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Proverbs 16The Message (MSG)

Everything with a Place and a Purpose

16 Mortals make elaborate plans,
    but God has the last word.

Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good;
    God probes for what is good.

Put God in charge of your work,
    then what you’ve planned will take place.

God made everything with a place and purpose;
    even the wicked are included—but for judgment.

God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense;
    believe me, he’ll put those upstarts in their place.

Guilt is banished through love and truth;
    Fear-of-God deflects evil.

When God approves of your life,
    even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.

Far better to be right and poor
    than to be wrong and rich.

We plan the way we want to live,
    but only God makes us able to live it.

It Pays to Take Life Seriously

10 A good leader motivates,
    doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit.

11 God cares about honesty in the workplace;
    your business is his business.

12 Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds;
    sound leadership has a moral foundation.

13 Good leaders cultivate honest speech;
    they love advisors who tell them the truth.

14 An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives;
    you’re smart to stay clear of someone like that.

15 Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives;
    they’re like spring rain and sunshine.

16 Get wisdom—it’s worth more than money;
    choose insight over income every time.

17 The road of right living bypasses evil;
    watch your step and save your life.

18 First pride, then the crash—
    the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.

19 It’s better to live humbly among the poor
    than to live it up among the rich and famous.

20 It pays to take life seriously;
    things work out when you trust in God.

21 A wise person gets known for insight;
    gracious words add to one’s reputation.

22 True intelligence is a spring of fresh water,
    while fools sweat it out the hard way.

23 They make a lot of sense, these wise folks;
    whenever they speak, their reputation increases.

24 Gracious speech is like clover honey—
    good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.

25 There’s a way that looks harmless enough;
    look again—it leads straight to hell.

26 Appetite is an incentive to work;
    hunger makes you work all the harder.

27 Mean people spread mean gossip;
    their words smart and burn.

28 Troublemakers start fights;
    gossips break up friendships.

29 Calloused climbers betray their very own friends;
    they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back.

30 A shifty eye betrays an evil intention;
    a clenched jaw signals trouble ahead.

31 Gray hair is a mark of distinction,
    the award for a God-loyal life.

32 Moderation is better than muscle,
    self-control better than political power.

33 Make your motions and cast your votes,
    but God has the final say.

The Message (MSG)

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

Proverbs 17The Message (MSG)

A Whack on the Head of a Fool

17 A meal of bread and water in contented peace
    is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

A wise servant takes charge of an unruly child
    and is honored as one of the family.

As silver in a crucible and gold in a pan,
    so our lives are assayed by God.

Evil people relish malicious conversation;
    the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.

Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator;
    gloating over misfortune is a punishable crime.

Old people are distinguished by grandchildren;
    children take pride in their parents.

We don’t expect eloquence from fools,
    nor do we expect lies from our leaders.

Receiving a gift is like getting a rare gemstone;
    any way you look at it, you see beauty refracted.

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
    fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!

10 A quiet rebuke to a person of good sense
    does more than a whack on the head of a fool.

11 Criminals out looking for nothing but trouble
    won’t have to wait long—they’ll meet it coming and going!

12 Better to meet a grizzly robbed of her cubs
    than a fool hellbent on folly.

13 Those who return evil for good
    will meet their own evil returning.

14 The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam,
    so stop it before it bursts.

15 Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people
    are equally abhorrent to God.

16 What’s this? Fools out shopping for wisdom!
    They wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it!

One Who Knows Much Says Little

17 Friends love through all kinds of weather,
    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

18 It’s stupid to try to get something for nothing,
    or run up huge bills you can never pay.

19 The person who courts sin marries trouble;
    build a wall, invite a burglar.

20 A bad motive can’t achieve a good end;
    double-talk brings you double trouble.

21 Having a fool for a child is misery;
    it’s no fun being the parent of a dolt.

22 A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
    gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

23 The wicked take bribes under the table;
    they show nothing but contempt for justice.

24 The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard;
    fools look for it everywhere but right here.

25 A surly, stupid child is sheer pain to a father,
    a bitter pill for a mother to swallow.

26 It’s wrong to penalize good behavior,
    or make good citizens pay for the crimes of others.

27 The one who knows much says little;
    an understanding person remains calm.

28 Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise;
    as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.

The Message (MSG)

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

Proverbs 18The Message (MSG)

Words Kill, Words Give Life

18 Loners who care only for themselves
    spit on the common good.

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse;
    all they do is run off at the mouth.

When wickedness arrives, shame’s not far behind;
    contempt for life is contemptible.

Many words rush along like rivers in flood,
    but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs.

It’s not right to go easy on the guilty,
    or come down hard on the innocent.

The words of a fool start fights;
    do him a favor and gag him.

Fools are undone by their big mouths;
    their souls are crushed by their words.

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you really want junk like that in your belly?

Slack habits and sloppy work
    are as bad as vandalism.

10 God’s name is a place of protection—
    good people can run there and be safe.

11 The rich think their wealth protects them;
    they imagine themselves safe behind it.

12 Pride first, then the crash,
    but humility is precursor to honor.

13 Answering before listening
    is both stupid and rude.

14 A healthy spirit conquers adversity,
    but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?

15 Wise men and women are always learning,
    always listening for fresh insights.

16 A gift gets attention;
    it buys the attention of eminent people.

17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—
    until the cross-examination starts!

18 You may have to draw straws
    when faced with a tough decision.

19 Do a favor and win a friend forever;
    nothing can untie that bond.

20 Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
    good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

21 Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

22 Find a good spouse, you find a good life—
    and even more: the favor of God!

23 The poor speak in soft supplications;
    the rich bark out answers.

24 Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family.

The Message (MSG)

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

Romans 12The Message (MSG)

Place Your Life Before God

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

The Message (MSG)

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

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