Ecclesiastes 10-12The Message (MSG)
10 Dead flies in perfume make it stink,
2 Wise thinking leads to right living;
3 Fools on the road have no sense of direction.
4 If a ruler loses his temper against you, don’t panic;
5-7 Here’s a piece of bad business I’ve seen on this earth,
8 Caution: The trap you set might catch you.
9 Safety first: Quarrying stones is dangerous.
10 Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work;
11 If the snake bites before it’s been charmed,
12-13 The words of a wise person are gracious.
14 Fools talk way too much,
15 A decent day’s work so fatigues fools
16-17 Unlucky the land whose king is a young pup,
18 A shiftless man lives in a tumbledown shack;
19 Laughter and bread go together,
20 Don’t bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath,
11 Be generous: Invest in acts of charity.
2 Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around.
3-4 When the clouds are full of water, it rains.
5 Just as you’ll never understand
6 Go to work in the morning
Before the Years Take Their Toll
7-8 Oh, how sweet the light of day,
9 You who are young, make the most of your youth.
10 Live footloose and fancy-free—
12 1-2 Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young,
3-5 In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.
6-7 Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.
8 It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.
The Final Word
9-10 Besides being wise himself, the Quester also taught others knowledge. He weighed, examined, and arranged many proverbs. The Quester did his best to find the right words and write the plain truth.
11 The words of the wise prod us to live well.
12-13 But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:
14 And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil.
Galatians 1The Message (MSG)
1 1-5 I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!
6-9 I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.
10-12 Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.
13-16 I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God’s church. I was systematically destroying it. I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career. Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity! Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him.
16-20 Immediately after my calling—without consulting anyone around me and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was—I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus, but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. I was there only fifteen days—but what days they were! Except for our Master’s brother James, I saw no other apostles. (I’m telling you the absolute truth in this.)
21-24 Then I began my ministry in the regions of Syria and Cilicia. After all that time and activity I was still unknown by face among the Christian churches in Judea. There was only this report: “That man who once persecuted us is now preaching the very message he used to try to destroy.” Their response was to recognize and worship God because of me!