A prescription for peace. Thanksgiving week, 2021.
It is early, the house is quiet, even the dogs are sleeping. It is raining, so even the hens are quiet outside. After spending time in Psalms 100 and 103 and praying, I am thinking about thanks-giving. Certainly, David talked about thanking God, but so did other writers of Scripture--take Paul who we have been looking at up close--[ha, we have left him in Jerusalem, but will get back to him next week!]--Paul wrote some powerful words to the church at Philippi. Our love of these verses has to do with the peace that is promised, but there is something else.
Take a look at Philippians 4.6-7:
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. NIV
One more look from a different translation:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. NLT
As action-oriented people, what are the things God tells us to do, to act upon?
1. Do not worry
2. Pray about everything
3. Tell God what you need
4. Thank him for all he has already done
The promise: peace that defies description or understanding~
and when, except for God, would not be possible
So thanks giving is not a one-day-a-year holiday tradition; no, instead it is meant to be a way of life. But only if peace is important to us, only if it is our desire to obey God.
I get it--obeying God is not the top of many folks’ list, but what does top the list is being at peace within. I mean, no one desires to live from a tormented, divided, worried mind, right? Paul writes from prison, probably in physical pain and mental anguish, yet gives us these all-important verses: Do not be anxious about anything--do not worry!, but in every situation, pray
with thanksgiving, presenting your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which is beyond what the human mind can understand, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What a gift!
Sidenote - my mother was a gift-wrapper in a beautiful old department store in downtown Oakland in the late 40s [ha, now that makes me laugh because obviously there have been different kinds of rappers in Oakland for the last few decades!!]; as a result, she never gave a gift that wasn’t beautifully wrapped. But Friend, as great as a pretty package might be, it is the contents that is important and obvious intent of the gift giver. Unwrap God’s gift of peace, take a hold of it for yourself.
What concerns you?
What worries are plaguing you?
About what are you anxious?
Take it to God in prayer - all of it: what it is, how you feel about it, what concerns you, tell him your great need . . . and then, give him thanks. Why should you thank Him? Once you have prayed, He is at work on your behalf! Look what Jesus said:
My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working. John 5.17
So, whether or not you see what God is doing, your Father is at work. He who watches over you will not slumber… Psalm 121.3b. You can rest assured, and be at peace, because God has got you. He has heard your cry, understood the magnitude and complexity of your situation. And nothing is too great for him.
But remember - after you pray - give God thanks.
Sometimes if I have pain in my body--[after getting run over last year, my lower back really troubles me]--but when I think about all of the other functioning parts of my body and thank God for those, it changes things, reminds me of the many parts of me that are working great! Causes me to be thankful.
Try it. Huh, imagine that--a free prescription with only benefits, no bad side effects.
It makes me grateful! Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh2goMABFPc
Giving God thanks changes us!