Monday, December 10, 2012
Nearly forty years ago, when Steve and I were in Bible school, he worked nights at an electric insulator factory. Several of the married students worked there - full time - as well as being full-time students. I was alone many nights in a strange little country town in Western New York. The winter was snowy and our small apartment was very chilly, especially with my imagination running wild (probably a leftover from my pre-Christian days). Often, fear supplanted peace. I knew the Lord. I prayed. I read scripture. Nothing really impacted my anxiety until late one night I discovered Psalm 4:8. The Psalmist declares, "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." His peace swept over me that night, and a new confidence in Him began to grow. I realized I could trust Him and rest in Him.
Recently, while studying peace in Philippians 4:6-9, I realized that I've been letting my reliance on God's peace slip into the background - especially as the excitement and busyness of the Christmas Season is looming. So much to worry about! Verses 7-8 promise that as we lay our anxieties and burdens at His feet, He will give us His peace. And His peace will guard our hearts. So the other day I started praying about what each day holds, paying close attention to God's peace in each activity. Not surprisingly, I changed some plans and added others. He began to direct me in unexpected ways that worked out so harmoniously that only He could have arranged the circumstances. This renewed sense of His presence and involvement in my daily life amazes and delights me - and reminds me of the real "reason for the season."
In Philippians 4:8-9, Paul encouraged the believers in Philippi with these words, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." (NKJV)
We are promised that the God of Peace will be with us when we walk in His ways. In his book, Maybe It's Time to Laugh Again, Chuck Swindoll offers these 3 simple exercises for staying "worry free":
1. Feed your mind on positive thoughts - Philippians 4:8
2. Focus your attention on encouraging models - Philippians 4:9a
3. Find the God of Peace in every circumstance - Philippians 4:9b
What a great way to approach this beautiful time of celebrating the incarnation of Christ. The Prince of Peace will be with us when we surrender our lives, our burdens, our thoughts and our wills to Him.