Peace, Contentment, and Praise

Yesterday I read a passage of scripture that spoke to me. It turns out this same passage touched my heart a year ago around this time. It’s also something that Pastor Chris talked about at the recent men’s breakfast. It’s in Philippians chapter four, starting at verse 4.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV

The Apostle Paul tells us, not once but twice, to rejoice in the Lord. Delight in him, praise him, worship him for all that he is. Why? Because it changes us. When our focus is on God and not on ourselves or the things of this world, it puts in perspective how things are and how we should react towards them. Our gentleness, one of the fruits of the Spirit, should be known to all men. We should act in a way that others who don’t know Jesus will come to know him. You may be the closest thing to Jesus that someone will ever see and you must be mindful of how you carry yourself.

If your going through a trial or circumstance remember that God sees everything that’s happening and he wants you to run to him. Don’t spend time worrying about the problem. That won’t make it better. To this day, my mother reminds me to always pray when I’m having difficulty. Pastor Josh once said prayer is not a last resort, but a first line of defence. By telling God everything that’s going on, it’s such a release. It shows him that your open to letting him in and to work in the situation, not to mention to work in you. Sometimes, instead of calming the storm, God will calm you while you’re in the storm. He’ll provide that peace in your heart that goes beyond your comprehension. It will secure you and be like a garrison around your heart. In other words, you’ll have protection from anything that will try to get in your heart to take away the peace. This is what God did for me last year while in the midst of my storm. He calmed me and gave me peace and reminded me to allow him to lead me. I didn’t have to worry because I knew he knew what he was doing, even though I didn’t completely understand.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are  noble, whatever things are  just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are  lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there  is any virtue and if there  is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV

In my healing process, I needed to change my mindset. I once heard a preacher say that looking through a dirty window doesn’t give an accurate outlook on things. Once you clean it, you can see things as they really are. I had clean my window and start looking at myself the way God saw me. Through Jesus, I am covered by the blood he shed on the cross to atone for my sins. Because of the blood, I am made holy, righteous, and redeemed. That’s how God sees me and all those who believe in Jesus and make him their Lord and savior. I also had to look at the wonderful attributes of God as my father and the blessings he’s provided. Those are the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, and praiseworthy. These are the things to meditate on, not the things that are broken. Focusing on the what God is doing in your life also brings peace. He’s more than enough for our needs. Everything else is just excess.

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:10-13 NKJV

Paul is thankful for the help that he receives from others whether it’s alot or a little. He’s learned how to be thankful regardless of what he has. He’s able to do that because of what Jesus did in his heart. It reminds me of Pastor Chris’ message on this passage. He said we can’t just take Philippians 4:13 out of context. The preceding verses are important to understand Paul’s point. We can do all things through Christ when we’ve learned to be thankful and content with what we have. Even if there is lack we shouldn’t allow that to produce anxiety. Instead we are to pray and rejoice in the Lord, knowing that he’s taking care of us.

No matter what the situation is, give it to God, believing that he will keep you regardless of how long the storm lasts. He will help you to see who he is, who you are in his Son, and provide a reason to give him all the praise. He’s done it for me and he will do it you.

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