Psalm 96 (The Message)
1-2 Sing God a brand-new song! Earth and everyone in it, sing!
Sing to God—worship God!
2-3 Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea,
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!
4-5 For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs.
His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap;
Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags.
5-6 God made the heavens—
Royal splendor radiates from him,
A powerful beauty sets him apart.
7 Bravo, God, Bravo!
Everyone join in the great shout: Encore!
In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.
8-9 Bring gifts and celebrate,
Bow before the beauty of God,
Then to your knees—everyone worship!
10 Get out the message—God Rules!
He put the world on a firm foundation;
He treats everyone fair and square.
11 Let’s hear it from Sky,
With Earth joining in,
And a huge round of applause from Sea.
12 Let Wilderness turn cartwheels,
Animals, come dance,
Put every tree of the forest in the choir—
13 An extravaganza before God as he comes,
As he comes to set everything right on earth,
Set everything right, treat everyone fair.
James 1:19-27 (The Message)
Act on What You Hear
19-21Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
22-24Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
26-27Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
Luke 6:31-36 (The Message)
31-34“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
35-36“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.