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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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bible Readings for August 17, 2017

Today our passages are 
Nehemiah 12:27–13:31; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; Psalm 35:1-16; and Proverbs 21:17-18. 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 12:27-13:31 (Contemporary English Version)

Nehemiah Dedicates the City Wall
 27When the city wall was dedicated, Levites from everywhere in Judah were invited to join in the celebration with songs of praise and with the music of cymbals, small harps, and other stringed instruments. 28-29The Levite singers lived in villages around Jerusalem, and so they came from there, as well as from the villages around Netophah, Beth-Gilgal, Geba, and Azmaveth. 30The priests and Levites held special ceremonies to make themselves holy, and then they did the same for the rest of the people and for the gates and walls of the city.     31I brought the leaders of Judah to the top of the city wall and put them in charge of the two groups that were to march around on top of the wall, singing praises to God. One group marched to the right in the direction of Garbage Gate. 32Hoshaiah and half of the leaders followed them. 33Then came the priests Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 35all of them blowing trumpets. Next, there was Zechariah of the Asaph clan [a] 36and his relatives, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani. They played musical instruments like those that had been played by David, the man of God. And they marched behind Ezra, the teacher of the Law. 37When they reached Fountain Gate, they climbed the steps to David's City and went past his palace, before stopping at the Water Gate near the eastern wall of the city. 38The second group of singers marched along the wall in the opposite direction, and I followed them, together with the other half of the leaders of Judah. We went past Oven Tower, Broad Wall, 39Ephraim Gate, Old Gate, Fish Gate, Hananel Tower, Hundred Tower, and on to Sheep Gate. Finally, we stopped at Gate of the Guard, 40where we stood in front of the temple with the other group, praising God. In the group with me were half of the leaders, 41as well as the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, who were blowing trumpets. 42Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer also stood there, as Jezrahiah led the singers. 43God had made the people very happy, and so on that day they celebrated and offered many sacrifices. The women and children joined in the festivities, and joyful shouts could be heard far from the city of Jerusalem.
Preparation for Worship
 44On that same day, some leaders were appointed to be responsible for the safekeeping of gifts for the temple and to be in charge of receiving the first part of the harvest and the ten percent of the crops and livestock that was offered to God. These same leaders also collected the part of crops that the Law of Moses taught was to be given to the Levites.    Everyone was pleased with the work of the priests and Levites, 45when they performed the ceremonies to make people acceptable to worship God. And the singers and the temple guards did their jobs according to the instructions given by David and his son Solomon. 46In fact, ever since the days of David and Asaph, there had been song leaders and songs of praise and worship. 47During the time that Zerubbabel and I were in charge, everyone in Israel gave what they were supposed to give for the daily needs of the singers and temple guards from the Levi tribe. Then the Levites would give the priests their share from what they had received.

Nehemiah 13

Foreigners Are Sent Away
 1On that day when the Law of Moses was read aloud to everyone, it was discovered that Ammonites and Moabites were forbidden to belong to the people of God. 2This was because they had refused to give food and water to Israel and had hired Balaam [b] to call down a curse on them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3Following the reading of the Law of Moses, the people of Israel started sending away anyone who had any foreign ancestors.
Nehemiah Makes Other Changes
 4The priest Eliashib was a relative of Tobiah and had earlier been put in charge of the temple storerooms. 5So he let Tobiah live in one of these rooms, where all kinds of things had been stored--the grain offerings, incense, utensils for the temple, as well as the tenth of the grain, wine, and olive oil that had been given for the use of the Levites, singers, and temple guards, and the gifts for the priests.     6This happened in the thirty-second year that Artaxerxes [c] ruled Babylonia. I was away from Jerusalem at the time, because I was visiting him. Later I received permission from the king 7to return to Jerusalem. Only then did I find out that Eliashib had done this terrible thing of letting Tobiah have a room in the temple. 8It upset me so much that I threw out every bit of Tobiah's furniture. 9Then I ordered the room to be cleaned and the temple utensils, the grain offerings, and the incense to be brought back into the room. 10I also found out that the temple singers and several other Levites had returned to work on their farms, because they had not been given their share of the harvest. 11I called the leaders together and angrily asked them, " Why is the temple neglected?" Then I told them to start doing their jobs. 12After this, everyone in Judah brought a tenth of their grain, wine, and olive oil to the temple storeroom. 13Finally, I appointed three men with good reputations to be in charge of what was brought there and to distribute it to the others. They were Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the teacher of the Law, and Pedaiah the Levite. Their assistant was Hanan, the son of Zaccur and the grandson of Mattaniah.
    14I pray that my God will remember these good things that I have done for his temple and for those who worship there.
The Sabbath
 15I also noticed what the people of Judah were doing on the Sabbath. Not only were they trampling grapes to make wine, but they were harvesting their grain, grapes, figs, and other crops, and then loading these on donkeys to sell in Jerusalem. So I warned them not to sell food on the Sabbath. 16People who had moved to Jerusalem from the city of Tyre were bringing in fish and other things to sell there on the Sabbath. 17I got angry and said to the leaders of Judah, " This evil you are doing is an insult to the Sabbath! 18Didn't God punish us and this city because our ancestors did these very same things? And here you are, about to make God furious again by disgracing the Sabbath!"     19I ordered the gates of Jerusalem to be closed on the eve of the Sabbath [d] and not to be opened until after the Sabbath had ended. Then I put some of my own men in charge of the gates to make certain that nothing was brought in on the Sabbath. 20Once or twice some merchants spent the night outside Jerusalem with their goods. 21But I warned them, " If you do this again, I'll have you arrested." From then on, they did not come on the Sabbath. 22I ordered the Levites to make themselves holy and to guard the gates on the Sabbath, so that it would be kept holy. God is truly merciful, and I pray that he will treat me with kindness and bless me for doing this.
Mixed Marriages
 23I discovered that some Jewish men had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24About half of their children could not speak Hebrew--they spoke only the language of Ashdod or some other foreign language. 25So in my anger, I called down curses on those men. I had them beaten and even pulled out the hair of some of them. Then I made them promise:    In the name of God we solemnly promise not to let our sons and daughters marry foreigners. 26God dearly loved King Solomon of Israel and made him the greatest king on earth, but Solomon's foreign wives led him into sin. 27So we will obey you and not rebel against our God by marrying foreign women.
    28Jehoiada, the son of the high priest Eliashib, had a son who had married a daughter of Sanballat from Horon, [e] and I forced his son to leave. 29I pray that God will punish them for breaking their priestly vows and disgracing the Levi tribe.
    30Then I made sure that the people were free from every foreign influence, and I assigned duties for the priests and Levites. 31I also arranged for the people to bring firewood to the altar each day and for them to bring the first part of their harvest to the temple.
   I pray that God will bless me for the good I have done.
  1. Nehemiah 12:35 Zechariah of the Asaph clan: Hebrew " Zechariah son of Jonathan son of Shemaiah son of Mattaniah son of Micaiah son of Zaccur son of Asaph."
  2. Nehemiah 13:2 Balaam: See Numbers 22.1-6.
  3. Nehemiah 13:6 Artaxerxes: See the note at 1.1.
  4. Nehemiah 13:19 eve of the Sabbath: The Jewish day began at sunset.
  5. Nehemiah 13:28 Horon: See the note at 2.10.

1 Corinthians 11:3-16 (Contemporary English Version)

3Now I want you to know that Christ is the head over all men, and a man is the head over a woman. But God is the head over Christ. 4This means that any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head brings shame to his head.
    5But any woman who prays or prophesies without something on her head brings shame to her head. In fact, she may as well shave her head. [a] 6A woman should wear something on her head. It is a disgrace for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair. But if she refuses to wear something on her head, let her cut off her hair. 7Men were created to be like God and to bring honor to God. This means that a man should not wear anything on his head. Women were created to bring honor to men. 8It was the woman who was made from a man, and not the man who was made from a woman. 9He wasn't created for her. She was created for him. 10And so, because of this, and also because of the angels, a woman ought to wear something on her head, as a sign of her authority. [b] 11As far as the Lord is concerned, men and women need each other. 12It is true that the first woman came from a man, but all other men have been given birth by women. Yet God is the one who created everything. 13Ask yourselves if it is proper for a woman to pray without something on her head. 14Isn't it unnatural and disgraceful for men to have long hair? 15But long hair is a beautiful way for a woman to cover her head. 16This is how things are done in all of God's churches, [c] and that's why none of you should argue about what I have said.
  1. 1 Corinthians 11:5 she may as well shave her head: A woman's hair was a mark of beauty, and it was shameful for a woman to cut her hair short or to shave her head, so that she looked like a man.
  2. 1 Corinthians 11:10 as a sign of her authority: Or "as a sign that she is under someone's authority."
  3. 1 Corinthians 11:16 This is how things are done in all of God's churches: Or "There is no set rule for this in any of God's churches."

Psalm 35:1-16 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 35

(A psalm by David.)
A Prayer for Protection from Enemies
 1Fight my enemies, LORD!    Attack my attackers!
    2Shield me and help me.
    3Aim your spear at everyone
   who hunts me down,
   but promise to save me.
    4Let all who want to kill me
   be disappointed
   and disgraced.
   Chase away and confuse
   all who plan to harm me.
    5Send your angel after them
   and let them be like straw
   in the wind.
    6Make them run in the dark
   on a slippery road,
   as your angel chases them.
    7I did them no harm,
   but they hid a net
   to trap me,
   and they dug a deep pit
   to catch and kill me.
    8Surprise them with disaster!
   Trap them in their own nets
   and let them fall and rot
   in the pits they have dug.
    9I will celebrate and be joyful
   because you, LORD,
   have saved me.
    10Every bone in my body
   will shout:
   "No one is like the LORD!"
   You protect the helpless
   from those in power;
   you save the poor and needy
   from those who hurt them.
    11Liars accuse me of crimes
   I know nothing about.
    12They repay evil for good,
   and I feel all alone.
    13When they were sick,
   I wore sackcloth [a] and went without food. [b] I truly prayed for them, [c] 14as I would for a friend
   or a relative.
   I was in sorrow and mourned,
   as I would for my mother.
    15I have stumbled,
   and worthless liars
   I don't even know
   surround me and sneer.
    16Worthless people make fun [d] and never stop laughing.
  1. Psalm 35:13 sackcloth: See the note at 30.11.
  2. Psalm 35:13 went without food: People sometimes went without food (called " fasting" ) to show sorrow.
  3. Psalm 35:13 I. . . them: Or " My prayer wasn't answered, but I prayed."
  4. Psalm 35:16 Worthless. . . fun: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 21:17-18 (Contemporary English Version)

17Heavy drinkers and others
   who live only for pleasure
   will lose all they have.
    18God's people will escape,
   but all who are wicked
   will pay the price.

Verse of the Day

“The Scriptures say, "If you want to brag, then brag about the Lord." You may brag about yourself, but the only approval that counts is the Lord's approval.” - 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

 Mae West LAT.jpgThought for the Day

American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades, Mae West wrote, “It isn't what I do, but how I do it. It isn't what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.”

 A Joke for Today
A young couple, madly in love, decided to get married. But as the wedding day neared, both grew increasingly nervous over secret problems they had never shared with anyone. Privately, the groom-to-be approached his minister.

“I’m really concerned about this marriage,” the young man said.

Image result for smelly feet bad breath“Don’t you love her?” the pastor asked in surprise.

“Of course,” the groom said. “But I have unbelievably smelly feet—and I’m afraid my fiancée won’t be able to stand them.”

“Oh, is that all?” the pastor replied. “Look, all you need to do is wash your feet twice a day and wear socks all the time.”

The groom thought it over and decided it just might work.

Meanwhile, the nervous bride had privately approached the minister’s wife. “I’m so worried,” she sobbed. “I have really bad breath when I wake up each day!”

“Oh, dear,” the pastor’s wife replied,” everyone has bad breath in the morning. Don’t worry about it.”

Image result for bad breath“No, you don’t understand,” the bride implored. “My morning breath is so awful, my fiancé won’t even want to be near me!”

“Well, I have an idea,” the pastor’s wife said soothingly. “Set your alarm just a few minutes before your husband wakes up. Run to the bathroom, brush your teeth, and gargle with mouthwash before he gets out of bed. The key is not to say anything until you’ve taken care of your breath.”

The bride thought it over and decided it just might work.

In time, a beautiful wedding was held and the bride and groom enjoyed the day without once worrying about their secret problems. For several months they managed to keep their issues to themselves. They one morning, the husband awoke before dawn to find that one of his socks had come off in the night. Frantic, he searched the bed, afraid of what might happen if he didn’t find his sock soon. His bride woke with a start, and, without thinking, blurted out, “What in the world are you doing?”

“Oh, dear!” the young man wailed. “You swallowed my sock!”

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