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Philippians 4: Steady In God

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Philippians 4

The Message (MSG)

My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.

Pray About Everything

I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding grudges.

And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9 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.

Content Whatever the Circumstances

10-14 I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

15-17 You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out—and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity.

18-20 And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. 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.

21-22 Give our regards to every follower of Jesus you meet. Our friends here say hello. All the Christians here, especially the believers who work in the palace of Caesar, want to be remembered to you.

23 Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.

 

 

 

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Rest

Have you ever thought about taking an entire year off from work? Just dropping everything and taking a tour of the world? Or even staying home, but just not having to drag yourself into work every day? It sounds crazy, right? But in Exodus and Leviticus, that’s exactly what God called the Israelites to do.

Exodus 23:10-12

10 “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

12 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.”

Leviticus 25:1-7

“The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.”

Crazy right!? What were they supposed to do for an entire year? As the daughter of a farmer, I can tell you, farmers feel the need to be doing something. All winter long they busy themselves up with whatever they can and then when spring comes, they are busy from dusk till dawn getting their fields planted. What would they do if they took an entire year off? I can’t even come up with what I would do for an entire year. Would my job even be there for me when I came back? Our generation is the total opposite of this mentality. We have to go go go and every second that we aren’t occupied by something is a second wasted.

Now, I’m not saying we should all just stop working for a year, but it does make you think, doesn’t it? We spend our lives rushing to work, to home, to church, to parties, to whatever we fill our time with. Even when we have free time, we occupy it with time on the internet or watching TV (or at least I do). What about the Sabbath day? Do you have a day of the week where you don’t work or do anything close to work? Do you have any time in your week when you are simply ‘resting’ (And I don’t mean sleeping!)

I would like to challenge my readers to take a break from the busy-ness of life and simply rest in God’s arms. The world will not go on without you, you won’t miss anything important (except maybe the newest episode of your favorite show, but let’s be honest: Are you going to look back in ten years and even remember this show or episode?). Just take a day, or even a few hours if a day is too much. Spend some time in the Word and simply rest. You will be surprised how must this time can re-energize you and bring you closer to God.

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