Give Thanks

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

This rich passage begins with an emphatic double call to rejoice in the Lord! Our ability to rejoice in the Lord is independent of the circumstances of our lives. The character and eternal promises of God our Father are unchanging and ours fully by grace. Our hope for eternal life is accomplished by Jesus Christ. He will carry us through the struggles of each period of life (Psalm 37:25-26). He will carry us from our youth through our old age (Isaiah 46:3-4). In the faithfulness of the Lord, we must rejoice, for the “Lord is at hand.” The Lord Jesus is ever beside His children. He is at hand to keep us from stumbling (Psalm 37:23-24). As a perfect Father, he makes a way for His will to be accomplished in the life of each of His children.

To this good Father, we give ALL our anxieties in prayer. We must not harbor anxiety about anything, but continuously give our cares to the Lord. The words “anything” and “everything” are not used here by accident. The righteous will live by faith (Roman 1:17). This means that tomorrow is unknown because that’s the way the Lord has designed things to work. The Lord would have us dependent on Him every day, as children are dependent upon a father for protection and provision. The more independent we are, the more anxious we will be.

In everything, we are to pour our anxieties and requests out to the Lord, but this passage guards us against becoming demanding, depressed, or greedy by directing us to always give thanks. In everything, we are to give thanks. Sometimes this is easy, and sometimes this will make you really stop and think. But stopping to think about what you have to be thankful for regularly each day will dramatically change your perspective. With a little thought, you will find there is always much to be thankful for. The issue is whether we will fixate on what we don’t have and what is going wrong, or whether we will turn our heart toward what we do have and what is going well.

This prayer of thanksgiving is followed by presenting our requests to God, but the rejoicing and thanksgiving must always come first. In fact, prayerful rejoicing and thanksgiving will shape our requests and lift our hearts. It is right to pray about your anxieties and ask God for what you need, but realize that your Heavenly Father who watches over you so carefully, already knows what you need (Matthew 6:8). Day after day, year after year that you live by faith in this way, the Lord will prove Himself faithful and good. Over time, an overwhelming sense of peace will guard your heart.

Peace is a fruit of God’s Spirit. This means that God’s Spirit brings about a powerful sense of peace in our hearts following a time of prayerful rejoicing, thanksgiving, and giving the Lord your anxieties and requests. You cannot achieve a powerful sense of peace in your soul through diet, yoga, quiet music, or being outside. These things can slow you down, but even after these things, the sense that life is too big for you to control will quickly creep back in. Peace comes from knowing that God is in control, and He’s close at hand watching over you – even as you sleep (Psalm 4:8).

The elder board is deeply grateful for the godliness and willing heart of each of these men and women to take up devoted service in this church. It is by the joyful, Spirit-filled, and sacrificial service of EACH church member that this church will continue to thrive in health, meet the needs God brings to our door, and reach the lost of our area with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Have you found a place of service yet in the church? It is the Lord’s will that you not just come to service and receive. You are blessed by God so that you can be a blessing to others. Below is a list of ministry areas that may be right for you!

* Children’s ministry volunteer: Contact Sherry Morgan

* Prayer ministry: Contact Mike Patterson

* Greeting ministry: Contact Christine Lindahl

* Musical Worship: Contact Will Thorpe

* Youth ministry: Contact Mark or Kimberly Alexander

* Sound and video tech needs: Contact Dwayne Reynolds

* Prison ministry: Contact Laura Curry

* Ministry to the Poor and needy: Contact Kristin Frezza

* Pregnancy support / abortion alternatives: Contact Melissa Rhodes

* Orphan care ministry: Contact Justin Woodruff

* Disaster relief: Contact Dwayne Reynolds

* Meals for those in need inside our church (meal trains): Contact Maria Carpenter

* Building needs: Benjamin Pennington

* Set-up / break-down needs: Travis Elkins

May we each find joy in service to the Lord and to each other,

Pastor Vic