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"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness of that Light."
The Christian religion can be traced, in its fundamentals, to this passage. God's son Jesus created the world and was destined to be its savior. God appointed John to prepare people for Jesus' incarnation as a man on Earth; he was to be a witness to Jesus' authority. When Jesus came, few listened and believed Him because they didn't recognize Him as God. Those who did believe Him, however, were granted eternal life and the right to be called sons of God and to participate in God's work on Earth (and beyond?). These people are called to give up their previous views of life and to submit themselves fully to God's glory, constantly proclaiming his goodness.
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Christianity teaches a system of reversion. God tells his people not to be anxious about anything in life, but instead to rely upon Him to keep the world turning. This verse urges people to first praise God for their existence and for all that He has done, then to humbly beg God to show them mercy. Essentially this is a verse about love and mercy. God owes humanity nothing because all of creation is subject to his divine mercy. By acknowledging his immense power first, people are left with prayers for mercy because they have no right to ask for anything else. This verse promises that God hears these prayers and does indeed extend mercy to people through his work on Earth as a result of Jesus' death and resurrection.
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
This verse is encouragement to the Christian who is being persecuted for obeying God. All things are supposed to be done in honor of God because He is the only judge of humanity. Despite the appearance that we answer to each other, God says that in fact his judgement is the only one that matters, so we should act according to what He considers good and right. For this, He rewards the faithful with eternal life because they are considered his faithful ones, his servants and allies.
"Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
Addressing Joshua, whom God chose to lead his chosen people Israel into the land He had promised to be theirs, God tells him to take heart. Joshua was asked to invade a land full of giants with an army of people not trained for warfare, but God told him not to attack the city of Jericho but to march around it for seven days instead and He would bring the walls down. Joshua was afraid. In this verse, God warns Joshua that he is on the winning team so long as he continues to obey God, despite the odds. By this point, God had brought the Israelites several notable victories against the inhabitants of the region so that they had built a reputation for being blessed by the one true God.
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
In one of his letters to the Corinthian church, Paul urges them to remember the importance of heart. He says that anyone can receive gifts and know how to use them well, but unless those gifts are given away they will never be worth anything to God. God gives people abilities so that they use them to help other people and to teach other people to do the same. To receive, one must give.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Christianity is a religion of delayed gratification. This verse is reminding readers that they cannot serve God if they do not believe, truly believe, in Him. God promises that He is good and just and omnipotent. If anyone believes these things, then he or she must devote their life to serving God by any means necessary regardless of the immediate consequences on Earth because they must believe that God will fulfill these promises after death. This "faith" is the conviction that God is real and his promises are and will always be true.
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
This psalm (song) of David is designed to praise God for his goodness. David writes that God provides for him and teaches him what is better for him, even when he himself cannot at first recognize it. God does this all and extends mercy because His desires for all to know that He is righteous and deserving of honor, glory, and praise. While in this life, man is constantly aware that he is mortal and will die. Even in the knowledge of mortality, David proclaims that he is not afraid because God's power is his comfort and refuge. God is preparing to raise David above his enemies because of David's faithfulness to Him. He blesses David immensely. And David takes comfort in the belief that God will welcome him into his divine family to rule beside Him for eternity, as He promised.
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