“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things."
Sunday, August 19, 2012
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” This is the beginning of Philippians 4:4. We read it this morning in our worship services. These verses used to be my favorite and so I listened closely. And I saw that I haven’t rejoiced much lately.
This last little while, I’ve found it easier to count my “non-blessings” than my blessings – especially this last week. It marked what should have been a very joyful time for me and Shawn. We would have celebrated the first birthday of our first child – but God in His infinite wisdom ordained for that child to never live on this earth. Sometimes, I question God and His judgments. I wonder why He thought it best to take a child from us – a couple who can’t WAIT to have children. And since that time, there has been no sign of His answer – at least not in the way that I would have Him answer. Instead, His answer is: “Wait and rejoice”.
Philippians goes on to say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
So, there it is. When we are anxious or worried about something, we are supposed to take it to God through prayer AND thanksgiving, and give our concerns to Him. But He doesn’t promise to just give us what we want after we’ve done all of that – in my case, children. He promises to give us peace. The kind of peace that we don’t even understand. Have you ever experienced that kind of peace?
So, I’m seeking to find my source of rejoicing in that peace that surpasses all understanding. And I’m seeking to readjust my mind – and think of the things that are GOOD for me. Philippians 4:8 tells me exactly what to think about.
What is true? I’m a dirty, rotten sinner. 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance – Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”
What is noble? I am blessed to be married to a noble man. I think of Isaiah 32:8 which says, “But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.” Shawn is a good, strong Christian man who leads me to a closer walk with my Savior and stands between me and the “un-noble” things in this world.
What is right? Humility. Matthew 6:3 says, “…do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
What is pure? A clean heart. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”
What is lovely? A woman who fears the Lord. Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
What is admirable? Rahab’s faith. In Joshua 2:9, Rahab says, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us.” In the face of destruction, she turned to God.
What is excellent or praiseworthy? Hannah’s faith. In 1 Samuel 2:11, Hannah prays, “O Lord of hosts, if you will … give your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.”
In other words, stop looking at what you don’t have and start counting your blessings. It’s hard and sometimes I don’t want to do it. But that does me no good – dwelling on those thoughts. So, I’m going to strive to think of the things listed above that are so good for me. Will you join me in changing the thoughts of the heart?