A proverb a day to order your private life...

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Proverbs 5

1-2 Dear friend, pay close attention to this, my wisdom;
    listen very closely to the way I see it.
Then you’ll acquire a taste for good sense;
    what I tell you will keep you out of trouble.

3-6 The lips of a seductive woman are oh so sweet,
    her soft words are oh so smooth.
But it won’t be long before she’s gravel in your mouth,
    a pain in your gut, a wound in your heart.
She’s dancing down the primrose path to Death;
    she’s headed straight for Hell and taking you with her.
She hasn’t a clue about Real Life,
    about who she is or where she’s going.

7-14 So, my friend, listen closely;
    don’t treat my words casually.
Keep your distance from such a woman;
    absolutely stay out of her neighborhood.
You don’t want to squander your wonderful life,
    to waste your precious life among the hardhearted.
Why should you allow strangers to take advantage of you?
    Why be exploited by those who care nothing for you?
You don’t want to end your life full of regrets,
    nothing but sin and bones,
Saying, “Oh, why didn’t I do what they told me?
    Why did I reject a disciplined life?
Why didn’t I listen to my mentors,
    or take my teachers seriously?
My life is ruined!
    I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!”

Never Take Love for Granted

15-16 Do you know the saying, “Drink from your own rain barrel,
    draw water from your own spring-fed well”?
It’s true. Otherwise, you may one day come home
    and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.

17-20 Your spring water is for you and you only,
    not to be passed around among strangers.
Bless your fresh-flowing fountain!
    Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!
Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose—
    don’t ever quit taking delight in her body.
    Never take her love for granted!
Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore?
    for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger?

21-23 Mark well that God doesn’t miss a move you make;
    he’s aware of every step you take.
The shadow of your sin will overtake you;
    you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark.
Death is the reward of an undisciplined life;
    your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.

Psalm 21 

A David Psalm 

1-7 Your strength, God, is the king’s strength.
    Helped, he’s hollering Hosannas.
You gave him exactly what he wanted;

    you didn’t hold back.
You filled his arms with gifts;

    you gave him a right royal welcome.
He wanted a good life; you gave it to him,

    and then made it a long life as a bonus.
You lifted him high and bright as a cumulus cloud,

    then dressed him in rainbow colors.
You pile blessings on him;

    you make him glad when you smile.
Is it any wonder the king loves God?

    that he’s sticking with the Best?


With a fistful of enemies in one hand
    and a fistful of haters in the other,
You radiate with such brilliance

    that they cringe as before a furnace.
Now the furnace swallows them whole,

    the fire eats them alive!
You purge the earth of their progeny,

    you wipe the slate clean.
All their evil schemes, the plots they cook up,

    have fizzled—every one.
You sent them packing;

    they couldn’t face you.


Show your strength, God, so no one can miss it.
    We are out singing the good news!

Psalm 22

A David Psalm

1-2 God, God . . . my God!
    Why did you dump me
    miles from nowhere?
Doubled up with pain, I call to God

    all the day long. No answer. Nothing.
I keep at it all night, tossing and turning.


And you! Are you indifferent, above it all,
    leaning back on the cushions of Israel’s praise?
We know you were there for our parents:

    they cried for your help and you gave it;
    they trusted and lived a good life.


And here I am, a nothing—an earthworm,
    something to step on, to squash.
Everyone pokes fun at me;

    they make faces at me, they shake their heads:
“Let’s see how God handles this one;

    since God likes him so much, let him help him!”


And to think you were midwife at my birth,
    setting me at my mother’s breasts!
When I left the womb you cradled me;

    since the moment of birth you’ve been my God.
Then you moved far away

    and trouble moved in next door.
I need a neighbor.


Herds of bulls come at me,
    the raging bulls stampede,
Horns lowered, nostrils flaring,

    like a herd of buffalo on the move.


I’m a bucket kicked over and spilled,
    every joint in my body has been pulled apart.
My heart is a blob

    of melted wax in my gut.
I’m dry as a bone,

    my tongue black and swollen.
They have laid me out for burial

    in the dirt.


Now packs of wild dogs come at me;
    thugs gang up on me.
They pin me down hand and foot,

    and lock me in a cage—a bag
Of bones in a cage, stared at

    by every passerby.
They take my wallet and the shirt off my back,

    and then throw dice for my clothes.


You, God—don’t put off my rescue!
    Hurry and help me!
Don’t let them cut my throat;

    don’t let those mongrels devour me.
If you don’t show up soon,

    I’m done for—gored by the bulls,
    meat for the lions.


Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship,
    and punctuate it with Hallelujahs:
Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers;

    give glory, you sons of Jacob;
    adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,

    never looked the other way
    when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;

    he has been right there, listening.


Here in this great gathering for worship
    I have discovered this praise-life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here

    in front of the God-worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at God’s table

    and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God

    is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.

    Don’t ever quit!”


From the four corners of the earth
    people are coming to their senses,
    are running back to God.
Long-lost families

    are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge;

    from now on he has the last word.


All the power-mongers are before him
All the poor and powerless, too

Along with those who never got it together



Our children and their children
    will get in on this
As the word is passed along

    from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived

    will hear the good news—
    that God does what he says.

Psalm 23

A David Psalm

1-3 God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,

    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,

    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid

    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook

    makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;

    my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God

    for the rest of my life.

Psalm 24

A David Psalm

1-2 God claims Earth and everything in it,
    God claims World and all who live on it.
He built it on Ocean foundations,

    laid it out on River girders.


Who can climb Mount God?
    Who can scale the holy north-face?
Only the clean-handed,

    only the pure-hearted;
Men who won’t cheat,

    women who won’t seduce.


God is at their side;
    with God’s help they make it.
This, Jacob, is what happens

    to God-seekers, God-questers.

Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!

    King-Glory is ready to enter.

Who is this King-Glory?
    God, armed
    and battle-ready.

Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!

    King-Glory is ready to enter.


Who is this King-Glory?
    he is King-Glory.

Psalm 25

A David Psalm

1-2 My head is high, God, held high;
I’m looking to you, God;
No hangdog skulking for me.

I’ve thrown in my lot with you;
You won’t embarrass me, will you?
Or let my enemies get the best of me?

Don’t embarrass any of us
Who went out on a limb for you.
It’s the traitors who should be humiliated.

Show me how you work, God;
School me in your ways.

Take me by the hand;
Lead me down the path of truth.
You are my Savior, aren’t you?

Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God;
Rebuild the ancient landmarks!

Forget that I sowed wild oats;
Mark me with your sign of love.
Plan only the best for me, God!

God is fair and just;
He corrects the misdirected,
Sends them in the right direction.

He gives the rejects his hand,
And leads them step-by-step.


From now on every road you travel
Will take you to God.
Follow the Covenant signs;
Read the charted directions.


Keep up your reputation, God;
Forgive my bad life;
It’s been a very bad life.


My question: What are God-worshipers like?
Your answer: Arrows aimed at God’s bull’s-eye.


They settle down in a promising place;
Their kids inherit a prosperous farm.


God-friendship is for God-worshipers;
They are the ones he confides in.


If I keep my eyes on God,
I won’t trip over my own feet.


Look at me and help me!
I’m all alone and in big trouble.


My heart and kidneys are fighting each other;
Call a truce to this civil war.


Take a hard look at my life of hard labor,
Then lift this ton of sin.


Do you see how many people
Have it in for me?
How viciously they hate me?


Keep watch over me and keep me out of trouble;
Don’t let me down when I run to you.


Use all your skill to put me together;
I wait to see your finished product.


God, give your people a break
From this run of bad luck.

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