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Well.  It has been a little longer than I anticipated to get back here!  I have been overcoming a slight cold that led to some ear infection and ultimately, a ruptured eardrum, just to be factual…the details of the drama of the last 2 weeks are too icky and no fun to relate, so let’s just say…I am still resting when I can and trying to get back to “normal” in a  balanced way…meanwhile, I am, at best, getting used to the “extra instruments” in my right ear that come with having a hole there.  Honky-tonk piano, anyone?  Alien autotune?  How about an out-of-tune harpsichord?  It seems at any moment, I get to hear a few more sounds that the average Joe or Jill…At least it makes life even more interesting as a professional singer….but ANYWAY…

Truly, I have been praising God for His supernatural favor even and especially in this trial.  There have certainly been many little incidences where I can see His love and protection, even while the world would say I was at my worst…so, it’s all good.  Cuz He’s ALL GOOD, amen?!?

Today I am starting a blog series called “What’s on my Bookshelf?” where I will be talking about the various things I am reading at the moment…it will definitely come in parts, though I will not commit to the blogs being consecutive!  You just never know what life is gonna throw at ya’, so I choose to go with the flow in at least this area…=-)  (It’s a good thing, since I meant to write this particular post a week and a half ago…that is, before I came down with whatever-it-was…)

Something you should know about me: I love books.  Always have.  I love fiction, I love self-help, I love inspirational, I love non-fiction, I love biographies, etc, etc.  On any given day, I would guarantee you that I have a minimum of 4 books “cracked open” that I am switching back-and-forth on, depending on my mood.  Usually at least one fiction, one edifying, and/or one educating, not to mention my ongoing devotional and Bible choices…

As a yoga teacher, I am constantly learning more about yoga via books.  Sometimes the books are about a famous teacher’s method or style of yoga, sometimes they are about breathwork and meditation, sometimes they are about the lifestyle that goes with it (according to the author).  As a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, I actually HAVE to continue my education in this way (among others) to continue being registered, and I am actually quite thankful for that.  I also always have a few yoga magazines partially read, waiting to be finished, laying around my nightstand.

I like fiction for when I need to escape or DON’T want to think too hard…whether secular or Christian.  Usually they center on some interest of mine: a place, a time, a lifestyle, a country, a language, what-have-you…

And there is usually something else educational or thought provoking—-not necessarily self-help, but something that teaches me more in depth on a subject.

Finally, though, the most important book (or books) on my proverbial bookshelf?  My bible.  Ok, bibles.  I like to compare versions.  I like to study.  I like to revel in the amazing words and meanings.  So, let’s just start there…

There are bibles all over my house, really, so I am just going to discuss the ones sitting on my nightstand shelves. Typically I have an NIV (New International Version) Bible, an Amplified Bible, and The Message Bible.  The NIV, for those who don’t know, is probably the most commonly used “standard” version.  It is not so formal or high language as the King James version, but it is also not necessarily a contemporary language version, either.  Kind of right there smack in the middle of it all…So, I often look at it first, to read the Bible verses as I have heard them most of my life before I compare them to a different version.

The Amplified Bible has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  It has this wonderful way of expounding on the meanings that could be meant or conveyed for various words (based on the original Hebrew or Greek), so you can really get a thorough/deeper view of what is meant by what you are reading!  For instance, typically if one were to recite to you a “regular” version of John 10:10, it would sound something like “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”  Ok, pretty cool.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, because we are so grateful for that!

But here is what the Amplified Bible says: ” I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, til it overflows).”  Wow!  We don’t just have our lives because of Jesus, we are entitled as His followers to enjoy them, too!  And, a LOT.  Overflowing wonderfulness….wow, wow, wow!  Or often, when the word “blessed” is used in a verse, it says “blessed (happy, to be envied)”.  Doesn’t that just give you  SUCH a better picture!?!  So, I love to use this bible as I study…

When I TEACH, however….

I most often use the Message bible.  I do use the other versions as well, but most often, my class scriptures are from The Message.  Why?

I was introduced to the Message bible while doing my yoga teacher training.  I liked how it said things, sure, but I was still a major devotee of the Amplified.  However, my teachers certainly emphasized how it put things in such a way that was great for a class–especially when your students are currently relaxing and centering themselves with eye pillows over their eyes, it’s nice to keep things as easy and simple to understand, without too many words to complicate their meditation and stillness…..so, I looked into purchasing one.  It wasn’t until I learned WHY it was written that I became totally gung-ho…

The author, Eugene Peterson, is a pastor and a scholar, among many other cool things…feel free to look him up on the internet…but he didn’t start as those things.  He began as a teacher of Hebrew and Greek.  When he began pastoring, he noticed that people in his congregations either knew next to nothing about the bible, or they had been reading it for years and  it somehow had gone dry and boring for them…reduced to trite sayings and cliché’s, perhaps.  (Now, here is where I DO want to say that our RELATIONSHIP with our Savior is an ongoing thing, and if we are feeling dry, perhaps we need to dig a bit deeper?…but I totally understand what Mr. Peterson is talking about…)  Here is a portion of what he writes in the Foreword of my edition of the Message bible:

“I lived in two language worlds, the world of the Bible and the world of Today.  I had always assumed they were the same world.  But these people didn’t see it that way.  So out of necessity I became a “translator” (although I wouldn’t have called it that then), daily standing on the border between two worlds, getting the language of the Bible that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us, into the language of Today that we use to gossip and tell stories, give directions and do business, sing songs and talk to our children.

And all the time those old biblical languages, those powerful and vivid Hebrew and Greek originals, kept working their way underground in my speech, giving energy and sharpness to words and phrases, expanding the imagination of the people with whom I was working to hear the language of the Bible in the language of Today and the language of Today in the language of the Bible.”  He did that for 30 years with one congregation and  was eventually asked to write a Bible that expressed what he had been sharing with them.

I also love this quote:

“When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can’t imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek — a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatians.” (from Wikipedia:Clint Kelly. “Eugene Peterson: The Story Behind The Message”, Use of Italics, mine.)

I believe it was that quote which sent me rushing off to buy my own copy…imagine!  The Bible written with language that expressed the emotion and passion behind the words, in a way that might make as much sense to me emotionally as reading a heartfelt letter from a friend or laughing at a joke someone tells!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I believe the Bible is the Living Word.  I can get a new revelation from a scripture I have read many, many times, each time I read it…and it doesn’t matter which version I am using…

But it is nice to know that the Message version is not just some “watered-down” version of the Bible as I have heard some suggest who have not actually looked into it or know its origins.  In fact, it is right on the money.  The real meaning with the real passion.

For fun, here is another description of why the Message was written:

http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/

I do compare the verses of different bibles often…and, there are times when I like the NIV best or another version over the Message…I just leave that up to what the Spirit is revealing to me at that moment!

However, here are a couple of my faves from the Message:

For instance, the NIV of Matthew 11:28-30 is classic, and I love it:

   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I ALSO love this MSG version, though:

28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Learning how to “take a real rest” and “the unforced rhythms of grace” certainly appeal to this driven, type-A personality, let me just tell you….
Or, how about John 10:10, since we already mentioned it above?:

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Now, I will tell you right now, my favorite version of that is still the Amplified…BUT, I do love the comparison of Real life and Eternal life…more and better than I have ever dreamed of??!?!  Wowza.  So, I basically cannot even begin to comprehend or imagine how amazing my life is intended to be according to my Lord’s standards…how cool is THAT?!  Both the life I am living here right now, and the future life in heaven…or both the natural life I am living practically, and my Spiritual life that is also happening right now in the heavenly realms…THAT is part of my inheritance in Christ…and all I need to do is believe and step into it!  So….

Joshua 24:15

But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Or the Msg version says, As for me and my family, we will worship God. =-)

(Stay tuned for future blogs in the series, “What’s on My Bookshelf?” for fun reads, inspirational reads, things you might wanna’ pass on (maybe?), and things that will teach and reach you!)

This week at Vessels of Clay Yoga, we have been considering  God as our comfort, our refuge, our Answer, our Help…

Dear Lord, help us to give up our fears and anxieties and give ourselves fully to you.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27

Psalm 20:6 “That clinches it–help’s coming, an answer’s on the way, everything’s going to work out.”

—————————————————————————————

Finally,  it’s time for our Fun Feet Give-a-way!!!

The winner of this week’s give-a-way will receive the adorable pair of crazy toe socks of their choosing (from the photo), which can even be used to do yoga! 

Comment below to enter; need an idea of what to say?  Maybe you’d like to share what your favorite version of the Bible is…and/or perhaps include a favorite verse?  Or would you like to share your reading style? (one book at a time, no distractions, or multiple books going off-and-on, or just magazines thank you much, or are-you-crazy-I-only-read-blogs, etc, etc…) And/or say where you would choose to wear your crazy toe socks if you win!!!

Good Luck!!!  I will draw a winner’s name from the bunch early next week!  May God bless and keep you this week as you cast your fears and anxieties up to Him and lay back in His everlasting arms….

Comments on: "What’s on my Bookshelf, Pt 1…& Fun Feet Give-a-way!" (9)

  1. i’m a reader too. but i always have to read one book at a time. if i have two going it stresses me out.

    and i LOVE those socks. i’d wear them to my awesome yoga class. : ) or maybe just around the house.

  2. Hee hee…I do understand the stress of more than one book…that is just something I have learned to let go of, knowing God will bring me back when it is time…I may only look at one of “the four” (or however many) for a week or two at a time…and then need to switch back…and sometimes, I just need to get away from all the “learning” ones and read a good fiction novel for a few days…whatever I choose, I love nighttime/reading time in bed!!!!

    Glad you like the socks! They have stickies on the bottom for good grip…whether on your mat or your kitchen floor…=-) I’ve got you entered!!!

  3. donna rastorfer said:

    Like you, Robyn, I usually have two or three books going at once. Unless of course it is something that really gets my attention. Then I will stay up all hours to finish it. I found myself doing this with the Mark of the Lion series from Francine Rivers (and all of her other books for that matter). As far as bibles go, I really like the New King James version. I have a Max Lucado study bible that is fantastic. My first bible, however, was the LIving Bible. Although it is absolutely falling apart, it will always be special to me. Thanks again for all you do.
    donna

    • I love the Francine Rivers books, too!!! I am pretty sure I stayed up too late while reading the Mark of the Lion series, as well…=-)
      Thanks for reading and thank you for your thanks, too!!
      (Gotcha entered…=-)…)

  4. Sometimes I’m a reader and sometimes I’m not. I have recently re-discovered the love of reading because I have a defiant dog. The longer it takes him to go outside…… the more I read. I grew up reading the King James version of the Bible, and in my teen years I started reading the NIV. That one has kinda stuck with me.

    • I love this story! And since I know said dog and what the scenario looks like, I now have a fun visual to replay whenever I choose…=-) Plus, I am super grateful to God for giving you a way of finding joy even in the mundane!!! (yay, and snicker snort.)
      You are entered, my girl!

  5. By the way, it is now Friday, only 4 days after I have seen the doctor, and my eardrum appears to be healing faster than he said!!! Glory to God! Supernatural healing and favor!!! It appears that for the most part the Honky Tonk Piano player has either moved out or has just switched instruments; I now just have some jingle bells and high hat cymbal going on…with the exception of a few specific pitches that I sing in the show…Hallelujah!!! To God be the Glory!

  6. Doug Hutchinson said:

    You
    are very energetic young lady lol. Good luck with your ear, im sure it has been a pain in more than one way. I to have found reading different versions of the same scripture to be enlightening. The same in some ways can be said about reading a book and then watching a movie made from the same story. Seeing more than one view point can open you up to a new understanding 🙂 As for more than one book at a time, my mind couldnt keep up lol. Have a great weekend kiddo!

    • Thanks for reading, Doug!!! The ear is getting better, slowly but surely…actually, NOT so slowly, in fact, much faster than the Doctor suggested; Praise God! Only a few jingle bell instruments left in there once in awhile, and still slightly deaf, but in general, soooo much better!!! Thank you so much for your perspective, as well! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

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