The unmerited favour of God

“For I am the least [worthy] of the apostles, who am not fit or deserving to be called an apostle, because I once wronged and pursued and molested the church of God [oppressing it with cruelty and violence].

But by the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect).

In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God which was with me.

So, whether then it was I or they, this is what we preach and this is what you believed [what you adhered to, trusted in, and relied on].”

1 Corinthians 15:9-11 (Amplified Bible)

Trusting my Lord to provide

“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little.

I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.

Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.

Philippians 4:11-13, 19-20 (The Message)

All for His glory

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families.

Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”?

That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.

That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (The message)

Emerging stronger thru trials

“What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
    who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
    it will become a place of refreshing springs.
    The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

They will continue to grow stronger,
    and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.”

Psalm 84:5-7 (New Living Translation)

Praying for our government

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.

Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation.

This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.”

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (The Message)

Every drop of His grace matters

But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others?

Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it.

So whether you heard it from me or from those others, it’s all the same: We spoke God’s truth and you entrusted your lives.

1 Corinthians 15:10-11 (The Message)

Living the abundant life

“I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.”

John 10:9-11 (Amplified Bible)

Moving ahead to a better year in 2011

“Forget about what’s happened;
   don’t keep going over old history.

Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
   It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?

There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
   rivers in the badlands.

Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
   —the coyotes and the buzzards—

Because I provided water in the desert,
   rivers through the sun-baked earth,

Drinking water for the people I chose,
   the people I made especially for myself,
   a people custom-made to praise me.

Isaiah 43: 18-21 (The Message)

Looking beyond our circumstances

So we’re not giving up. How could we!

Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.

These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye.

The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)

Our Earth, our resposibility

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:

all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,

the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:3-9 (NIV)