Thoughts and Prayers

It’s always a wonderful blessing to wake up and read back over God’s Living Word that we have available to us at any moment.  Going back through and looking at  scripture through the lens of God’s character  has been a reminder how amazing and gracious our Lord is.  Today, we get to reflect on His character in one of my favorite verses from Paul in Philippians 4.

As we read through these scriptures I try to use the S.O.A.P. acronym to read through scripture and apply it to my present life.  S= Scripture Writing down a verse or two that really stands out to you today.  O=Observation What are observations about what you read? What do you think God is saying to you?        A = Application Personalize what you have read by seeing how it applies to your life right now. P = Prayer write down a personal message from you to God based on what you just read and ask Him to help you apply this truth to your life.

Let’s give it a try.

Today’s reading: Philippians 4:4-9

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Amen…As a new father of our 3rd child, a husband trying to juggle various needs for our household, a principal getting ready to start the school year,  I caught myself up most the night last night thinking about being a being a better husband a more supportive father, being a better son, being a better brother, being a more involved small group leader, being a more engaged mentor, being a closer friend, being a more helpful neighbor, being a dedicated student starting once again back to ISU…  There was definitely moments of rejoice about how the Lord can get you right where He wants you, but in all honestly there was more time questioning, concerns, wondering how I will do it? Worry about what it will look like? How do we get the kids from fighting? How can I put less stress on Jennifer? Then in the early hours of the morning,  I thought back to these verses for today. The truth is I can’t… but HE can.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank God for all He has done. God is listening. Instead of staying up wondering about future circumstances that haven’t even happened,  I should give it to God.  God gives us peace

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

What reassurance.  When we are not at peace we can be in the opposite world of worry.  Not very fun.  A mind divided between God’s promises and our own destructive thoughts about how we plan to attempt to do it all and control all situations.  I can’t, we can’t allow our own thoughts put the Word of God to the side. Jesus is enough.  This reminder was shared once again with me this past Sunday by Jordan Rice as he preached on Joshua 21. Listen to this great sermon here. Kingdom Under Construction

1 Peter 2:9  But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

In verse 8 God tells us how we should think instead. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

What would it look like if we fixed our thoughts on these six guidelines today? When we put these guidelines into practice our God of peace will be with us.

As Jordan said this week.  “Until God is enough, nothing else will ever be.”

Dear Father, I know you have a perfect plan for our lives. You transform us from the inside out and only from my own selfish desires do I lose sight of your promises.  When we follow your commands, trust in You,  You are enough! You are always with us, listening, waiting, providing the Peace that only you can provide in this world.  We love you.  Amen.

Praying for Peace today.

A Father and a Son

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. – Ecclesiastes 11:6

Numbers 1; Psalm 35; Ecclesiastes 11; Titus 3

We never know what might become of our small acts of kindness. By sharing our love, each of us play a part in the restoration of God’s kingdom. The coolest part, is God does most of the work. When we submit to God’s will, we are more able to be used — and as we are used, we are transformed in the cycle of spiritual rebirth.

One morning when I was six, my dad woke me while it was still dark and we drove to the Boynton Beach Pier. I was half a sleep and filled with wonder about this strange new pre-dawn world and with the joy from being alone with my father. Just the two of us, on our own adventure, walking hand in hand out onto the old pier. Together we wandered into the coolness of the early morning, before the sun rose up out of the ocean.

At the end of the pier, my father crouched down, looked into my eyes and asked, “do you want some hot chocolate?”

“Yes!” I said.

The chill of the morning had penetrated my skinny frame, and as I sipped hot chocolate with my father, I felt the warmth that comes from security, and sugar.

After dropping my fishing line over the side rail I looked down and saw fish of all sizes swimming in the bluish green water, circling in and out of the range of our bait. Eventually I got one on the hook. As I reeled it in, I looked up at my father’s warm peaceful smile. “That’s a red snapper Ricky, you caught a red snapper!” The world was a good place then.

My dad built a boat in our garage that year. We worked on it together when we had the time. Often after dinner, before I went to bed, me in my pajamas and him in his Bermuda shorts and a t-shirt. Occasionally I would hand him a tool or remove a scrap of wood, making me feel as if we had built it together. I knew that one day we would ride in the boat with my brothers out to the sea, through the treacherous currants of Boynton Inlet that had swamped bigger boats and better captains.

Working with my dad was an absolute joy; I was an important part of something big, just not in the way I had thought. Since then I have come to realize helping my father build a boat was like helping God grow His kingdom. God, in His love for me, and in His infinite wisdom, includes me in His work when I am willing. The amazing thing is this: when I surrender my selfish ambitions to the will of God, He does his best work in me.

It has been said, through the relationship with our fathers we first begin to understand God. And while I believe that God can reveal himself through anyone, it is those closest to us that often have the greatest impact. I know not everyone has, or has had, a positive relationship with their father, and like mine, this relationship can be cut short through divorce and death. Even so, it is by acts of love and compassion between people, that God reveals Himself.

Each of us has the power to show God’s love. And when we do, we are helping to share the Gospel, to lift each other up and grow God’s kingdom. Sharing God’s love is one way we can find joy and hope in His will.

God please enable me to share your love with my children and everyone I have contact with. Amen.