You may remember the song with the lyrics “don’t worry, be happy” many years ago and everyone was singing it. Can those lyrics of long ago apply to us today with an economy that’s ever changing, droughts, floods, the job market, etc? How do you combine what we see and hear and apply scripture truths to them without seeming superficial?
Remember Paul is still confined in prison of sorts and while writing these scriptures. In Philippians 4 Paul offers some practical counsel and tells us to:
- “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say REJOICE! (vs. 4)
- “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition WITH THANKSGIVING; let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (vs. 6-7)
How can you rejoice when it looks like things seem so bad? How do we not worry!!
In the gospels Jesus only had a couple loaves of bread, a couple of fish and a miracle of all miracles happens!! The apparent insufficiency didn’t seem like enough to feed the l000’s… BUT GOD! Jesus lifted up what he had, gave thanks to God, broke it and handed it to the disciples. When the disciples themselves handed out what they had in their hands, the miracle takes place. There were so many baskets full of leftovers.. all from a couple of fish and loaves of bread! How can this happen?
The attitude with the miracle that happened with that lunch is exactly what, I believe, Paul is referring to in Philippians. We can REJOICE because we know God is in control and we can trust in His promises! When Paul tells us not to worry about anything.. he says IN EVERYTHING through PRAYER with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God. That’s exactly what Jesus did when He lifted up (what appeared to be insufficiency) to God, gave THANKS and God provided the miracle.
When we take what seems to be insufficient/our circumstances/troubles in our lives to God and invite Him into our insufficiency, even when we don’t see how, and GIVE HIM THANKS, He will provide the peace that will guard our hearts and minds that surpasses all understanding because of what Christ did for us so many years ago. FAITH!! This isn’t necessarily a 4-step method as much as it is a heart full of gratitude to God who is bigger than any situation! He can give us peace in the storms of any situation and work it out better than we could ever imagine
Miracles weren’t just for many years ago; they’re for us today who believe! What situation have you thanked Him for today and believe He will prove Himself faithful because you have trusted in Him more than any situation?
Cover of A Woman After God's Own Heart
“Warfare is a reality for the Christian life. We can do nothing to change that. We can, however, decide whether to be victims or victors!”(1)
To stand against the enemy in spiritual combat, we need to put our armor on and/or polish it up. Do you know what the pieces are and what to do with them in battle? Ephesians 6:14-20 tells us the pieces:
- Belt of truth
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Shoes for the gospel of peace
- Shield of faith
- Helmet of salvation
- Sword of the spirit – God’s Word
Verse 14 tells us to STAND… “with” truth, righteousness and the gospel of peace! How many times have you had to take a stand because it was the right thing to do? Or how many times have you had to let something/someone go because of your stand for truth, righteousness and the gospel of peace? The world around us at times tries to blur the lines. Take truth for example, some would say everything is relative! Or some have confused the boundaries between right and wrong.
So when you choose to take your stand “in every situation” (vs.16) use faith, salvation and God’s Word in prayer with all requests! Be alert, persevere and intercede for all the saints (vs.18) Pray for God’s truth, righteousness and His peace!! When you read and study God’s Word, you’ll start to understand what His will is and over time you’ll know His heart! You can one day be known as David was … “A man after God’s own heart!” Or if you’re a woman, then “A woman after God’s own heart!” I want to know the heart of my Father and hope you do to.
If you are facing a battle today, choose to be victorious! The Lord is right there with you!
(1) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing
Image by sentex64 via Flickr
Escorted by 200 soldiers with 70 Calvary and 200 spearman, Paul was on his way to Governor Felix of Caesarea. (Acts 23:23-35) What an escort and surrounded by the prayers of his fellow believers!!
“We have already had a number of occasions to consider God’s creativity in terms of His methods of delivery. He can shake the foundations of a prison, or He can employ the Roman Calvary to accompany a servant out of town. But note one constant that Paul addressed in 2 Corn. 1:10-11: “We have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again. And you can join in helping with prayer for us.” Never underestimate the effects of intercessory prayer lifted for our deliverance. Never underestimate the effects of your prayers for others.” (1)
Don’t you know his friends continued in their prayers for Paul! How about you? Haven’t you sometimes felt the prayers of others interceding in your behalf? I can think of times when I’m going about my day and just sense prayers have been extended for me and a peace just settles upon me. Ephesians 6:18 (NIV) tells us “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” We may not be living in the times of Paul and escorts of hundreds of soldiers for one man, but we should be praying for those whom God will bring to our hearts or minds. Sometimes you don’t necessarily have to know what to pray for, but God does and you’re simply talking with God for their behalf.
The good news that comes about from doing this is that sometimes we get the opportunity to hear later on how that person may have been going through something and we will remember that we lifted them up in prayer. This helps to build our faith in multiple ways:
- That God really does hear our prayers
- That the other person was blessed because God moved on their behalf
- That God “invites us to be part of His great work through prayer” (2)
- That our faith is strengthened!
- “When we pray for one another, we share the blessings when deliverance comes because we’ve been personally involved. Their thanksgiving becomes our thanksgiving.” (3)
And let us never forget the creative ways the Lord does save, take care of, provide for those whom he loves … 200 soldiers … 70 Calvary … 200 spearman! I’m living in the moment of reading this story right along with you and not jumping ahead so that I don’t miss the opportunities to see God’s goodness show up at different times in Paul’s life! We all have trials and difficulties in this life but seeing God show up during those moments carries us to the next level in our journey of faith with Him!
(1-3) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing
Image by !paddy via Flickr
Read Acts 17:15-23
“For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.” (vs. 23 NIV)
Do you worship a God who you know or one you don’t know?
“Paul had a fruitful ministry in Berea until troublemakers came from Thessalonica.”(1) The Berean believers sent Paul onto Athens and Timothy and Silas would join him later. Notice that this is the 2nd time Paul has escaped his troublemakers unharmed since the time he was severely beaten, thrown in jail and the chains eventually released. Since that time scripture tells us that he has been protected from his persecutors.
While waiting for his friends “he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols”. (vs. 16) “Yet here we have a tender opportunity to see the sincerity of Paul’s heart, for ‘he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with those who worshiped God, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there’ (vs. 17). He had no emotional or spiritual support and probably little physical support.” (2)
The philosophers “spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” (vs. 21) (What does that sound like to you in today’s terms? Are we a society of the latest greatest, the next this that or the other thing. I’m just saying.) Their itching ears wanted to know what “this babbler” was trying to say. But they were willing to listen! Paul stands up at the meeting and says he recognizes that they are religious and as he walked around their idols he noticed an altar to an “unknown god.”
“He reached across the gulf of culture and beliefs that separated his hearers from Christ, finding an object lesson from their culture that he used to share the gospel with them.’ ‘Beginning from that point, Paul shared the gospel with the philosophers. He said in effect, “let me tell you about this God you don’t know.” (3)
I’ll ask again… Do you worship a God whom you know or one you don’t know? If we pray and ask God for something or we worship God with song and praise, shouldn’t we know who this God is that we’re praying and worshiping to?
You Are God Alone – Phillips, Craig and Dean
(1-3) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing