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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Friday, August 11, 2017

Bible Readings for August 11, 2017

Today our passages are Nehemiah 1:1–3:14; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24; Psalm 31:19-24; and Proverbs 21:4. 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.

Nehemiah 1-3:14 (Contemporary English Version)

Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah's Prayer
 1I am Nehemiah son of Hacaliah, and in this book I tell what I have done.    During the month of Chislev [a] in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes [b] ruled Persia, I was in his fortress city of Susa, [c] 2when my brother Hanani came with some men from Judah. So I asked them about the Jews who had escaped [d] from being captives in Babylonia. I also asked them about the city of Jerusalem. 3They told me, " Those captives who have come back are having all kinds of troubles. They are terribly disgraced, Jerusalem's walls are broken down, and its gates have been burned."
    4When I heard this, I sat down and cried. Then for several days, I mourned; I went without eating to show my sorrow, and I prayed:
    5LORD God of heaven, you are great and fearsome. And you faithfully keep your promises to everyone who loves you and obeys your commands. 6I am your servant, so please have mercy on me and answer the prayer that I make day and night for these people of Israel who serve you. I, my family, and the rest of your people have sinned 7by choosing to disobey you and the laws and teachings you gave to your servant Moses.
    8Please remember the promise you made to Moses. You told him that if we were unfaithful, you would scatter us among foreign nations. 9But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshiped.
    10Our LORD, I am praying for your servants--those you rescued by your great strength and mighty power. 11Please answer my prayer and the prayer of your other servants who gladly honor your name. When I serve the king his wine today, make him pleased with me and have him do what I ask.

Nehemiah 2

Nehemiah Goes to Jerusalem
 1During the month of Nisan [e] in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was king, I served him his wine, as I had done before. But this was the first time I had ever looked depressed. 2So the king said, " Why do you look so sad? You're not sick. Something must be bothering you." Even though I was frightened, 3I answered, " Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! I feel sad because the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and its gates have been burned down."     4The king asked, " What do you want me to do?"
   I prayed to the God who rules from heaven. 5Then I told the king, " Sir, if it's all right with you, please send me back to Judah, so that I can rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried."
    6The queen was sitting beside the king when he asked me, " How long will it take, and when will you be back?" The king agreed to let me go, and I told him when I would return.
    7Then I asked, " Your Majesty, would you be willing to give me letters to the governors of the provinces west of the Euphrates River, so that I can travel safely to Judah? 8I will need timber to rebuild the gates of the fortress near the temple and more timber to construct the city wall and to build a place for me to live. And so, I would appreciate a letter to Asaph, who is in charge of the royal forest." God was good to me, and the king did everything I asked.
    9The king sent some army officers and cavalry troops along with me, and as I traveled through the Western Provinces, I gave the letters to the governors. 10But when Sanballat from Horon [f] and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about what had happened, they became very angry, because they didn't want anyone to help the people of Israel.
Nehemiah Inspects the Wall of Jerusalem
 11Three days after arriving in Jerusalem, 12I got up during the night and left my house. I took some men with me, without telling anyone what I thought God wanted me to do for the city. The only animal I took was the donkey I rode on. 13I went through Valley Gate on the west, then south past Dragon Spring, before coming to Garbage Gate. As I rode along, I took a good look at the crumbled walls of the city and the gates that had been torn down and burned. 14On the east side of the city, I headed north to Fountain Gate and King's Pool, but then the trail became too narrow for my donkey. 15So I went down to Kidron Valley and looked at the wall from there. Then before daylight I returned to the city through Valley Gate.     16None of the city officials knew what I had in mind. And I had not even told any of the Jews--not the priests, the leaders, the officials, or any other Jews who would be helping in the work. 17But when I got back, I said to them, " Jerusalem is truly in a mess! The gates have been torn down and burned, and everything is in ruins. We must rebuild the city wall so that we can again take pride in our city."
    18Then I told them how kind God had been and what the king had said.
   Immediately, they replied, " Let's start building now!" So they got everything ready.
    19When Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard about our plans, they started insulting us and saying, " Just look at you! Do you plan to rebuild the walls of the city and rebel against the king?"
    20I answered, " We are servants of the God who rules from heaven, and he will make our work succeed. So we will start rebuilding Jerusalem, but you have no right to any of its property, because you have had no part in its history."

Nehemiah 3

Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem
 1These are the people who helped rebuild the wall and gates of Jerusalem:    The high priest Eliashib and the other priests rebuilt Sheep Gate and hung its doors. Then they dedicated Sheep Gate and the section of the wall as far as Hundred Tower and Hananel Tower.
    2The people of Jericho rebuilt the next section of the wall, and Zaccur son of Imri rebuilt the section after that.
    3The family of Hassenaah built Fish Gate. They put the beams in place and hung the doors, then they added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks.
    4Meremoth, son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz, completed the next section of the wall.
   Meshullam, son of Berechiah and grandson of Meshezabel, rebuilt the next section, and Zadok son of Baana rebuilt the section beside that.
    5The next section was to be repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their town leaders refused to do the hard work they were assigned. [g] 6Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah restored Ancient Gate. They put the beams in place, hung the doors, and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks. 7Melatiah from Gibeon, Jadon from Meronoth, and the men from Gibeon and Mizpah rebuilt the next section of the wall. This section reached as far as the house of the governor of West Euphrates Province. [h] 8Uzziel son of Harhaiah the goldsmith rebuilt the next section.
   Hananiah the perfume maker rebuilt the section next after that, and it went as far as Broad Wall.
    9Rephaiah son of Hur ruled half of the Jerusalem District, and he rebuilt the next section of the wall.
    10The section after that was close to the home of Jedaiah son of Harumaph, and he rebuilt it.
   Hattush son of Hashabneiah constructed the next section of the wall.
    11Malchijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath Moab rebuilt the section after that, and they also built Oven Tower.
    12Shallum son of Hallohesh ruled the other half of the Jerusalem District, and he rebuilt the next section of the wall. Shallum's daughters also worked with him.
    13Hanun and the people who lived in the town of Zanoah rebuilt Valley Gate. They hung the doors and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks. They also rebuilt the wall for fifteen hundred feet, all the way to Garbage Gate.
    14Malchijah son of Rechab ruled the district of Beth-Haccherem, and he rebuilt Garbage Gate. He hung the doors and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks.
  1. Nehemiah 1:1 Chislev: The ninth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-November to mid-December.
  2. Nehemiah 1:1 Artaxerxes: Probably Artaxerxes I, who ruled Persia 465-425 B.C.
  3. Nehemiah 1:1 Susa: Capital of Elam Province, the winter home of Persian kings.
  4. Nehemiah 1:2 escaped: Or " returned."
  5. Nehemiah 2:1 Nisan: Or Abib, the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
  6. Nehemiah 2:10 Horon: Possibly meaning that Sanballat was the official in charge of Beth-Horon, an important town on the road from Jerusalem to Lydda and the Mediterranean Sea.
  7. Nehemiah 3:5 refused. . . assigned: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. Nehemiah 3:7 as far as. . . Province: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

1 Corinthians 7:1-24 (Contemporary English Version)

1 Corinthians 7

Questions about Marriage
 1Now I will answer the questions that you asked in your letter. You asked, "Is it best for people not to marry?" [a] 2Well, having your own husband or wife should keep you from doing something immoral. 3Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex. 4A wife belongs to her husband instead of to herself, and a husband belongs to his wife instead of to himself. 5So don't refuse sex to each other, unless you agree not to have sex for a little while, in order to spend time in prayer. Then Satan won't be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6In my opinion that is what should be done, though I don't know of anything the Lord said about this matter. 7I wish that all of you were like me, but God has given different gifts to each of us. 8Here is my advice for people who have never been married and for widows. You should stay single, just as I am. 9But if you don't have enough self-control, then go ahead and get married. After all, it is better to marry than to burn with desire. [b] 10I instruct married couples to stay together, and this is exactly what the Lord himself taught. A wife who leaves her husband 11should either stay single or go back to her husband. And a husband should not leave his wife.     12I don't know of anything else the Lord said about marriage. All I can do is to give you my own advice. If your wife isn't a follower of the Lord, but is willing to stay with you, don't divorce her. 13If your husband isn't a follower, but is willing to stay with you, don't divorce him. 14Your husband or wife who isn't a follower is made holy by having you as a mate. This also makes your children holy and keeps them from being unclean in God's sight.
    15If your husband or wife isn't a follower of the Lord and decides to divorce you, then you should agree to it. You are no longer bound to that person. After all, God chose you and wants you to live at peace. 16And besides, how do you know if you will be able to save your husband or wife who isn't a follower?
Obeying the Lord at All Times
 17In every church I tell the people to stay as they were when the Lord Jesus chose them and God called them to be his own. Now I say the same thing to you. 18If you are already circumcised, don't try to change it. If you are not circumcised, don't get circumcised. 19Being circumcised or uncircumcised isn't really what matters. The important thing is to obey God's commands. 20So don't try to change what you were when God chose you. 21Are you a slave? Don't let that bother you. But if you can win your freedom, you should. 22When the Lord chooses slaves, they become his free people. And when he chooses free people, they become slaves of Christ. 23God paid a great price for you. So don't become slaves of anyone else. 24Stay what you were when God chose you.    
  1. 1 Corinthians 7:1 people not to marry: Or "married couples not to have sex."
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:9 with desire: Or "in the flames of hell."

Psalm 31:19-24 (Contemporary English Version)

19You are wonderful,
   and while everyone watches,
   you store up blessings for all
   who honor and trust you.
    20You are their shelter
   from harmful plots,
   and you are their protection
   from vicious gossip.
    21I will praise you, LORD,
   for showing great kindness
   when I was like a city
   under attack.
    22I was terrified and thought,
   "They've chased me
   far away from you!"
   But you answered my prayer
   when I shouted for help.
    23All who belong to the LORD,
   show how you love him.
   The LORD protects the faithful,
   but he severely punishes
   everyone who is proud.
    24All who trust the LORD,
   be cheerful and strong.

Proverbs 21:4 (Contemporary English Version)

4Evil people are proud
   and arrogant,
   but sin is the only crop
   they produce. [a]
  1. Proverbs 21:4 but sin. . . produce: Or " but sin is the only light they ever follow."

Verse of the Day
“Obeying your instructions brings as much happiness as being rich.” - Psalm 119:14
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Robert G. Ingersoll - Brady-Handy.jpgThought for the Day

American lawyer, a Civil War veteran, politician, and orator of the United States during the Golden Age of Free Thought, Robert G. Ingersoll wrote, “The rights of all are equal: justice, poised and balanced in eternal calm, will shake from the golden scales in which are weighed the acts of men, the very dust of prejudice and caste: No race, no color, no previous condition, can change the rights of men.”

A Joke for Today

Related imageAfter twenty years of shaving himself every morning, a man in a small southern town decided he had been doing that long enough. He told his wife that from then on he’d let the local barber shave him each day.

The man went to the barbershop which was owned by the pastor of the local Baptist church. The barber’s wife, whose name was Grace, shaved him and sprayed him with lilac water. “That will be twenty dollars,” she said. The man thought the price was a bit high and wondered how he’d continue to foot such a bill, but he paid for the service and went off to work.

The next morning, the man looked in the mirror and saw that his face was as smooth as it had been when he left the barber shop the day before. Not bad, he thought. At least I don’t need to get a shave every day.

The next morning, the man’s face was still smooth. Two weeks later, the man was still unable to find any trace of whiskers on his face. He couldn’t understand it, so he returned to the barber shop.“I thought twenty dollars was high for a shave,” he told the barber’s wife, “but you must have done a great job. It’s been two weeks and my whiskers still haven’t started growing back.”The woman’s face showed no surprise. “Well, of course,” she said. “You were shaved by Grace. Once shaved, always shaved.”

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