Tag Archives: philippians 4:6

Words to Live By Series Outlines

Words to Live By: Meek 2-12-17

  • 1strecognize poor of spirit (spiritually bankrupt, true knowledge of ourselves)
  • 2ndcomes mourning (sacred grief)

[Matthew 5:5]

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle[the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.”

[Galatians 5:23] – fruit of the Spirit “prautes” (prah-oo-tace) – mildness, gentleness

What it is not…

It’s not weakness. It’s not about being nice or easy going.

It’s not about not getting easily upset.

MEEK – Strength under control

The elephant’s truck has more than 40,000 individual muscles. Strong enough to rip branches from trees, but gentle enough to pick up a single blade of grass.

Having the power to do something but refraining from it

Meekness begins & ends with God

  • “The person who bears and suffers evils with meekness and silence, is the sum of a Christian man.” – John Wesley
  • Don’t fight because you trust God will fight for you.
  • Patient Endurance

 

[Numbers 12:1-4]

Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. “anav” (aw-nawv) – poor, afflicted, humble, meek

 

[Psalm 37]

Meek are… People who wait for the Lord

  • Trust God[v. 5b] – this means bearing insults – LEAN ON / RELY ON

 

  • Commit their way to God[v. 5a] GOD’S WILL

 

  • Quiet before God & wait for Him[v. 7a] – quietly submit to God – BE STILL AND REST, PATIENTLY LEANING UPON HIM

 

  • Don’t fret over wicked[v. 7b] – keep silent or answer softly/gently

 

  • Produces peace[v. 11] “anav” (aw-nawv) – poor, afflicted, humble, meek – SHALL DELIGHT THEMSELVES IN AN ABUNDANCE OF PEACE

 

 

[Ephesians 4:2] Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. “prautes” (prah-oo-tace) – mildness, gentleness

Forgiving disposition – no resentment, don’t return evil

Slow to anger – Not easily provoked

IF THIS IS NOT YOU – YOU ARE NOT SHINING LIGHT LIKE YOU COULD

 

[2 Timothy 2:25] Opponents must be gentlyinstructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, “prautes” (prah-oo-tace) – mildness, gentleness

 

[1 Peter 3:15] But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. “prautes” (prah-oo-tace) – mildness, gentleness

 

 

BENEFITS

  • Will be guided by God[Psalm 25:9] He leads the humblein doing right, teaching them his way. “anav” (aw-nawv) – poor, afflicted, humble, meek – leads & teaches

 

  • Will be satisfied[Psalm 22:26] The afflictedwill eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! “anav” (aw-nawv) – poor, afflicted, humble, meek – Those who [diligently] seek Him and require Him [as their greatest need] will praise the Lord.[AMP] – TRUE SATISFACTION

 

  • Will be filled with joy[Isaiah 29:19] The meekshall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. “anav” (aw-nawv) – poor, afflicted, humble, meek – The afflicted also will increase their joy in the Lord[AMP] – THIS IS A JOY NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY

 

 

Promise to inherit the earth gives us the strength to endure.

It’s a promise that God has already sealed for you and I through a Messianic King

 

  • [Zechariah 9:9] Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowlyand riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. “ani” (aw-nee) – poor, afflicted,humble

 

  • [Matthew 21:5] “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentleand riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” “praus” – meek

 

  • [Matthew 11:29] Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentleand humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “praus” – meek

 

 

Meek = JESUS

 

[Philippians 2:6-8]Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 

[John 10:18] No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

 

[Isaiah 53:7] He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

 

  • WHO AM I that He would give up His divine privileges?
  • WHO AM I that He would be led as a lamb to the slaughter?
  • WHO AM I that He would be spit on, beaten, & hung on a tree… to die a criminal’s death on a cross?

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Words to Live By – Pure in Heart

[Matthew 5:8]

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

What does it mean to be pure in heart?

What does it mean to see God?

  • What does it mean to be pure in heart?

Pure – Katharos (Kath-ar-os)– clean, pure, unstained – either literally or ceremonially or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright, unmixed without undesirable elements, being purified by God – being free from contaminating influences of sin

Heart – Kardia (Kar-dee’-ah)– Spiritual center of life (thoughts, desire, sense of purpose, will, understanding, character), inner self, mind, intention

The heart is what you are

Life with Jesus is not about behavior modification or breaking bad habits… it’s about purifying a dirty heart, having a change of heart

Undivided clean (pure) heart – [Matthew 22:37] Love God with all heart

But many of us have a split heart, a divided heart – willing 2 things instead of 1.

Single-minded devotion to God

God’s truth & God’s value in everything we do, align with Him, magnify / glorify Him, pursue God with single-mindedness

All about JESUS

[Jeremiah 17:9] Heart is deceitful

[Matthew 15:8-9] Honor with lips, but your heart is far from Me – worship Me in vain

[Matthew 23:25-26] – 1stclean inside of the cup (inside you are full of greed & self-indulgence), clean the inside and then the outside will become clean too. – JESUS IS CONCERNED WITH OUR HEART

[1 Samuel 16:7] Man looks outward, the Lord looks at the heart

[Proverbs 11:20] The LORD detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity. (crooked / perverse)

[Jeremiah 31:33] This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

[Jeremiah 32:39] And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.

[Titus 3:5] He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.

[Psalm 119:9, 11] Keep pure with living according to the Word, keep Word in heart. {{LIVING BY THE WORD}}

[2 Chronicles 16:9] The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.

[Proverbs 3:5] Trust in the LORD will ALL your heart, do not lean on your own understanding

[James 1:6-8] But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

[James 1:23-24] For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.

[James 4:4, 4:8] Clean hands, purify heart, don’t be double-minded(heart divided between God & world)

  • What does it mean to see God?

To see God – to see face – to be in presence – to be admitted in presence

Expression of great favor

Dwell with Him in His kingdom

 

[Revelation 22:3-4] Seeing God – servants will worship Him, they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads

 

Seeing God – perception, understanding, discernment

 

  • Admitted into the His presence
  • Stand in awe of glory– awestruck by the glory – direct experience of His holiness
    • [Revelation 21:23] His glory will be very light in which we move – the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.
  • Confronted by His grace[Psalm 27:7-9] – Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”DO NOT HIDE YOUR FACE FROM ME. Do not turn your servant away in anger. You have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Believe Jesus saved you[James 1:6-8]

Confess your sins[1 John 1:9] But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Eagerly Expect[1 John 3:3] – And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

  • Ask God for a clean heart ([Psalm 51:10] Create in me a pure (clean) heart, renew a steadfast (loyal) spirit within me.
  • Trust [Acts 15:9] Heart purified by faith, cleansed by Spirit

 

[Psalm 24:3-4] Clean hands, pure heart – Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place?Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.

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Words To Live By: PERSECUTED – pMatthew 5:10-12

First 3 Beatitudes lead us to a hunger for righteousness (right with God).

#1 – Poor in Spirit– Realize we are poor in spirit (Spiritually bankrupt, Nothing without Jesus)

#2 – Those Who Mourn– Mourn / grieve over our sin – Realize “I am a sinner” (Dead in Sin, Need Savior)

#3 – Meek– Strength under control, God’s will over my will – Realize God’s plan is better and say, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”  (Living for Jesus)

These three beatitudes remind us that we are empty & have a need

This need results in a hunger…. A hunger for…

#4 – RIGHTEOUSNESS– we desire to be right with God, to fill that void, to connect to the One who created us, Who designed us to be in fellowship with Him.

Because of this hunger for righteousness, we are satisfied by the next 3 Beatitudes.

#5 – Merciful – Receive mercy of God, overflowing mercy poured out to others (we received what we don’t deserve, pour out the same to others)

#6 – Pure Heart– Single-minded devotion to God, desiring only Him & His will (it’s all about Jesus)

#7 – Peacemaker – Peace with God, peace with others, sharing message of Prince of Peace with all. (spreading the peace of God)

Living this out… having these the words you live by, provide the fullness. You’re no longer empty. The result of this though is persecution.

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” – 2 Timothy 3:12 [ESV]

Diókó (dee-o’-ko) – to pursue, aggressively chase, like a hunter pursing a catch (prize), to be hunted down, to harass

[Matthew 5:10-12]

“Those who are persecuted for righteousnessare blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. You are blessed when they insult and persecute youand falsely say every kind of evil against youbecause of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [HCSB]

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you downor throw you outor speak liesabout you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, Ido! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” [MSG]

 

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’”– 1 Peter 3:12-14 [NIV]

 

“Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.” – 1 Peter 4:13 [HCSB]

 

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”– Romans 8:18 [NLT]

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Words to Live By – The Lord’s Prayer – 4-2-17

[Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4]

 

[Philippians 4:6] Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

 

This isn’t an actual prayer that Jesus prayed. Note He says “pray like this.”

For an example of how Jesus prays, see John 17.

*connection with God*

Our Father in Heaven

[James 1:17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Jesus prays to Abba Father. Only prays to “God” instead of “Father” while on the Cross when darkness came and God couldn’t face the sin that was upon His Son. When He turned away, Jesus said, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”

OUR FATHER – In relation to Him

 

Kezazah means “the cutting off.” Think of shunning. It appears in the Talmud as a ceremony for those Jews who lose their inheritance to a Gentile. They are shunned, cut off from the community when they return. When the person would return home, they break a pot in front of them.

The father ran toward his son, didn’t care how he would appear though it was something men didn’t do (considered undignified). It appeared bad. He ran before this ceremony could happen—to accept him, forgive him, welcome him home. THIS SAME FATHER OPENS HIS ARMS TO YOU!

The reason for the celebration when the son arrives home is because of the sacrifice of the Father. He sacrificed his social dignity by running. He broke the patriarchal code. He graciously restored his son.

Is He your Father?

[John 1:12] But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

[Galatians 3:26] So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

 

IN HEAVEN – In reverence of God

Recognize He is separate from all and He is exalted above.

He is higher than all. Sovereign.

He has the power to answer prayer.

 

Hallowed be your name

[Psalm 46:10] Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.

Declare God is holy.

Keep His name holy.

Realize who we are praying to.

 

See God for Who He is – He is holy

Honor Him, Treasure Him

 

 

*surrender to God*

 

Your kingdom come

 

[Matthew 6:33] But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

Do you acknowledge His sovereignty?

 

Are you ready for His kingdom?

 

The Kingdom is present but also future.

 

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

 

[Romans 6:13] Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

 

Do you really want His will?

 

Are you accepting God’s authority?

 

God is a good Father and He wants to give you good things—the best things.

*dependence on God*

 

Give us today our daily bread

 

Do you recognize Him as the One Who provides?

 

[Deuteronomy 8:3] He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Provides the food we eat daily – physical and spiritual

[Luke 22:19] And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Provides the Sacrificial Lamb that pays for our sin – our daily sin

Do you trust that He gives you what you need for the day?

 

[Philippians 4:19] And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

The provision of God supplies all we need – to bring glory to God

[2 Corinthians 9:10-11] For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

He gives enough for everything needed, everything we are called to do—this means He provides enough for us to be generous!

 

 

*cleansing from God*

 

Forgive us our sins and we forgive those who sin against us

 

[1 Peter 2:24] And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

 

Must admit we sin to be forgiven of sin

Must forgive those as He forgives us

[Matthew 6:14-15] For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

[Ephesians 4:32] Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

[Lamentations 3:40-41] Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.

 

[Hebrews 12:1-2] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

*deliverance from God*

 

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

 

God does not tempt us—He gives us the power to overcome any temptation

 

[Hebrews 4:15-16] For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

[1 Corinthians 10:13] No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

 

*fulfillment from God*

 

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.

Doxology (“glory” & “saying”) – an expression of praise, usually at end of psalm or hymn

This wasn’t something that was in original text. It was in later manuscripts.

 

God’s kingdom, power and glory are HIS.

[Romans 11:36] For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

Be Anxious

The Bible tells us not to be anxious (Matthew 6:25, Luke 12:25, Philippians 4:6), but there is a moment when the Bible tells us to be anxious. In 1 Peter 4, we are told to be anxious—to “be anxious to do the will of God.”

Peter warns us not to be spending our lives chasing our own desires. Remember that the desires of the flesh are contrary to the Spirit. We read, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh for the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:16-17 NIV). Instead of “chasing your own desires,” you are to “clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14 NIV).

Do you anxiously pursue the will of God? Do you chase after the will of God? Or do you usually find yourself chasing after your own desires? Today, seek the will of God. Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ.

“You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” – 1 Peter 4:2 [NLT]

It is Okay

My dog Max often has intense dreams that get his paws moving. Early this morning, I woke up when I heard him whimpering. I did what I always do; I said, “It’s okay Max. It’s okay.” That is usually enough to calm him down. My voice. It is a voice he knows well – the voice of his master. It is a phrase I say to him a lot on our walks as I try to encourage him during his anxious, stressful moments.

This week, I am preparing a message about what Jesus said about anxiety and fear. After I told Max it would be “okay,” and he quickly calmed down, I considered how our Lord tells us in His Word that it will be “okay.” Sadly, we do not often take the time to listen to His voice or read His Word. Instead of resting in Him, instead of enjoying the peace only He offers, we allow ourselves to worry our days away.

I have seen anxiety rob friends and family of peace. I have seen the struggles of loved ones cause health problems, hospital visits, depression, and more. Worry, anxiety, fear—we all feel these things. Thankfully, we have a Father Who calls out to us. We have a Father Who still speaks to us. We have a Father Who embraces us, Who cares for us, Who knows our needs better than even we know them. He tells us to cast everything on Him. He promises He hears. He ensures His great purpose. Whatever you may be struggling with today, listen for His still small voice. Listen as He speaks to you. It’s going to be okay, my friends. Maybe it doesn’t look like it right now—but it will be okay.

“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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 [NASB]

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7 [NLT]

 

 

 

 

More Than A Story: Persistence

More Than A Story: Persistence

[Friend at Midnight: Luke 11:5-13 / Persistent Widow: Luke 18:1-8]

“Prayer is not an exercise. It is the life of the saint.” – Oswald Chambers

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17“Rejoice always; pray continually.” [NIV]

Pray without ceasing, pray constantly, never stop praying, continually be prayerful

     UnceasinglyAdialeiptós (ad-ee-al-ipe’-toce) – unceasingly, without remission, without intermission

Philippians 4:6“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” [NLT]

     Everythingpas (pas) – all, the whole, every kind of, each / every part that applies

Luke 11:8“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” [NASB]

     ShamelessnessAnaideia (an-ah’-ee-die-ah’) – shameless persistence, no shame, unembarrassed boldness, without embarrassment, shameless audacity, impudence, importunity, sheer persistence, refusal to take a denial – used only in Luke 11:8

   “stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors” [MSG]

Luke 18:5Yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.” [HCSB]

Constant requests, continually coming, keep coming, constantly coming, unending pleas

     Beaten black-and-blue by her pounding [MSG]

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”
– Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)

BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS

More Than A Story: Persistence

[Friend at Midnight: Luke 11:5-13 / Persistent Widow: Luke 18:1-8]

1) In the parable of the Friend at Midnight, the friend in need knocked and his friend answered, “Do not bother me…”

                What were his excuses?

                How is this different from how God responds to us?

                Has there ever been a time when you felt like you were bothering God? Why?

2) In Luke 11:9, the Bible says—ASK and it will be given, SEEK and you will find, KNOCK and it will be opened.

                What does this mean to you? What does this say about prayer?

                 How can we apply this to our lives?

3) Luke 18:7-8 says, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

               What does this mean?

               How does it involve you? What can you do to take steps in the right direction? What does this look like?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Practice These Things

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:8; Paul tells us in this verse where we are to focus or to dwell. The Greek word for dwell is “logizomai” which means to count, to decide, to think, to reason, to take into account. In today’s passage, Paul tells us what to practice, and he also reveals the results if practiced – “the God of peace will be with you.” Yes, God will be with you. But this verse says the “God of peace,” reminding us all that our God is a God of peace. He is the only way we can truly have peace, and He offers a peace beyond comprehension.

So what do we practice? Let us read this passage again. The first part of the passage says to REJOICE IN THE LORD. That’s the first thing to practice. Rejoicing. Rejoicing in the Lord. Some translations say “always be full of joy in the Lord” (NLT). The Message says, “Celebrate God all day, every day.” One way I practice this daily is through worship. Our life is to be a continual worship of our Lord and Savior. In everything we do—worship God. Praise Him. Celebrate Him!

The next part of the passage says to be anxious for nothing. Instead we are to PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Prayer and Bible reading are the top ways our God communicates with us. We are to pray about everything, not just some things. Yes, that means we cannot pray about something too small. We should place everything in His hands. Just like our life should be continuous worship, our life should also be about continuous prayer. From when we wake up in the morning till our eyes close for the night, we can be in continuous communication with God. Brother Lawrence spoke to God while doing the dishes. I speak to Him as I sit at my desk at work. Prayer should not only be done once a day by your bed or in a church pew. Every day. Continuous. A life of prayer. Sometimes your mouth may not move, but your heart speaks—Oh the joy of recognizing you are in God’s presence every second of every day.

The verse continues, “with THANKSGIVING.” Did you know that it is impossible to thank God enough? As we thank God each day and live our lives with an attitude of gratitude, we humbly walk with Christ. We appreciate with what God has blessed us. We even love people more.

So what’s left? What we have learned and received and heard and seen—God’s Truth—what is true and honorable and right and lovely, we are to embrace. Yes, EMBRACE GOD’S TRUTH! As you practice these things, as you live a life of worship and thanks and prayer, as you embrace God’s Truth, you truly do have God with you—and He is the God of peace. It is a peace beyond understanding. And it’s yours when you do life with God. It is not an instantaneous thing, but it is something you live when you walk in Christ and practice these things!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” -Philippians 4:4-9 [NASB]

 

Worry Weight

I have had a lot of problems with insomnia over the years. There have been nights when I was so excited or in so much pain that I could not get to sleep. But there also were moments when I was so worried and anxious about something that it kept me from closing my eyes. I was worried. I was concerned. Yet there was nothing I could do to change the situation.

“Worry weighs a person down” even to the point of causing a person to lose sleep, have a poor appetite and lack of energy, and cause great problems to one’s health. The thing to remember is that worry does not help anything. Nothing can be changed by worry. Nothing can be fixed by worry. Worry only adds more weight. Worry only bogs you down.

Philippians 4:6 tells us to not be anxious about anything. Instead we are to give it to God. If you are worrying about something right now, give it to God. If you know someone who is going through a tough time, join them in prayer. As this proverb states, offer an encouraging word. Let them know you are praying for them. Remind them of God’s faithfulness. There’s too much in the world that can weigh us down. Let us focus on Him who can raise us up!

“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” – Proverbs 12:25 [NLT]

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Rooftop Bird

“I lie awake, I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop.” Psalm 102:7 [NASB]

Looking further:

God understands what YOU are going through in life (Hebrews 4:15).

Anger is okay. We all have emotions. We choose our response. (Ephesians 4:26)

If you ask God to be near you, He WILL be near you (James 4:8).

If you continue to share your life, your entire life with Him, you will have a peace that surpasses comprehension (Philippians 4:6-7).

We are to comfort each other (2 Corinthians 1:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13)

You are never alone. Not ever. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 16:20).

Who Are You Seeking?

Over the holidays many people have purchased smart phones. When I first began using my smart phone, I wondered how smart I had to be to use the phone. It turned out that I wasn’t having problems understanding how to use the Internet on my phone, but rather, the customer service representative put the wrong plan code on my account which was causing problems with my service. When that was fixed, the road has since been smooth.

I never really wanted a smart phone. I thought the idea of touching a screen was insane. I always tell my kids to not touch the computer monitor or the television because it causes smudges and here I was with a phone that was about to get smudged up every time I touched it, despite how many times I washed my hands. The oil from our hands always seems to leave its mark.

The other day I placed my phone on the charger and when I returned I noticed a very interesting smudge. I saw the cross. I thought it was interesting how clear it was on the phone. Now please don’t start to think I am going to continue on to tell you about Jesus’ image on toast. I know it was the oil from my hand that made the cross, and I know it was my phone usage that caused it.

The fact is that I make the shape of a cross all the time on my phone. Most do not do that. I watched numerous people, and they do a tap system with smaller swipes. Nonetheless, it matters not how I was doing it differently, but that there was this continuous checking. A vertical swipe to see if there were any notifications. A horizontal swipe to maneuver through the screens. Back and forth.

At the end of all that seeking, I had the cross. This coincides with my point, which is that it is the cross that gave us the opportunity to seek God, and yet I wasn’t making the cross on my phone to seek God. I was looking for other things. I wasn’t taking things to God. I was sending text messages and chatting on Facebook.

After a moment, I thought of how we too often do not take things to God. We are always seeking our own solutions. We have our vertical swipe to see if possibly we can fix it on our own. We have our horizontal swipe to see if a friend can give us the answer. We have problems with looking to God. Even when we know that He is bigger than any problem, we don’t take it to Him. Sometimes when we do take it to Him, we have our own agenda and when we start to hear His, we switch screens with another swipe.

When Christ was on the cross, He thought of you and He thought of me. He made sure that His number was entered into our SIM card. We were not forced to place a call or send a message, but the door was there to open at any time. The door is still there. When we stop swiping and start looking, we can see it. When we turn off the ringer to our phone and allow the Spirit to guide us, there will surely be no desire to swipe away. Our burden will be lifted. No matter how big a problem, we know we have victory with Christ!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God” [Philippians 4:6 NASB]

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV].