Ecclesiastes 10The 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,
Ecclesiastes 11The Message (MSG)
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—
Ecclesiastes 12The Message (MSG)
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.
Psalm 94The Message (MSG)
94 1-2 God, put an end to evil;
3-4 God, the wicked get away with murder—
5-7 They walk all over your people, God,
8-11 Well, think again, you idiots,
12-15 How blessed the man you train, God,
16-19 Who stood up for me against the wicked?
20-23 Can Misrule have anything in common with you?
Ephesians 5The Message (MSG)
Wake Up from Your Sleep
5 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
3-4 Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
5 You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.
6-7 Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.
8-10 You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.
11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.