What if, whatever

Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (The New American Standard Bible)

For many years I had this verse taped to the computer monitor in my office as a constant reminder of the most important "what if" questions facing us each day. Some recent events given much attention in the news have caused me to return to this verse and to some of the thoughts I've entertained before. For examples, what if truth is hard to find in the midst of so many lies? What if honor is no longer held in high esteem? What if right is replaced with expedience? What if lovely is only skin deep and purity becomes soiled by compromise? What if "good repute" is defined on a sliding scale and excellence is no longer compared to an absolute standard? What if all things become worthy of praise? I suppose the clincher for me is what if our minds no longer dwell on these things? "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

Father, I’m thankful for your instruction, encouragement and love. Help us to find each day the only dwelling place for our thoughts so that we might enjoy your peace which surpasses all comprehension and guards our hearts and minds.

By Carol (North Carolina, USA)

Let’s Celebrate!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NASB

I read in the newspaper about a reclusive person who lived in a rundown house that was full of junk and piles of yellowed newspapers. It turned out that he had a huge amount of money in a bank account. He had so much money but used little of it. We tend to scoff at these types of people and think of them as foolish. Too often Christians can be like that stingy, rich person; not because we have hoarded money but because we have held back something even more valuable. God has given us so much and yet we can often lead frustrated lives full of complaining and trying to “one down” the next person. Sometimes we think that the most spiritual Christian is the one who is the most dour and serious. Many of us look like we are posing for the cover of the book of Lamentations. Yet in the Bible the words “rejoice,” “glad,” “happy,” “celebrate,” and “joy” appear 624 times. God wants us to be full of life, to glow and celebrate with His joy, and to be the type of p eople that others will be drawn to and want to be like. We have the blessings of God—we should act like it! Unlike giving away money which can be depleted, we can never give away enough joy that we will ever run out.

God, teach me to focus on Your blessings that I might flow with Your joy

By  Bob (New Jersey, USA)

Live to Tell About It

 Don [Maine]

Bible Verse:
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. And convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,..." Phil 1:21-25 (The New American Standard Bible)

Last week I discovered that the slogan used by a satellite communications system was simple and to the point – "Keeping you connected no matter where life takes you." At first I glossed over it and it took several days for the significance of the statement to "find me again". In short, the analogy to Paul's ministry became clearer as I rolled the slogan around in my mind. His joy came from sharing in the faith of others and more importantly as he discharged the fruitful labor to which he had been entrusted. Literally, he stayed connected and lived to tell about it – the Gospel of Christ – no matter where he found himself. It was at the very focal point of his life, and his desire to communicate with others dictated his daily activities whether in chains or free. Is the level of communication in your life like that of the satellite communications system and Paul's dedication to the Gospel of Christ? Do you stay connected with the Gospel of Christ no matter where life takes you? Do you in fact live to tell about it? Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ending Prayer:
Father guide us in our communications with others and help us to remain connected to you and the Gospel of Christ. Help us to live to tell about it. Amen.

Keep Praying

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Carl and Gertrude have been married for over sixty years. As remarkable as that may seem, there is something even more amazing about their lives. Gertrude prayed for fifty-two years for Carl to become a Christian.
While most people would feel discouraged having to wait so long for an answer, Gertrude felt the day would come when God would answer her prayers. A few years ago, on the eve of his heart surgery, Carl surrendered his life to the Lord. Carl has experienced a wonderful change in his life and now enjoys his daily walk with Christ.
Gert’s message to others who are praying for their loved ones to become Christians is this: “Don’t give up hope. Keep praying. God’s faithful.”
Don’t we sometimes become impatient for results to come? I know I sometimes wonder why certain prayers seem to go unanswered or take a longer time to be answered than I expect. In our zoom-zoom society, we have forgotten how to wait upon the Lord and to trust Him for His timing.
When we pray, God is working behind the scenes in ways we don’t understand. Perhaps there are certain things that must happen before He can accomplish His plan in a way that works best for His kingdom purposes. As we study the examples of Bible characters, we learn that many people waited a long time before they saw the desired results. Sarah and Abraham waited for years before Isaac was born. Joseph was imprisoned unjustly for years before a sudden release. How about Job, Daniel, and Queen Esther? These heroes of faith prayed and didn’t give up. Eventually, God came through for them.
Lord, please give me peace while I wait patiently for answers to my prayers for loved ones. Amen.

Dealing With Pests

Finally, brothers, 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 4:8 (NIV)
Our newspaper reported that Florida iguanas are causing severe damage as they devour vegetable gardens and exotic flowers. Unsuspecting customers buy these popular, eight-inch, green lizards but are shocked as they see them grow to six feet. They have a spiny back, sharp claws, and whip-like tail, which is enough to scare most adults. Many lizard owners are turning these pets loose because of their voracious appetites. As a result, they are invading fruit orchards and rose gardens.
In Ohio, we don’t have roaming iguanas, but we have a multitude of other damage-causing pests which include: woodchucks, Japanese Beetles, raccoons, deer, and cute little bunnies. I laughed when I heard about my elderly, neighbor men – Charlie and Fred – herding a half dozen rabbits down the middle of our street, to drive them out of our neighborhood. Some of our other neighbors set traps or called an exterminator to get rid of various other pests. It’s a fact that while we live on earth, pests will challenge us.
We all deal with spiritual pests too, the things that erode our relationship with God and others. Some of these most prevalent pests include: offenses, fears, disappointments, unmet expectations, and distractions – to name a few. When difficulties in life happen and we aren’t on guard, some of these pests will try to move in and damage our relationships. Sometimes it takes our proactive stance to come against the pests through prayer, asking God for wisdom and help. God’s Word reminds us to take our thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and to cast all of our cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). God knows best!
Lord, please help me deal with the spiritual pests and challenges of each day. Amen.

Pray First

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

I hurriedly cleaned the house getting ready for our guests. The strain of my “yet to do” list weighed heavily on me when my 3-year-old daughter announced that she could not find her toy pony.

“Mommy, we need to pray,” she informed me.

Too stressed to sit and pray, I told her, “You go look for it first and if you cannot find it, then I will pray with you.”

Hands on hips, determination in her voice she replied, “No Mommy, we pray first!”

Her words stopped me in my tracks as the Lord showed me the wisdom she had just spoken. She was right. My tendency is to try first and if I do not succeed, then I pray. My daughter knew by going to God first, she would find help.

I quickly apologized and we sat down together and prayed for God to help us find the pony and to help me get ready for our guests. And wouldn’t you know…we found the pony and I finished my chores without stress. It is amazing when we pray about all things they have a way of working out.

Thank you God that you desire for us to share all of our burdens with you. Please help me to always come to you first, for in You I find peace. Amen.