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Proverbs 4 (The Message)

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1 Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you'll know how to live. 2 I'm giving you good counsel; don't let it go in one ear and out the other. 3 When I was a boy at my father's knee, the pride and joy of my mother, 4 He would sit me down and drill me: "Take this to heart. Do what I tell you - live! 5 Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don't forget one word! Don't deviate an inch! 6 Never walk away from Wisdom - she guards your life; love her - she keeps her eye on you. 7 Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding! 8 Throw your arms around her - believe me, you won't regret it; never let her go - she'll make your life glorious. 9 She'll garland your life with grace, she'll festoon your days with beauty." 10 Dear friend, take my advice; it will add years to your life. 11 I'm writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way, I'm drawing a map to Righteous Road. 12 I don't want you ending up in blind alleys, or wasting time making wrong turns. 13 Hold tight to good advice; don't relax your grip. Guard it well - your life is at stake! 14 Don't take Wicked Bypass; don't so much as set foot on that road. 15 Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth. Make a detour and be on your way. 16 Evil people are restless unless they're making trouble; They can't get a good night's sleep unless they've made life miserable for somebody. 17 Perversity is their food and drink, violence their drug of choice. 18 The ways of right-living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine. 19 But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker - travelers can't see a thing; they fall flat on their faces. Learn It by Heart 20 Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. 21 Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! 22 Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they're bursting with health. 23 Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. 24 Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. 25 Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. 26 Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. 27 Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.
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