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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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bible Readings for August 8, 2017

Today our passages are Ezra 7:1–8:20; 1 Corinthians 4:1-21; Psalm 30:1-12; and Proverbs 20:28-30. 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.

Ezra 7-8:20 (Contemporary English Version)

Ezra 7

Ezra Comes to Jerusalem
 1-6Much later, when Artaxerxes [a] was king of Persia, Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylonia. Ezra was the son of Seraiah and the grandson of Azariah. His other ancestors were Hilkiah, Shallum, Zadok, Ahitub, Amariah, Azariah, Meraioth, Zerahiah, Uzzi, Bukki, Abishua, Phinehas, Eleazar, and Aaron, the high priest. Ezra was an expert in the Law that the LORD God of Israel had given to Moses, and the LORD made sure that the king gave Ezra everything he asked for.     7Other Jews, including priests, Levites, musicians, the temple guards, and servants, came to Jerusalem with Ezra. This happened during the seventh year that Artaxerxes [b] was king. 8-9God helped Ezra, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month [c] of that seventh year, after leaving Babylonia on the first day of the first month. [d] 10Ezra had spent his entire life studying and obeying the Law of the LORD and teaching it to others.
Artaxerxes Gives a Letter to Ezra
 11Ezra was a priest and an expert in the laws and commands that the LORD had given to Israel. One day King Artaxerxes gave Ezra a letter which said:     12Greetings from the great King Artaxerxes to Ezra the priest and expert in the teachings of the God of heaven.
    13-14Any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom may go with you to Jerusalem if they want to. My seven advisors and I agree that you may go to Jerusalem and Judah to find out if [e] the laws of your God are being obeyed. 15When you go, take the silver and gold that I and my advisors are freely giving to the God of Israel, whose temple is in Jerusalem. 16Take the silver and gold that you collect from everywhere in Babylonia. Also take the gifts that your own people and priests have so willingly contributed for the temple of your God in Jerusalem.
    17Use the money carefully to buy the best bulls, rams, lambs, grain, and wine. Then sacrifice them on the altar at God's temple in Jerusalem. 18If any silver or gold is left, you and your people may use it for whatever pleases your God. 19Give your God the other articles that have been contributed for use in his temple. 20If you need to get anything else for the temple, you may have the money you need from the royal treasury.
    21Ezra, you are a priest and an expert in the laws of the God of heaven, and I order all treasurers in Western Province to do their very best to help you. 22They will be allowed to give as much as 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of olive oil, and all the salt you need.
    23They must provide whatever the God of heaven demands for his temple, so that he won't be angry with me and with the kings who rule after me. 24We want you to know that no priests, Levites, musicians, guards, temple servants, or any other temple workers will have to pay any kind of taxes.
    25Ezra, use the wisdom God has given you and choose officials and leaders to govern the people of Western Province. These leaders should know God's laws and have them taught to anyone who doesn't know them. 26Everyone who fails to obey God's Law or the king's law will be punished without pity. They will either be executed or put in prison or forced to leave their country, or have all they own taken away.
Ezra Praises God
 27Because King Artaxerxes was so kind, Ezra said:    Praise the LORD God of our ancestors! He made sure that the king honored the LORD's temple in Jerusalem. 28God has told the king, his advisors, and his powerful officials to treat me with kindness. The LORD God has helped me, and I have been able to bring many Jewish leaders back to Jerusalem.

Ezra 8

The Families Who Came Back with Ezra
 1Artaxerxes was king of Persia when I [f] led the following chiefs of the family groups from Babylonia to Jerusalem: 2-14Gershom of the Phinehas family;    Daniel of the Ithamar family;
   Hattush son of Shecaniah of the David family;
   Zechariah and 150 other men of the Parosh family, who had family records;
   Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah with 200 men of the Pahath Moab family;
   Shecaniah son of Jahaziel with 300 men of the Zattu family; [g] Ebed son of Jonathan with 50 men of the Adin family;
   Jeshaiah son of Athaliah with 70 men of the Elam family;
   Zebadiah son of Michael with 80 men of the Shephatiah family;
   Obadiah son of Jehiel with 218 men of the Joab family;
   Shelomith son of Josiphiah with 160 men of the Bani family; [h] Zechariah son of Bebai with 28 men of the Bebai family;
   Johanan son of Hakkatan with 110 men of the Azgad family;
   Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah who returned sometime later with 60 men of the Adonikam family;
   Uthai and Zaccur with 70 men of the Bigvai family.
Ezra Finds Levites for the Temple
 15I [i] brought everyone together by the river [j] that flows to the town of Ahava [k] where we camped for three days. Not one Levite could be found among the people and priests. 16So I sent for the leaders Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam. I also sent for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were very wise. 17Then I sent them to Iddo, the leader at Casiphia, [l] and I told them to ask him and his temple workers to send people to serve in God's temple. 18God was kind to us and had them send a skillful man named Sherebiah, who was a Levite from the family of Mahli. Eighteen of his relatives came with him. 19We were also sent Hashabiah and Jeshaiah from the family of Merari along with twenty of their relatives. 20In addition, 220 others came to help the Levites in the temple. The ancestors of these workers had been chosen years ago by King David [m] and his officials, and they were all listed by name.
  1. Ezra 7:1 Artaxerxes: Either Artaxerxes I (ruled from 465 to 425 B.C.) or Artaxerxes II (ruled from 405-358 B.C.).
  2. Ezra 7:7 seventh year. . . Artaxerxes: 458 B.C. if this is Artaxerxes I; 398 B.C., if this is Artaxerxes II (see the note at 7.1-6).
  3. Ezra 7:8 fifth month: Ab, the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-July to mid-August.
  4. Ezra 7:8 first month: See the note at 6.19.
  5. Ezra 7:13 find out if: Or "make sure that."
  6. Ezra 8:1 I: Ezra.
  7. Ezra 8:2 of the Zattu family: One ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text, but see 2.2-20, where Zattu is mentioned.
  8. Ezra 8:2 of the Bani family: One ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text, but see 2.2-20.
  9. Ezra 8:15 I: See the note at 8.1.
  10. Ezra 8:15 river: Or "canal."
  11. Ezra 8:15 town of Ahava: A town (or place) in Babylonia, but the exact location is unknown.
  12. Ezra 8:17 Casiphia: The location is not known.
  13. Ezra 8:20 King David: See the note at 3.10.

1 Corinthians 4:1-21 (Contemporary English Version)

1 Corinthians 4

The Work of the Apostles
 1Think of us as servants of Christ who have been given the work of explaining God's mysterious ways. 2And since our first duty is to be faithful to the one we work for, 3it doesn't matter to me if I am judged by you or even by a court of law. In fact, I don't judge myself. 4I don't know of anything against me, but that doesn't prove that I am right. The Lord is my judge. 5So don't judge anyone until the Lord returns. He will show what is hidden in the dark and what is in everyone's heart. Then God will be the one who praises each of us.     6Friends, I have used Apollos and myself as examples to teach you the meaning of the saying, "Follow the rules." I want you to stop saying that one of us is better than the other. 7What is so special about you? What do you have that you were not given? And if it was given to you, how can you brag? 8Are you already satisfied? Are you now rich? Have you become kings while we are still nobodies? I wish you were kings. Then we could have a share in your kingdom.
    9It seems to me that God has put us apostles in the worst possible place. We are like prisoners on their way to death. Angels and the people of this world just laugh at us. 10Because of Christ we are thought of as fools, but Christ has made you wise. We are weak and hated, but you are powerful and respected. 11Even today we go hungry and thirsty and don't have anything to wear except rags. We are mistreated and don't have a place to live. 12We work hard with our own hands, and when people abuse us, we wish them well. When we suffer, we are patient. 13When someone curses us, we answer with kind words. Until now we are thought of as nothing more than the trash and garbage of this world.
    14I am not writing to embarrass you. I want to help you, just as parents help their own dear children. 15Ten thousand people may teach you about Christ, but I am your only father. You became my children when I told you about Christ Jesus, 16and I want you to be like me. 17That's why I sent Timothy to you. I love him like a son, and he is a faithful servant of the Lord. Timothy will tell you what I do to follow Christ and how it agrees with what I always teach about Christ in every church.
    18Some of you think I am not coming for a visit, and so you are bragging. 19But if the Lord lets me come, I will soon be there. Then I will find out if the ones who are doing all this bragging really have any power. 20God's kingdom isn't just a lot of words. It is power. 21What do you want me to do when I arrive? Do you want me to be hard on you or to be kind and gentle?

Psalm 30:1-12 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 30

(A psalm by David for the dedication of the temple.)
A Prayer of Thanks
 1I will praise you, LORD!    You saved me from the grave
   and kept my enemies
   from celebrating my death.
    2I prayed to you, LORD God,
   and you healed me,
    3saving me from death
   and the grave.
    4Your faithful people, LORD,
   will praise you with songs
   and honor your holy name.
    5Your anger lasts a little while,
   but your kindness lasts
   for a lifetime.
   At night we may cry,
   but when morning comes
   we will celebrate.
    6I was carefree and thought,
   "I'll never be shaken!"
    7You, LORD, were my friend,
   and you made me strong
   as a mighty mountain.
   But when you hid your face,
   I was crushed.
    8I prayed to you, LORD,
   and in my prayer I said,
    9"What good will it do you
   if I am in the grave?
   Once I have turned to dust,
   how can I praise you
   or tell how loyal you are?
    10Have pity, LORD! Help!"
    11You have turned my sorrow
   into joyful dancing.
   No longer am I sad
   and wearing sackcloth. [a] 12I thank you from my heart,
   and I will never stop
   singing your praises,
   my LORD and my God.
  1. Psalm 30:11 sackcloth: A rough, dark-colored cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow.

Proverbs 20:28-30 (Contemporary English Version)

28Rulers are protected
   by God's mercy and loyalty,
   but [a] they must be merciful for their kingdoms to last.
    29Young people take pride
   in their strength,
   but the gray hairs of wisdom
   are even more beautiful.
    30A severe beating can knock all
   of the evil out of you!
  1. Proverbs 20:28 by God's mercy. . . but: Or " by their mercy. . . and."

Verse of the Day
“The LORD is pleased with his people, and he gives victory to those who are humble.” - Psalm 149:4
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Alija IzetbegovicA Thought for the Day

Bosnian politician, activist, lawyer, author, and philosopher who in 1992 became the first President of the newly-independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegović wrote, “I believe that the people, instead of pretty lies, should be told the truth, no matter how ugly it may be. What can we do, destiny hasn't been kind to us; but, with the help of God, we will prevail.”

A Joke for Today

Image result for capsized boatWhile sports fishing off the Florida coast, a tourist capsized his boat. He could swim, but his fear of alligators kept him clinging to the overturned craft. Spotting and old beachcomber standing on the shore, the tourist shouted,"Are there any gators around here?!" 

"Naw," the man hollered back, "they ain't been around for years!" 

"Feeling safe, the tourist started swimming leisurely toward the shore. 

About halfway there he asked the guy,"How'd you get rid of the gators?" 

"We didn't do nothin'," the beachcomber said. 

"The sharks got 'em." 

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