Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, September 4, 2016 (The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Old Testament (Jeremiah 18:1-11 or Deuteronomy 30:15-20), the Psalms (Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 or Psalm 1), the Letters (Philemon 1-21), and the Gospels (Luke 14:25-33). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

If you find this point helpful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Image result for Jeremiah and the potterJeremiah 18:1-11

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it.

Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

Image result for Deuteronomy 30:15-20Deuteronomy 30:15-20

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.

You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

Image result for Psalm 139Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.

Image result for Psalm 1Psalm 1

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;

but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Philemon 1-21

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

Image result for philemon onesimus
For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

Image result for Luke 14:25-33Luke 14:25-33

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 31, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 31, 2016: Today our passages are Job 37:1–39:30; 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:10; Psalm 44:9-26; and Proverbs 22:13.  The readings are from  The Mess...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 30, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 30, 2016: Today our passages are Job 34:1–36:33; 2 Corinthians 4:1-12; Psalm 44:1-8; and Proverbs 22:10-12.  The readings are from  The Messag...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 28, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 28, 2016: Today our passages are Job 28:1–30:31; 2 Corinthians 2:12-17; Psalm 42:1-11; and Proverbs 22:7.  The readings are from  The Messag...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 27, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 27, 2016: Today our passages are Job 23:1–27:23; 2 Corinthians 1:12–2:11; Psalm 41:1-13; and Proverbs 22:5-6 .  The readings are from  The ...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 25, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 25, 2016: Today our passages are Job 12:1–15:35; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-13; and Proverbs 21:30-31 .  The readings are from  The ...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, August 28, 2016 (The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Old Testament (Jeremiah 2:4-13), the Psalms (Psalm 81:1, 10-16 & Psalm 112), the Letters (Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16), and the Gospels (Luke 14:1, 7-14). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

If you find this point helpful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Jeremiah 2:4-13

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves? They did not say, “Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that no one passes through, where no one lives?” I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?” Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things that do not profit.

Therefore once more I accuse you, says the Lord, and I accuse your children’s children. Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has ever been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.

Psalm 81:1, 10-16

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.

So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes.

Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever.

I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 112

Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments.

Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.

They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.

For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.

They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.

Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever; their horn is exalted in honor.

The wicked see it and are angry; they gnash their teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Luke 14:1, 7-14

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 23, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 23, 2016: Today our passages are Job 8:1–11:20; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28; Psalm 38:1-22; and Proverbs 21:28-29.  The readings are from  The Mes...

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 22, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 22, 2016: Today our passages are Job 4:1–7:21; 1 Corinthians 14:18-40; Psalm 37:30-40; and Proverbs 21:27.  The readings are from  The Mess...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 21, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 21, 2016: Today our passages are Job 1:1–3:26; 1 Corinthians 14:1-17; Psalm 37:12-29; and Proverbs 21:25-26.  The readings are from  The Mes...

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 19, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 19, 2016: Today our passages are Esther 4:1–7:10; 1 Corinthians 12:1-26; Psalm 36:1-12; and Proverbs 21:21-22 .  The readings are from  The ...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 18, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 18, 2016: Today our passages are Esther 1:1–3:15; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Psalm 35:17-28; and Proverbs 21:19-20.  The readings are from  The ...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, August 21, 2016 (The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Old Testament (Jeremiah 1:4-10 or Isaiah 58:9b-14), the Psalms (Psalm 71:1-6 or Psalm 103:1-8), the Letters (Hebrews 12:18-29), and the Gospels (Luke 13:10-17). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you find this point helpful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.


Jeremiah 1:4-10

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Isaiah 58:9b-14

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Psalm 71:1-6

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.

Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

Psalm 103:1-8

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—

who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Hebrews 12:18-29

You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

Luke 13:10-17

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 17, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 17, 2016: Today our passages are Nehemiah 12:27–13:31; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; Psalm 35:1-16; and Proverbs 21:17-18 .  The readings are from ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 16, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 16, 2016: Today our passages are Nehemiah 11:1–12:26; 1 Corinthians 10:14–11:2; Psalm 34:11-22; and Proverbs 21:14-16 .  The readings are fr...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 14, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 14, 2016: Today our passages are Nehemiah 7:61–9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18; Psalm 33:12-22; and Proverbs 21:11-12.  The readings are from  The...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 13, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 13, 2016: Today our passages are Nehemiah 5:14–7:60; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Psalm 33:1-11; and Proverbs 21:8-10.  The readings are from  The M...

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 12, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 12, 2016: Today our passages are Nehemiah 3:15–5:13; 1 Corinthians 7:25-40; Psalm 32:1-11; and Proverbs 21:5-7.  The readings are from  The M...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 11, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 11, 2016: Today our passages are Nehemiah 1:1–3:14; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24; Psalm 31:19-24; and Proverbs 21:4.  The readings are from  The Mess...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 10, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 10, 2016: Today our passages are Ezra 10:1-44; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20; Psalm 31:9-18; and Proverbs 21:3.  The readings are from  The Message  by  E...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A brief thought based on Psalm 149:4

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, August 14, 2016 (The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Old Testament (Isaiah 5:1-7 & Jeremiah 23:23-29), the Psalms (Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19 & Psalm 82), the Letters (Hebrews 11:29 - 12:2), and the Gospels (Luke 12:49-56). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

If you find this point helpful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Isaiah 5:1-7

Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!

Jeremiah 23:23-29

Am I a God near by, says the Lord, and not a God far off? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!” How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back—those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? They plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal. Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the Lord. Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth

before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.

You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.

The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches;

it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River.

Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?

The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.

Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,

the stock that your right hand planted.

They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.

Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Psalm 82

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:

“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you;

nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.”

Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong to you!

Hebrews 11:29 - 12:2

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Luke 12:49-56

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 9, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 9, 2016: Today our passages are Ezra 8:21–9:15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Psalm 31:1-8; and Proverbs 21:1-2. The readings are from  The Message...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 7, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 7, 2016: Today our passages are Ezra 5:1–6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:5-23; Psalm 29:1-11; and Proverbs 20:26-27. The readings are from  The Mess...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 6, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 6, 2016: Today our passages are Ezra 3:1–4:24; 1 Corinthians 2:6–3:4; Psalm 28:1-9; and Proverbs 20:24-25. The readings are from  The Mess...

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Bible in a Year: The Bible Readings for August 5, 2016

The Bible in a Year: The Bible Readings for August 5, 2016: Today our passages are Ezra 1:1–2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18–2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; and Proverbs 20:22-23. The readings are from  The Me...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 4, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 4, 2016: Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; and Proverbs 20:20-21. The readings are from  T...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, August 7, 2016 (The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost)

Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Old Testament (Isaiah 1:1, 10-20), the Psalms (Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23), the Letters (Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16), and the Gospels (Luke 12:32-40). Please make any comments concerning the passages you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God.

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Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation— I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23

The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.

Our God comes and does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him.

He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people:

“Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”

The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge. Selah

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.

Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me.

“Mark this, then, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.

Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.”

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.


Luke 12:32-40

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 3, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 3, 2016: Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 33:14–34:33; Romans 16:8-27; Psalm 26:1-12; and Proverbs 20:19. The readings are from  The Mess...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 2, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 2, 2016: Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 32:1–33:13; Romans 15:23–16:7; Psalm 25:16-22; and Proverbs 20:16-18. The readings are from  T...

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 1, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 1, 2016: Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 30:1–31:21; Romans 15:1-22; Psalm 25:1-15; and Proverbs 20:13-15. The readings are from  The M...