Discover His heart: He is waiting to flood us with His peace when we pray
@ Philippians 4
After struggling through Israeli history in our daily reading for the past week, Philippians 4 is like an oasis – cool and refreshing! It’s just the encouragement and inspiration we need in this world of budget cuts, unemployment, politics, severe storms and flooding. Peace! I need some peace!
How do we get peace? “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (6-7). God’s peace is not only quiet calm in the absence of war or struggle. God’s peace is quiet calm in spite of war or struggle, and that’s why we don’t understand it.
Telling someone not to worry is almost like saying don’t breathe. A tough situation may be so real, so close that worry is virtually as involuntary as breathing. Although we can worry and breathe at the same time, it’s difficult to pray and worry at the same time, thus Paul’s advice: “Pray about everything!” With a thankful heart, tell Him, instead of the rest of the world, what you need. It isn’t as though He doesn’t already know exactly what we need; but in our telling, we are demonstrating to Him as well as to ourselves that we have surrendered control of our needs to Him. Then this unreasonable peace floods our being, and it stands like a soldier guarding our hearts and minds. (7) That’s how we get peace.
How do we keep it? “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (8) One time I had a little altercation with Super Glue. It was my first time using this powerful adhesive, and, hard to admit, I just didn’t read the directions. I thought I would go through the rest of my life with my thumb and forefinger permanently fixed. I pulled and pried, rinsed and cried, but finally, it was nail polish remover that unfixed my digits. Needless to say, I have a deep respect today for Super Glue. But I think of that moment when I read “fix your thoughts.”
No doubt our enemy or even well-meaning people will come with thoughts to distract us or try to pry us from thoughts that are true and fill us with those based on lies or vain imaginations. We should fix our thoughts on what is honorable and right, not unjust and cruel. Thoughts that are pure, lovely and to be admired, not unclean or demeaning. Thoughts that are of value and uplifting. Stay glued to these thoughts.
Then Paul encouraged, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me,” (9) With all this positive, righteous thinking and practicing, there will be little time for negative thoughts and worry. And this is the really great part, “Then the God of peace will be with you.”(9) And that’s how we keep it – His peace.
Moving Forward: Moving on today with this promise from Jesus, “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
Tomorrow @ Leviticus 10-12