Peace In Need

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known 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. – Philippians 4:4-7

This is a profoundly counter-intuitive passage of scripture. I want to briefly walk through it line by line to highlight Paul’s pathway to peace for believers with genuine needs and desires.

The first step toward peace in the face of need is to rejoice. What?! This is far from our natural reaction in times of need. Our natural reaction is to complain and to reach for control. This second reaction leads us to the next line of the passage, one which seems completely out of place. “Let your gentleness be known to all.” What does this have to do with anything? This is the opposite of the knee-jerk reaction to need. Human tendency is to power up; Paul is exhorting us to take instead a posture of trust. Not that we stop taking action or become passive, but that all we do is undergirded by ultimate trust in God.

But what’s the basis for that different, counter-intuitive response? How can we have such peace in the face of great need? The answer comes in Paul’s next words, “The Lord is near.” This is perhaps the key phrase in this passage; the words the explain the rest of the text. Why can we rejoice in any and all circumstances? Because the Lord is near. Why can we display gentle trust instead of seeking control? Because the Lord is near. Why can we have thanksgiving in every situation? Because the Lord is near! The nearness of the Lord is the answer to our ultimate need and longing. It’s an answer we already have. Because the Lord is near, we don’t have to be anxious. As Dr. Rob Reimer says, “Jesus isn’t nervous.” And Jesus is with us.

Now, we come to the part about requests. Notice Paul doesn’t tell us not to bother with our requests: “Just be quiet and trust Jesus.” Nope. Instead, we’re exhorted to “present” our requests to God. I love that word “present.” It’s not “lobby” or “beg,” but “present.” Give them to the Lord. Bringing our needs before the Lord ought not be an act of trying to leverage the divine to see it our way or give us what we want; instead it should be an act of trust in him and his greater will. We ought to follow Christ's example in saying, "Not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). With thanksgiving in our hearts for the unsurpassable gift of God’s presence in our lives, we can honestly place our needs and desires at the feet of Christ, knowing that there are no better hands in which to trust our lives and circumstances. As the famous Christmas song declares, “He knows our needs. To our weaknesses no stranger.” Truly we have a savior who knows us, who is with us, who can empathize and one who has all the wisdom, and all the goodness, and all the power to work all things for the good of his people and for the glory of his name.

If we can trust him with all things, his peace, which goes beyond human ability to understand or acquire on our own, will guard us in Christ. His peace guards against fear. His peace guards against anxiety. His peace guards against the temptation to try to control. This peace is ours in Christ and in Christ alone.

Sean's Picks

Steal Away: Devotions for Baseball Fans - Okay okay, I know that not everyone is going to be into this one, but I love it. Given to me by our very own Dave Angri, at first I thought it might be a bit cheesy. Instead, I found each devotion to be surprisingly deep and reflective. Throw in a dash of baseball stories and I was hooked. If you're not so into baseball, this one would still make a great gift for someone who is. Click the image below for more:

Missions Spotlight:
Russell Abraham (Global Gates)

Praise God and give all Glory and honor to Him who has chosen many through our ministry in 2020 and those who decided to follow Jesus and baptized. Praise God for those who have heard the Gospel and received a copy of Gospel literatures, NT, Gospel of John! Our prayer to make a change in ratio among Bengali Muslims here and in Bangladesh. Our social media campaign is reaching record numbers of people therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God as written in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.

We are highly encouraged us to see the openness of Gospel among our people in this very hour of Pandemic. Many were blessed to accept this appeal and decided to follow Christ through baptism.
 
The Group4Him virtual network was able to distribute emergency aids to over 500 families in Bangladesh, helped provide medical needs, free medical campaigns in some desperate locations, where emergency healthcare is not available. Hundreds of kids received their Christmas presents.

Praise God! It was all possible because of your support!

Pray for these people of peace-- Kabir, Zaman, Azim, Khursed, Toufique, Islam, Jashim and Abdul
Pray for our co-workers and associates !
Pray for our family and friends.
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