Saturday, February 24, 2018

February 25, 2018

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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. 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." Philippians 4:4-8

Max Lucado wrote a very helpful book on the topic of dealing with anxiety and it is based on this great portion of Scripture. The book is entitled "Anxious for Nothing" I highly recommend it! It is the source of our sermons, blogs and study groups for the next five weeks.

To recap this week we have traced the roots of anxiety and found there was actually a time when anxiety. It was in the garden of Eden when God was Sovereign and Adam and Eve were happy under His control. But when they decided to try and take control they were introduced to worry, stress and anxiety.

Thanks to them, we are born with control issues. Because we believe we have to be in control of our lives and because we are not able to control much of anything we feel out of control. Or, we live under an illusion of false control. But either way the anxiety level rises because we feel out of control. What is our answer to feeling out of control? It is to try harder to get control! And the stress level goes higher!

Paul, who wrote these positive stress free words to the believers in Philippi was writing them from a dark, damp, cold dungeon in Rome chained to a Roman guard. He was awaiting a trial before a Roman court that hated Christians and that was largely influenced by a psychotic Emperor named Nero. So Paul's future largely rested on the whims of a crazy man who loved to send Christians to a brutal death.

And yet this very man writes words, and phrases and sentences like these:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"

"Do not be anxious about anything."


How is that possible?

As I said, over the next few weeks we will unpack this goldmine of spiritual wisdom and truth! From it we will learn how to be calm in situations where we used to know only anxiety!

Celebrate God’s Goodness – Philippians 4:4
Ask for God’s Help – Philippians 4:6
Leave Our Concerns With God – Philippians 4:6
Meditate on Only Good Things – Philippians 4:8

But in the meantime, here is a prayer you can pray in your anxious moments!

“Dear Lord, you spoke to the storms. Would you speak to me? Would you calm this storm in me? You calmed the hearts of the Apostles. Would you calm the chaos in me? You told them to fear not. Would you say the same to me? I am weary from my worry. I am beaten and battered by the storms in my life. Oh, Prince of Peace, give me a spirit of calm. Take control and place your confidence in me. Stir up courage. Let me know fewer frets and much more faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”