Vol. 19 No. 38 | September 24, 2017
The headlines from the last few weeks have included hurricanes, earthquakes, racial protests and riots, major tensions with Korea, terrorist bombings, and then someone predicted the world was going to end. If that does not make your blood pressure rise, think about your own stuff: your boss puts you in charge of a huge project with a very short turnaround; your child gets sick at school and then gets sick again in your car on the way home; your dog has to go to the vet; a strange light appears on your car’s dashboard; you forgot to pay your electric bill; a crown comes off your tooth; and you realize the milk has gone bad just after you started drinking it.
This is the world I live in. How about you?
You rush to get things done only to discover you have more to do. You feel stressed, rushed, overcommitted, overworked, and overwhelmed. You cannot concentrate, you have trouble sleeping, you can’t find time to exercise, and you want to eat everything in sight.
I can relate. I get that way too sometimes. But usually, after I fume and stew for a while, frustrated that I cannot fix everything, I eventually realize that God is nudging me back toward Philippians 4. So, I read it again.
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. (Philippians 4:5−9, NIV)
Then, I read it again, asking God to show me what He wants me to see. And this is what He shows me.
Remember to be gentle to everyone. When you are under stress, you may get angry, irritated, and frustrated and forget the fact that I am near. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others. I am near you. (5)
Relax, takes a few deep breaths, give all your anxieties to me so that you can receive and enjoy the peace I have for you. (6-7) You cannot handle all of this alone. I can. Let me take it from you in exchange for my peace.
Get your head back where it needs to be. You have drifted away from healthy thinking. Think about the lovely things and lovely people. Think about truth, nobility, and purity. Focus on things and people who are worth admiring and strive toward excellence. Think about these things, focus on these things, and take time to meditate on them. (8)
Live the way you have learned. You have had been taught by good people, and you have learned well the things of God. Stay true to that. (8)
Enjoy my peace. I am with you. I am always with you. I am near you. My peace is your peace because you belong to me. (8)
Does it seem like the world is going crazy? Does it feel like the things you cherish most are slipping away from you? The fact that you are reading this is proof that it is not too late to make some changes. Try reading Philippians 4 a few times, and let the peace of God work into your heart.
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved