January Reading from The Message
Ecclesiastes reminds us that life is beautiful and fleeting. Don’t sit around waiting for life to happen to you, make it happen! You answer to God for your actions (or inaction); work hard and enjoy the life He has given you!
Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night.
3-4 When the clouds are full of water, it rains. When the wind blows down a tree, it lies where it falls. Don’t sit there watching the wind. Do your own work. Don’t stare at the clouds. Get on with your life.
5 Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, So you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does.
6 Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock. You never know from moment to moment how your work will turn out in the end.
7-8 Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour, Remembering that there will also be many dark days And that most of what comes your way is smoke.
9 You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.
10 Live footloose and fancy-free— You won’t be young forever. Youth lasts about as long as smoke.
Trying to Pry a Miracle out of God’s Hands
The biblical message says, “You don’t live in a mechanistic world ruled by natural law. You don’t live in a random world ruled by chance. You live in a world ruled by God.”
God will do things in you and for you that you never thought possible. The difficulty is when people try to find a point of leverage from which they can pry a miracle out of God’s hands. For those people, religion becomes a kind of technology of the supernatural, providing a magic formula so they can get what they want from God. If one just learns to pray in the right way or to have enough faith, as the high priests of that religion say, a miracle can be produced.
The Quester lived in a culture that was beginning to develop a ravenous appetite for miracles. In the face of that appetite, he warned them, “Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does” (Ecclesiastes 11:5).
Slow Down and Connect with God
This beautiful reading Bible introduces the timeless practice of lectio divina. Learn the practice with 150 guided reflections, then enjoy putting prayerful reading to practice, with ample space for journaling your observations, reflections, and prayers on high-quality paper. The Message Prayerful Reading Bible.