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 18, 2017

Bible Readings for August 18, 2017

Today our passages are 
Esther 1:1–3:15; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Psalm 35:17-28; and Proverbs 21:19-20. 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.

Esther 1-3:15 (Contemporary English Version)

Esther 1

Queen Vashti Disobeys King Xerxes
 1-2King Xerxes [a] of Persia lived in his capital city of Susa [b] and ruled one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. [c] 3During the third year of his rule, Xerxes gave a big dinner for all his officials and officers. The governors and leaders of the provinces were also invited, and even the commanders of the Persian and Median armies came. 4For one hundred eighty days he showed off his wealth and spent a lot of money to impress his guests with the greatness of his kingdom. 5King Xerxes soon gave another dinner and invited everyone in the city of Susa, no matter who they were. The eating and drinking lasted seven days in the beautiful palace gardens. 6The area was decorated with blue and white cotton curtains tied back with purple linen cords that ran through silver rings fastened to marble columns. Couches of gold and silver rested on pavement that had all kinds of designs made from costly bright-colored stones and marble and mother-of-pearl.     7The guests drank from gold cups, and each cup had a different design. The king was generous 8and said to them, " Drink all you want!" Then he told his servants, " Keep their cups full."
    9While the men were enjoying themselves, Queen Vashti gave the women a big dinner inside the royal palace.
    10By the seventh day, King Xerxes was feeling happy because of so much wine. And he asked his seven personal servants, Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, 11to bring Queen Vashti to him. The king wanted her to wear her crown and let his people and his officials see how beautiful she was. 12The king's servants told Queen Vashti what he had said, but she refused to go to him, and this made him terribly angry.
    13-14The king called in the seven highest officials of Persia and Media. They were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan. These men were very wise and understood all the laws and customs of the country, and the king always asked them what they thought about such matters.
    15The king said to them, " Queen Vashti refused to come to me when I sent my servants for her. What does the law say I should do about that?"
    16Then Memucan told the king and the officials:
   Your Majesty, Queen Vashti has not only embarrassed you, but she has insulted your officials and everyone else in all the provinces.
    17The women in the kingdom will hear about this, and they will refuse to respect their husbands. They will say, " If Queen Vashti doesn't obey her husband, why should we?" 18Before this day is over, the wives of the officials of Persia and Media will find out what Queen Vashti has done, and they will refuse to obey their husbands. They won't respect their husbands, and their husbands will be angry with them.
    19Your Majesty, if you agree, you should write for the Medes and Persians a law that can never be changed. This law would keep Queen Vashti from ever seeing you again. Then you could let someone who respects you be queen in her place.
    20When the women in your great kingdom hear about this new law, they will respect their husbands, no matter if they are rich or poor.
    21King Xerxes and his officials liked what Memucan had said, 22and he sent letters to all of his provinces. Each letter was written in the language of the province to which it was sent, and it said that husbands should have complete control over their wives and children.

Esther 2

Esther Becomes Queen
 1After a while, King Xerxes got over being angry. But he kept thinking about what Vashti had done and the law that he had written because of her. 2Then the king's personal servants said:    Your Majesty, a search must be made to find you some beautiful young women. 3You can select officers in every province to bring them to the place where you keep your wives in the capital city of Susa. Put your servant Hegai in charge of them since that is his job. He can see to it that they are given the proper beauty treatments. 4Then let the young woman who pleases you most take Vashti's place as queen.
   King Xerxes liked these suggestions, and he followed them.
    5At this time a Jew named Mordecai was living in Susa. His father was Jair, and his grandfather Shimei was the son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. 6Kish [d] was one of the people that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem, when he took King Jeconiah of Judah to Babylonia. 7Mordecai had a very beautiful cousin named Esther, whose Hebrew name was Hadassah. He had raised her as his own daughter, after her father and mother died. 8When the king ordered the search for beautiful women, many were taken to the king's palace in Susa, and Esther was one of them.
   Hegai was put in charge of all the women, 9and from the first day, Esther was his favorite. He began her beauty treatments at once. He also gave her plenty of food and seven special maids from the king's palace, and they had the best rooms.
    10Mordecai had warned Esther not to tell anyone that she was a Jew, and she obeyed him. 11He was anxious to see how Esther was getting along and to learn what had happened to her. So each day he would walk back and forth in front of the court where the women lived.
    12The young women were given beauty treatments for one whole year. The first six months their skin was rubbed with olive oil and myrrh, and the last six months it was treated with perfumes and cosmetics. Then each of them spent the night alone with King Xerxes. 13When a young woman went to the king, she could wear whatever clothes or jewelry she chose from the women's living quarters. 14In the evening she would go to the king, and the following morning she would go to the place where his wives stayed after being with him. There a man named Shaashgaz was in charge of the king's wives. [e] Only the ones the king wanted and asked for by name could go back to the king. 15-16Xerxes had been king for seven years when Esther's turn came to go to him during Tebeth, [f] the tenth month of the year. Everyone liked Esther. The king's personal servant Hegai was in charge of the women, and Esther trusted Hegai and asked him what she ought to take with her. [g] 17Xerxes liked Esther more than he did any of the other young women. None of them pleased him as much as she did, and right away he fell in love with her and crowned her queen in place of Vashti. 18In honor of Esther he gave a big dinner for his leaders and officials. Then he declared a holiday everywhere in his kingdom and gave expensive gifts.
Mordecai Saves the King's Life
 19When the young women were brought together again, Esther's cousin Mordecai had become a palace official. 20He had told Esther never to tell anyone that she was a Jew, and she obeyed him, just as she had always done.     21Bigthana and Teresh were the two men who guarded King Xerxes' rooms, but they got angry with the king and decided to kill him. 22Mordecai found out about their plans and asked Queen Esther to tell the king what he had found out. 23King Xerxes learned that Mordecai's report was true, and he had the two men hanged. Then the king had all of this written down in his record book as he watched.

Esther 3

Haman Plans To Destroy the Jews
 1Later, King Xerxes promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha to the highest position in his kingdom. Haman was a descendant of Agag, [h] 2and the king had given orders for his officials at the royal gate to honor Haman by kneeling down to him. All of them obeyed except Mordecai. 3When the other officials asked Mordecai why he disobeyed the king's command, 4he said, " Because I am a Jew." They spoke to him for several days about kneeling down, but he still refused to obey. Finally, they reported this to Haman, to find out if he would let Mordecai get away with it. 5Haman was furious to learn that Mordecai refused to kneel down and honor him. 6And when he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he knew that killing only Mordecai was not enough. Every Jew in the whole kingdom had to be killed.     7It was now the twelfth year of the rule of King Xerxes. During Nisan, [i] the first month of the year, Haman said, " Find out the best time for me to do this." [j] The time chosen was Adar, [k] the twelfth month. 8Then Haman went to the king and said:
   Your Majesty, there are some people who live all over your kingdom and won't have a thing to do with anyone else. They have customs that are different from everyone else's, and they refuse to obey your laws. We would be better off to get rid of them! 9Why not give orders for all of them to be killed? I can promise that you will get tons of silver for your treasury.
    10The king handed his official ring to Haman, who hated the Jews, and the king told him, 11" Do what you want with those people! You can keep their money."
    12On the thirteenth day of Nisan, Haman called in the king's secretaries and ordered them to write letters in every language used in the kingdom. The letters were written in the name of the king and sealed by using the king's own ring. [l] At once they were sent to the king's highest officials, the governors of each province, and the leaders of the different nations in the kingdom of Xerxes. 13The letters were taken by messengers to every part of the kingdom, and this is what was said in the letters:
   On the thirteenth day of Adar, the twelfth month, all Jewish men, women, and children are to be killed. And their property is to be taken.
    14-15King Xerxes gave orders for these letters to be posted where they could be seen by everyone all over the kingdom. The king's command was obeyed, and one of the letters was read aloud to the people in the walled city of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink together, but no one in the city [m] could figure out what was going on.
  1. Esther 1:1 Xerxes: The Hebrew text has " Ahasuerus," who was better known as King Xerxes I (485-465 B.C.).
  2. Esther 1:1 in his capital city of Susa: Or " in his royal fortress in the city of Susa." Susa was a city east of Babylon and a winter home for Persian kings.
  3. Esther 1:1 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. Esther 2:6 Kish: Or " Mordecai." The Hebrew text has " He."
  5. Esther 2:14 wives: This translates a Hebrew word for women who were legally bound to a man, but without the full privileges of a wife.
  6. Esther 2:15 Tebeth: The tenth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-December to mid-January.
  7. Esther 2:15 her: The Hebrew text adds, " Esther was the daughter of Abihail and was the cousin of Mordecai, who had adopted her after her parents died" (see verse 7).
  8. Esther 3:1 Agag: Agag was a king who had fought against the Jews long before the time of Esther (see 1 Samuel 15.1-33).
  9. Esther 3:7 Nisan: The first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
  10. Esther 3:7 Find out. . . do this: The Hebrew text has " cast lots," which were pieces of wood or stone used to find out how and when to do something. For " lots" the Hebrew text uses the Babylonian word " purim."
  11. Esther 3:7 Adar: The twelfth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-February to mid-March.
  12. Esther 3:12 king's own ring: Melted wax was used to seal a letter, and while the wax was still soft, the king's ring was pressed in the wax to show that the letter was official.
  13. Esther 3:14 walled city. . . city: Or " royal fortress. . . rest of the city."

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (Contemporary English Version)

Rules for the Lord's Supper
 17Your worship services do you more harm than good. I am certainly not going to praise you for this. 18I am told that you can't get along with each other when you worship, and I am sure that some of what I have heard is true. 19You are bound to argue with each other, but it is easy to see which of you have God's approval.     20When you meet together, you don't really celebrate the Lord's Supper. 21You even start eating before everyone gets to the meeting, and some of you go hungry, while others get drunk. 22Don't you have homes where you can eat and drink? Do you hate God's church? Do you want to embarrass people who don't have anything? What can I say to you? I certainly cannot praise you.
The Lord's Supper
(Matthew 26.26-29; Mark 14.22-25; Luke 22.14-20)
 23I have already told you what the Lord Jesus did on the night he was betrayed. And it came from the Lord himself.    He took some bread in his hands. 24Then after he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this and remember me."
    25After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and said, "This is my blood, and with it God makes his new agreement with you. Drink this and remember me."
    26The Lord meant that when you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you tell about his death until he comes.
    27But if you eat the bread and drink the wine in a way that isn't worthy of the Lord, you sin against his body and blood. 28That's why you must examine the way you eat and drink. 29If you fail to understand that you are the body of the Lord, you will condemn yourselves by the way you eat and drink. 30That's why many of you are sick and weak and why a lot of others have died. 31If we carefully judge ourselves, we won't be punished. 32But when the Lord judges and punishes us, he does it to keep us from being condemned with the rest of the world.
    33My dear friends, you should wait until everyone gets there before you start eating. 34If you really are hungry, you can eat at home. Then you won't condemn yourselves when you meet together.
   After I arrive, I will instruct you about the other matters.

Psalm 35:17-28 (Contemporary English Version)

17But all you do is watch!
   When will you do something?
   Save me from the attack
   of those vicious lions.
    18And when your people meet,
   I will praise you
   and thank you, Lord,
   in front of them all.
    19Don't let my brutal enemies
   be glad because of me.
   They hate me for no reason.
   Don't let them wink
   behind my back.
    20They say hurtful things,
   and they lie to people
   who want to live in peace.
    21They are quick to accuse me.
   They say, "You did it!
   We saw you ourselves."
    22You see everything, LORD!
   Please don't keep silent
   or stay so far away.
    23Fight to defend me, Lord God,
    24and prove that I am right
   by your standards.
   Don't let them laugh at me
    25or say to each other,
   "Now we've got what we want!
   We'll gobble him down!"
    26Disappoint and confuse
   all who are glad
   to see me in trouble,
   but disgrace and embarrass
   my proud enemies
   who say to me,
   "You are nothing!"
    27Let all who want me to win
   be happy and joyful.
   From now on let them say,
   "The LORD is wonderful!
   God is glad when all goes well
   for his servant."
    28Then I will shout all day,
   "Praise the LORD God!
   He did what was right."

Proverbs 21:19-20 (Contemporary English Version)

19It's better out in the desert
   than at home with a nagging,
   complaining wife.
    20Be sensible and store up
   precious treasures--
   don't waste them
   like a fool.

Verse of the Day

“If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die, I will gain even more.” - Philippians 1:21
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

 Rose Carter, official color photo, 1977-cropped.jpgThought for the Day

The wife of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, and served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981, Rosalynn Carter wrote, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

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A Joke for Today

A circus owner walked into a bar to see everyone crowded about a table watching a little show. On the table was an upside down pot and a duck tap dancing on it. The circus owner was so impressed that he offered to buy the duck from its owner. After some wheeling and dealing, they settled for $10,000 for the duck and the pot.

Three days later the circus owner runs back to the bar in anger, "Your duck is a ripoff! I put him on the pot before a whole audience, and he didn't dance a single step!"

"So?" asked the ducks former owner, "did you remember to light the candle under the pot?"

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