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He's Where The Joy Is (Week 6 Recap- February 14, 2023)

Living in an Anxious World

I woke up to notice my phone had a string of text messages alerting me of a recent shooting on a college campus. I hurried to my kitchen to turn on the news to find out what had happened. My eyes half way opened, I sat watching the news anchors reliving what had happened. My heart ached and anger started to rise up within me. The next segment was an update on the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Pictures of pure devastation, buildings in a pile of rubble, people crying in complete despair. My mind had a hard time receiving this hard reality so early in the morning. Seeing the brokenness, the heart ache, the evil that this world serves… lays heavy on all of us. There simply are no words.

BUT there is prayer. All of us have inputs throughout the day. Often times it is news outlets, newspapers, social media and communication with family and friends. The news can often spur emotions to cause us to worry and become anxious beings. It is easy to do because most of our inputs induce this anxiety. Often times these realities are unsettling and produce fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of insecurity, fear of death, fear of loss… all of it is fear. However, we know that God isn’t the author of this kind of fear. A fear that is unsettling, one that often can keep people captive to their own thinking and even to their own homes.

How can prayer change things? How can prayer shift our perspectives and put our feet on a firm foundation?

“Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about ANYTHING? How can that be possible in a world that is fear inducing? How can we NOT be anxious? This verse tells us… in every situation, pray. Prayer is the antidote to our worry. Any and every time you start to worry, STOP and pray. It is that simple yet most of us still struggle to do it. Let us break down what Paul says…

With thanksgiving present your requests to God. With thanksgiving… hmmm… in every circumstance we are suppose to pray to God with a thankful heart? What about in difficult times? Are we still suppose to thank God? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you thank God FOR what happened instead you thank Him IN it, no matter the circumstances. You may wonder what could you thank Him for? Here are a few reminders… God gave you the gift of prayer, to commune with the God of the universe. (Thank you God). God sent His son to die on the cross for you. (Thank you God.) God gave you His word, which is living and active. (Thank you God). God will never leave you or forsake you. (Thank you God). God gives you comfort, peace, guidance, wisdom, words, revelations. (Thank you God.) God is a God of possibilities (Thank you God.) Those are just a few reminders of what can turn our hearts into thankful ones.

What happens when we pray instead of worry? When we present our requests to God, with thanksgiving, we will receive PEACE. God gifts us with peace when we come to Him in prayer. A peace that passes all understanding. This peace is not the peace that the world gives. It is a super natural peace. A peace that only can come from the hand of God and that peace is given when we pray.

I think it would be wise to highlight the prior verse in Philippians 4:6, as it speaks to our prayer life as well…

“Rejoice in the Lord, again I will say rejoice” Philippians 4:4

I like to think of rejoicing is similar to refueling your car. When you rejoice in the Lord… it fuels you. Remembering what God has done in your life, reminds you of His presence and faithfulness. To instill rejoicing in our daily lives will fill us with grateful hearts. The more grateful and thankful we become the less anxious we will be. How can we instill rejoicing in our daily lives? Jesus tells us to be have child-like faith. So what does that look like from a child’s perspective? Well click on this link and find out yourselves. Out of the mouth of babes…



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