6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
40 After calling the apostles back, they had them beaten. They ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, then let them go. 41 The apostles left the council rejoicing because they had been regarded as worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of the name. 42 Every day they continued to teach and proclaim the good news that Jesus is the Christ, both in the temple and in houses.
It was amazing that in Acts 5, the apostles, after a beating, “left the council rejoicing because they had been regarded as worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of the name.” Paul wrote Philippians 4 in prison (cf. Philippians 1:13-14). He was not only suffering physical discomfort, but mental uncertainty. The Romans might execute him—or free him (cf. Philippians 1:20-26). Paul’s words were not just religious “happy talk.” With every reason to be anxious and upset, like the apostles in Acts 4, he instead wrote about prayer and peace from resting in Jesus.
Lord Jesus, I want to walk every day in your peace. Keep my heart safe in your hands. Amen.
As I mourned the passing of my New Year’s Resolutions (That was quick – Editor. Well, last year didn’t go so well either. I resolved to have a thinner body & a heftier bank account – I was 2/2, if it was “Opposite Day” – DL.), I was pondering how the life of Joshua – hero of the Old Testament might relate to today’s passage.
In our 9th Grade Sunday School class this past Sunday we considered the character traits of Joshua & how they can apply to our lives. I contended that our friend Joshua was the Forrest Gump of the Old Testament. He appears in multiple scenes critical to the formation of the Israelite nation even before his exploits in the Book of Joshua. Let’s take a look:
As we consider today’s theme of peace through times of challenge, perhaps we could take inspiration from our friend Joshua. Admittedly, many of us aren’t conquering a new land, storming fortified cities, or dealing with the chronic kvetching of our community. (Kvetching? – Editor. “Complaining” per my 2018 Yiddish Word-a-Day Calendar – DL.)
However, perhaps in our own way we ARE striving to conquer our worries, storming our entrenched fears, &, well yes, maybe dealing with a constantly kvetching crowd of colleagues in cubicles.
Maybe, ala Joshua, we could begin to find peace & comfort via our relationship with God. As Joshua addresses his fellow Israelites near the end of his life, he challenges his friends to make a choice: serve the gods of their contemporaries or serve the one true God. His conclusion is the stuff of cross-stitch samplers & kitchen towels: “As for me & my household, we will serve the Lord.”
As we give our New Year’s Resolutions a 2nd chance this week, perhaps in addition to striving for physical fitness & improved financial management we might be wise to also seek to enrich our spiritual health. A closer relationship with Christ could be just what we need to help us begin to discover that peace that transcends all understanding – we could consider this to be the ultimate in “Cross"-Fit training.
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