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Psalm 107-109The Message (MSG)

107 1-3 Oh, thank God—he’s so good!
    His love never runs out.
All of you set free by God, tell the world!
    Tell how he freed you from oppression,
Then rounded you up from all over the place,
    from the four winds, from the seven seas.

4-9 Some of you wandered for years in the desert,
    looking but not finding a good place to live,
Half-starved and parched with thirst,
    staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion.
Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God.
    He got you out in the nick of time;
He put your feet on a wonderful road
    that took you straight to a good place to live.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
He poured great draughts of water down parched throats;
    the starved and hungry got plenty to eat.

10-16 Some of you were locked in a dark cell,
    cruelly confined behind bars,
Punished for defying God’s Word,
    for turning your back on the High God’s counsel—
A hard sentence, and your hearts so heavy,
    and not a soul in sight to help.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He led you out of your dark, dark cell,
    broke open the jail and led you out.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors,
    he snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!

17-22 Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life,
    your bodies feeling the effects of your sin;
You couldn’t stand the sight of food,
    so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He spoke the word that healed you,
    that pulled you back from the brink of death.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
Offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
    tell the world what he’s done—sing it out!

23-32 Some of you set sail in big ships;
    you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
    saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word he called up the wind—
    an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
    your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
    you didn’t know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
    put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
    and he led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
    shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!

33-41 God turned rivers into wasteland,
    springs of water into sunbaked mud;
Luscious orchards became alkali flats
    because of the evil of the people who lived there.
Then he changed wasteland into fresh pools of water,
    arid earth into springs of water,
Brought in the hungry and settled them there;
    they moved in—what a great place to live!
They sowed the fields, they planted vineyards,
    they reaped a bountiful harvest.
He blessed them and they prospered greatly;
    their herds of cattle never decreased.
But abuse and evil and trouble declined
    as he heaped scorn on princes and sent them away.
He gave the poor a safe place to live,
    treated their clans like well-cared-for sheep.

42-43 Good people see this and are glad;
    bad people are speechless, stopped in their tracks.
If you are really wise, you’ll think this over—
    it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.

A David Prayer

108 1-2 I’m ready, God, so ready,
    ready from head to toe.
Ready to sing,
    ready to raise a God-song:
“Wake, soul! Wake, lute!
    Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!”

3-6 I’m thanking you, God, out in the streets,
    singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
    every cloud’s a flag to your faithfulness.
Soar high in the skies, O God!
    Cover the whole earth with your glory!
And for the sake of the one you love so much,
    reach down and help me—answer me!

7-9 That’s when God spoke in holy splendor:
    “Brimming over with joy,
I make a present of Shechem,
    I hand out Succoth Valley as a gift.
Gilead’s in my pocket,
    to say nothing of Manasseh.
Ephraim’s my hard hat,
    Judah my hammer.
Moab’s a scrub bucket—
    I mop the floor with Moab,
Spit on Edom,
    rain fireworks all over Philistia.”

10-11 Who will take me to the thick of the fight?
    Who’ll show me the road to Edom?
You aren’t giving up on us, are you, God?
    refusing to go out with our troops?

12-13 Give us help for the hard task;
    human help is worthless.
In God we’ll do our very best;
    he’ll flatten the opposition for good.

A David Prayer

109 1-5 My God, don’t turn a deaf ear to my hallelujah prayer.
    Liars are pouring out invective on me;
Their lying tongues are like a pack of dogs out to get me,
    barking their hate, nipping my heels—and for no reason!
I loved them and now they slander me—yes, me!—
    and treat my prayer like a crime;
They return my good with evil,
    they return my love with hate.

6-20 Send the Evil One to accuse my accusing judge;
    dispatch Satan to prosecute him.
When he’s judged, let the verdict be “Guilty,”
    and when he prays, let his prayer turn to sin.
Give him a short life,
    and give his job to somebody else.
Make orphans of his children,
    dress his wife in widow’s weeds;
Turn his children into begging street urchins,
    evicted from their homes—homeless.
May the bank foreclose and wipe him out,
    and strangers, like vultures, pick him clean.
May there be no one around to help him out,
    no one willing to give his orphans a break.
Chop down his family tree
    so that nobody even remembers his name.
But erect a memorial to the sin of his father,
    and make sure his mother’s name is there, too—
Their sins recorded forever before God,
    but they themselves sunk in oblivion.
That’s all he deserves since he was never once kind,
    hounded the afflicted and heartbroken to their graves.
Since he loved cursing so much,
    let curses rain down;
Since he had no taste for blessing,
    let blessings flee far from him.
He dressed up in curses like a fine suit of clothes;
    he drank curses, took his baths in curses.
So give him a gift—a costume of curses;
    he can wear curses every day of the week!
That’s what they’ll get, those out to get me—
    an avalanche of just deserts from God.

21-25 Oh, God, my Lord, step in;
    work a miracle for me—you can do it!
Get me out of here—your love is so great!—
    I’m at the end of my rope, my life in ruins.
I’m fading away to nothing, passing away,
    my youth gone, old before my time.
I’m weak from hunger and can hardly stand up,
    my body a rack of skin and bones.
I’m a joke in poor taste to those who see me;
    they take one look and shake their heads.

26-29 Help me, oh help me, God, my God,
    save me through your wonderful love;
Then they’ll know that your hand is in this,
    that you, God, have been at work.
Let them curse all they want;
    you do the blessing.
Let them be jeered by the crowd when they stand up,
    followed by cheers for me, your servant.
Dress my accusers in clothes dirty with shame,
    discarded and humiliating old ragbag clothes.

30-31 My mouth’s full of great praise for God,
    I’m singing his hallelujahs surrounded by crowds,
For he’s always at hand to take the side of the needy,
    to rescue a life from the unjust judge.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

1 Corinthians 4The Message (MSG)

1-4 Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them. The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The Master makes that judgment.

So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God.

All I’m doing right now, friends, is showing how these things pertain to Apollos and me so that you will learn restraint and not rush into making judgments without knowing all the facts. It’s important to look at things from God’s point of view. I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay.

7-8 For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle. Without bringing either Apollos or me into it, you’re sitting on top of the world—at least God’s world—and we’re right there, sitting alongside you!

9-13 It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better.

14-16 I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God’s Message to you that I became your father. I’m not, you know, asking you to do anything I’m not already doing myself.

17 This is why I sent Timothy to you earlier. He is also my dear son, and true to the Master. He will refresh your memory on the instructions I regularly give all the churches on the way of Christ.

18-20 I know there are some among you who are so full of themselves they never listen to anyone, let alone me. They don’t think I’ll ever show up in person. But I’ll be there sooner than you think, God willing, and then we’ll see if they’re full of anything but hot air. God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life.

21 So how should I prepare to come to you? As a severe disciplinarian who makes you toe the mark? Or as a good friend and counselor who wants to share heart-to-heart with you? You decide.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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