Friday, June 27, 2008

The Message Bible

Several months ago I started reading the Bible beginning in The New Testament. I have always preferred the traditional King James version. One morning I awoke and reached for my Bible, but it wasn't there. I had left it downstairs. My husband's new Bible, The Message , was there, and I picked it up. I have been reaching for it ever since.

The Message is a wonderful version done in the modern vernacular. It is so easy to read. I thoroughly enjoy it and often find it humorous. It is kind of funny to think of those from Bible Times speaking our language.

I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning, and she was discussing how God loves us and accepts us for who we are. He actually chose us. He is not angry with us. He loves us unconditionally. Verses from Ephesians kept coming up, so I thought I would share some of The Message Bible here with you.

Introduction to Ephesians taken from The Message:

What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives. The moment the organic unity of belief and behavior is damaged in any way, we are incapable of living out the full humanity for which we were created.

Paul's letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our win-wrecked world. He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God, and then, like a surgeon skillfully setting a compound fracture.
sets this belief in God into our behavior before God so that the bones-belief and behavior-knit together and heal.

Once our attention is called to it, we notice these fractures all over the place. There is hardly a bone in our bodies that has escaped injury, hardly a relationship in city or job, school or church, family or country, that isn't out of joint or limping in pain. There is much work to be done.

And so Paul goes to work. He ranges widely, from heaven to earth and back again, showing how Jesus, the Messiah, is eternally and tirelessly bringing everything and everyone together. He also shows us that in addition to having this work done in and for us, we are participants in this most urgent work. Now that we know what is going on, that the energy of reconciliation is the dynamo at the heart of the universe, it is imperative that we join in vigorously and perseveringly, convinced that every detail in our lives contributes (or not) to what Paul describes as God's plan worked out by Christ, "a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth."

Ephesians 3:14-19 from The Message:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit-not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength-that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. ~ Eph. 3:14-19

Do you do as Paul advises? What a challenge it can be for some of us to see God as, "Father". Is God your father? Do you call him, "Daddy"? Have you opened the door to Christ and invited him to live within you benefiting from His glorious inner strength? Have you planted both feet firmly in love and taken in the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love? Are you living the full life offered to you through God?

Does it seem a tall order? Again, I come back to how we start our day. Is yours started in The Word? Have you tried it? Did you notice a difference? Feel free to share your experiences here. I'd love to hear from you the difference shifting your focus from self to God and the service of others has made in your life.


Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I always start my day with God before work. It only makes sense to me to spend time in the morning with the one who gives me strength and direction for the day. The "Message Bible" is too modern for my taste though. I like scripture to sound like scripture, not a commentary. Just my personal taste, but for me, one thing that makes the Bible so special is the old language. It just reminds me of how old the Bible really is.

Tina said...

I agree with you 100% about liking scripture to sound like scripture. I use my KJV for all of my studying and during church and every other thing I use my bible for. But, I am really enjoying reading it, kind of like a novel, from the Message Bible.


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