Then…

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 

(Philippians 4.6-7)

I woke up last night at 1:30 am.  Wide awake, my brain running at about 110 MPH.  It was screaming with thoughts.  I was taking mental inventories of how much food we had and how long that could last.  Then I moved to electricity and heat.  What if that goes down?!  Now my brain was bouncing like a ping pong ball.  This concern.  That person.  What about this?  What about that?  I tried to turn it off.  That didn’t work.  I pretended it wasn’t happening.  Believe it or not that didn’t work either.  I tossed.  I turned.  Then I remembered- “then”.  Look at Philippians 4.7.  It begins with the word “then”.  Then means there is an “if” somewhere.  Sure enough, there it is in verse 6.  If I trade my worry for prayer, telling God what I need AND thank Him for what He’s done; “then”.

I am fairly certain I’m not a well-practiced worrier.  But I was practicing last night.  Do you know why?  I was concerned about another word in Philippians 4.7-guard.  The word guard is a military word.  Picture the soldier outside of camp “standing guard”.  I was fretting over who was guarding me in the midst of this mess.  That’s exactly what Paul is addressing here, God’s peace will stand guard over your heart and mind!  Wow.  That’s what I want.  No, that’s what I need.  The beautiful thing here is that it exceeds all of my understanding.  I don’t have to have it all figured out to experience peace!  That’s so helpful to me because internally I like to have a pretty good idea of where all this is going before I let go and let God.  Paul is preaching to me, “it’s not dependent on your understanding Mark.  Hand it over to God.  Thank Him for all that He has done so far.  Then let the peace of Christ stand guard.”

Finally, what I love about this passage is that this is not written from a guy in an ivory tower.  It’s Paul in jail!  Not a fun place.  Prison would give me a lot of fodder to worry on.  Yet here is a guy who has discovered the spiritual secret to overcoming worry and panic.  It’s all right here in Philippians.  Stress tested and found reliable.  What a joy!

You may be holding up a little better than me.  I hope so.  Nevertheless, every soul craves a faithful guard that provides a sense of peace.  Paul provides answers to that end.  Be sure to practice them!  When worry hits turn it into your prayer list.  Don’t forget to say thank you.  “Thank you’s” remind you of how many ways God has answered your prayers in the past.  That will give you a shot of hope for the future.  Then, there’s that word again, let the peace of God stand guard over your heart and mind.  Peace be with you!

 

9 thoughts on “Then…

  1. Peace, joy, and hope to you in the Name above all names…the Name of Jesus.
    This reminds me of a little later in the same chapter when Paul says “I have learned to be content in all circumstances…”. The key words to start with are “have learned” which gives me hope. Paul learned this and I too can be learning this. I have meditated on the verse asking The Lord for insight. What I learned after keeping this concept along with the question of How can I be content in all circumstances. The answer for me from my times of asking the Lord is that I can be content when I can detach myself from my circumstances – when I don’t ride the roller coaster of an emotional attachment to my circumstances. I can then be content in all circumstances. I am not yet where Paul is but I can say “I am learning to be content in all circumstances.” Peace and contentment to you in the midst of trying circumstances. Blessings to you my brother, Dan

  2. Hey Mark, I love that you’re blogging. Have you thought about sending these out via Constant Contact to the congregation? Sonya mentioned she had a request from someone to hear more frequently from the pastors during this time. As long as you’re blogging maybe sending it out to the church contact list would be a good thing? Just an idea.

    Sent from my super cool mobile device.

    >

    1. That’s probably a good idea Scott. I will have to recruit Sonya’s help to do that…it took me awhile to even post on my own Facebook page! That proves that an old dog can learn new tricks…it just takes a rrrrrrrealllyyyy long time!

      1. I’ve posted it to the bcc community and Bridgewood FB pages. I’ll work with Sonya to have it sent out too.

  3. Good encouragement right from the word. I am always reminded of “thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusts in Thee”

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