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September 11 | Philippians 4:4-7


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Joy No Matter the Circumstances

by Pr. Dave Mann


Everyone has a unique emotional starting point. It’s the proverbial glass-half-full or glass-half-empty predisposition. Some people wake up in the morning with a smile and wear it all day. Others have a perpetual frown even when their team wins the national championship. Most of us are somewhere in between.


The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, has provided us with good reason to move the needle toward joy, no matter our emotional default setting. He lays out three strong incentives.


1) The Lord is near (v. 5). The Lord bears the name Emmanuel – God with us. No matter what the day has brought us, the Lord of the universe is close by. He is not distant. He has physically walked this earth in Jesus. He knows firsthand what it is to suffer and to experience sorrow and pain. The Lord God sent the Holy Spirit to give us encouragement, consolation, and wisdom whenever needed. In addition, the Lord is near with regard to the second coming of Christ. The day is coming when this world of calamity will be no more, and the kingdom of God will be firmly established, visible, and undeniable. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord! All of that is ample reason to rejoice and celebrate.

2) We have the privilege of presenting our requests to God (v. 6). Even though we have our doubts and our sins that cling so closely to us, the Lord invites us to draw near to him in prayer. No, we do not deserve it. We do not merit the honor of entering the divine throne room to address the heavenly King. Nonetheless, it is the Lord himself who urges us time and time again to cast our cares upon him, to draw near with a sincere heart, to have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus. This knowledge can drive away anxious thoughts no matter the situation.

3) Peace that transcends all understanding (v. 7). When we are convinced that the Lord is near and that he invites us to draw close in prayer, he promises to give us his peace. It may not make human sense, given the difficult circumstances that may be threatening your life – medical issues, strained relationships, financial matters, loneliness, or simply a sadness that hovers overhead – but that peace is real. And it can guard and protect your heart in Christ Jesus.


PRAYER

Lord God, thank you for the grace that leads me out of sadness and into peace. Thank you that the reality of your peace is more than I can ask or deserve, in Jesus’ name, Amen.



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