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Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 4’

heat-wave

Well, just when we thought it was simply going to pass us by, summer has arrived.

This seems to happen each summer … the weather seems to get less summery as June comes to a close, then, as if on schedule for Canada Day celebrations, a heat wave arrives about July 1, and lasts all of July.

Yesterday’s temperatures in the the thirties (or mid to high eighties, for the imperial among us) had me saying over and over, “I will NOT complain about the heat.” This is something I am very conscious about, as I always complain about the rain, and I do not want to seem to be unhappy with all weather conditions.

The light of the sun is so energy giving … and so energy sapping.

I now feel as though I need to seek the shade, like I sought the sun just weeks … just days ago.

We humans really are very difficult to please.

We want what we had yesterday, rather than appreciating what we have today.

The gifts of the present are not seen as valuable as the gifts of tomorrow.

Hebrews 13:5 says, “be content with what you have.”

Do we know and understand what it is to be content? Does our sinful nature prevent us from being content?

If we are are told to “be content with what you have” than that is the goal … contentment is where the sun meets the shady places. Contentment is that place where we can be sweating buckets, and then a cool breeze blows past, cooling us enough to remind us to be content.

That is the what Paul spoke of when he said,“not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Philippians 4:11-12).

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Does today, the present circumstances of your life, ever seem like an all-consuming eternity to you?

Do you wonder how you will get through whatever you are going through?

with your finances

your marriage

your children

your parents

your job

your health

the health of a loved one …

As I was listening the song above, by Casting Crowns, I was struck by how my concerns today for the future, are indeed something that God is looking back at. He not only knows what will happen today, but He already knows how my story (our stories) will end.

It is so easy to get so focused on the trouble of the day and our obsessing draws us in to those trouble like a vortex. The next thing we know we are dizzy from the action of the vortex, and we cannot see above the surface.

God sees …

He sees not just us in our present circumstances, but he also sees the calm waters on the horizon. He sees it all in the rear view mirror!

“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 4:5-7

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I remember it like it was yesterday. The words that were said made my head spin, my mouth dry and my tongue unable to utter a response. It was the most baffling, disappointing and shake your head frustrating sentence to hear from another person, another Christian. It was the day that I heard a person in a leadership position say, “excellence is NOT what we are about.”

YIKES! I could not believe my ears.

Sure, as Christians, what defines excellence might be a bit different than how the world might define it. Maybe our emphasis has more to do with ‘being’ than doing. Maybe our emphasis is more on relational than technological. Maybe, though, it isn’t that different after all.

It was Winston Churchill who said;
“Excellence is…
Caring more than others think is wise;
Risking more than others think is safe;
Dreaming more than others think is practical.
Expecting more than others think is possible.”

I think that Mr. Churchill might be on to something!

The apostle Paul, when writing to the church at Philippi, said something about excellence too, but from a prison cell in Rome, and about two thousand years earlier:

“Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things …
true,
noble,
reputable,
authentic,
compelling,
gracious—the best, not the worst;
the beautiful, not the ugly;
things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

It doesn’t mean that we will always be the best at what ever we do, but if we fill our minds with all that is good, if we work as hard as we can to do all that we do with the best intentions and efforts, “you can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.” (Philippians)

Now THAT is the model of excellence … and I want some of that!

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