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Books for the Journey:

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I haven't read the 4th yet... but had some comments from ongoing posts and your questions on the Message.

Re. The Message:
I agree on the Message seeming very close to the NLT much more than the NIV which is what I had compared it to in the past. I pull out The Message when I am fairly confused, but am reading from the NLT.

Matt 22:34-36
Below is an example of some insight from the Message. I am still unclear as to what the soul actually encompasses.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind." NLT

"Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence." The Message

Re. Prayer

YOu blog a little on this today. I had once read Martin Luther spent the first 3 hours of his day in prayer because he felt like he needed to do that or the rest of the day was wasted. Well it seems most of us are not that diligent. I recently read more detail on this that he was planning and praying, praying about things as he scheduled his day. So, I have been trying this (not the 3 hours part) the past few days and it gives me a sense of peace about using my time wisely, being open to divine appointments and such. Just thought it was neat the way Martin Luther planned and prayed through his day.

Take care!


I will be positing my thoughts and comments on today’s’ text latter, but I do have comments on your comments and maybe something on what Amy spoke on, maybe. It could be that the Holy Spirit may just tell me to keep my mouth shut, or my fingers still (smile)

I Timothy 2 (King James Version)

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

When we study the Word of God (I know there may be a some unbelievers, seekers, or “baby” Christians reading this blog) and the Word becomes ingrained in the very fiber of our being, we can be “in the world” but “not of the world,” we are able to spot a counterfeit gospel, faulty biblical reasoning; although we may not be able to immediately identify what’s wrong or the Theology that is bad, you will just know something is wrong, and hopefully that will send you on a “mission” into the Word to clarify your thoughts and to weigh and measure based on “Thus says the Lord.”

Mike, like you, I love music, all types of music. My latest venture is Opera. I have become great friends with a former Atheist, a professor, composer, department chair at a very prestigious music conservatory, former rock musician, now classical musician, etc who has helped me to expand my music appreciation. I work with a man who is Executive Director of the Puccini Foundation so I’ve had my musical understanding developed on two fronts.

There are people, Christian people, who will and who have patted me on the back because I’ve stated that I love Opera (I have favorite composers and within those composers there are Operas I can rate on a scale of one to ten in the appreciation department), because they believe the music is “refined” and educated and not “ungodly” and “immoral.” I love musicals in fact two of my favorites have Stephen Sondheim as their writers, both story, lyrics and music, and like Mike, I also like the musical Godspell.

One of the things we must understand is ourselves. Knowing oneself, one’s weaknesses and strengths will keep one out of situations that are dangerous. You better not hold a revival (gospel) in the bar if you like wine. And just because you can’t escape the pull and call of the alcoholic beverage now, doesn’t mean that someone is not called to minister to those in need at the bar on the corner. In fact if you think about it the bar, the Wine and Spirit store (AKA Liquor Store) are really offering a false or bottle spirit, as opposed to the Holy Spirit and the bartender is the psydo priest, pastor, preacher take your pick.

The Apostle Paul, upon being disturbed by all the idols in Athens, did not run away rebuking the statutes and the people, but recognized that they were looking for something to worship although it was the wrong thing and seized the moment by focusing on the statue to the unknow God to minister to them, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He was able to do this because he was mature (Maturation does not come by age or time, but by the accepting of responsibility, the ending of blaming others for the state we are in or the situations we find ourselves in and having the understanding that we are responsible for our plight either from choices we made and make or by decisions not to change the choices made for us by making new decisions-see the 13th Chapter of 1 Corinthians the 11th verse).

Acts 17 (NIV)
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the Godfearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

You cannot recognize the counterfeit by studying counterfeit; you recognize what is false by studying the truth. I know that listening to the music from Godspell is not the Gospel as presented in the Bible; but I do know that there are current popular Praise and Worship songs and choruses, as well as hymns from well know 19th, 20th and 21st Century song writers and musicians that are NOT BIBLICALLY correct and are potentially more dangerous then a Opera with a raunchy story line because they are clocked in religiosity and clothed in folks experiences. Their experiences may be valid but they are not biblical.

The Antidote for discerning what is Truth and what is not truth is the Word of God. And it is not the knowing the Word of God to battle others it is knowing the Word of God to change lives, our own lives. I’ve heard it said that we should be studying the Word not to teach but to live and our teaching should come from out of our living, in that order.

See you latter

Grace and peace,

Thanks Amy & Ramona for your posts! Great stuff!

Briefly - Amy, check out these 2 commentaries on about the soul:

I'll keep look for more resources on the soul as well.


I love to remember that "every good and perfect gift comes from the Father" (James 1:17) Music is a gift. Satan might try to "steal" it and corrupt it, but God in our hearts and lives can "redeem" it!! He must so love music as He says He will sing over us - Zephaniah 3:17!!! I enjoy all kinds of music. Music makes me happy and invigorated, contemplative and melancholy, etc. Can you imagine the power of music? That is why one of my favorite forms of worship is in song! Though I love ALL kinds of music and listen to them, I am always brought back and focused on Christian music. A mix I just burned has Whiskey Lullaby (sad commentary on drinking - Brad Paisley)"God's Will" by Martina McBride to "Party for Two" (I think about my husband and I!!) by Shania along with a few others - BUT...I also have Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine," "Homesick," Casting Crowns "Who Am I" and "Voice of Truth," etc!!!! Though the others might make me happy or sing along - my foundation is the truth that comes through songs about my Lord and Savior!!!! Do I feel bad having such a mix and including such songs along with the others?!!! No way - I love music. My balance is that in my heart of hearts the Lord knows of my love for Him.

hey all!
i’ve just caught up on this week’s blogs – i wish i had more time each day to read all that i want to! so let me hit a few topics all at once …

music – i come from the same era as mike [except i switched to country in the early 90's!! - i know, but we all do crazy things at some point in our life!!]
and i too love a lot of different secular music and while i’m at work i listen to a secular station most of the time.
personal level …
i have recognized a distinct difference in the way i ‘feel’ and interact with music. when i’m listening to secular – i sing a long and enjoy it but my soul is definitely rarely moved or inspired.
when i listen to worship/christian music i have a whole different feeling and engagement – one of communicating with god and not simply enjoying the music.
i do not believe that listening to secular music affects my thoughts or actions in a negative way, although christian music lifts me up.
cultural level …
i feel that it is important for me to stay abreast of what is going on in our culture and the music and artists are consistently very influential on our culture.
being ‘in the world but not of it’ to me means that i am aware of what is going on ‘in’ it [culture] and that i try to understand the spiritual/eternal affects of it, so i can better minister and live my life according to god’s precepts and be a loving, informed example to the world.
being familiar with the trends and inputs to our culture arms me!

sabbath …
mike – we’ve had these conversations for years now – and i’m still not clear what a ‘sabbath’ must look like.
not to work – ok – i have no problem avoiding that!
but does that mean i should not spend time with friends? go out for a meal with friends? watch tv/movies [of course, after spending several hours studying the word/journaling!]? go snowboarding, play volleyball in the park with my church or catch a game of flag football with some friends?
can i clean the bathroom? can i cook or go to the store??
many of the activities listed above, although some people might call them work [i call snowboarding work cuz’ i suck at it!!!], but some are very therapeutic and relaxing for me – even cleaning the bathroom and cooking.
so what does it look like? do i have to stay in my house and read the bible, maybe listen to some worship music … and what else? i’ll tell you what i’d end up doing – sleeping!
anyone have thoughts on this???

Exodus 19:16-21:21

Exodus 19: 23 "But LORD, the people cannot come up on the mountain!" Moses protested. "You already told them not to. You told me to set boundaries around the mountain and to declare it off limits."

God doesn’t ask questions for information; God doesn’t make statements from a lack of information or even supposition He speaks from what He knows. The 23rd verse spoke to me because I wonder if I, like the people around the mountain, say I will obey and then don’t. The fact that the people’s obedience was in question before they heard the Law being given meant that they would have a big problem following the Law. Those who are faithful in little will be faithful in much (Luke 16:10).

In the eighth verse of the same chapter God asked the people through Moses would they listen to God and they, or their leaders said they would. We, I fail to consider the cost; we, I fail to consider that the words that come from my mouth will be backed up by what I do or fail to do. [Matthew 12: 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”]

Matthew 23:13-39

And speaking of our words, Jesus slams the religious leaders, the Sad-to-cees and the Far-to-cees because their words don’t match their actions. As teachers they used their words to instruct the people yet Jesus called them Hypocrites. Demanding the people they taught to adhere to things they were unwilling to do themselves. Jesus said they were blind guides leading the people into the microwave oven (my interpretation). I think God was more than a little annoyed with them.

But we must be aware that this condition Jesus accuses the religious leaders of that time of having is not limited to that time period but is a malady that still wrecks havoc today.

Grace and Peace,

Hello fellow OYBer's!
My work schedule has been shifting and settling the last two weeks so I have not been able to keep up with all of the posts recently. Lord willing, the latest adjustment will put me back in regular contact.

Mike, I am reading this year from The Message. I was first drawn to the translation when friends would quote passages from the Psalms. Then a study I attend used The Message while we were going through the book of Ephesians and I got "hooked". I wonder if Eugene Peterson may have rushed a bit on the Old Testament to the publisher, because it does seem like many times those passages don't possess the passion that he showed in the New Testament and wisdom books.

I've been singing and playing piano since I was 3 years old, trumpet and other brass instruments since 10 years old. I love music. I believe that God created music and that it is part of the world that we are to "subdue". At home and in the car I usually listen to K-Love, or Air-1. At work - I may hear oldies, Top 40, Jazz or Tejano and I can enjoy that too. I wince sometimes when the C-W blares out, but I don't complain. I agree with some of the other comments. I enjoy a wide variety of music, but hymns, contemporary Christian and gospel lift my spirit and give me a sense of God's presence. I don't think it is coincidence that John's description of heaven in the book of the Revelation makes numerous references to music and singing. Music is eternally entertwined with worship and worship is going to be our eternal privelege.

Psalm 28:2 I'm letting you know what I need, calling out for help and lifting my arms toward your inner sanctum.

After 30+ years of hands folded, eyes crimped shut and head bowed --- I've discovered the joy of speaking to God in a variety of manners. There are times when I don't feel comfortable in any position but on my knees. Other times where I feel that I am not properly addressing God unless my hands are stretched out imploring to him. I guess my changing philosophy regarding prayer has been influenced by Paul exhorting us to "weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice".

My singing, worship, prayer, yes, even my life must be lived under the direction of the Holy Spirit - not by man's traditions or codes.


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