“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.”
It’s hard sometimes. To not be anxious. To not be worried or stressed about events in life. General pressures, work situations, mistakes, unexpected occurrences, can all have us anxious. And who hasn’t felt anxious? Who hasn’t been worried, apprehensive, fearful, uneasy, perturbed, disquieted, troubled, agitated, tense, stressed, overwrought…. over something in life?
But here is Paul, telling us not to be anxious ever! He doesn’t ignore the fact that we may have cause to be worried. Instead he offers us a solution, by taking the situation to God, we can trade our anxiety for His peace. Our worry for His rest. God’s peace means tranquillity, calm, freedom from internal strife. You’re still in the storm but God’s peace prevails in your heart and mind. In essence, we can pray and not worry as we give our concerns to the Lord.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.’ (1 Peter 5:7)
Sacrifice. Praise. Two words that seem mutually exclusive. Two words that don’t belong together. Praise is like the woohoo of your day, an overflow of happy. It’s exuberant, joyful. Sacrifice – well that is something that comes at a cost. It’s pain, grief, hurt. Surely sacrifice and praise don’t belong together? Yet we find in Hebrews just that. Praise and Sacrifice interwoven together
“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” (Hebews 13:15)
The sacrifice of praise says that even during the difficult times I will choose to believe in the goodness of God. It says that during the hard seasons I will still exalt His name. As we turn our despair, our pain into praise of the One who sacrificed it all for us it becomes the most beautiful sacrifice.
Our praise is to be continual. It means our praise is a lifestyle that exists regardless of our feelings or our circumstances or how our day is shaping out. Our praise becomes a powerful declaration of magnifying God over our lives. It is not about being thankful for all things, but in all things being able to be thankful. It means that our praise of God is not shaken by our circumstances.
There are two keys to sustaining this level of praise. “For here we do not have a permanent city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” It is keep the perspective of Heaven while on earth. The second is that we are able to do this through Jesus.
“You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:28-29)
Why would I fear the future? For I am being pursued only by your goodness and unfailing love.
(Psalm 23:6 Passion Translation)
The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals;
He provides me with images of stillness,
Which restore my serenity.
He leasds me in the way of efficiency
through calmness of mind and His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day.
I will not fret
For His presence is here
His timelessness, His all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment, His all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of activity
by annointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours.
I shall walk in the pace of our Lord and dwell in His house forever.
(A paraphrase of Psalm 23 by Japanese Poet Toki Miyashin)
It’s tempting, habitual even, to worry about what is ahead. Sometimes about what is happening tomorrow, next week or even next year. We can worry about work, about events coming up, changes that are to happen. We can worry as to how we will cope – or will we cope? Will God give us strength and grace to cope with that meeting, that appointment, to carry that extra load, to go through uncharted territories? We can spend our day worrying, playing out what if scenarios in our minds. But this gives us no reprieve or solution. All that worry does is rob today of its joy and blessings. All it does is sap today of its strength.
God will give us grace for when that day comes – when it comes. In the meantime He gives us sufficient grace for TODAY. Joseph Prince once wrote “God doesn’t give us tomorrow’s bread today, and today’s bread is not meant for tomorrow.” Each day receives its own portion of grace. Just as God provided manna for the Israelites each day – enough for that day, so He provides us grace for each of our days.
Jesus taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread.” In other words, each day we pray for God’s provision for that day and each day we receive that grace. We can trust our future to God. And we can know that there will be grace waiting there for whatever we face.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Proverbs 25:2)
You have to love treasure hunts. Starting off with merely a clue and tracking down the treasure hidden away. Not that I’ve done many treasure hunts myself – the last probably being when I was a child, unless being lost in Rome and trying to find our hotel counts as one. Still love the thought of them though – the anticipation and then the excitement at finding the treasure.
Everyday God gives us opportunities for a treasure hunt of sorts. The opportunity to discover more of His character, more of His love and grace for us and more of His purposes for us. It all starts with a clue – a Scripture that grabs your attention, a name, a word that sends you to your concordance to find out more. Sometimes it is following up on the cross references against your daily reading and seeing where it leads.
For me today it was a place in the Bible that caused me to hunt out the meaning and a reminder from God that He is in control over my circumstances. A treasure much appreciated for the encouragement given.