Last night before Jason and I went to bed we played a game. We read passages out the Bible from The Message translation to see if we knew where they were from. We each took turns.
We started this game when we were dating. Jason's Bible study leader would do this with the group-- and called it "Sharpen your Sword". Jason and I did it together too. It's always been a good time. We read the passage, guess, and then talk about why we picked it or what it means. So good.
Here are some of the passages. Do you know them?
1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. 2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. 3 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
1 Do you see what this means - all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running - and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. 2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. 3 When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
1 So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. 2 Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that's where the action is. See things from his perspective. 3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life - even though invisible to spectators - is with Christ in God. He is your life. 4 When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too - the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
11 Then I saw Heaven open wide - and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. 12 His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that's known only to himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as "Word of God." 14 The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. 15 A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. 16 On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords.
It's very refreshing for me to read them in a different translation. I can meditate more on the meaning instead of just going over the same words I've known for years. It's like having a favorite song and gettting tired of it. But hearing it a little while later and falling in love with it again. Goodness.
Answers: Romans 8, Hebrews 12, Colossians 3, and Revelation 19.