Archives for Category: Excerpt from The Message Devotional Bible

Eligible for God’s Help

September 18, 2019

If you look closely at the beginning of Psalm 34, you’ll find that it doesn’t say, “I am happy at all times,” but “I bless God every chance I get” (Psalm 34:1). These aren’t the words of a person whose moods are always ebullient; they’re the words of a person who has simply decided to […]

Everything Depends on God

September 9, 2019

The concept of rest is central to living the Christian life. Two things happen when we rest. First, we understand where we’ve come from. And second, we understand where we’re going. When we rest, we look back and see how God has providentially led us along the way, how he has protected us and provided […]

A Network of Care and Compassion

August 22, 2019

When Paul came to Corinth, he was apprehensive, not only because of what was behind him but also because of what he feared might be ahead of him. For Paul, Corinth was a time of transition from hopelessness to hope, from bleakness to brightness, from an intractable situation to an exciting community. The first thing […]

Fellow Worshipers

July 18, 2019

James was concerned about the way his congregations were treating prominent people. Instead of simply welcoming them as members and inviting the to share in the church’s worship and mission, people were rushing around, fawning over the rich and famous, putting them in honored seats. And in the rush, the poor were being pushed into […]

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 […]