Enourage0gram February 8, 2017
Greetings in the Matchless Name of Jesus!
All of us want to have peace but how do we sustain a peaceful attitude?
Paul gives us some vital commands to obey so that we can experience peace. Let us not forget that Paul wrote these words while he was under arrest and imprisoned.
NIV Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Let us first note that the “bookends” of this paragraph (5,9) emphasize the Presence of God with us! When God is present we will experience peace. He is the God of Peace (9). God lives in constant peace because He is in control. All who submit to Him and live under his Sovereignty will taste His peace. This begins the moment we first surrender to Him and trust in Jesus as our Savior. (see Romans 5:1).
The first command in this list is to rejoice! Be glad in the LORD! We cannot always be glad in our circumstances or even our earthly relationships. However, we can always find many reasons to be glad in the Lord! Taking time to rejoice is too often neglected. We need numerous praise breaks every day!
Secondly, we are commanded to pray. This is the cure for worry according to Paul. We cannot keep from worrying, but we can confront our worry with prayer. These are specific prayer requests. We cast our cares on the LORD with thanksgiving! As a result, peace invades our hearts. This peace is beyond human comprehension but it is real! Peace begins to guard our thoughts and our emotions. We focus more on Jesus and less on our worries. This is miraculous work done by the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Thirdly, we are told to concentrate our thoughts on truth. The list of virtues in 4:8 is precious indeed. As you take a moment today, meditate on each one. These are excellent and praiseworthy! Our minds are too often distracted by so many thoughts and ideas. It takes real effort to fix our minds on worthy objects of attention! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to obey this simple command.
Finally, we are called to obey what we have learned. Paul calls his fellow believers to follow his example. He calls us all to study his teachings and lifestyle. The only real value in this study is to practice what we have been taught. So let us ask the Holy Spirit to direct our steps today!
Our peace was won by Jesus and it comes to us as a gift. However, our experience of this peace calls us to obey these four simple commands. REJOICE, PRAY, MEDITATE AND PRACTICE.
I hope these devotional thoughts help you today. Our entire staff and elders here at FCC are your servants for Jesus’ sake. We have been called by God to lead and serve you. If you have any questions, please call our church office.
We have a few exciting events on our February schedule:
Friday, February 17, at 6:30 we will host a live simulcast event to strengthen our marriages. It is led by Christian counselors Les and Leslie Parrot. It will be a fun night with many opportunities to grow in your faith. It is free. Child care is available at a small cost.
Sunday, February 19, is our annual Partnership Summit. This will be an exciting time to look back at what God has done in 2016 and to look forward to 2017. Please plan to attend. Packets of information for the summit are available at the connection center in the lobby.
Live this week in God’s peace!