Paul does NOT say, "Finally beloved, whatever is tragic, whatever is scandalous, whatever is gruesome, whatever is criminal, whatever is threatening, whatever is despicable, whatever is lascivious, whatever is ugly, whatever is degrading, fill your thoughts with all these things."
Paul writes, "do not be anxious, but make your needs known... with thanksgiving." So does gratitude save us, grant us inner peace and stability, joy and sense of purpose because it is one human emotion in which we are clearly called out of ourselves, caught up with God and life. Gratitude does it. But how to get it.
The Apostle Paul says, "In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." This is not a bromide. Paul does not stop there. He offers as the antidote to anxiety, what? "In nothing be anxious... pray." The discipline of prayer, he insists, is the answer to worry, the way to clarity of mind and heart.
Paul offers a four-step equation to face adversity. A four-part harmony, just like a guitar chord, where each step Paul proposes is dependent upon the other three steps. You can't just do one; you need all four. 1. Do not worry about anything. 2. Pray about everything. 3. Be thankful. 4. We can have peace.
Paul acknowledges that we are creatures of conformity. He is saying, "You're going to copy. You're going to mimic someone's steps and mirror someone's movements. That's how we are as human beings. So if you're going to imitate somebody, go ahead and imitate me. Follow me as I follow Jesus."
Didn't most of us know all along that neither Wall Street nor WalMart could ever hold the secret to real contentment! So now it's the perfect time to look to Jesus Christ as our source of strength and we'll find our life secured in the blessing of peace and contentment that only Christ can bring. Now, as always, it's time to rejoice in the Lord!
You and I may never get to be world-class athletes, but we CAN be world-class Christians. Listen to advice that comes from the Sports Psychologists and then baptize it - put it to work in the name of Jesus. First, SET GOALS. Second, FOCUS. Third, use a little STRESS. Finally, visualize yourself WINNING.
What sets us apart from the busy people all around us is that we have a goal to our race. It is to receive a prize that will make whatever we suffer and lose so much refuse compared to the glory that is ours in Christ. We press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, to eternal life in his name. Amen.
Paul insists on the whole package. He not only wants to know Christ and the power of Christ's resurrection, but he wants to share in the crucifixion as well. The two aspects are as one to him. Neither can exist alone. Paul wants a cruciform life. Not simply life by itself, not simply a cruciform death, but a cruciform life.
Didn't most of us know all along that neither Wall Street nor WalMart could ever hold the secret to real contentment! So now it's the perfect time to look to Jesus Christ as our source of strength and we'll find our life secured in the blessing of peace and contentment that only Christ can bring.