By John Grant (Week 16, 2020)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
These past few weeks have been different and challenging, but they have also brought out the best in some people and the worst in others. Social distancing and lockdown orders have kept us at home and brought about new family relationships. We did a Zoom with our children and grandchildren, something we otherwise would not have done. It has been a time for families to create new relationships with others and with ourselves. The Bible tells us how to create, build and secure relationships.
Quarantined as a family can get tough, but the Bible tells us to use the Bible as we build relationships in the home to be taken out into the community. Be gentle with another, simple as that. The goal of social lockdown should be getting prepared for when things return to normal. The Bible gives us four things to build up individually and as a family to take with us when the door of our community finally are fully open again.
INTEGRITY: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3 We must demonstrate Christ-like wholeness, privately and publicly.
EXCELLENCE: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24 This is when we need to rely on God. We need to rely on God when things are getting the best of us in a relationship, when things keep going south, and when God isn’t the center of the relationship. We should honor and glorify God in all that we do.
SERVING: I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:15-17 In all that we do, we should model Jesus’ example of serving.
TEAMWORK: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4. We will work together with other fellow believers for the cause of Christ.
We do not yet know the world and our lives will be different when this pandemic is all over, but we know it will be different and we need to be prepared to do our part to make this a better world and the Bible tells us how.
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
How to avoid the ‘prison of anxiety:
Paul founded the Philippian church in the face of great opposition. He and Silas were beaten and imprisoned before they were released and asked to leave the city (Acts 16:6–40). The congregation they left faced the threat of similar political and religious persecution. Many must have wondered about their financial security and their futures.
To them, the apostle offered these transformational words: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God” (Philippians 4:6). “Do not be anxious” could be translated, “Be worried about absolutely nothing.” There are no exceptions here.
Instead, we are to pray about “everything” with “supplication” (specific requests) and “thanksgiving” (expressions of gratitude). We are to tell God our needs, as explicitly as possible, while thanking him for hearing us and answering us in whatever way is best.
When we do, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7). We could render this promise, “The peace of God, which understanding cannot produce or comprehend, will protect your emotions and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
The next time you worry about your finances or anything else creeps into your feelings and thoughts, obey verse 6 and claim verse 7.
Max Lucado offers these comments on our text: “One would think Christians would be exempt from anxiety, but we are not. It’s enough to make us wonder if the apostle Paul was out of touch with reality when he wrote in Philippians 4:6, ‘Be anxious for nothing.’
“Is that what he meant? Not exactly. He wrote the phrase in the present active tense—implying an ongoing state . . . as if to say Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually breathless and in angst. The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.”
Rather than the prison of anxiety, let’s choose the promise of abundant grace in Christ.
What fear do you need to entrust to your Father today? Jim Denison
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Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a countercultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption that surrounds us.
The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration. The Minimalist
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Numerous studies show that PRAYER improves psychological wellbeing and mental health, lessens depression among cancer patients, enables greater cognitive focus, increases self-control and lessens unhealthy behavior, promotes sacrifice for others, and strengthens relationships. Jim Denison
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
There are four ways to look at sin… deny, compare, admit and confess. Ken Whitten
What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present. Learning will enable a man (or woman) to pass judgement on our yesterdays, but it requires a gift of clear seeing to pass sentence on our day. A. W. Tozer
Most people spend more time working around problems than they do trying to solve them. Henry Ford
Christians spend more money in the streets than the followers of other religions have spent in their temples. Historian Eberhard Arnold
The Church’s Greatest Need Is the Word of God
God Uses Ordinary People for Extraordinary Plans. John 16:7
Punishment is what we believe all lawbreakers should receive unless we happened to have slipped up ourselves.