I Thessalonians 5:18;
Philippians 4:6, 7
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Today’s photo is a five part conglomeration of some of the trials and tribulations the world is facing today:
- Raging fires often concentrated in our westernmost state of the lower 48.
- Protest marches too often turned into riots and looting.
- The Corona virus pandemic that has taken over three million lives worldwide.
- North Korea’s nuclear threat led by dictator Kim Jung Un.
- The tragic death of George Floyd that has unleased so much civil unrest.
It is just a sample of some of the problems people face – because, if all the possible trials and tribulations of life were represented, the photo would be a mile long……..or more!
There is a children’s book around our house entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I had one of those yesterday!
- A very restless night that, although I was quite tired, produced no sleep at all!
- A slightly upset stomach that just would not go away!
- Computer problems! I still cannot figure out why my printer will not print from either of my computers! By the way, I spent almost two hours trying to solve the problem the evening before – to no avail!
- I finally found, after much searching, a long USB cord to bypass my bluetooth hookup to the printer to see if that will make the stubborn thing print! Upon trying to connect the printer to the computer, I discovered I did not have the needed USB cord, but a useless something that only looked like what I needed!
- I called for tech assistance from a local computer store. The tech was out, but the store manager promised to have him call ASAP! He never called!
- A misunderstanding with a friend only added to my aggravation!
And now to our featured Scriptures:
- Philippians 4:6 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God….”
Well, yesterday I got the first two words right – “Be anxious…”! And I did shoot a few prayers to God, letting my “…requests be made known…”! However, I stopped way short of the next two words: “…with thanksgiving…”!
You mean to say, Lord, that in everything – EVERTHING! – I am supposed to include thanksgiving? And I am supposed to do this even before my prayers (desperate pleadings) are even answered, with no idea of how You are going to respond? You gotta be kidding, God!
- I Thessalonians 5:18 – “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
There are those words again, “In everything….” And the last half of the verse that Saint Paul penned (remember, according to I Corinthians 11:23, II Corinthians 12:1 through 4, and other Scriptures as well, the apostle had some pretty impressive direct connections with God), the last half says to “…give thanks…[i]n everything…is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…,” for ME! And I can’t escape another verse I have preached to others as, “the most important prayer a Christian can pray.” (see April 29, 2013 Gem). In Luke 22:42, as Jesus faced the imminent crucifixion, the torture of the beatings, whipping, being nailed to the cross – plus the pure and holy Savior being made sin for us (see II Corinthians 5:21) – He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
“In everything give thanks...,” not just some things that are presently pleasant? “...give thanks...” even for the stuff that hurts, that is frustrating, that is humiliating, that breaks my heart, that is just downright nasty? You gotta be kidding, God!
“No, I am not kidding!” And in the verses following our featured Scriptures, as well as others throughout the Bible, God tells us why He is not kidding!
- Philippians 4:7 – “…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I learned this truth early on when our daughter was born and my wife almost died. I will write a Gem about what happened and what I learned sometime in the near future.
You see, the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds can be much more important than the answer to our most desperate prayer! The answer may be on its way, but our lives could be in great turmoil before the answer arrives! Often such peace surpasses all understanding. “Wow! Nothing has outwardly changed! God hasn’t answered my prayer…yet! But I have this perfect peace, and I know it will be ok! I don’t know why or how, but I have peace about it!”
- Philippians 4:9 – “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Never mind that it doesn’t make sense to our finite minds! We do what we are instructed to do, and God will do what only He can!
- I Thessalonians 5:12 through 17 and 19 through 22 – These ten short verses surround the featured Scripture of verse 18 (above) with a lot more instruction for Christian living than “In everything give thanks….”
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint- hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all....Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
So how are we supposed to fulfill all this stuff? I have enough trouble with just verse 18! Well, there is one more important verse, I Thessalonians 5:24, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” We don’t have to generate all that which is listed in the twelve verses from I Thessalonians 5:12 through 22! “He…will do it…”! This reminds me of another of my favorite verses featured in the March 13, 2013 Gem, “A Little Help Here, Please!” Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” He gives us the ‘want to do it’ as well as what it takes to ‘do it’! And nothing is that hard to do when we really ‘want to do it’!
So, Chip (yes, that’s me reminding myself), the next time you have Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, give thanks to God for even the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad things going on! Because…
God doesn’t kid around!