TST Chapel Message- God is so very for you!

Philippians Chapter 4 verses 5b through 8:

The Lord is near; do not be anxious 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. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things...

If I were to break Philippians chapter four verses six through eight into bite size pieces or if I were to tweet it, I would tweet this to summarize it:

Pray. Be thankful. Think about the good stuff. God is for you. And I would still have 56 characters left! I would use those last 56 characters to say God is for you, God is for you, God is for you, until I ran out of room. Pray. Be thankful. Think about the good stuff. God is for you. God is for you. God is so very for you.

The beginning of the passage starts with a command. It says don’t be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. That first part is a little sticky for me. I don’t know about you, but I am anxious or worried every day and usually about more than one thing! You may be worried about things too—grades, college acceptances, sports, recitals, or the health of a loved one, or maybe a disagreement you had with a friend. Anxiety is simply the absence of inner peace. What do we do when we are anxious, when inner peace is absent? Scripture teaches us to go to God and pray. We pray and we pray and we pray. Paul emphasizes prayer three times. He says plainly to pray, to supplicate—or humbly plead, and to make our requests known. Ask God. Prayer is a mysterious thing. There is something divine that happens as we pray. Paul says earlier in chapter one verse 19 that through our prayers and the Spirit of God, freedom happens. There is a beautiful, real relationship between our prayers and the Holy Spirit. What do you need to pray for? What do you need to bring before God? The practice of prayer matters. So pray.

Paul also calls us to be thankful. He says to offer our prayers, our pleading, our asking, with thanksgiving. A recent study was published on the scientifically proven benefits of gratitude, of being thankful. It showed that gratitude improves physical health. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people sleep better. Gratitude improves self-esteem. Gratitude increases mental strength. It’s even been linked to better grades and better friendships. What are you thankful for? The practice of gratitude makes a difference. Be thankful.

So pray. Be thankful. Think about the good stuff. Philippians chapter four verse eight says finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What thoughts fill your mind? What we spend time thinking about matters. So think about the good stuff.

This kind of mind that thinks about the good stuff, this kind of mind that prays, this kind of mind that is thankful—this way of thinking, of living, is only possible—it is only ours in Christ Jesus!

Paul explains the kind of mind we are to have earlier in Philippians chapter two verses three through five where he says have this mind among yourselves—a mind that in humility counts others more significant than yourself—that looks not only to our own interests but also to the interest of others. Why? Because this is the mind of Jesus himself! Verses six through eight say that because Jesus was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Jesus did not use his status for an advantage, but he emptied himself. He didn’t use his resources to dominate; he humbled himself on our behalf. We get a glimpse, a glimmer here into what is in the mind of Jesus. And what is it? You! You are in his mind! He is for you. He is so for you! His humility—his emptying of himself makes peace between God and us and God grants us his peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

The Lord is near. He is present. Don’t be anxious but take it all to God and pray with thanksgiving. Lay it all out there because you're not taking your heart, your lack of inner peace to just anyone, you're taking it to this God who revealed himself in Jesus, who humbled himself on our behalf. He is for you. And God’s peace which is beyond comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Pray. Be thankful. Think about the good stuff. God is for you. He is so very for you.

Written by Trinity School of Texas’ Upper School Spanish Teacher, Marietta Liebengood

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