2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 1


Over a year ago I mentioned that I wanted to do a weekly football pick ‘em type of thing here at The Manofesto. However, both the 2011 college & pro seasons got underway without me implementing the plan, so I decided to wait ‘til next year. Well…the time has come. The most glorious time of the year…football season…is upon us. It really is the only thing that makes summer slipping away more tolerable. My plan at the moment is to pick 7 games each week. Normally it will be a mix of NCAA & NFL games, but since the NFL doesn’t begin its season for another week our initial go round will consist of 7 college games. These games are picked at random by me based purely on what I view as interesting, competitive, and entertaining. I was a little leery of the first week of college football simply because it is traditionally chock full of powerhouse vs. cupcake matchups that are in no way interesting, competitive, or entertaining. Fortunately I was able to choose 7 games that do frost my cupcake and I will be interested to see how it all plays out.

One thing that readers can expect from your humble Potentate of Profundity is accountability. I am not like those twits on ESPN (Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Mark May, etc.) who act like a bunch of know-it-all experts and then conveniently forget to ever mention their picks again when they are proven to be completely wrong. I will keep track of my hits & misses. I will own up to it when I am wrong. This whole thing is just for fun, but I cannot deny that there is some sense of pride on the line as I match wits with the talking heads that get paid big bucks to make these kinds of prognostications. Originally I did not plan to utilize point spreads and just wanted to choose straight up winners, but as I pondered the possibilities I figured out that the point spread adds an element of complexity that makes the process that much more enjoyable. I am well aware that the point spread is also meant to be used for gambling, something that I am not going to promote. I’ve done it before and I am sure that I’ll do it again in the future, but I am also well aware that gambling is one more thing…like alcohol, drugs, food, & sex…that one can easily become addicted to and that has destroyed careers, families, and lives. Remember folks…everything in moderation with God in the driver’s seat, okay?? Now on with the picks!!



Tennessee  (-3) vs.  N.C. State

I’m a bit surprised that the folks in Vegas are favoring the Vols here. Maybe when I put them in my pre-season Top 25 it wasn’t such a shot in the dark after all?? At any rate, since it is a given that their SEC schedule will be tough that makes it imperative for Tennessee to win their non-conference games if they want to have any shot of fulfilling my prophecy and returning to prominence. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack is usually one of the ACC’s more solid yet unspectacular teams. They don’t get a lot of publicity but they always seem to get the job done and go bowling at season’s end. It is interesting to note that this is a neutral site game being played in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. I’m going with the talent & experienced leadership of UT QB Tyler Bray to pull this one out and cover the spread too.


Boise St.  at  Michigan St. (-7)

I had the Broncos just sneaking into my preseason Top 25’s last spot, but that is more a function of the media’s love affair with them combined with the relative ease of their schedule due to playing in the notably unnotable Mountain West. I don’t think former QB Kellen Moore will be easily replaced, which means there might be a bump or two in the road, especially early on. Meanwhile, over in Lansing, the Spartans are also faced with finding a new signal caller since former 3 year starter Kirk Cousins is now backing up Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins. That would seem to make this game a wash…and a very tough call. This is an opportunity for Boise St. to open lots of eyes and shut lots of mouths, because I know there are many naysayers like me who still aren’t quite convinced they belong at the big table with the adults. I am usually a sucker for the underdog, but I think that Spartan Stadium will be rockin’ and will give the guys in green the edge. Will they cover?? Good question. The vibes are telling me that this might be decided by a field goal, which means that I like Michigan St. to win, but I’ll take Boise St. & the points.


Northwestern (-1.5)  at  Syracuse

Will this game be fun to watch?? Probably not. I hate watching TV games broadcast from the Carrier Dome. I can’t explain it…it just doesn’t feel like a good football atmosphere. It has always seemed like kind of a boring place even when the Orange were a winning team. And since they have been horrible for most of the past decade and the outcome of most games seemed like a foregone conclusion it was even worse. When a lower tier Big 10 team is the opponent…well, that is an excellent recipe for either a lot of channel flipping or a fine afternoon nap. At any rate, I went out on a limb and put Syracuse in my pre-season Top 25 and said that they might win 8 or 9 games. Getting a win here would sure be a nice way to get off on the right foot, and I think they’ll do it. I’m going with the Orangemen to win this game outright.


Clemson (-3)  at Auburn

The last time we saw Clemson on a football field they were getting mauled in the Orange Bowl by my WVU Mountaineers 70-33. That kind of defeat will either haunt your dreams or piss you off…maybe both. I do really like junior QB Tahj Boyd and sophomore WR Sammy Watkins, but the question is can the defense stop anybody?? I put Auburn in my pre-season top 25 because it wasn’t that long ago that they were going undefeated & had a Heisman winning quarterback, and even when they “fell off” last year they still won 8 games. This boils down to 2nd tier ACC vs. 2nd tier SEC, and I think we all know where the smart money is in that battle. With this game being played at Jordan-Hare Stadium I have to give the edge to Auburn. I mean really…all they have to do is watch the Orange Bowl film.


Iowa (-9)  at  Northern Illinois

On paper a Big 10 vs. MAC matchup usually looks pretty lopsided, and most of the time it is. However, I really like this Northern Illinois team. Their games were rather fun to watch in 2011 and they have been a dominant force in their conference for several years. Iowa, on the other hand, is a hit & miss program. Maybe they’ll win 6 or 7 games and sneak into a forgettable bowl game, or maybe they’ll win 10 or 11 games and compete for the conference title and a spot in the Rose Bowl. They are never really bad, but they are rarely mentioned in the same conversation with elite Big 10 foes Michigan, Ohio St., Wisconsin, and Nebraska. It is interesting to me that this game is being played at Huskie Stadium, which just might be the tipping point. Those fans will know how important defeating a Big 10 opponent would be, and they’ll be ready. I am going to wuss out of picking an outright victory for the underdogs, but I’ll take Northern Illinois and the points.


Miami (-2) at  Boston College

Ahhh…a dreaded ACC matchup. The ACC is even more boring to watch than the Big East, the conference these two traitors ditched several years back. I don’t know about all the financial stuff, but on the surface that move has looked like a poor one for both teams, as they have both become lost in the shuffle and gotten far less love from the media than conference darlings Florida St., Georgia Tech, NC State, and Virginia Tech. I remember when Miami…or as I called them, Thug U…was one of the best teams in college football, with coaches like Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, & Dennis Erickson, and alums who went on to be big NFL stars like Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Michael Irvin, Jeremy Shockey, Reggie Wayne, Warren Sapp, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis. They were in the national championship picture for most of the 80’s & 90’s and into the new millennium, but it’s been almost a decade since the Hurricanes were really that good. The Eagles are another hit & miss team. Sometimes they are mediocre, sometimes they can be very good. However, in 2011 they finished 4-8, the worst record for a BC football team since 1998. I don’t have a dog in this particular fight, so I’ll go with the home team and pick Boston College to win.


Michigan  at  Alabama (-14)

Last but certainly not least, right?? This is the crown jewel of the first week of the college football season. We all know that the Crimson Tide has been…I’m sorry, I can’t avoid it…on a roll, winning 12 or more games 3 out of the past 4 years and capturing two national championships. During that same time span the Wolverines were suffering thru the Fraudriguez Era, going 15-22 and not at all resembling the traditional powerhouse that had been built by Bo Schembechler and had produced dozens of conference titles, multiple Rose Bowl & other bowl victories, and a plethora of NFL talent such as Tom Brady, Tom Harmon, “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, Anthony Carter, Dan Dierdorf, Braylon Edwards, Larry Foote, Brian Griese, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, and Amani Toomer. In 2011 the powers-that-be restored order in Ann Arbor by canning Fraudriguez & hiring Brady Hoke as the new head coach, and the Wolverines went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl. There is no doubt that this will be a tough task for Michigan, especially since the game is being played at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Obviously the oddsmakers aren’t giving the ol’ Maize & Blue much of a chance to win. However, I think a 14 point spread is ridiculous. I would be stunned if ‘Bama actually won by that much. I give the Wolverines more than a decent shot to pull out a victory, but I certainly believe that that they will cover the points even if they lose.





2012 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

As I write this I am suffering from a hacking cough reminiscent of the coal miners in that black lung commercial from a few years back. I’ll be just fine after a lovely steroid shot from my local neighborhood health care provider, but feeling this way just emphasizes the point that summer is nearly over and we are on the cusp of cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and the sweet scents of pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, & cloves filling the air. As much as I love summertime and hate to see it go, one thing that totally rocks about autumn is the return of football. It is time once again to look into the ol’ crystal ball and see what the college football season may have in store. Once again let me remind readers that I am far from an expert. I am not compensated for my expertise and have never claimed to be very good at this, so wager with caution if your choices are based on what you read here.




1          Oklahoma

Last season…10-3

Key games…10/13 vs. Texas, 10/27 vs. Notre Dame, 11/24 vs. Oklahoma St.

I just feel like the team who wins the super tough Big 12 has to be in the national championship conversation, and I think that team will be the Sooners. It is interesting to note that all three of the crucial games noted above will be played in Norman, which will be vital to the team’s title aspirations.


2          Michigan

Last season…11-2

Key games…9/1 vs. Alabama, 9/22 at Notre Dame, 11/24 at Ohio State

Michigan football is back on track following the debacle that was The Fraudriguez Era. One must give much respect to the powers-that-be in Ann Arbor, because this schedule is brutal, especially starting the season against defending national champion Alabama when most other teams will be playing cupcakes. QB Denard Robinson has to be considered a leading Heisman contender and is a threat to take it in for 6 everytime he touches the ball.


3          South Carolina

Last season…11-2

Key games…10/6 vs. Georgia, 10/13 at LSU

The Gamecocks season likely rests largely on how well junior RB Marcus Lattimore comes back from a torn knee ligament suffered last October. If he’s as good as he was before the injury bright things might be ahead in Columbia. The October 13th contest at LSU is huge, and I would not at all be surprised if we see an upset.


4          USC

Last season…10-2

Key games…11/3 vs. Oregon, 11/24 vs. Notre Dame

The Trojans are back in the championship mix after suffering thru 2 years of probation and a post-season ban. Most talking heads are handing them the #1 ranking to start the season, but I think that in the long term other teams from tougher conferences will pass them up. QB Matt Barkley decided to come back for his senior year rather than enter the NFL Draft, which will be an immense help. Barkley will be prominent in the Heisman discussion.


5          Wisconsin

Last season…11-3

Key games…9/29 at Nebraska, 11/17 vs. Ohio State

The Badgers are my kind of football team…smashmouth running, tough defense, concentrate on the fundamentals. Are they exciting to watch?? Probably not for most folks. But they get the job done and always seem to be in the midst of the battle for the Big 10 title. RB Montee Ball is back for his senior season and is the highest returning Heisman vote getter from last year (he finished 4th). Last season the Badgers were led by transfer QB Russell Wilson, and in 2012 they will start another transfer behind center, former Maryland signal caller Danny O’Brien. The formula certainly worked before and I see no reason why it can’t again.


6          Florida St.

Last season…9-4

Key games…9/22 vs. Clemson, 11/8 vs. Virginia Tech, 11/24 vs. Florida.

Coach Jimbo Fisher enters his 3rd season as head coach and is slowly but surely moving from underneath the considerable shadow of legendary former coach Bobby Bowden. QB EJ Manuel returns for his senior season, and though no one would likely put Manuel on the same level as fabled former Seminole signal callers like Charlie Ward, Danny Kanell, or Chris Weinke (2 of those 3 won the Heisman Trophy), one cannot underestimate the value of an experienced veteran field general. I’ve never had a ton of respect for the ACC, and I see no reason why this team shouldn’t blow thru their schedule with relative ease, especially with the two big games noted above being played in Tallahassee.


7          Alabama

Last season…12-1

Key games…9/1 vs. Michigan, 9/15 at Arkansas, 11/3 at LSU

It’s not that I don’t think the defending national champions won’t be good, it’s just that I think their schedule is so tough that it is going to be nearly impossible to maintain the heights that they have achieved the past few years, especially with RB Trent Richardson now plying his trade in the NFL. I’m predicting an upset loss to Michigan in the season opener, which will quickly all but end the dream of a repeat for the Tide. I still think this is a team that’ll secure 9 or 10 wins, which wouldn’t be bad considering their fierce schedule.


8          Nebraska

Last season…9-4

Key games…9/29 vs. Wisconsin, 10/27 vs. Michigan

The Cornhuskers acquitted themselves quite nicely in their inaugural Big 10 season, just as your humble Potentate of Profundity predicted. Now that all the hype is over and the novelty has worn off they can get down to business. This is another team, like the previously mentioned Wisconsin Badgers, that tends to stick with straight ahead, no frills, fundamentally sound football…and it works. I like that their two biggest games are both at home, and that should go a long way in helping to ensure another 9 win season.


9          Oregon

Last year…12-2

Key games…11/3 at USC

Don’t let the 384 flashy uniform combinations fool you…the Ducks are a formidable football foe for any opponent. Their season essentially boils down to one game versus the mighty Trojans in Los Angeles. Whoever wins that game likely wins the Pac-12 and will be in the hunt for a national championship.


10       BYU

Last year…10-3

Key games…9/20 at Boise St., 10/20 at Notre Dame, 10/27 at Georgia Tech

The Cougars enter their 2nd season as an independent, which I am not so sure is a good thing. Eventually they will have to get back into a conference in order to survive the ever changing college football landscape. However, for now it looks like they are having no problems putting together an interesting & competitive schedule, which should earn them respect if they are able to win some big games. It’s a tall order for sure, but I am betting that they’ll pull off an upset or two or three. It must be noted that I put this team in the same exact position in last year’s pre-season poll, but despite finishing with 10 wins they just missed being ranked the Top 25, settling for the top “others receiving votes” spot. That would seem to indicate that they might need to finish undefeated to receive any type of recognition.


11       Cincinnati

Last year…10-3

Key games…9/29 vs. Virginia Tech, 10/26 at Louisville

As I said last year, someone’s got to win the Big East, right?? The conference is depleted this season due to the departure of West Virginia to the Big 12, and next season it will go thru a major overhaul when Pitt & Syracuse flee to the ACC and Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, & SMU join. For 2012 though the race looks to be wide open, and I am picking the Bearcats in a coin flip to emerge at the top of the pack.


12         Tennessee

Last year…5-7

Key games…9/15 vs. Florida, 9/29 at Georgia, 10/20 vs. Alabama, 10/27 at South Carolina

My first real shot in the dark for 2012. When I think of the Volunteers I think of Rocky Top, Peyton Manning, and 102k fans rockin’ the checkered end zones at Neyland Stadium. However, the past few years have been a struggle in Knoxville, where the Vols have finished 7-6, 6-7, and 5-7. 2012 is head coach Derek Dooley’s 3rd season and his team will be lead on the field by junior QB Tyler Bray, who is already being touted as a top NFL prospect. I realize that this team plays in the SEC, the toughest conference in America. Logic would dictate that there are atleast 7 teams just in the conference better than Tennessee on paper. But I just don’t believe that a team with so much tradition and history will stay down forever. Dooley is the son of legendary former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, so there’s got to be something in the genes, right??


13       Arkansas

Last season…11-2

Key games…9/15 vs. Alabama, 11/10 at South Carolina, 11/23 vs. LSU

It has been a tumultuous offseason in Fayetteville, with the scandalous departure of former coach Bobby Petrino and the hiring of journeyman coach John L. Smith. Normally I wouldn’t have much faith in a team that has undergone such turmoil, but the return of senior QB Tyler Wilson as well as the re-emergence of junior stud RB Knile Davis should provide much needed stability.


14       Northern Illinois

Last season…11-3

Key games…9/1 vs. Iowa, 9/22 vs. Kansas

I really enjoyed watching MAC games last year, and the Huskies were the cream of the crop in that conference. A few years ago my alma mater Marshall left the MAC for C-USA, and I contend to this day that it was a shortsighted decision. Out of conference victories against teams from more respected leagues will be vital to this team’s success.


15       Maryland

Last season…2-10

Key games…9/22 at West Virginia, 11/10 at Clemson, 11/17 vs. Florida St.

Head coach Randy Edsall enters his 2nd year at the helm in College Park looking to rebound from a horrible 2011. My pick is based solely on my vibes, not on any concrete evidence that the Terrapins have improved in any significant way. Edsall is simply too good of a coach to have another putrid season.


16       Central Florida

Last season…5-7

Key games…9/8 at Ohio State, 9/29 vs. Missouri, 10/13 vs. Southern Miss.

Did you know that UCF is the largest university in the state of Florida and the 2nd largest in the United States?? Obviously that doesn’t automatically translate into football supremacy, but it should count for something. This will be the Knights last season in C-USA before joining the Big East in 2013, and I am predicting that they’ll go out with a bang. I do not believe that they’ll beat Ohio St., and would be surprised if they defeat Missouri, but those games can provide valuable seasoning before this team gets into the meat of their conference schedule.


17       LSU

Last season…13-1

Key games…10/13 vs. South Carolina, 11/3 at Alabama, 11/23 at Arkansas

A year ago I predicted that the Bayou Bengals would suffer losses “to out-of-conference foes West Virginia & Oregon and atleast two fellow SEC teams.” I was wrong. Way wrong. So now I find myself again in the position of predicting a finish for LSU far lower than what the “experts” are envisioning. The SEC is just too competitive for the same two teams…the Tigers and ‘Bama…to continue to dominate every year. Other teams will rise. They will be hellbent & determined to defeat the perceived top two and prove their worth. One cannot have a huge target on one’s back for long without eventually being taken down. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


18       East Carolina

Last season…5-7

Key games…9/8 at South Carolina, 9/15 at Southern Miss., 10/4 at UCF

I’ve had the opportunity to watch the Pirates play for many years against both the West Virginia Mountaineers and my Marshall Thundering Herd, and I’ve always liked what I see. It would be surprising to see two C-USA teams sneak into the Top 25, but it could happen. This will be head coach Ruffin McNeil’s third season in the captain’s seat, and it is very important that he get his team over the hump. I am betting he will.


19       Auburn

Last season…8-5

Key games…9/1 vs. Clemson, 9/22 vs. LSU, 10/6 vs. Arkansas, 11/10 vs. Georgia, 11/24 at Alabama

The Tigers went from being the undefeated national champions in 2010 to an 8 win season last year after losing Heisman Trophy winning QB Cam Newton to the NFL. That’s really not that bad of a drop off all things considered. 4 of the 5 key contests noted above will be played in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium, and I think it quite conceivable that the War Eagles could win 3 out of the 5. An 8 or 9 win season in the SEC should be enough to merit Top 25 consideration.


20       Louisville

Last season…7-6

Key games…10/26 vs. Cincinnati, 11/10 at Syracuse

I picked Cincinnati to win the Big East in a coin flip. The loser of that toss up?? The Cardinals. But that doesn’t mean I believe they’ll be bad, just that their conference title hopes will boil down to one game that I think they’ll lose. I like what head coach Charlie Strong has done at The ‘Ville the past couple of seasons, and think their trajectory is still heading upward. Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is only going to get better, which is bad news for the rest of the conference.


21       Notre Dame

Last season…8-5

Key games…9/15 at Michigan State, 9/22 vs. Michigan, 10/27 at Oklahoma, 11/24 at USC

Here’s the thing about the Irish…they can lose 3 or 4 games and still sneak into the Top 25 because the media just fawns all over them like they do our current President. So even though they have a murderous schedule and will almost certainly lose atleast 3 of the 4 matchups noted above it won’t matter as long as they take care of business against teams they should beat easily like Navy, Purdue, Pitt, and Wake Forest. The big question right now is at QB, where redshirt freshman Everett Golson has been named the starter due to the one game suspension of junior Tommy Rees. One has to wonder how short of a leash coach Brian Kelly will have on Golson as the season progresses. In 2011 Kelly vacillated between Rees and Dayne Crist, and that instability was likely atleast partially to blame for a couple of losses. If Kelly pulls Golson at halftime of game 2 or 3 it could once again torpedo the entire season.


22       Texas

Last season…8-5

Key games…9/29 at Oklahoma State, 10/13 vs. Oklahoma

The once mighty Longhorns bottomed out in 2010 with a 5-7 record. Last season they rebounded a bit, but still didn’t rise to the heights to which they are accustomed. Sure they beat the teams they were supposed to, but fell flat against ranked opponents. Will that change in 2012?? I think it just might. Coach Mack Brown must choose a quarterback…either sophomore David Ash or junior Case McCoy…and stick with him. At the moment it looks like Ash will begin the season as the top signal caller, but it seems likely that McCoy will also see action. I have never been a fan of utilizing a two QB system, so we’ll see how it all shakes out. All indications are that this is a loaded team at most other positions, but nothing will drag a team down faster than poor play at the game’s most important position.


23       Syracuse

Last season…5-7

Key games…9/8 vs. USC, 11/3 at Cincinnati, 11/10 vs. Louisville

Am I hedging my bets?? I suppose. I mentioned previously that the Big East looks to be a wide open race, but would be surprised if three teams make it into the Top 25. And while I believe that Cincinnati & Louisville will wage a head-to-head battle for the title I won’t be totally shocked if another club inserts itself into the mix. The once mighty Orange…alma mater of running backs Ernie Davis, Jim Brown, & Larry Csonka, quarterback Donovan McNabb, and wide receiver Art Monk…have fallen on hard times recently, posting only one winning record in the past decade, and have lost the respect of most fans & pundits. This will be their last season in the Big East before going to the ACC, and I think they’ll want to go out with their heads held high. Coach Doug Marrone is entering his 4th year, and he will have senior QB Ryan Nassib to lead the offense. No one is going to confuse Nassib with John Elway, but I put a lot of value in a veteran presence behind center. Don’t be surprised if the Orange win 8 or 9 games and sneak into the rankings. Remember…you heard it here first.


24       Oklahoma St.

Last season…12-1

Key games…9/29 vs. Texas, 11/10 vs. West Virginia, 11/24 at Oklahoma

The Cowboys came within a whisper of playing for the national championship in 2011 and probably should have received the opportunity. That being said, in 2012 they face the daunting task of replacing star QB Brandon Weeden and all-world WR Justin Blackmon…no easy task. The Big 12 may be the best football conference top to bottom outside the SEC, so wins won’t come easy, but I feel comfortable giving this team 8 or 9 victories which should be enough to sneak into the Top 25.


25     Boise St.

Last season…12-1

Key games…12/31 at Michigan State, 9/20 vs. BYU

The Broncos will join the Big East next year, and as maligned as that conference is it’ll still be a better situation than this team has been in for awhile. They have achieved double digit wins 5 years in a row but haven’t been in legitimate national title contention because of the weakness of their schedule. That won’t change much this season, and they’ll probably have to win atleast 11 games to be taken seriously. Complicating matters is the need to replace former quarterback Kellen Moore, a 4 year starter who led the team to 50 victories and threw for nearly 15k yards and over 140 touchdowns. However, while a weak schedule won’t get a team much love in regards to playing for a championship it should help with keeping them ranked.

My New Identity in Christ

I’m going to break a few of my own rules today. First of all, I usually do not repost the plethora of little pictures with cute sayings or quotes that everybody puts on Facebook these days. Sometimes I’ll look at them and chuckle or agree with the insight espoused, sometimes I’ll devote a few seconds to mocking & derision in my own mind, and sometimes I’ll just plain outright ignore it in search of an original thought…but rarely do I share with the masses. I suppose it is my nod to non-conformity. However, sometimes I do come across something rather good that I feel needs to be spread to others and therefore happily do my part. Secondly, I am a big proponent of not doing all the heavy lifting myself. If you want to know what a particular Bible verse actually says I feel that it is important that you actually pick up a Bible and read it versus me spoon-feeding you the information. However, in this case not only have I done the work for you I have actually expanded upon the original verses given so as to provide context. The emphasis in bold is strictly mine. And finally, I have avoided, as much as possible, the ol’ cut & paste routine here at The Manofesto. The things I write are generally my own thoughts & opinions, with minimal research done just so I don’t come across as a complete idiot who has no idea what I am talking about. But in this case I feel as if this is something worth sharing here. Enjoy & God bless.




Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.     Ephesians 1:3-14


God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.    Ephesians  2:4-10


We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit. For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;  giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.              Colossians  1:3-15


Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.   1 Peter  2:18-25


Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.     Romans  5:1-5


There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.     Romans  8:1


If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.          Romans  8:31-39


The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.   Titus  2:11-15


Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.    1 Corinthians  15:50-58


Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters”, says the Lord Almighty.      2 Corinthians  6:14-18


I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. Galatians  2:20-21


Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.    Galatians  3:13-14


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.   John  3:16-20


By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?   1 John  5:2-5


Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.       Revelation  1:5-6