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, March 31, 2017

Bible Readings for March 31, 2017

Today our passages are Deuteronomy 13:1–15:23; Luke 8:40–9:6; Psalm 71:1-24; and Proverbs 12:5-7. 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.

Deuteronomy 16-17:20 (Contemporary English Version)

Deuteronomy 16

(Exodus 12.1-20; Leviticus 23.4-8)
 1People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib, a<="" value="[a]" >[] because one night in that month years ago, the LORD your God rescued you from Egypt. 2The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. 3-4Eat all of the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don't serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt [b<="">] and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt. For seven days following Passover, [c<="">] don't make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel. 5Don't offer the Passover sacrifice in just any town where you happen to live. 6It must be offered at the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt. [d<="">] 7Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning. 8Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don't do any work. Instead, come together and worship the LORD.    Moses said to Israel:
The Harvest Festival
(Exodus 34.22; Leviticus 23.15-21)
 9Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10-11go to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped and celebrate the Harvest Festival [e<="">] in honor of the LORD your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws. Moses said to Israel:    
The Festival of Shelters
(Leviticus 23.33-43; Numbers 29.12-38)
 13-15After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest, [f<="">] take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. The LORD will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honor of the LORD your God.    Moses said:
Three Festivals at the Place of Worship
(Exodus 23.14-17)
 16Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival, [g<="">] and the Festival of Shelters. And don't forget to take along a gift for the LORD. 17The bigger the harvest the LORD gives you, the bigger your gift should be.
Treat Everyone with Justice
Moses said to Israel:
 18-19After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the LORD your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you that become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don't take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars. [h<="">] 20People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the LORD is giving you.    
Don't Set Up Sacred Poles or Stones
Moses said to Israel:
 21When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the LORD your God, don't set up a sacred pole [i<="">] for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22And don't set up a sacred stone! The LORD hates these things.

Deuteronomy 17

Sacrifices That Have Something Wrong with Them
Moses said to Israel:
 1If an ox or a sheep has something wrong with it, don't offer it as a sacrifice to the LORD your God--he will be disgusted!    
Put To Death People Who Worship Idols
Moses said to Israel:
 2-3The LORD your God is giving you towns to live in. But later, a man or a woman in your town may start worshiping other gods, or even the sun, moon, or stars. [j<="">] I have warned you not to worship other gods, because whoever worships them is disobeying the LORD and breaking the agreement he made with you. 4So when you hear that someone in your town is committing this disgusting sin, you must carefully find out if that person really is guilty. 5-7But you will need two or three witnesses--one witness isn't enough to prove a person guilty. Get rid of those who are guilty of such evil. Take them outside your town gates and have everyone stone them to death. But the witnesses must be the first to throw stones.    
Difficult Cases
Moses said to Israel:
 8-12It may be difficult to find out the truth in some legal cases in your town. You may not be able to decide if someone was killed accidentally or murdered. Or you may not be able to tell whether an injury or some property damage was done by accident or on purpose. If the case is too difficult, take it to the court at the place where the LORD your God chooses to be worshiped.    This court will be made up of one judge and several priests [k<="">] who serve at the LORD's altar. They will explain the law to you and give you their decision about the case. Do exactly what they tell you, or you will be put to death. 13When other Israelites hear about it, they will be afraid and obey the decisions of the court.
The King
Moses said:
 14People of Israel, after you capture the land the LORD your God is giving you, and after you settle on it, you will say, " We want a king, just like the nations around us."     15Go ahead and appoint a king, but make sure that he is an Israelite and that he is the one the LORD has chosen.
    16The king should not have many horses, especially those from Egypt. The LORD has said never to go back there again. 17And the king must not have a lot of wives--they might tempt him to be unfaithful to the LORD. [l<="">] Finally, the king must not try to get huge amounts of silver and gold. 18The official copy of God's laws [m<="">] will be kept by the priests of the Levi tribe. So, as soon as anyone becomes king, he must go to the priests and write out a copy of these laws while they watch. 19Each day the king must read and obey these laws, so that he will learn to worship the LORD with fear and trembling 20and not think that he's better than everyone else. If the king completely obeys the LORD's commands, he and his descendants will rule Israel for many years.
   Moses said to Israel:
  1. Deuteronomy 16:1 in the month of Abib: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April. Passover was celebrated on the evening of the fourteenth of Abib (see Exodus 12.6; Leviticus 23.4,5).
  2. Deuteronomy 16:3 the same kind. . . in Egypt: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Deuteronomy 16:3 seven days following Passover: This period was called the Festival of Thin Bread (see also verse 16).
  4. Deuteronomy 16:6 sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt: Or " sunset on the same date as when you left Egypt."
  5. Deuteronomy 16:10 Harvest Festival: Traditionally called the " Festival of Weeks," and known in New Testament times as " Pentecost."
  6. Deuteronomy 16:13 After you. . . harvest: Leviticus 23.34 gives the exact date as the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which would be early in October.
  7. Deuteronomy 16:16 Harvest Festival: See the note at 16.10,11.
  8. Deuteronomy 16:18 turn. . . liars: Or " keep innocent people from getting justice."
  9. Deuteronomy 16:21 sacred pole: See the note at 12.3.
  10. Deuteronomy 17:2 sun, moon, or stars: Some people thought these were gods and worshiped them.
  11. Deuteronomy 17:8 several priests: The Hebrew text has " the priests, the Levites" ; priests belonged to the Levi tribe.
  12. Deuteronomy 17:17 a lot of wives. . . unfaithful to the LORD: A king would often marry the daughter of another king that he was making a treaty with. These foreign women would naturally want to worship their own gods, and would want their husband the king to do so as well.
  13. Deuteronomy 17:18 God's laws: Or " God's laws for the king."

Luke 9:7-27 (Contemporary English Version)

Herod Is Worried
(Matthew 14.1-12; Mark 6.14-29)
 7Herod a<="" value="[a]" >[] the ruler heard about all that was happening, and he was worried. Some people were saying that John the Baptist had come back to life. 8Others were saying that Elijah had come [b<="">] or that one of the prophets from long ago had come back to life. 9But Herod said, "I had John's head cut off! Who is this I hear so much about?" Herod was eager to meet Jesus.
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
(Matthew 14.13-21; Mark 6.30-44; John 6.1-14)
 10The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He then took them with him to the village of Bethsaida, where they could be alone. 11But a lot of people found out about this and followed him. Jesus welcomed them. He spoke to them about God's kingdom and healed everyone who was sick.     12Late in the afternoon the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, "Send the crowd to the villages and farms around here. They need to find a place to stay and something to eat. There is nothing in this place. It is like a desert!"
    13Jesus answered, "You give them something to eat."
   But they replied, "We have only five small loaves of bread [c<="">] and two fish. If we are going to feed all these people, we will have to go and buy food." 14There were about five thousand men in the crowd. Jesus said to his disciples, "Have the people sit in groups of fifty." 15They did this, and all the people sat down. 16Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and fish and handed them to his disciples to give to the people.
    17Everyone ate all they wanted. What was left over filled twelve baskets.
Who Is Jesus?
(Matthew 16.13-19; Mark 8.27-29)
 18When Jesus was alone praying, his disciples came to him, and he asked them, "What do people say about me?"     19They answered, "Some say that you are John the Baptist or Elijah [d<="">] or a prophet from long ago who has come back to life." 20Jesus then asked them, "But who do you say I am?"
   Peter answered, "You are the Messiah sent from God."
    21Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone about this.
Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death
(Matthew 16.20-28; Mark 8.30--9.1)
 22Jesus told his disciples, "The nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. They will reject him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life."     23Then Jesus said to all the people:
   If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. 24If you want to save your life, [e<="">] you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it. 25What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life? 26If you are ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and the holy angels. 27You can be sure that some of the people standing here will not die before they see God's kingdom.
  1. Luke 9:7 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
  2. Luke 9:8 Elijah had come: Many of the Jewish people expected the prophet Elijah to come and prepare the way for the Messiah.
  3. Luke 9:13 small loaves of bread: These would have been flat and round or in the shape of a bun.
  4. Luke 9:19 Elijah: See the note at 9.8.
  5. Luke 9:24 life: In verses 24,25 a Greek word which often means " soul" is translated " life" and " yourself."

Psalm 72:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 72

(By Solomon.)
A Prayer for God To Guide and Help the King
 1Please help the king    to be honest and fair
   just like you, our God.
    2Let him be honest and fair
   with all your people,
   especially the poor.
    3Let peace and justice rule
   every mountain and hill.
    4Let the king defend the poor,
   rescue the homeless,
   and crush
   everyone who hurts them.
    5Let the king live a<="" value="[a]" >[] forever like the sun and the moon.
    6Let him be as helpful as rain
   that refreshes the meadows
   and the ground.
    7Let the king be fair
   with everyone,
   and let there be peace
   until the moon
   falls from the sky.
    8Let his kingdom reach
   from sea to sea,
   from the Euphrates River
   across all the earth.
    9Force the desert tribes
   to accept his rule,
   and make his enemies
   crawl in the dirt.
    10Force the rulers of Tarshish [b<="">] and of the islands
   to pay taxes to him.
   Make the kings of Sheba
   and of Seba [c<="">] bring gifts. 11Make other rulers bow down
   and all nations serve him.
    12Do this because the king
   rescues the homeless
   when they cry out,
   and he helps everyone
   who is poor and in need.
    13The king has pity
   on the weak and the helpless
   and protects those in need.
    14He cares when they hurt,
   and he saves them from cruel
   and violent deaths.
    15Long live the king!
   Give him gold from Sheba.
   Always pray for the king
   and praise him each day.
    16Let cities overflow with food
   and hills be covered with grain,
   just like Mount Lebanon.
   Let the people in the cities
   prosper like wild flowers.
    17May the glory of the king
   shine brightly forever
   like the sun in the sky.
   Let him make nations prosper
   and learn to praise him.
    18LORD God of Israel,
   we praise you.
   Only you can work miracles.
    19We will always praise
   your glorious name.
   Let your glory be seen
   everywhere on earth.
   Amen and amen.
    20This ends the prayers
   of David, the son of Jesse.
  1. Psalm 72:5 Let the king live: One ancient translation; Hebrew " Let them worship you."
  2. Psalm 72:10 Tarshish: Possibly a city in Spain.
  3. Psalm 72:10 Sheba. . . Seba: Sheba may have been a place in what is now southwest Arabia, and Seba may have been in southern Arabia.

Proverbs 12:8-9 (Contemporary English Version)

8Good sense is worthy of praise,
   but stupidity is a curse.
    9It's better to be ordinary
   and have only one servant a<="" value="[a]" >[] than to think you are somebody
   and starve to death.
  1. Proverbs 12:9 It's. . . servant: Or " It is better just to have an ordinary job."

Verse of the Day
“He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved.” - Isaiah 53:5-6
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

John Fowles.jpg
Thought for the Day

English novelist of international stature, critically positioned between modernism and postmodernism, John Fowles wrote, “Everything free and decent in life is being locked away in filthy little cellars by beastly people who don’t care.”

Bible Readings for March 30, 2017

Yesterday our passages were Deuteronomy 13:1–15:23; Luke 8:40–9:6; Psalm 71:1-24; and Proverbs 12:5-7. The readings are the Contemporary English Version. If you missed a day, you can find all the readings at our blog, The Bible in a Year. If 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.

Deuteronomy 13-15:23 (Contemporary English Version)

Deuteronomy 13

Don't Worship Other Gods
Moses said to Israel:
 1-2Someday a prophet a<="" value="[a]" >[] may come along who is able to perform miracles or tell what will happen in the future. Then the prophet may say, " Let's start worshiping some new gods--some gods that we know nothing about." 3If the prophet says this, don't listen! The LORD your God will be watching to find out whether or not you love him with all your heart and soul. 4You must be completely faithful to the LORD. Worship and obey only the LORD and do this with fear and trembling, 5because he rescued you from slavery in Egypt. If a prophet tells you to disobey the LORD your God and to stop worshiping him, then that prophet is evil and must be put to death.     6-10Someone else may say to you, " Let's worship other gods." That person may be your best friend, your brother or sister, your son or daughter, or your own dear wife or husband. But you must not listen to people who say such things. Instead, you must stone them to death. You must be the first to throw the stones, then others from the community will finish the job. Don't show any pity.
   The gods worshiped by other nations have never done anything for you or your ancestors. People who ask you to worship other gods are trying to get you to stop worshiping the LORD, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. So put to death anyone who asks you to worship another god. 11And when the rest of Israel hears about it, they will be afraid, and no one else will ever do such an evil thing again.
    12After the LORD your God gives you towns to live in, you may hear a rumor about one of the towns. 13You may hear that some worthless people have talked everyone there into worshiping other gods, even though these gods had never done anything for them. 14You must carefully find out if the rumor is true. Then if the people of that town have actually done such a disgusting thing in your own country, 15you must take your swords and kill every one of them, and their livestock too. 16-17Gather all the possessions of the people who lived there, and pile them up in the marketplace, without keeping anything for yourself. Set the pile and the whole town on fire, and don't ever rebuild the town. The whole town will be a sacrifice to the LORD your God. Then he won't be angry anymore, and he will have mercy on you and make you successful, just as he promised your ancestors. 18That's why you must do what the LORD your God says is right. I am giving you his laws and teachings today, and you must obey them.

Deuteronomy 14

Don't Mourn like Other Nations
Moses said:
 1People of Israel, you are the LORD's children, so when you mourn for the dead, you must not cut yourselves or shave your forehead. [b<="">] 2Out of all the nations on this earth, the LORD your God chose you to be his own. You belong to the LORD, so don't behave like those who worship other gods.
Animals That Can Be Eaten
(Leviticus 11.1-47)
 3Don't eat any disgusting animals.     4-5You may eat the meat of cattle, sheep, and goats; wild sheep and goats; and gazelles, antelopes, and all kinds of deer. 6It is all right to eat meat from any animals that have divided hoofs and also chew the cud. [c<="">] 7But don't eat camels, rabbits, and rock badgers. These animals chew the cud but do not have divided hoofs. You must treat them as unclean. 8And don't eat pork, since pigs have divided hoofs, but they do not chew their cud. Don't even touch a dead pig!
    9You can eat any fish that has fins and scales. But there are other creatures that live in the water, 10and if they do not have fins and scales, you must not eat them. Treat them as unclean.
    11You can eat any clean bird. 12-18But don't eat the meat of any of the following birds: eagles, vultures, falcons, kites, ravens, ostriches, owls, sea gulls, hawks, pelicans, ospreys, cormorants, storks, herons, and hoopoes. [d<="">] You must not eat bats. 19Swarming insects are unclean, so don't eat them. 20However, you are allowed to eat certain kinds of winged insects. [e<="">] 21You belong to the LORD your God, so if you happen to find a dead animal, don't eat its meat. You may give it to foreigners who live in your town or sell it to foreigners who are visiting your town.
   Don't boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
Give the LORD Ten Percent of Your Harvest
Moses said:
 22People of Israel, every year you must set aside ten percent of your grain harvest. 23Also set aside ten percent of your wine and olive oil, and the first-born of every cow, sheep, and goat. Take these to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped, and eat them there. This will teach you to always respect the LORD your God.     24But suppose you can't carry that ten percent of your harvest to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. If you live too far away, or if the LORD gives you a big harvest, 25then sell this part and take the money there instead. 26When you and your family arrive, spend the money on food for a big celebration. Buy cattle, sheep, goats, wine, beer, and if there are any other kinds of food that you want, buy those too. 27And since people of the Levi tribe won't own any land for growing crops, remember to ask the Levites to celebrate with you.
    28Every third year, instead of using the ten percent of your harvest for a big celebration, bring it into town and put it in a community storehouse. 29The Levites have no land of their own, so you must give them food from the storehouse. You must also give food to the poor who live in your town, including orphans, widows, and foreigners. If they have enough to eat, then the LORD your God will be pleased and make you successful in everything you do.
   Moses said:

Deuteronomy 15

(Leviticus 25.1-7)
 1-2Every seven years you must announce, " The LORD says loans do not need to be paid back." Then if you have loaned money to another Israelite, you can no longer ask for payment. [f<="">] 3This law applies only to loans you have made to other Israelites. Foreigners will still have to pay back what you have loaned them. 4-6No one in Israel should ever be poor. The LORD your God is giving you this land, and he has promised to make you very successful, if you obey his laws and teachings that I'm giving you today. You will lend money to many nations, but you won't have to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they won't rule you.     7After the LORD your God gives land to each of you, there may be poor Israelites in the town where you live. If there are, then don't be mean and selfish with your money. 8Instead, be kind and lend them what they need. 9Be careful! Don't say to yourself, " Soon it will be the seventh year, and then I won't be able to get my money back." It would be horrible for you to think that way and to be so selfish that you refuse to help the poor. They are your relatives, and if you don't help them, they may ask the LORD to decide whether you have done wrong. And he will say that you are guilty. 10You should be happy to give the poor what they need, because then the LORD will make you successful in everything you do.
    11There will always be some Israelites who are poor and needy. That's why I am commanding you to be generous with them.
   Moses said to Israel:
Setting Slaves Free
(Exodus 21.1-11)
 12If any of you buy Israelites as slaves, you must set them free after six years. 13And don't just tell them they are free to leave-- 14give them sheep and goats and a good supply of grain and wine. The more the LORD has given you, the more you should give them. 15I am commanding you to obey the LORD as a reminder that you were slaves in Egypt before he set you free. 16But one of your slaves may say, " I love you and your family, and I would be better off staying with you, so please don't make me leave." 17Take the slave to the door of your house and push a sharp metal rod through one earlobe and into the door. Such slaves will belong to you for life, whether they are men or women.     18Don't complain when you have to set a slave free. After all, you got six years of service at half the cost of hiring someone to do the work. [g<="">] Moses said to Israel:
First-Born Animals
(Leviticus 27.26,27; Numbers 18.15-18)
 19If the first-born animal of a cow or sheep or goat is a male, it must be given to the LORD. Don't put first-born cattle to work or cut wool from first-born sheep. 20Instead, each year you must take the first-born of these animals to the place where the LORD your God chooses to be worshiped. You and your family will sacrifice them to the LORD and then eat them as part of a sacred meal.     21But if the animal is lame or blind or has something else wrong with it, you must not sacrifice it to the LORD your God. 22You can butcher it where you live, and eat it just like the meat of a deer or gazelle that you kill while hunting. Even those people who are unclean and unfit for worship can have some. 23But you must never eat the blood of an animal--let it drain out on the ground.
   Moses said:
  1. Deuteronomy 13:1 a prophet: Hebrew adds " or a dreamer of dreams," another name for a prophet.
  2. Deuteronomy 14:1 when you mourn. . . forehead: Or " you must not worship Baal, cutting yourselves and shaving your forehead."
  3. Deuteronomy 14:6 chew the cud: Some animals that eat grass and leaves have more than one stomach, and they chew their food a second time, after it has been partly digested in the first stomach. This partly digested food is called " cud."
  4. Deuteronomy 14:12 eagles. . . hoopoes: Some of the birds in this list are difficult to identify.
  5. Deuteronomy 14:20 certain kinds of winged insects: These were locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers; see Leviticus 11.21,22.
  6. Deuteronomy 15:1 The LORD says. . . no longer ask for payment: Or "The LORD says loans do not need to be paid back this year. Then if you have loaned money to another Israelite, you cannot ask for payment until the next year."
  7. Deuteronomy 15:18 six years. . . work: Or " six years of service, and it cost you no more than if you had hired someone to do the work" ; or " six years of service, for what you would have had to pay a worker for two years."

Luke 8:40-9:6 (Contemporary English Version)

A Dying Girl and a Sick Woman
(Matthew 9.18-26; Mark 5.21-43)
 40Everyone had been waiting for Jesus, and when he came back, a crowd was there to welcome him. 41Just then the man in charge of the Jewish meeting place came and knelt down in front of Jesus. His name was Jairus, and he begged Jesus to come to his home 42because his twelve-year-old child was dying. She was his only daughter.    While Jesus was on his way, people were crowding all around him. 43In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors, a<="" value="[a]" >[] but none of them could make her well. 44As soon as she came up behind Jesus and barely touched his clothes, her bleeding stopped.
    45"Who touched me?" Jesus asked.
   While everyone was denying it, Peter said, "Master, people are crowding all around and pushing you from every side." [b<="">] 46But Jesus answered, "Someone touched me, because I felt power going out from me." 47The woman knew that she could not hide, so she came trembling and knelt down in front of Jesus. She told everyone why she had touched him and that she had been healed right away.
    48Jesus said to the woman, "You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace!"
    49While Jesus was speaking, someone came from Jairus' home and said, "Your daughter has died! Why bother the teacher anymore?"
    50When Jesus heard this, he told Jairus, "Don't worry! Have faith, and your daughter will get well."
    51Jesus went into the house, but he did not let anyone else go with him, except Peter, John, James, and the girl's father and mother. 52Everyone was crying and weeping for the girl. But Jesus said, "The child isn't dead. She is just asleep." 53The people laughed at him because they knew she was dead.
    54Jesus took hold of the girl's hand and said, "Child, get up!" 55She came back to life and got right up. Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were surprised, but Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

Luke 9

Instructions for the Twelve Apostles
(Matthew 10.5-15; Mark 6.7-13)
 1Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them complete power over all demons and diseases. 2Then he sent them to tell about God's kingdom and to heal the sick. 3He told them, "Don't take anything with you! Don't take a walking stick or a traveling bag or food or money or even a change of clothes. 4When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. 5If people won't welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet [c<="">] as a warning to them." 6The apostles left and went from village to village, telling the good news and healing people everywhere.    
  1. Luke 8:43 She had spent everything she had on doctors: Some manuscripts do not have these words.
  2. Luke 8:45 from every side: Some manuscripts add " and you ask, `Who touched me?' "
  3. Luke 9:5 shake the dust from your feet: This was a way of showing rejection.

Psalm 71:1-24 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 71

A Prayer for God's Protection
 1I run to you, LORD,    for protection.
   Don't disappoint me.
    2You do what is right,
   so come to my rescue.
   Listen to my prayer
   and keep me safe.
    3Be my mighty rock, a<="" value="[a]" >[] the place
   where I can always run
   for protection.
   Save me by your command!
   You are my mighty rock
   and my fortress.
    4Come and save me, LORD God,
   from vicious and cruel
   and brutal enemies!
    5I depend on you,
   and I have trusted you
   since I was young.
    6I have relied on you [b<="">] from the day I was born.
   You brought me safely
   through birth,
   and I always praise you.
    7Many people think of me
   as something evil.
   But you are my mighty protector,
    8and I praise and honor you
   all day long.
    9Don't throw me aside
   when I am old;
   don't desert me
   when my strength is gone.
    10My enemies are plotting
   because they want me dead.
    11They say, "Now we'll catch you!
   God has deserted you,
   and no one can save you."
    12Come closer, God!
   Please hurry and help.
    13Embarrass and destroy
   all who want me dead;
   disgrace and confuse
   all who want to hurt me.
    14I will never give up hope
   or stop praising you.
    15All day long I will tell
   the wonderful things you do
   to save your people.
   But you have done much more
   than I could possibly know.
    16I will praise you, LORD God,
   for your mighty deeds
   and your power to save.
    17You have taught me
   since I was a child,
   and I never stop telling about
   your marvelous deeds.
    18Don't leave me when I am old
   and my hair turns gray.
   Let me tell future generations
   about your mighty power.
    19Your deeds of kindness
   are known in the heavens.
   No one is like you!
    20You made me suffer a lot,
   but you will bring me
   back from this deep pit
   and give me new life.
    21You will make me truly great
   and take my sorrow away.
    22I will praise you, God,
   the Holy One of Israel.
   You are faithful.
   I will play the harp
   and sing your praises.
    23You have rescued me!
   I will celebrate and shout,
   singing praises to you
   with all my heart.
    24All day long I will announce
   your power to save.
   I will tell how you disgraced
   and disappointed
   those who wanted to hurt me.
  1. Psalm 71:3 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
  2. Psalm 71:6 I. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 12:5-7 (Contemporary English Version)

5Good people have kind thoughts,
   but you should never trust
   the advice of someone evil.
    6Bad advice is a deadly trap,
   but good advice
   is like a shield.
    7Once the wicked are defeated,
   they are gone forever,
   but no one who obeys God
   will ever be thrown down.

Verse of the Day

“He was hated and rejected; his life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering. No one wanted to look at him. We despised him and said, "He is a nobody!" He suffered and endured great pain for us, but we thought his suffering was punishment from God.” - Isaiah 53:3-4
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, April 2, 2017 (The Fifth Sunday in Lent)

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, April 2, 2017 ...: Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Old Testament ( Ezekiel 37:1-14 ), the Psalms ( Psalm 130 ), the Letters ( Romans 8:6-11...

Bible Readings for March 29, 2017

Today our passages are Deuteronomy 11:1–12:32; Luke 8:22-39; Psalm 70:1-5; and Proverbs 12:4. 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.

Deuteronomy 11-12:32 (Contemporary English Version)

Deuteronomy 11

If You Are Loyal to the LORD, He Will Bless You
Moses said to Israel:
 1The LORD is your God, so you must always love him and obey his laws and teachings. 2Remember, he corrected you and not your children. You are the ones who saw the LORD use his great power 3when he worked miracles in Egypt, making terrible things happen to the king and all his people. 4And when the Egyptian army chased you in their chariots, you saw the LORD drown them and their horses in the Red Sea. [a] Egypt still suffers from that defeat! 5You saw what the LORD did for you while you were in the desert, right up to the time you arrived here. 6And you saw how the LORD made the ground open up in the middle of our camp underneath the tents of Dathan and Abiram, [b] who were swallowed up along with their families, their animals, and their tents. 7With your own eyes, you saw the LORD's mighty power do all these things.     8Soon you will cross the Jordan River, and if you obey the laws and teachings I'm giving you today, you will be strong enough to conquer the land 9that the LORD promised your ancestors and their descendants. It's rich with milk and honey, and you will live there and enjoy it for a long time. 10It's better land than you had in Egypt, where you had to struggle just to water your crops. [c] 11But the hills and valleys in the promised land are watered by rain from heaven, [d] 12because the LORD your God keeps his eye on this land and takes care of it all year long. 13The LORD your God commands you to love him and to serve him with all your heart and soul. If you obey him, 14-15he will send rain at the right seasons, [e] so you will have more than enough food, wine, and olive oil, and there will be plenty of grass for your cattle. 16But watch out! You will be tempted to turn your backs on the LORD. And if you worship other gods, 17the LORD will become angry and keep the rain from falling. Nothing will grow in your fields, and you will die and disappear from the good land that the LORD is giving you.
    18Memorize these laws and think about them. Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and your foreheads to help you obey them. 19Teach them to your children. Talk about them all the time--whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. 20Write them on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates. 21Then you and your descendants will live a long time in the land that the LORD promised your ancestors. Your families will live there as long as the sky is above the earth.
    22Love the LORD your God and obey all the laws and teachings that I'm giving you today. If you live the way the LORD wants, 23he will help you take the land. And even though the nations there are more powerful than you, the LORD will force them to leave when you attack. 24You will capture the land everywhere you go, from the Southern Desert to the Lebanon Mountains, and from the Euphrates River west to the Mediterranean Sea. 25No one will be able to stand up to you. The LORD will make everyone terrified of you, just as he promised.
    26You have a choice--do you want the LORD to bless you, or do you want him to put a curse on you? 27Today I am giving you his laws, and if you obey him, he will bless you. 28But if you disobey him and worship those gods that have never done anything for you, the LORD will put a curse on you.
    29After the LORD your God helps you take the land, you must have a ceremony where you announce his blessings from Mount Gerizim and his curses from Mount Ebal. 30You know that these two mountains are west of the Jordan River in land now controlled by the Canaanites living in the Jordan River valley. The mountains are west of the road near the sacred trees of Moreh on the other side of Gilgal.
    31Soon you will cross the Jordan River to conquer the land that the LORD your God is giving you. And when you have settled there, 32be careful to obey his laws and teachings that I am giving you today.

Deuteronomy 12

Only One Place To Worship the LORD
Moses said to Israel:
 1Now I'll tell you the laws and teachings that you have to obey as long as you live. Your ancestors worshiped the LORD, and he is giving you this land. 2But the nations that live there worship other gods. So after you capture the land, you must completely destroy their places of worship--on mountains and hills or in the shade of large trees. 3Wherever these nations worship their gods, you must tear down their altars, break their sacred stones, burn the sacred poles [f] used in worshiping the goddess Asherah, and smash their idols to pieces. Destroy these places of worship so completely that no one will remember they were ever there. 4Don't worship the LORD your God in the way those nations worship their gods. 5-19Soon you will cross the Jordan, and the LORD will help you conquer your enemies and let you live in peace, there in the land he has given you. But after you are settled, life will be different. You must not offer sacrifices just anywhere you want to. Instead, the LORD will choose a place somewhere in Israel where you must go to worship him. All of your sacrifices and offerings must be taken there, including sacrifices to please the LORD [g] and any gift you promise or voluntarily give him. That's where you must also take one tenth of your grain, wine, and olive oil, [h] as well as the first-born of your cattle, sheep, and goats. [i] You and your family and servants will eat your gifts and sacrifices [j] and celebrate there at the place of worship, because the LORD your God has made you successful in everything you have done. And since Levites will not have any land of their own, you must ask some of them to come along and celebrate with you. Sometimes you may want to kill an animal for food and not as a sacrifice. If the LORD has blessed you and given you enough cows or sheep or goats, then you can butcher one of them where you live. You can eat it just like the meat from a deer or gazelle that you kill when you go hunting. And even those people who are unclean and unfit for worship can have some of the meat. But you must not eat the blood of any animal--let the blood drain out on the ground.     20-21The LORD has promised that later on he will give Israel more land, and some of you may not be able to travel all the way from your homes to the place of worship each time you are hungry for meat. [k] But the LORD will give you cattle, sheep, and goats, and you can butcher any of those animals at home and eat as much as you want. 22It is the same as eating the meat from a deer or a gazelle that you kill when you go hunting. And in this way, anyone who is unclean and unfit for worship can have some of the meat. [l] 23-24But don't eat the blood. It is the life of the animal, so let it drain out on the ground before you eat the meat. 25Do you want the LORD to make you successful? Do you want your children to be successful even after you are gone? Then do what pleases the LORD and don't eat blood.
    26-27All sacrifices and offerings to the LORD must be taken to the place where he chooses to be worshiped. If you offer a sacrifice to please the LORD, all of its meat must be burned on the altar. You can eat the meat from certain kinds of sacrifices, but you must always pour out the animal's blood on the altar.
    28If you obey these laws, you will be doing what the LORD your God says is right and good. Then he will help you and your descendants be successful.
Worship the LORD in the Right Way
Moses said:
 29Israel, as you go into the land and attack the nations that are there, the LORD will get rid of them, and you can have their land.     30But that's when you must be especially careful not to ask, " How did those nations worship their gods? Shouldn't we worship the LORD in the same way?" 31No, you should not! The LORD hates the disgusting way those nations worship their gods, because they even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices.
    32Obey all the laws and teachings I am giving you. Don't add any, and don't take any away.
  1. Deuteronomy 11:4 Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph " Sea of Reeds," one of the marshes or fresh water lakes near the eastern part of the Nile Delta. This identification is based on Exodus 13.7--14.9, which lists towns on the route of the Israelites before crossing the sea. In the Greek translation of the Scriptures made about 200 B.C., the " Sea of Reeds," was named " Red Sea."
  2. Deuteronomy 11:6 Dathan and Abiram: Hebrew " Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab from the Reuben tribe."
  3. Deuteronomy 11:10 where. . . crops: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. Deuteronomy 11:11 to water your crops. . . rain from heaven: Egypt was flat and had very little rain. All water for crops had to come from the Nile River.
  5. Deuteronomy 11:14 rain. . . seasons: In Palestine, almost all the rain for the year comes during the months from October through April.
  6. Deuteronomy 12:3 sacred poles: Or " trees," used as symbols of Asherah, the goddess of fertility.
  7. Deuteronomy 12:5 sacrifices to please the LORD: These sacrifices have traditionally been called " whole burnt offerings" because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such sacrifices was to please the LORD with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV they are often called " sacrifices to please the LORD."
  8. Deuteronomy 12:5 one tenth of your grain, wine, and olive oil: The Israelites had to give one tenth of their harvest of these products to the LORD each year (see 14.22-29; 26.12,13; Leviticus 27.30-33).
  9. Deuteronomy 12:5 the first-born of your cattle, sheep, and goats: The Israelites had to sacrifice these to the LORD (see 15.19-22).
  10. Deuteronomy 12:5 sacrifices: Some sacrifices were completely burned on the altar; in other sacrifices, part of the animal was burned and part was given to the priests, but most of the meat was eaten by the worshipers as a sacred meal.
  11. Deuteronomy 12:20 meat: Usually eaten only on special occasions, such as during a sacred meal when sacrifices were offered to the LORD.
  12. Deuteronomy 12:22 anyone. . . the meat: Only those who were properly prepared for worship, or " clean," could eat a sacred meal, but anyone could eat this kind of meat.

Luke 8:22-39 (Contemporary English Version)

A Storm
(Matthew 8.23-27; Mark 4.35-41)
 22One day, Jesus and his disciples got into a boat, and he said, "Let's cross the lake." [a] They started out, 23and while they were sailing across, he went to sleep. Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake, and the boat started sinking. They were in danger. 24So they went to Jesus and woke him up, "Master, Master! We are about to drown!"    Jesus got up and ordered the wind and waves to stop. They obeyed, and everything was calm. 25Then Jesus asked the disciples, "Don't you have any faith?"
   But they were frightened and amazed. They said to each other, "Who is this? He can give orders to the wind and the waves, and they obey him!"
A Man with Demons in Him
(Matthew 8.28-34; Mark 5.1-20)
 26Jesus and his disciples sailed across Lake Galilee and came to shore near the town of Gerasa. [b] 27As Jesus was getting out of the boat, he was met by a man from that town. The man had demons in him. He had gone naked for a long time and no longer lived in a house, but in the graveyard. [c] 28The man saw Jesus and screamed. He knelt down in front of him and shouted, "Jesus, Son of God in heaven, what do you want with me? I beg you not to torture me!" 29He said this because Jesus had already told the evil spirit to go out of him.    The man had often been attacked by the demon. And even though he had been bound with chains and leg irons and kept under guard, he smashed whatever bound him. Then the demon would force him out into lonely places.
    30Jesus asked the man, "What is your name?"
   He answered, "My name is Lots." He said this because there were `lots' of demons in him. 31They begged Jesus not to send them to the deep pit, [d] where they would be punished. 32A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. So the demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and Jesus let them go. 33Then the demons left the man and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
    34When the men taking care of the pigs saw this, they ran to spread the news in the town and on the farms. 35The people went out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they also found the man. The demons had gone out of him, and he was sitting there at the feet of Jesus. He had clothes on and was in his right mind. But the people were terrified.
    36Then all who had seen the man healed told about it. 37Everyone from around Gerasa [e] begged Jesus to leave, because they were so frightened. When Jesus got into the boat to start back, 38the man who had been healed begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him off and said, 39"Go back home and tell everyone how much God has done for you." The man then went all over town, telling everything that Jesus had done for him.
  1. Luke 8:22 cross the lake: To the eastern shore of Lake Galilee, where most of the people were not Jewish.
  2. Luke 8:26 Gerasa: Some manuscripts have " Gergesa."
  3. Luke 8:27 graveyard: It was thought that demons and evil spirits lived in graveyards.
  4. Luke 8:31 deep pit: The place where evil spirits are kept and punished.
  5. Luke 8:37 Gerasa: See the note at 8.26.

Psalm 70:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 70

(By David for the music leader. To be used when an offering is made.)
God Is Wonderful
 1Save me, LORD God!    Hurry and help.
    2Disappoint and confuse
   all who want to kill me.
   Turn away and disgrace
   all who want to hurt me.
    3Embarrass and shame those
   who say, "We told you so!"
    4Let your worshipers celebrate
   and be glad because of you.
   They love your saving power,
   so let them always say,
   "God is wonderful!"
    5I am poor and needy,
   but you, the LORD God,
   care about me.
   You are the one who saves me.
   Please hurry and help!

Proverbs 12:4 (Contemporary English Version)

4A helpful wife is a jewel
   for her husband,
   but a shameless wife
   will make his bones rot.

Verse of the Day

“Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.” - 2 Corinthians 5:21
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Muriel Spark 1960.jpg
Thought for the Day

Scottish novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist, Muriel Spark wrote, “It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.”