubborn.
God's Anger and Mercy
 19Someone may ask, "How can God blame us, if he makes us behave in the way he wants us to?" 20But, my friend, I ask, "Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did? 21Doesn't a potter have the right to make a fancy bowl and a plain bowl out of the same lump of clay?"    
  1. Romans 9:5 Christ. I pray that God, who rules over all, will be praised forever: Or " Christ, who rules over all. I pray that God will be praised forever" or " Christ. And I pray that Christ, who is God and rules over all, will be praised forever."

Psalm 19:1-14 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 19

(A psalm by David for the music leader.)
The Wonders of God and the Goodness of His Law
 1The heavens keep telling    the wonders of God,
   and the skies declare
   what he has done.
    2Each day informs
   the following day;
   each night announces
   to the next.
    3They don't speak a word,
   and there is never
   the sound of a voice.
    4Yet their message reaches
   all the earth,
   and it travels
   around the world.
   In the heavens a tent
   is set up for the sun.
    5It rises like a bridegroom
   and gets ready like a hero
   eager to run a race.
    6It travels all the way
   across the sky.
   Nothing hides from its heat.
    7The Law of the LORD is perfect;
   it gives us new life.
   His teachings last forever,
   and they give wisdom
   to ordinary people.
    8The LORD's instruction is right;
   it makes our hearts glad.
   His commands shine brightly,
   and they give us light.
    9Worshiping the LORD is sacred;
   he will always be worshiped.
   All of his decisions
   are correct and fair.
    10They are worth more
   than the finest gold
   and are sweeter than honey
   from a honeycomb.
    11By your teachings, Lord,
   I am warned;
   by obeying them,
   I am greatly rewarded.
    12None of us know our faults.
   Forgive me when I sin
   without knowing it.
    13Don't let me do wrong
   on purpose, Lord,
   or let sin have control
   over my life.
   Then I will be innocent,
   and not guilty
   of some terrible fault.
    14Let my words and my thoughts
   be pleasing to you, LORD,
   because you are my mighty rock [a] and my protector.
  1. Psalm 19:14 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.

Proverbs 20:1 (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 20

Words of Wisdom Are Better than Gold
 1It isn't smart to get drunk!    Drinking makes a fool of you
   and leads to fights.

Verse of the Day
“As soon as you command, I do what you say.” - Psalm 119:60
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American writer on social and political philosophy, Eric Hoffer wrote, "The only index by which to judge a government or a way of life is by the quality of the people it acts upon. No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion — it is an evil government." 

Image result for jesus, moses golfA Joke for Today

There were three men playing a round of golf, Moses, Jesus, and an old man. They get to the 18th hole and Moses gets to tee-off first; he hits his ball into the water. Next up is Jesus, and he does the same as Moses, hits it right into the water. Next up is the old man and he hits it right into the water with Moses and Jesus. 

All three approach the edge of the pond. Moses walks up a little closer, throws his arms high nto the air and the water of the pond begins to part down the middle. He walks down to his ball, hits it out of the pond and into the hole. 

Next up,Jesus. He walks out onto the water and his ball floats up to the surface, so he hits his ball off of the water into the hole. The old man decides he will try something cool so he walks into the water and hits his ball, which flies out of the water, hits a bird,bounces off a tree, then gets deflected off the pin and hits a rabbit then bounces into the hole. Moses turns to Jesus and says," I hate it when your father plays!"

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bible Readings for July 24, 2017

Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 11:1–13:22; Romans 8:22-39; Psalm 18:37-50; and Proverbs 19:27-29. 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 Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

2 Chronicles 11-13:22 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Chronicles 11

Shemaiah the Prophet Warns Rehoboam
(1 Kings 12.21-24)
 1After Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he decided to attack Israel and regain control of the whole country. So he called together one hundred eighty thousand soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.    2Meanwhile, the LORD had told Shemaiah the prophet
   3to tell Rehoboam and everyone from Judah and Benjamin,
   4"The LORD warns you not to go to war against the people from the northern tribes--they are your relatives. Go home! The LORD is the one who made these things happen."
   Rehoboam and his army obeyed the LORD's message and did not attack Jeroboam and his troops.
Rehoboam Fortifies Cities in Judah
 5Rehoboam ruled from Jerusalem, and he had several cities in Judah turned into fortresses so he could use them to defend his country. These cities included    6Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
   7Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam,
   8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
   9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
   10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. After he had fortified these cities in the territories of Judah and Benjamin,
   11he assigned an army commander to each of them and stocked them with supplies of food, olive oil, and wine,
   12as well as with shields and spears. He used these fortified cities to keep control of Judah and Benjamin.
The Priests and the Levites Support Rehoboam
 13The priests and Levites from the northern tribes of Israel gave their support to King Rehoboam.    14And since Jeroboam and the kings of Israel that followed him would not allow any Levites to serve as priests, most Levites left their towns and pasturelands in Israel and moved to Jerusalem and other towns in Judah.
   15Jeroboam chose his own priests to serve at the local shrines [a] in Israel and at the places of worship where he had set up statues of goat-demons and of calves.
   16But some of the people from Israel wanted to worship the LORD God, just as their ancestors had done. So they followed the priests and Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the LORD.
   17For the next three years, they lived in Judah and were loyal to Rehoboam and his kingdom, just as they had been loyal to David and Solomon.
Rehoboam's Family
 18Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David, and whose mother was Abihail the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse.    19Rehoboam and Mahalath had three sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
   20Then Rehoboam married Maacah the daughter of Absalom. Their sons were Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
   21Rehoboam had eighteen wives, but he also married sixty other women, [b] and he was the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. Rehoboam loved his wife Maacah the most,
   22so he chose their oldest son Abijah to be the next king.
   23Rehoboam was wise enough to put one of his sons in charge of each fortified city in his kingdom. He gave them all the supplies they needed and found wives for every one of them.

2 Chronicles 12

King Shishak of Egypt Invades Judah
(1 Kings 14.25-28)
 1Soon after Rehoboam had control of his kingdom, he and everyone in Judah stopped obeying the LORD.    2So in the fifth year of Rehoboam's rule, the LORD punished them for their unfaithfulness and allowed King Shishak of Egypt to invade Judah.
   3Shishak attacked with his army of one thousand two hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry troops, as well as Egyptian soldiers from Libya, Sukkoth, and Ethiopia. [c]
   4He captured every one of the fortified cities in Judah and then marched to Jerusalem.
   5Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah had gone to Jerusalem to escape Shishak's invasion. And while they were there, Shemaiah the prophet told them, "The LORD says that because you have disobeyed him, he has now abandoned you. The LORD will not help you against Shishak!"
   6Rehoboam and the leaders were sorry for what they had done and admitted, "The LORD is right. We have deserted him."
   7When the LORD heard this, he told Shemaiah:
   The people of Judah are truly sorry for their sins, and so I won't let Shishak completely destroy them. But because I am still angry,
   8he will conquer and rule them.
   Then my people will know what it's like to serve a foreign king instead of serving me.
   9Shishak attacked Jerusalem and took all the valuable things from the temple and from the palace, including Solomon's gold shields.
   10Rehoboam had bronze shields made to replace the gold ones, and he ordered the guards at the city gates to keep them safe.
   11Whenever Rehoboam went to the LORD's temple, the guards carried the shields. But they always took them back to the guardroom as soon as he had finished worshiping.
   12Rehoboam turned back to the LORD, and so the LORD did not let Judah be completely destroyed, and Judah was prosperous again.
Rehoboam's Rule in Judah
(1 Kings 14.21,29-31)
 13Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled seventeen years from Jerusalem, the city where the LORD had chosen to be worshiped. His mother Naamah was from Ammon. Rehoboam was a powerful king,    14but he still did wrong and refused to obey the LORD.
   15Everything else Rehoboam did while he was king, including a history of his family, is written in the records of the two prophets, Shemaiah and Iddo. During Rehoboam's rule, he and King Jeroboam of Israel were constantly at war.
   16When Rehoboam died, he was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Abijah became king.

2 Chronicles 13

King Abijah of Judah
(1 Kings 15.1-8)
 1Abijah [d] became king of Judah in Jeroboam's eighteenth year as king of Israel,    2and he ruled from Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah. Some time later, Abijah and King Jeroboam of Israel went to war against each other.
   3Abijah's army had four hundred thousand troops, and Jeroboam met him in battle with eight hundred thousand troops.
   4Abijah went to the top of Mount Zemaraim [e] in the hills of Ephraim and shouted: Listen, Jeroboam and all you Israelites!
   5The LORD God of Israel has made a solemn promise that every king of Israel will be from David's family.
   6But Jeroboam, you were King Solomon's official, and you rebelled.
   7Then right after Rehoboam became king, you and your bunch of worthless followers challenged Rehoboam, who was too young to know how to stop you.
   8Now you and your powerful army think you can stand up to the kingdom that the LORD has given to David's descendants. The only gods you have are those gold statues of calves that Jeroboam made for you.
   9You don't even have descendants of Aaron on your side, because you forced out the LORD's priests and Levites. In their place, you appoint ordinary people to be priests, just as the foreign nations do. In fact, anyone who brings a bull and seven rams to the altar can become a priest of your so-called gods.
   10But we have not turned our backs on the LORD God! Aaron's own descendants serve as our priests, and the Levites are their assistants.
   11Two times every day they offer sacrifices and burn incense to the LORD. They set out the sacred loaves of bread on a table that has been purified, and they light the lamps in the gold lampstand every day at sunset. We follow the commands of the LORD our God--you have rejected him!
   12That's why God is on our side and will lead us into battle when the priests sound the signal on the trumpets. It's no use, Israelites. You might as well give up. There's no way you can defeat the LORD, the God your ancestors worshiped.
   13But while Abijah was talking, Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to attack Judah's army from behind, while the rest attacked from the front.
   14Judah's army realized they were trapped, and so they prayed to the LORD. The priests blew the signal on the trumpet,
   15and the troops let out a battle cry. Then with Abijah leading them into battle, God defeated Jeroboam and Israel's army.
   16The Israelites ran away, and God helped Judah's soldiers slaughter
   17five hundred thousand enemy troops.
   18Judah's army won because they had trusted the LORD God of their ancestors.
   19Abijah kept up his attack on Jeroboam's army and captured the Israelite towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, as well as the villages around them.
   20Jeroboam never regained his power during the rest of Abijah's rule. The LORD punished Jeroboam, and he died, but Abijah became more powerful.
   21Abijah had a total of fourteen wives, twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters.
   22Everything Abijah said and did while he was king is written in the records of Iddo the prophet.
  1. 2 Chronicles 11:15 local shrines: The Hebrew text has "high places," which were local places to worship foreign gods.
  2. 2 Chronicles 11:21 other women: This translates a Hebrew word for women who were legally bound to a man, but without the full privileges of a wife.
  3. 2 Chronicles 12:3 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has "Cush," which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
  4. 2 Chronicles 13:1 Abijah: In 1 Kings 15.1-8 his name is spelled "Abijam."
  5. 2 Chronicles 13:4 Mount Zemaraim: Probably located on the northern border of the territory of Benjamin.

Romans 8:22-39 (Contemporary English Version)

22We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth.
    23The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. [a] This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it. 26In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don't know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. 27All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people. 28We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. [b] They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, 29and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children. 30God then accepted the people he had already decided to choose, and he has shared his glory with them.
God's Love
 31What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else? 33If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, [c] speaking to him for us. 35Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? 36It is exactly as the Scriptures say, "For you we face death    all day long.
   We are like sheep
   on their way
   to be butchered."
    37In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love--not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
  1. Romans 8:23 to show that we are his children: These words are not in some manuscripts. The translation of the remainder of the verse would then read, " while we wait for God to set our bodies free."
  2. Romans 8:28 God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him: Or " All things work for the good of everyone who loves God" or " God's Spirit always works for the good of everyone who loves God."
  3. Romans 8:34 right side: The place of power and honor.

Psalm 18:37-50 (Contemporary English Version)

37I kept chasing my enemies,
   until I caught them
   and destroyed them.
    38I stuck my sword
   through my enemies,
   and they were crushed
   under my feet.
    39You helped me win victories,
   and you forced my attackers
   to fall victim to me.
    40You made my enemies run,
   and I killed them.
    41They cried out for help,
   but no one saved them;
   they called out to you,
   but there was no answer.
    42I ground them to dust
   blown by the wind,
   and I poured them out
   like mud in the streets.
    43You rescued me
   from stubborn people,
   and you made me the leader
   of foreign nations,
   who are now my slaves.
    44They obey and come crawling.
    45They have lost all courage,
   and from their fortresses,
   they come trembling.
    46You are the living LORD!
   I will praise you.
   You are a mighty rock. [a] I will honor you
   for keeping me safe.
    47You took revenge for me,
   and you put nations
   in my power.
    48You protected me
   from violent enemies
   and made me much greater
   than all of them.
    49I will praise you, LORD,
   and I will honor you
   among the nations.
    50You give glorious victories
   to your chosen king.
   Your faithful love for David
   and for his descendants
   will never end.
  1. Psalm 18:46 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.

Proverbs 19:27-29 (Contemporary English Version)

27If you stop learning,
   you will forget
   what you already know.
    28A lying witness makes fun
   of the court system,
   and criminals think crime
   is really delicious.
    29Every stupid fool
   is just waiting
   to be punished.

Verse of the Day
“Life will go well for those who freely lend and are honest in business.” - Psalm 112:5
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

RaymondChandlerPromoPhoto.jpgThought for the Day

American novelist and screenwriter, Raymond Chandler wrote, "The law isn’t justice. It’s a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be."

A Joke for Today

Related imageA young minister about to deliver his first sermon asked the advice of a retired minister on how to capture the congregation's attention.

"Start with an opening line that's certain to grab them," the cleric told him. "For example: 'Some of the best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman.'"

He smiled at the young minister's shocked look before adding, "She was my mother."

The next Sunday the minister nervously clutched the pulpit rail before the congregation and stated, "Some of the best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman."

He was pleased at the instant reaction, then panic-stricken. "But for the life of me, I can't remember who she was!"