September 18, 2019·Deborah Clark
The Pause plan is not the only way to read the Bible. There are many plans and methods to read the Bible. But one of the things I like about the Pause plan is that many of us at The Church On The Way are reading the same passages, at the same time. It’s great to talk with people about what they are learning about God and how to do life with Him, as we read His Word together.
Each week, someone from our staff writes a Pause devotional out of that week’s reading. It’s a chance for you to not only get to know our staff a bit, but to hear what God is saying to someone else. Our desire is, as you read the Bible and then read these devotionals, you will explore, read, listen and hear what God is saying to YOU.
This week, we began the New Testament section of the Pause plan in Philippians. This book is such a great source of encouragement for me. Paul wrote this letter to the people in Philippi, while he was in prison. But that doesn’t seem to hinder his joy or his gratefulness.
Let’s look at what Paul writes in Philippians 4:4-7:
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Paul encourages us to rejoice and take a path other than worry. He tells us to pray. Take your request to God and, with thanksgiving, give those cares to Him. Now, for many of us, this is not new. We have heard this, we know it, and we try to put it into practice. But it isn’t always easy, is it?
When I was reading this passage again this week, what really stood out to me was the connection between God’s PEACE and PRAYER.
Paul tells us, “… present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
It doesn’t say the peace will guard our hearts and minds after God answers our prayers or removes the situation that was causing us to worry. The peace comes when we present our requests to God.
The picture I saw was of my clenched hands holding on to worry. And, as soon as I let go, opening up my hands to release it to God, His peace was able to flood over me. The situation hadn’t changed, but now it was in God’s hands, not mine.
What a great reminder this was, that in all things, my first response should not be a path of worry. But it should be a path of prayer – taking all things to God first, having a heart of thanksgiving. As I release the situation and any worry associated with it, I can experience His peace washing over me.
What are you facing today? Are you on a path of worry? Or, are you opening up your hands, letting go of the situation, and letting God take care of it, bringing His peace as only He can?
Pastor Deborah Clark