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.

The Bible in a Year is a ministry of Cove Presbyterian Church. We need your support to keep posting. If you find it helpful, you can support this blog by your contributions. They may be sent to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062. You can also use the PayPal link below:

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bible Readings for January 31, 2017

Today our passages are Exodus 12:14–13:16; Matthew 20:29–21:22; Psalm 25:16-22; and Proverbs 6:12-15. The readings are the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Exodus 12:14-13:16 (Contemporary English Version)

14Remember this day and celebrate it each year as a festival in my honor. 15For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. And on the first of these seven days, you must remove all yeast from your homes. If you eat anything made with yeast during this festival, you will no longer be part of Israel. 16Meet together for worship on the first and seventh days of the festival. The only work you are allowed to do on either of these two days is that of preparing the bread.
17Celebrate this Festival of Thin Bread as a way of remembering the day that I brought your families and tribes out of Egypt. And do this each year. 18Begin on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month by eating bread made without yeast. Then continue this celebration until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19During these seven days no yeast is allowed in anyone's home, whether they are native Israelites or not. If you are caught eating anything made with yeast, you will no longer be part of Israel. 20Stay away from yeast, no matter where you live. No one is allowed to eat anything made with yeast!
21Moses called the leaders of Israel together and said:
Each family is to pick out a sheep and kill it for Passover. 22Make a brush from a few small branches of a hyssop plant and dip the brush in the bowl that has the blood of the animal in it. Then brush some of the blood above the door and on the posts at each side of the door of your house. After this, everyone is to stay inside.
23During that night the LORD will go through the country of Egypt and kill the first-born son in every Egyptian family. He will see where you have put the blood, and he will not come into your house. His angel that brings death will pass over and not kill your first-born sons.
24-25After you have entered the country promised to you by the LORD, you and your children must continue to celebrate Passover each year. 26Your children will ask you, " What are we celebrating?" 27And you will answer, " The Passover animal is killed to honor the LORD. We do these things because on that night long ago the LORD passed over the homes of our people in Egypt. He killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians, but he saved our children from death."
After Moses finished speaking, the people of Israel knelt down and worshiped the LORD. 28Then they left and did what Moses and Aaron had told them to do.
Death for the First-Born Sons
29At midnight the LORD killed the first-born son of every Egyptian family, from the son of the king [a] to the son of every prisoner in jail. He also killed the first-born male of every animal that belonged to the Egyptians. 30That night the king, his officials, and everyone else in Egypt got up and started crying bitterly. In every Egyptian home, someone was dead.
The People of Israel Escape from Egypt
31During the night the king [b] sent for Moses and Aaron and told them, " Get your people out of my country and leave us alone! Go and worship the LORD, as you have asked. 32Take your sheep, goats, and cattle, and get out. But ask your God to be kind to me." 33The Egyptians did everything they could to get the Israelites to leave their country fast. They said, " Please hurry and leave. If you don't, we will all be dead." 34So the Israelites quickly made some bread dough and put it in pans. But they did not mix any yeast in the dough to make it rise. They wrapped cloth around the pans and carried them on their shoulders. 35The Israelites had already done what Moses had told them to do. They had gone to their Egyptian neighbors and asked for gold and silver and for clothes. 36The LORD had made the Egyptians friendly toward the people of Israel, and they gave them whatever they asked for. In this way they carried away the wealth of the Egyptians when they left Egypt.
37The Israelites walked from the city of Rameses to the city of Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand of them, not counting women and children. 38Many other people went with them as well, and there were also a lot of sheep, goats, and cattle. 39They left Egypt in such a hurry that they did not have time to prepare any food except the bread dough made without yeast. So they baked it and made thin bread.
40-41The LORD's people left Egypt exactly four hundred thirty years after they had arrived. 42On that night the LORD kept watch for them, and on this same night each year Israel will always keep watch in honor of the LORD.
Instructions for Passover
43The LORD gave Moses and Aaron the following instructions for celebrating Passover: No one except Israelites may eat the Passover meal.
44Your slaves may eat the meal if they have been circumcised, 45but no foreigners who work for you are allowed to have any.
46The entire meal must be eaten inside, and no one may leave the house during the celebration.
No bones of the Passover lamb may be broken. 47And all Israelites must take part in the meal.
48If anyone who isn't an Israelite wants to celebrate Passover with you, every man and boy in that family must first be circumcised. Then they may join in the meal, just like native Israelites. No uncircumcised man or boy may eat the Passover meal! 49This law applies both to native Israelites and to those foreigners who live among you.
50The Israelites obeyed everything the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron to tell them. 51And on that same day the LORD brought Israel's families and tribes out of Egypt.

Exodus 13

Dedication of the First-Born
1The LORD said to Moses, 2" Dedicate to me the first-born son of every family and the first-born males of your flocks and herds. These belong to me."
The Festival of Thin Bread
3-4Moses said to the people: Remember this day in the month of Abib. [c] It is the day when the LORD's mighty power rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. Do not eat anything made with yeast. 5The LORD promised your ancestors that he would bring you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. It is a land rich with milk and honey. Each year during the month of Abib, celebrate these events in the following way: 6For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast, and on the seventh day you are to celebrate a festival in honor of the LORD. 7During those seven days, you must not eat anything made with yeast or even have yeast anywhere near your homes. 8Then on the seventh day you must explain to your children that you do this because the LORD brought you out of Egypt.
9This celebration will be like wearing a sign on your hand or on your forehead, because then you will pass on to others the teaching of the LORD, whose mighty power brought you out of Egypt. 10Celebrate this festival each year at the same time.
11The LORD will give you the land of the Canaanites, just as he promised you and your ancestors. 12From then on, you must give him every first-born son from your families and every first-born male from your animals, because these belong to him. 13You can save the life of a first-born donkey [d] by sacrificing a lamb; if you don't, you must break the donkey's neck. You must save every first-born son. 14In the future your children will ask what this ceremony means. Explain it to them by saying, " The LORD used his mighty power to rescue us from slavery in Egypt. 15The king [e] stubbornly refused to set us free, so the LORD killed the first-born male of every animal and the first-born son of every Egyptian family. This is why we sacrifice to the LORD every first-born male of every animal and save every first-born son." 16This ceremony will serve the same purpose as a sign on your hand or on your forehead to tell how the LORD's mighty power rescued us from Egypt.

  1. Exodus 12:29the king: See the note at 1.11.
  2. Exodus 12:31the king: See the note at 1.11.
  3. Exodus 13:3Abib: Or Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
  4. Exodus 13:13donkey: This was the only " unclean" animal that had to be saved; the first-born of all " clean" animals (sheep, goats, cattle) had to be sacrificed. Donkeys were important because they were the basic means of transportation.
  5. Exodus 13:15The king: See the note at 1.11.

Matthew 20:29-21:22 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
(Mark 10.46-52; Luke 18.35-43)
29Jesus was followed by a large crowd as he and his disciples were leaving Jericho. 30Two blind men were sitting beside the road. And when they heard that Jesus was coming their way, they shouted, "Lord and Son of David, [a] have pity on us!" 31The crowd told them to be quiet, but they shouted even louder, "Lord and Son of David, have pity on us!" 32When Jesus heard them, he stopped and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"
33They answered, "Lord, we want to see!"
34Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Right away they could see, and they became his followers.

Matthew 21

Jesus Enters Jerusalem
(Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19)
1When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead. 2He told them, "Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. 3If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, `The Lord [b] needs them.' Right away he will let you have the donkeys." 4So God's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 5"Announce to the people
of Jerusalem:
`Your king is coming to you!
He is humble
and rides on a donkey.
He comes on the colt
of a donkey.' "
6The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. 7They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.
8Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches [c] which they had cut from trees. 9Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting, "Hooray [d] for the Son of David! [e] God bless the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hooray for God
in heaven above!"
10When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, "Who can this be?"
11The crowd answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
Jesus in the Temple
(Mark 11.15-19; Luke 19.45-48; John 2.13-22)
12Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. 13He told them, "The Scriptures say, `My house should be called a place of worship.' But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide." 14Blind and lame people came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. 15But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David. 16The men said to Jesus, "Don't you hear what those children are saying?"
"Yes, I do!" Jesus answered. "Don't you know that the Scriptures say, `Children and infants will sing praises'?" 17Then Jesus left the city and went out to the village of Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Puts a Curse on a Fig Tree
(Mark 11.12-14,20-24)
18When Jesus got up the next morning, he was hungry. He started out for the city, 19and along the way he saw a fig tree. But when he came to it, he found only leaves and no figs. So he told the tree, "You will never again grow any fruit!" Right then the fig tree dried up. 20The disciples were shocked when they saw how quickly the tree had dried up. 21But Jesus said to them, "If you have faith and don't doubt, I promise that you can do what I did to this tree. And you will be able to do even more. You can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. 22If you have faith when you pray, you will be given whatever you ask for."

  1. Matthew 20:30Son of David: See the note at 9.27.
  2. Matthew 21:3The Lord: Or "The master of the donkeys."
  3. Matthew 21:8spread clothes. . . put down branches: This was one way that the Jewish people welcomed a famous person.
  4. Matthew 21:9Hooray: This translates a word that can mean "please save us." But it is most often used as a shout of praise to God.
  5. Matthew 21:9Son of David: See the note at 9.27.

Psalm 25:16-22 (Contemporary English Version)

16I am lonely and troubled.
Show that you care
and have pity on me.
17My awful worries keep growing.
Rescue me from sadness.
18See my troubles and misery
and forgive my sins.
19Look at all my enemies!
See how much they hate me.
20I come to you for shelter.
Protect me, keep me safe,
and don't disappoint me.
21I obey you with all my heart,
and I trust you, knowing
that you will save me.
22Our God, please save Israel
from all of its troubles.

Proverbs 6:12-15 (Contemporary English Version)

12Worthless liars go around
and giving signals
to deceive others.
14They are always thinking up
something cruel and evil,
and they stir up trouble.
15But they will be struck
by sudden disaster
and left without a hope.

Verse of the Day

“You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you.” - Psalm 86:5
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Sir Winston Churchill - 19086236948.jpg
Thought for the Day

British statesman who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955, Winston Churchill wrote, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on John 4:24

Bible Readings for January 30, 2017

Today our passages are Exodus 10:1–12:13; Matthew 20:1-28; Psalm 25:1-15; and Proverbs 6:6-11. The readings are the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Exodus 10-12:13 (Contemporary English Version)

Exodus 10

1The LORD said to Moses: Go back to the king. [a] I have made him and his officials stubborn, so that I could work these miracles. 2I did this because I want you to tell your children and your grandchildren about my miracles and about my harsh treatment of the Egyptians. Then all of you will know that I am the LORD. 3Moses and Aaron went to the king and told him that the LORD God of the Hebrews had said:
How long will you stubbornly refuse to obey? Release my people so they can worship me. 4Do this by tomorrow, or I will cover your country with so many locusts [b]5that you won't be able to see the ground. Most of your crops were ruined by the hailstones, but these locusts will destroy what little is left, including the trees. 6Your palace, the homes of your officials, and all other houses in Egypt will overflow with more locusts than have ever been seen in this country. After Moses left the palace, 7the king's officials asked, " Your Majesty, how much longer is this man going to be a troublemaker? Why don't you let the people leave, so they can worship the LORD their God? Don't you know that Egypt is a disaster?"
8The king had Moses and Aaron brought back, and he said, " All right, you may go and worship the LORD your God. But first tell me who will be going."
9" Everyone, young and old," Moses answered. " We will even take our sheep, goats, and cattle, because we want to hold a celebration in honor of the LORD."
10The king replied, " The LORD had better watch over you on the day I let you leave with your families! You're up to no good. 11Do you want to worship the LORD? All right, take only the men and go." Then Moses and Aaron were chased out of the palace.
12The LORD told Moses, " Stretch your arm toward Egypt. Swarms of locusts will come and eat everything left by the hail."
13Moses held out his walking stick, and the LORD sent an east wind that blew across Egypt the rest of the day and all that night. By morning, locusts 14were swarming everywhere. Never before had there been so many locusts in Egypt, and never again will there be so many. 15The ground was black with locusts, and they ate everything left on the trees and in the fields. Nothing green remained in Egypt--not a tree or a plant.
16At once the king sent for Moses and Aaron. He told them, " I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. 17Forgive me one more time and ask the LORD to stop these insects from killing every living plant."
18Moses left the palace and prayed. 19Then the LORD sent a strong west wind [c] that swept the locusts into the Red Sea. [d] Not one locust was left anywhere in Egypt, 20but the LORD made the king so stubborn that he still refused to let the Israelites go.
21The LORD said to Moses, " Stretch your arm toward the sky, and everything will be covered with darkness thick enough to touch." 22Moses stretched his arm toward the sky, and Egypt was covered with darkness for three days. 23During that time, the Egyptians could not see each other or leave their homes, but there was light where the Israelites lived. 24The king [e] sent for Moses and told him, " Go worship the LORD! And take your families with you. Just leave your sheep, goats, and cattle." 25" No!" Moses replied. " You must let us offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, 26and we won't know which animals we will need until we get there. That's why we can't leave even one of them here."
27This time the LORD made the king so stubborn 28that he said to Moses, " Get out and stay out! If you ever come back, you're dead!"
29" Have it your way," Moses answered. " You won't see me again."

Exodus 11

Moses Warns the Egyptians That the LORD Will Kill Their First-Born Sons
1The LORD said to Moses: I am going to punish the king [f] of Egypt and his people one more time. Then the king will gladly let you leave his land, so that I will stop punishing the Egyptians. He will even chase you out. 2Now go and tell my people to ask their Egyptian neighbors for gold and silver jewelry. 3So the LORD made the Egyptians greatly respect the Israelites, and everyone, including the king and his officials, considered Moses an important leader.
4Moses went to the king and said:
I have come to let you know what the LORD is going to do. About midnight he will go through the land of Egypt, 5and wherever he goes, the first-born son in every family will die. Your own son will die, and so will the son of the lowest slave woman. Even the first-born males of cattle will die. 6Everywhere in Egypt there will be loud crying. Nothing like this has ever happened before or will ever happen again.
7But there won't be any need for the Israelites to cry. Things will be so quiet that not even a dog will be heard barking. Then you Egyptians will know that the LORD is good to the Israelites, even while he punishes you. 8Your leaders will come and bow down, begging me to take my people and leave your country. Then we will leave.
Moses was very angry; he turned and left the king.
9What the LORD had earlier said to Moses came true. He had said, " The king of Egypt won't listen. Then I will perform even more miracles." 10So the king of Egypt saw Moses and Aaron work miracles, but the LORD made him stubbornly refuse to let the Israelites leave his country.

Exodus 12

The Passover
1Some time later the LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 2This month is to be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell the people of Israel that on the tenth day of this month the head of each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for his family to eat. 4-5If any family is too small to eat the whole animal, they must share it with their next-door neighbors. Choose either a sheep or a goat, but it must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. And it must be large enough for everyone to have some of the meat.
6Each family must take care of its animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, when the animals are to be killed. 7Some of the blood must be put on the two doorposts and above the door of each house where the animals are to be eaten. 8That night the animals are to be roasted and eaten, together with bitter herbs and thin bread made without yeast. 9Don't eat the meat raw or boiled. The entire animal, including its head, legs, and insides, must be roasted. 10Eat what you want that night, and the next morning burn whatever is left. 11When you eat the meal, be dressed and ready to travel. Have your sandals on, carry your walking stick in your hand, and eat quickly. This is the Passover Festival in honor of me, your LORD.
12That same night I will pass through Egypt and kill the first-born son in every family and the first-born male of all animals. I am the LORD, and I will punish the gods of Egypt. 13The blood on the houses will show me where you live, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. Then you won't be bothered by the terrible disasters I will bring on Egypt.

  1. Exodus 10:1the king: See the note at 1.11.
  2. Exodus 10:4locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to crops.
  3. Exodus 10:19west wind: The Hebrew text has " wind from the sea," referring to the Mediterranean Sea (see verse 13).
  4. Exodus 10:19Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph, here referring to the Gulf of Suez, since the term is extended to include the northwestern arm of the Red Sea (see also the note at 13.18).
  5. Exodus 10:24The king: See the note at 1.11.
  6. Exodus 11:1This month: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.


Matthew 20:1-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Matthew 20

Workers in a Vineyard
1As Jesus was telling what the kingdom of heaven would be like, he said: Early one morning a man went out to hire some workers for his vineyard. 2After he had agreed to pay them the usual amount for a day's work, he sent them off to his vineyard.
3About nine that morning, the man saw some other people standing in the market with nothing to do. 4He said he would pay them what was fair, if they would work in his vineyard. 5So they went.
At noon and again about three in the afternoon he returned to the market. And each time he made the same agreement with others who were loafing around with nothing to do.
6Finally, about five in the afternoon the man went back and found some others standing there. He asked them, "Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?"
7"Because no one has hired us," they answered. Then he told them to go work in his vineyard.
8That evening the owner of the vineyard told the man in charge of the workers to call them in and give them their money. He also told the man to begin with the ones who were hired last. 9When the workers arrived, the ones who had been hired at five in the afternoon were given a full day's pay.
10The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, 11they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard. 12They said, "The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!"
13The owner answered one of them, "Friend, I didn't cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on. 14Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you? 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?"
16Jesus then said, "So it is. Everyone who is now first will be last, and everyone who is last will be first."
Jesus Again Tells about His Death
(Mark 10.32-34; Luke 18.31-34)
17As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he took his twelve disciples aside and told them in private: 18We are now on our way to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death, 19and then they will hand him over to foreigners [a] who will make fun of him. They will beat him and nail him to a cross. But on the third day he will rise from death.
A Mother's Request
(Mark 10.35-45)
20The mother of James and John [b] came to Jesus with her two sons. She knelt down and started begging him to do something for her. 21Jesus asked her what she wanted, and she said, "When you come into your kingdom, please let one of my sons sit at your right side and the other at your left." [c]22Jesus answered, "Not one of you knows what you are asking. Are you able to drink from the cup [d] that I must soon drink from?" James and John said, "Yes, we are!" 23Jesus replied, "You certainly will drink from my cup! But it isn't for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for my Father to say."
24When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called the disciples together and said:
You know that foreign rulers like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over everyone they rule. 26But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 27And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest. 28The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue [e] many people.
  1. Matthew 20:19foreigners: The Romans, who ruled Judea at this time.
  2. Matthew 20:20mother of James and John: The Greek text has "mother of the sons of Zebedee" (see 26.37).
  3. Matthew 20:21right side. . . left: The most powerful people in a kingdom sat at the right and left side of the king.
  4. Matthew 20:22drink from the cup: In the Scriptures a cup is sometimes used as a symbol of suffering. To "drink from the cup" is to suffer.
  5. Matthew 20:28rescue: The Greek word often, though not always, means the payment of a price to free a slave or a prisoner.

Psalm 25:1-15 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 25

(By David.)
A Prayer for Guidance and Help
1I offer you my heart, LORD God, 2and I trust you.
Don't make me ashamed
or let enemies defeat me.
3Don't disappoint any
of your worshipers,
but disappoint all
deceitful liars.
4Show me your paths
and teach me to follow;
5guide me by your truth
and instruct me.
You keep me safe,
and I always trust you.
6Please, LORD, remember,
you have always
been patient and kind.
7Forget each wrong I did
when I was young.
Show how truly kind you are
and remember me.
8You are honest and merciful,
and you teach sinners
how to follow your path.
9You lead humble people
to do what is right
and to stay on your path.
10In everything you do,
you are kind and faithful
to everyone who keeps
our agreement with you.
11Be true to your name, LORD,
by forgiving each one
of my terrible sins.
12You will show the right path
to all who worship you.
13They will have plenty,
and then their children
will receive the land.
14Our LORD, you are the friend
of your worshipers,
and you make an agreement
with all of us.
15I always look to you,
because you rescue me
from every trap.

Proverbs 6:6-11 (Contemporary English Version)

6You lazy people can learn
by watching an anthill.
7Ants don't have leaders,
8but they store up food
during harvest season.
9How long will you lie there
doing nothing at all?
When are you going to get up
and stop sleeping?
10Sleep a little. Doze a little.
Fold your hands
and twiddle your thumbs.
11Suddenly, everything is gone,
as though it had been taken
by an armed robber.

Verse of the Day
“Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other.” - Ephesians 4:2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

American science fiction author and astrophysicist, Gregory Benford wrote, “Any technology that does not appear magical is insufficiently advanced.”

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bible Readings for January 28, 2017

Today our passages are Exodus 5:22–7:24; Matthew 18:23–19:12; Psalm 23:1-6; and Proverbs 5:22-23. The readings are the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Exodus 5:22-7:24 (Contemporary English Version)

The LORD's Promise to Moses
22Moses left them and prayed, " Our LORD, why have you brought so much trouble on your people? Is that why you sent me here? 23Ever since you told me to speak to the king, a<="" value="[a]" >[] he has caused nothing but trouble for these people. And you haven't done a thing to help."

Exodus 6

1The LORD God told Moses: Soon you will see what I will do to the king. Because of my mighty power, he will let my people go, and he will even chase them out of his country.
2My name is the LORD. [b<="">]3But when I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I came as God All-Powerful and did not use my name. 4I made an agreement and promised them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. 5Now I have seen how the people of Israel are suffering because of the Egyptians, and I will keep my promise. 6Here is my message for Israel: " I am the LORD! And with my mighty power I will punish the Egyptians and free you from slavery. 7I will accept you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I was the one who rescued you from the Egyptians. 8I will bring you into the land that I solemnly promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it will be yours. I am the LORD!"
9When Moses told this to the Israelites, they were too discouraged and mistreated to believe him.
10Then the LORD told Moses 11to demand that the king of Egypt let the Israelites leave. 12But Moses replied, " I'm not a powerful speaker. If the Israelites won't listen to me, why should the king of Egypt?" 13But the LORD sent Aaron and Moses with a message for the Israelites and for the king; he also ordered Aaron and Moses to free the people from Egypt.
Family Record of Aaron and Moses
14The following men were the heads of their ancestral clans: The sons of Reuben, Jacob's [c<="">] oldest son, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 15The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.
16Levi lived to be one hundred thirty-seven; his sons were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
17Gershon's sons were Libni and Shimei.
18Kohath lived to be one hundred thirty-three; his sons were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
19Merari's sons were Mahli and Mushi. All of the above were from the Levi tribe.
20Amram lived to be one hundred thirty-seven. He married his father's sister Jochebed, and they had two sons, Aaron and Moses.
21Izhar's sons were Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri.
22Uzziel's sons were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.
23Aaron married Elisheba. She was the daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon; they had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
24Korah's sons were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph.
25Aaron's son Eleazar married one of Putiel's daughters, and their son was Phinehas. This ends the list of those who were the heads of clans in the Levi tribe.
26The LORD had commanded Aaron and Moses to lead every family and tribe of Israel out of Egypt, 27and so they ordered the king of Egypt to set the people of Israel free.
The LORD Commands Moses and Aaron To Speak to the King
28When the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29he said, " I am the LORD. Tell the king [d<="">] of Egypt everything I say to you." 30But Moses answered, " You know I am a very poor speaker, and the king will never listen to me."

Exodus 7

1The LORD said: I am going to let your brother Aaron speak for you. He will tell your message to the king, just as a prophet speaks my message to the people. 2Tell Aaron everything I say to you, and he will order the king to let my people leave his country. 3-4But I will make the king so stubborn that he won't listen to you. He won't listen even when I do many terrible things to him and his nation. Then I will bring a final punishment on Egypt, and the king will let Israel's families and tribes go. 5When this happens, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.
6Moses and Aaron obeyed the LORD 7and spoke to the king. At the time, Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three.
A Stick Turns into a Snake
8-9The LORD said, " Moses, when the king asks you and Aaron to perform a miracle, command Aaron to throw his walking stick down in front of the king, and it will turn into a snake." 10Moses and Aaron went to the king and his officials and did exactly as the LORD had commanded--Aaron threw the stick down, and it turned into a snake. 11Then the king called in the wise men and the magicians, who used their secret powers to do the same thing-- 12they threw down sticks that turned into snakes. But Aaron's snake swallowed theirs. 13The king behaved just as the LORD had said and stubbornly refused to listen.
The Nile River Turns into Blood
14The LORD said to Moses: The Egyptian king stubbornly refuses to change his mind and let the people go. 15Tomorrow morning take the stick that turned into a snake, then wait beside the Nile River for the king. 16Tell him, " The LORD God of the Hebrews sent me to order you to release his people, so they can worship him in the desert. But until now, you have paid no attention.
17" The LORD is going to do something to show you that he really is the LORD. I will strike the Nile with this stick, and the water will turn into blood. 18The fish will die, the river will stink, and none of you Egyptians will be able to drink the water."
19Moses, then command Aaron to hold his stick over the water. And when he does, every drop of water in Egypt will turn into blood, including rivers, canals, ponds, and even the water in buckets and jars.
20Moses and Aaron obeyed the LORD. Aaron held out his stick, then struck the Nile, as the king and his officials watched. The river turned into blood, 21the fish died, and the water smelled so bad that none of the Egyptians could drink it. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.
22But the Egyptian magicians used their secret powers to do the same thing. The king did just as the LORD had said--he stubbornly refused to listen. 23Then he went back to his palace and never gave it a second thought. 24The Egyptians had to dig holes along the banks of the Nile for drinking water, because water from the river was unfit to drink.

  1. Exodus 5:23the king: See the note at 1.11.
  2. Exodus 6:2My name is the LORD: See the note at 3.14,15.
  3. Exodus 6:14Jacob: The Hebrew text has " Israel," Jacob's name after God renamed him.
  4. Exodus 6:29the king: See the note at 1.11.

Matthew 18:23-19:12 (Contemporary English Version)

23This story will show you what the kingdom of heaven is like: One day a king decided to call in his officials and ask them to give an account of what they owed him. 24As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins. 25But he didn't have any money to pay what he owed. The king ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all he owned, in order to pay the debt.
26The official got down on his knees and began begging, "Have pity on me, and I will pay you every cent I owe!" 27The king felt sorry for him and let him go free. He even told the official that he did not have to pay back the money.
28As the official was leaving, he happened to meet another official, who owed him a hundred silver coins. So he grabbed the man by the throat. He started choking him and said, "Pay me what you owe!"
29The man got down on his knees and began begging, "Have pity on me, and I will pay you back." 30But the first official refused to have pity. Instead, he went and had the other official put in jail until he could pay what he owed.
31When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. 32The king called the first official back in and said, "You're an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. 33Don't you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?" 34The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. 35That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don't forgive each of my followers with all your heart.

Matthew 19

Teaching about Divorce
(Mark 10.1-12)
1When Jesus finished teaching, he left Galilee and went to the part of Judea that is east of the Jordan River. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed their sick people. 3Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. They came up to him and asked, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?"
4Jesus answered, "Don't you know that in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? 5That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. 6Then they are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together."
7The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Why did Moses say that a man could write out divorce papers and send his wife away?"
8Jesus replied, "You are so heartless! That's why Moses allowed you to divorce your wife. But from the beginning God did not intend it to be that way. 9I say that if your wife has not committed some terrible sexual sin, a<="" value="[a]" >[] you must not divorce her to marry someone else. If you do, you are unfaithful." 10The disciples said, "If that's how it is between a man and a woman, it's better not to get married."
11Jesus told them, "Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. 12Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so."

  1. Matthew 19:9some terrible sexual sin: See the note at 5.32.

Psalm 23:1-6 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 23

(A psalm by David.)
The Good Shepherd
1You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.
2You let me rest in fields
of green grass.
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
3and you refresh my life.
You are true to your name,
and you lead me
along the right paths.
4I may walk through valleys
as dark as death,
but I won't be afraid.
You are with me,
and your shepherd's rod a<="" value="[a]" >[] makes me feel safe.
5You treat me to a feast,
while my enemies watch.
You honor me as your guest,
and you fill my cup
until it overflows.
6Your kindness and love
will always be with me
each day of my life,
and I will live forever
in your house, LORD.

  1. Psalm 23:4shepherd's rod: The Hebrew text mentions two objects carried by the shepherd: a club to defend against wild animals and a long pole to guide and control the sheep.

Proverbs 5:22-23 (Contemporary English Version)

22Sinners are trapped and caught
by their own evil deeds.
23They get lost and die
because of their foolishness
and lack of self-control.

Verse of the Day

“God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.” - John 4:24
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Edward Abbey.jpgThought for the Day

American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views, Edward Abbey wrote, “Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing.”

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on James 4:10

Bible Readings for January 27, 2017

Today our passages are Exodus 4:1–5:21; Matthew 18:1-22; Psalm 22:19-31; and Proverbs 5:15-21. The readings are the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Exodus 4-5:21 (Contemporary English Version)

Exodus 4

The LORD Gives Great Power to Moses
 1Moses asked the LORD, " Suppose everyone refuses to listen to my message, and no one believes that you really appeared to me?"     2The LORD answered, " What's that in your hand?"
   " A walking stick," Moses replied.
    3" Throw it down!" the LORD commanded. So Moses threw the stick on the ground. It immediately turned into a snake, and Moses jumped back.
    4" Pick it up by the tail!" the LORD told him. And when Moses did this, the snake turned back into a walking stick.
    5" Do this," the LORD said, " and the Israelites will believe that you have seen me, the God who was worshiped by their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
    6Next, the LORD commanded Moses, " Put your hand inside your shirt." Moses obeyed, and when he took it out, his hand had turned white as snow--like someone with leprosy. a<="" value="[a]" >[] 7" Put your hand back inside your shirt," the LORD told him. Moses did so, and when he took it out again, it was as healthy as the rest of his body.
    8-9Then the LORD said, " If no one believes either of these miracles, take some water from the Nile River and pour it on the ground. The water will immediately turn into blood."
    10Moses replied, " I have never been a good speaker. I wasn't one before you spoke to me, and I'm not one now. I am slow at speaking, and I can never think of what to say."
    11But the LORD answered, " Who makes people able to speak or makes them deaf or unable to speak? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Don't you know that I am the one who does these things? 12Now go! When you speak, I will be with you and give you the words to say."
    13Moses begged, " LORD, please send someone else to do it."
    14The LORD became irritated with Moses and said:
   What about your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know he is a good speaker. He is already on his way here to visit you, and he will be happy to see you again. 15-16Aaron will speak to the people for you, and you will be like me, telling Aaron what to say. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will tell each of you what to do. 17Now take this walking stick and use it to perform miracles.
Moses Returns to Egypt
 18Moses went to his father-in-law Jethro and asked, " Please let me return to Egypt to see if any of my people are still alive."    " All right," Jethro replied. " I hope all goes well."
    19But even before this, the LORD had told Moses, " Leave the land of Midian and return to Egypt. Everyone who wanted to kill you is dead." 20So Moses put his wife and sons on donkeys and headed for Egypt, holding the walking stick that had the power of God.
    21On the way the LORD said to Moses:
   When you get to Egypt, go to the king and work the miracles I have shown you. But I will make him so stubborn that he will refuse to let my people go. 22Then tell him that I have said, " Israel is my first-born son, 23and I commanded you to release him, so he could worship me. But you refused, and now I will kill your first-born son."
Zipporah's Son Is Circumcised
 24One night while Moses was in camp, the LORD was about to kill him. 25But Zipporah [b<="">] circumcised her son with a flint knife. She touched his [c<="">] legs with the skin she had cut off and said, " My dear son, this blood will protect you." [d<="">] 26So the LORD did not harm Moses. Then Zipporah said, " Yes, my dear, you are safe because of this circumcision." [e<="">]
Aaron Is Sent To Meet Moses
 27The LORD sent Aaron to meet Moses in the desert. So Aaron met Moses at Mount Sinai [f<="">] and greeted him with a kiss. 28Moses told Aaron what God had sent him to say; he also told him about the miracles God had given him the power to perform. 29Later they brought together the leaders of Israel, 30and Aaron told them what the LORD had sent Moses to say. Then Moses worked the miracles for the people, 31and everyone believed. They bowed down and worshiped the LORD because they knew that he had seen their suffering and was going to help them.    

Exodus 5

Moses and Aaron Go to the King of Egypt
 1Moses and Aaron went to the king [g<="">] of Egypt and told him, " The LORD God says, Let my people go into the desert, so they can honor me with a celebration there. " 2" Who is this LORD and why should I obey him?" the king replied. " I refuse to let you and your people go!"     3They answered, " The LORD God of the Hebrews, has appeared to us. Please let us walk three days into the desert where we can offer sacrifices to him. If you don't, he may strike us down with terrible troubles or with war."
    4-5The king said, " Moses and Aaron, why are you keeping these people from working? Look how many you are keeping from doing their work. Now everyone get back to work!"
    6That same day the king gave orders to his slave bosses and to the men directly in charge of the Israelite slaves. He told them:
    7Don't give the slaves any more straw [h<="">] to put in their bricks. Force them to find their own straw wherever they can, 8but they must make the same number of bricks as before. They are lazy, or else they would not beg me to let them go and sacrifice to their God. 9Make them work so hard that they won't have time to listen to these lies. 10The slave bosses and the men in charge of the slaves went out and told them, " The king says he will not give you any more straw. 11Go and find your own straw wherever you can, but you must still make as many bricks as before."
    12The slaves went all over Egypt, looking for straw. 13But the slave bosses were hard on them and kept saying, " Each day you have to make as many bricks as you did when you were given straw." 14The bosses beat the men in charge of the slaves and said, " Why didn't you force the slaves to make as many bricks yesterday and today as they did before?"
    15Finally, the men in charge of the slaves went to the king and said, " Why are you treating us like this? 16No one brings us any straw, but we are still ordered to make the same number of bricks. We are beaten with whips, and your own people are to blame."
    17The king replied, " You are lazy--nothing but lazy! That's why you keep asking me to let you go and sacrifice to your LORD. 18Get back to work! You won't be given straw, but you must still make the same number of bricks."
    19The men knew they were in deep trouble when they were ordered to make the same number of bricks each day. 20After they left the king, they went to see Moses and Aaron, who had been waiting for them. 21Then the men said, " We hope the LORD will punish both of you for making the king and his officials hate us. Now they even have an excuse to kill us."
  1. Exodus 4:6 leprosy: The word translated " leprosy" was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
  2. Exodus 4:25 Zipporah: The wife of Moses (see 2.16-21).
  3. Exodus 4:25 his: Either Moses or the boy.
  4. Exodus 4:25 My dear son. . . you: Or " My dear husband, you are a man of blood" (meaning Moses).
  5. Exodus 4:26 you are. . . circumcision: Or " you are a man of blood."
  6. Exodus 4:27 Mount Sinai: Hebrew " the mountain of God."
  7. Exodus 5:1 the king: See the note at 1.11.
  8. Exodus 5:7 straw: The straw made the mud bricks stronger and kept them from shrinking, cracking, or losing their shape.

Matthew 18:1-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Matthew 18

Who Is the Greatest?
(Mark 9.33-37; Luke 9.46-48)
 1About this time the disciples came to Jesus and asked him who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 2Jesus called a child over and had the child stand near him. 3Then he said:    I promise you this. If you don't change and become like a child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. 4But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And when you welcome one of these children because of me, you welcome me.
Temptations To Sin
(Mark 9.42-48; Luke 17.1,2)
 6It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the deepest part of the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks! 7The world is in for trouble because of the way it causes people to sin. There will always be something to cause people to sin, but anyone who does this will be in for trouble.     8If your hand or foot causes you to sin, chop it off and throw it away! You would be better off to go into life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the fire that never goes out. 9If your eye causes you to sin, poke it out and get rid of it. You would be better off to go into life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fires of hell.
The Lost Sheep
(Luke 15.3-7)
 10-11Don't be cruel to any of these little ones! I promise you that their angels are always with my Father in heaven. a<="" value="[a]" >[] 12Let me ask you this. What would you do if you had a hundred sheep and one of them wandered off? Wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go look for the one that had wandered away? 13I am sure that finding it would make you happier than having the ninety-nine that never wandered off. 14That's how it is with your Father in heaven. He doesn't want any of these little ones to be lost.
When Someone Sins
(Luke 17.3)
 15If one of my followers [b<="">] sins against you, go and point out what was wrong. But do it in private, just between the two of you. If that person listens, you have won back a follower. 16But if that one refuses to listen, take along one or two others. The Scriptures teach that every complaint must be proven true by two or more witnesses. 17If the follower refuses to listen to them, report the matter to the church. Anyone who refuses to listen to the church must be treated like an unbeliever or a tax collector. [c<="">]
Allowing and Not Allowing
 18I promise you that God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth, but he will not allow anything you don't allow. 19I promise that when any two of you on earth agree about something you are praying for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, [d<="">] I am there with you.
An Official Who Refused To Forgive
 21Peter came up to the Lord and asked, "How many times should I forgive someone [e<="">] who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?" 22Jesus answered:    Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! [f<="">]
  1. Matthew 18:10 in heaven: Some manuscripts add, "The Son of Man came to save people who are lost."
  2. Matthew 18:15 followers: The Greek text has "brother," which is used here and elsewhere in this chapter to refer to a follower of Christ.
  3. Matthew 18:17 tax collector: See the note at 5.46.
  4. Matthew 18:20 in my name: Or "as my followers."
  5. Matthew 18:21 someone: Or "a follower." See the note at 18.15.
  6. Matthew 18:22 seventy-seven times: Or "seventy times seven." The large number means that one follower should never stop forgiving another.

Psalm 22:19-31 (Contemporary English Version)

19Don't stay far away, LORD!
   My strength comes from you,
   so hurry and help.
    20Rescue me from enemy swords
   and save me from those dogs.
    21Don't let lions eat me.
   You rescued me from the horns
   of wild bulls,
    22and when your people meet,
   I will praise you, LORD.
    23All who worship the LORD,
   now praise him!
   You belong to Jacob's family
   and to the people of Israel,
   so fear and honor the LORD!
    24The LORD doesn't hate
   or despise the helpless
   in all of their troubles.
   When I cried out, he listened
   and did not turn away.
    25When your people meet,
   you will fill my heart
   with your praises, LORD,
   and everyone will see me
   keep my promises to you.
    26The poor will eat and be full,
   and all who worship you
   will be thankful
   and live in hope.
    27Everyone on this earth
   will remember you, LORD.
   People all over the world
   will turn and worship you,
    28because you are in control,
   the ruler of all nations.
    29All who are rich
   and have more than enough
   will bow down to you, Lord.
   Even those who are dying
   and almost in the grave
   will come and bow down.
    30In the future, everyone
   will worship
   and learn
   about you, our Lord.
    31People not yet born
   will be told,
   "The Lord has saved us!"

Proverbs 5:15-21 (Contemporary English Version)

15You should be faithful
   to your wife,
   just as you take water
   from your own well. a<="" value="[a]" >[] 16And don't be like a stream
   from which just any woman
   may take a drink.
    17Save yourself for your wife
   and don't have sex
   with other women.
    18Be happy with the wife
   you married
   when you were young.
    19She is beautiful and graceful,
   just like a deer;
   you should be attracted to her
   and stay deeply in love.
    20Don't go crazy over a woman
   who is unfaithful
   to her own husband!
    21The LORD sees everything,
   and he watches us closely.
  1. Proverbs 5:15 own well: In biblical times water was scarce and wells were carefully guarded.

Verse of the Day
“We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.” - Ephesians 6:12-13
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Goethe (Stieler 1828).jpg
Thought for the Day

German writer and statesman, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”