Thanking God for Those Who Help Us Understand the Gospel

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     I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:3-6

Heavenly Father, the phrase, “partnership in the gospel,” jumps out at me in this passage. Thank you for mentors and pastors, disciplers and friends who’ve made us their partners in the gospel—that is, those who have helped us come alive to riches of the gospel and the wonders of your love. Every time we remember them, we are moved to praise you. You began the work, and you will finish it; but you’ve been pleased to use various people in our lives as a major means of grace.

We came to Jesus from different background and stories—some from gospel-less religion or dead churches, others from cavalier paganism or full bore hedonism, still others from the bankruptcy of materialism or the unrighteousness of self-righteousness, and some from angry cynicism or all-religion skepticism.

Indeed, as this New Year is just underway, all of us praise you for the gospel of your grace, Father. Though each of us matters, only Jesus is the point. Thank you for rescuing us from dreams that didn’t include you, religion that didn’t require Jesus, and from anything that kept us allergic to grace. Thank you for the freedom we now enjoy to boast in Christ and in our weaknesses, and to pretend less and depend more.

And, Father, thank you for promising to complete the good work you began in us, and in our world. Nothing can separate us from your love, remove us from your family, or keep us from heaven. May we live the rest of our days as conduits of your mercy and grace, instruments of your peace and love, and heralds of your kingdom and kindness. As you’ve used many friends in our lives, so use us in the lives of others. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

 

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