Sweet, peaceful, thoughts

Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB) 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

Why is peace within our lives so elusive? The battle rages; however, this battle is the battle for your mind. If we were to step back for a day and listen to the influences of the world then we would see and understand their attempt to draw our thoughts away from Jesus. Maybe we do not have peace because we allow our minds to ponder things that do not please the Lord. It seems as if the television, radio, internet, and every other secular media outlet want to draw our minds into dark places. How are we to keep our minds thinking in the proper manner? Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NASB) “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Paul is telling the Philippians to think or dwell on things that are of the Lord. If something comes into our life that is of the flesh as its desire is to draw one’s heart away from Jesus then that action, thought, or deed must be brought unto the obedience of Christ. Maybe we do not have a Biblical peace in our life because we have become comfortable and cozy with the things of the world. Maybe our minds are so full of worldly things that we rarely are able to think of spiritual things (Until there is a crisis and we expect God to show up and get us out of the mess we created). Do you have peace? Do you have a real Biblical peace where God covers your life? Maybe it is time to step back from life for a moment and check even our thoughts. Are my thoughts a place where the presence of the Holy Spirit resides? Think on “these” things and the God of peace will be with you!

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

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Sweet Peace

Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB) 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Paul is illustrating two very powerful items in the Christian life, which are joy and peace. However, without peace it is very difficult to have joy. There is such a relationship between the believer and God that request can be made unto the Lord and God’s peace surrounds the believer’s heart. The idea that Paul uses in verse seven is that God literally stands guard around His child’s heart and gives sweet peace. However, if something is allowed to breech that peace then the joy in verse four will elude the believer’s grasp. Just think about it for a moment. When are you least likely to be in a good mood and happy? You lose your joy when you begin to worry and fret about problems and difficulties. It is is much like warfare because if the opposition can breech the battle line and infiltrate the enemy’s territory then the war could be lost. Think about D-Day as the Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy. It gave the Allied forces a foothold in Europe where they could begin to push back the enemy. How in the world am I supposed to live a life of peace in such a depressing world? Verse six is pivotal in this special relationship and living a life of peace. We all have problems; however, we must understand who is in control. We bring our difficulties to the Lord, leave them with Him, and TRUST Him. We trust Him because we know that He is the only one who is able to do anything about anything. So in reality peace comes from a life of trusting the Lord because we know that He is going to take care of His children. Then and only then can my heart rejoice because I know that even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. How can I have such peace? Because I know that God is with me! Go ahead and rejoice in the Lord as you continue to trust the loving hand of God who literally guards your heart.

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

A Beacon of Light

Philippians 2:14-16 (NASB) 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

 

Are we supposed to be a mere storehouse of faith where we have Jesus in our heart and patiently waiting our turn for eternity with our Lord? Is our faith for our own life or those around us? Paul challenges us to not have a narcissistic outlook about life and only worrying about me but about those around me. Paul challenges us to live in such a manner that our life is like a lighthouse. The unusual thing about lighthouses is that they shine in fair weather as well as stormy and during the daytime as well as at night. They never stop shining their light. Jesus instructed us in this manner in Matthew 5: 14-16 (NASB) 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Paul tells us that we are supposed to be a light to the world so that my life will be always ready to meet my Lord and not turned away (v16). Jesus more pointedly tells me that I am a light to the world so that the world may see the working of God in my life so that they will be led to His loving hand and glorify is wonderful name. Be a beacon of light to embolden your faith for yourself but also for every person you come into contact. I challenge you to be bold, be courageous, be empowered to stand up for Jesus and tell the world about His wonderful love. There is no doubt that this world needs to see God’s wonderful love in my life as well as yours.

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

A new walk

Ephesians 4:20-24 (NASB) 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

 

I was talking to a friend the other day who stated that his wife came successfully through back surgery. He stated that they were walking down the hallway the day after the surgery and he knew she was no longer in pain because her walk had changed. She had previously been in so much pain that it affected the way that she walked. Now she was free from pain and walking differently. How should a Christian walk (live) after faith is placed in the Savior? Should a person life differently after salvation? Paul instructs us in a rather pointed manner that our walk should not be as the old self but the new life in Jesus, which is after the Lord and His holiness. If you were to continue to read this chapter then you would read some practical ways in which Paul instructs us and that should be evident in our lives. We must speak truth and not allow our speech to even have a hint of falsehood (v25). We need to bridle our anger and not allow it to lead us to sin, which is exactly where the devil desires for us to live (v26). A person must not be dishonest and steal from others, which could be blatant stealing or dishonest business practices but sharing with those who do not have (v28). The words of our speech ought to be so changed that they are used for edification rather than destruction (v29). And finally, we should be treating people with the same love and forgiveness that Jesus has given us (v32). How is your walk? Does it resemble your old self or your new life in Christ Jesus? A new walk is the greatest witnessing tool. The world needs to see the change in our lives so that they will understand the power and grace of our Lord and know that they need Him.

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs