Archives for Category: Excerpt from The Message Devotional Bible

God’s Favorite and Most Repeated Word

June 4, 2019

Midway through a tactful explanation aimed at preventing misunderstanding among the Corinthians, a single word acts as a trigger to Paul’s exuberance in ministry. He is grammatically plodding along, putting his verbs and nouns in proper order; then suddenly one word quickens the pace. That word is yes. When Silas and Timothy and I proclaimed […]

Imagine This Letter is About You

May 15, 2019

In the first century, in the city of Colosse in Asia Minor, there lived a well-to-do man named Philemon, a family man with slaves and a house that served as the regular meeting place for a church. Paul met Philemon on one of his missionary journeys and discipled him when he became a Christian. Philemon […]

Have You Quit Asking God for What You Need?

May 2, 2019

Persistent Faith. In Luke 18, the widow at prayer puts the weakest and least influential people on equal footing with the recognized power figures in society. Widows in the social structure in which Jesus lived were at the absolute bottom of authority and influence. They weren’t used to being listened to by anyone of rank. […]

We Start from Resurrection

April 16, 2019

The death of Jesus on the cross can be understood and accounted for easily enough on a physical and historical level. But the salvation Jesus accomplished on the cross cannot be. And it is this accomplished salvation, not a coroner’s autopsy of the death, that brings us back to the cross over and over again. […]

Strong Enough for This Demanding Life

March 25, 2019

Jesus was baptized, demonstrating him to be the beloved of God with the authority of God. We can only understand Jesus rightly by seeing him at this place of beginning, by seeing him in relation to God, not only as God’s child, but as his beloved child. Like him, we also are baptized. At the […]

Painting a Picture for Us

March 22, 2019

Ezekiel was in exile with his fellow Israelites. They were cut off from their temple, their farms, their relatives, their friends. They were surrounded by an alien way of life and taunted by their captors. Is there anything worse than feeling hopeless? The feelings these people experienced are described in Ezekiel 37, and they are […]

A Power We Can Know and Trust

February 25, 2019

Isaiah confronted the people’s idea that God’s power had shrunk and withered. They felt overwhelmed by a world that was too big for them and their God. They were far from their homeland, but in two generations they had come to terms with their conquerors. Now there were rumors of a new power rising in […]

You’re Blessed

February 8, 2019

In Matthew 5, Jesus is training us to live not in reaction to our sin and guilt, not in response to people stronger than we are, not in desperation by any means at hand, not to survive in a sea of cynicism and malice, and certainly not to live egocentrically with the self as center […]

The Prayer of the Heart

January 31, 2019

Most prayer begins as Hannah’s did, in pain and with tears. But while her prayer was caused by pain, it wasn’t confined to it. It took the form of a vow. By casting her prayer as a vow, Hannah involved herself responsibly, even sacrificially, in her prayer, for she both asked and gave. She asked […]