Today’s Readings: 1 Chronicles 1, Philippians 4, John 2, Psalm 43
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:4-7
When my daughter was a small child, we ended our bedtime prayers with each of us naming something we were thankful for. I don’t remember exactly when we got out of that habit. But it is a good one. Thanksgiving. Prayer. Gentleness. Rejoicing. Paul tells the Philippians that these are the keys to experiencing the peace of God in our lives. This was written by a man who was in prison, and who had suffered and struggled in many ways during his ministry. For Paul, this is not a panacea or an unrealistic suggestion. It was born of his own experience. And it was not a way to avoid the troubles and problems of the world. He took them head on. I tend to be a worrier. Always have been. But I know I do better at handling the challenges that come my way when I do what I can to focus on what is positive, look for reasons to be thankful, and stay rooted in my relationship with God through regular prayer.