For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:8 Salvation is given to us through faith and is a gift from God (not by works) that must be freely accepted. We must remember that God intervened and revived mankind through Jesus' teachings. This was an act of grace alone.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. - Matthew 28:19 Jesus' final instructions to the disciples was to go into all nations and spread the word, teaching others outside of Israel how to obey the Christian principles set forth in the New Testament. This same directive applies to us today. How better to teach than by example, expressing Jesus' message of love, honesty, and compassion in our daily lives.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. - Philippians 4:6 There is a difference between concern and worry. To be concerned about something is fine, but to worry causes unnecessary stress on our bodies. To alleviated worry, we should approach God (prayer), present our need (petition) with an inherent attitude of thanksgiving (a joyful state of the heart), then put aside worry, and trust that in the end, things will work out according to God's will.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. - Romans 12:2 Christians are expected to follow the Christian edict, not conform to the social standards of the day. As biblical scholar J.B. Phillips stated, "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold." A difficult task perhaps, one that requires changing one's attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and ultimately actions. However, when we are careful to adhere to our Christian belief system (renew our mind), regardless of the pressures to conform, this "transformation" will take place as a matter of course.
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:6 We are to trust in God with all our heart and follow the lessons he provides in the Bible. For those that do, he will provide guidance and make their paths straight. This does not mean life will always be easy but rather, those who follow God's guidance will find the finish line much easier to reach.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. - Genesis 1:1 Could any book have a more powerful start? Whoever God is, whatever God is, and however he does it, this verse emphasizes his awesome power while the remainder of the Bible reminds us that WE are his focus!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. - Proverbs 3:5 It's not our place to understand God's will and to believe we can rationalize the elements of God's order is arrogant. What he deemed important for us to know exists within the pages of the Bible. Those who trust in this higher order show true wisdom.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 These words were written by Jeremiah to the homesick captives in Babylon and apply equally as well to present-day mankind. Just like the exiles in Babylon, whom Jeremiah told to settle down, work hard, and remain patient, God has a plan for us too. There may be times when we feel sad, hurt, maybe even lost, but we can always take comfort in knowing that our future will be bright. These confident expectations drive us forward allowing us to realize our full potential.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28 Paul did not claim that everything in life was great but rather, that all of God's works have purpose whether we see the benefit or not. God does not spare Christians from tragedy nor stop others from persecuting us but we can take comfort in knowing that every experience in our life will contribute to our own good.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13 In dire times, Paul did not beg others for help nor did he arrogantly proclaim he could do everything all by himself. Instead, he acknowledged that strength to overcome adversity comes through strength provided by our Christ and our Christian beliefs. In fact, Paul says that "in every and any situation", this is the secret to happiness.