As the Christmas season approaches, I am reminded again of Brody’s response to the lawn decorations popping up in our community. On our walk today Brody and I happened upon a couple of life-size inflatable white bears. They’re a close representation of the bears found in Coca-Cola television commercials. When Brody spotted them, he launched into a barking frenzy and ignored all attempts to calm him down. In his mind these ornaments were an intrusion into his world.
Over the past several years, I have been attempting to put together a book of self-examination inspired by the dogs I’ve called my own. I observed their responses to the events in their lives, which caused me to reflect on events in my own life. I’m learning a lot “when the dogs bark.”
Today’s experience with Brody and the white bears reminds me of how my mind reacts similarly to intrusions in my life. I do not like (or want) uninvited intrusions. I rush to judge strangers and wrestle with any changes to the status quo. Fortunately for me, I have the freedom to access a book that helps me put life back into perspective. For that, I’m most thankful.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
On my way to work this morning, I heard an interesting statistic; 92% of the things we worry about never materialize. The statistic came from a radio program by Dr. David Jeremiah who is currently doing a study on the book of Philippians.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6-7
According to Dr. Jeremiah, when we pray we must be prepared to wantthe answer we receive and not pray with the mindset that God will alwaysgive us what we want.
I find this image to be a picture of contentment, which is probably why I love it. It has great elements: friends, a favorite pet, a favorite hot beverage all in a relaxing setting. Wouldn’t it be great if life was served up to us like this on a daily basis?
I find it hard to be content when I’m always on the go, busy with this and that, or striving for material things that never seem to completely satisfy. Apostle Paul’s addresses the subject of contentment in his letter to the Philippians.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12
According to Pastor Matt Chandler, contentment is something we must learn. It does not come naturally. We can learn contentment from staying connected to the source of truth (scripture), by remembering God’s past provision, and by being grateful for things we already have.
Contentment isn’t a path to complacency, rather, it involves actively striving to be a f.r.o.g (someone who Fully Relies On God).
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 CSB
If you are like me, there are incidents in my life where worry rules the day. Philippians 4:6 says, “don’t worry about anything.” Count me among those who wonder, how is that possible?
For starters, I need to remind myself that God is sovereign, He reigns over everything. He never gets distracted. There is never an incident in my day when God is not present. Those who believe these things handle anxiety by praying. In my conversation with God, I pour out my heart (help me, please!). While I’m talking to Him, I also must remember to thank Him for all he has done, for listening to me presently, and for what he is about to do. God’s answer to my prayer might not be how I envisioned it, but I need to remember to thank him regardless of the outcome.
It is through prayer and thanksgiving that, “the peace of God, which passes all understanding can be found.” This peace (that I cannot explain) guards my heart (faith in God) and my (worrisome) mind.