S - Scripture
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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.
Paul was writing to the Philippian Christians. This was one of his earliest churches. They were very generous. They also appreciated Paul very much. Paul was writing this letter out of love to encourage them. People were likely hanging on every word that Paul was writing. Paul seems to be addressing general issues as opposed to specific issues in the second chapter of Philippians, with the exception of the dispute between Euodia and Syntyche who Paul urges to settle their dispute and move on. Forgiveness and reconciliation is a simple command of Christ and is applicable to anybody who is in a struggling relationship, which is many of us at least some of the time.
O - Observation
- Joy comes from God. It is a gift we accept and a way of life as opposed to a temporary set of favorable circumstances.
- Always be joyful. Not some of the time or when things are working out well, but always.
- Let others see God's goodness shine through you - similar to Christ telling us that we are the light of the world.
- Worrying is not helpful. This is consistent with the teachings of Christ.
- Prayer is an antidote to worry.
- Be thankful for all God has done - which is quite a bit if we stop and think about it.
- Prayer leads to peace, which as far as gifts from God or anybody else goes is about as good as it gets.
A - Application
Worry is the area I would like to focus on. I'm not a person who worries a lot, but I do worry.
- What will my boys be like in twenty years?
- What will the church be like in five years?
- What will my legs be like in ten years or ten days for that matter?
- Will I save enough money for my kids to go wherever they want to go to college?
- What will happen in North Korea or Iran with nuclear weapons?
- Why is my throat hurting today?
Two buffalo on the way to Amber's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. They were enjoying peace and embodying peace.
P - Prayer
Lord, when the stresses of life become too much help me to turn to You. Help me to turn to You before life's problems become too much. Guide me in all I do. Make me want to experience a deeper relationship with You. I confess in the past I have relied too much on me and not enough on You. Give me a peace that passes all human understanding and allow me to experience a life full of joy, faith, and peace. Amen.