Friday, December 9, 2011

Rejoice in Peace! - December 9th, 2011

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

History and Context:
The church in Phillipi was one of the first churches in Europe. This means these are some of the first believers in what we now know as the "Western World". Paul visited them around 49-50 AD and then at least two more times after that in 56 and 57 AD. One of the first Christians in Phillipi was the jailer who was assigned to guard Paul and Silas (and the other prisoners) when they were thrown in prison. God used an earthquake to set them free and to convince this jailer of His reality. (Acts 16:25-34) This letter was written in response to the church sending Epaphroditus to Paul to help him in his time of need.
The Text:
Some of Paul's most challenging and most life changing statements come in his closing instructions in his letters. Here are some of the closing statements in his letter to the Philippians. First he tells us to always rejoice, no matter what is happening in our lives, to make the choice to rejoice. Then he tells us to be gentle and lastly he tells us to not be anxious. He says simply give your requests to God and trust that He will answer you. Let His peace flood your heart and mind. The reason he calls this a peace that passes all understanding is because it comes when everything around us is in turmoil.

The Challenge:
The first thing we are told to do here is to rejoice, then to let our requests be made to God. I don't know where you are at in this holiday season. It is a season that is supposed to be filled with joy, but for many it is filled with stress or even sadness in remembrance of family who has passed. But wherever you are at it is time to rejoice! Rejoice always and again I say rejoice! Take time to send your prayers to God and allow His peace to come into your hearts today. Allow His joy to take you over.

The Prayer:
Lord, I choose to rejoice and I choose to accept your peace in my life. Fill me with your peace and joy and allow me to spread it to those around me this holiday season. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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