Through the Word in 2020 #70 – July 8 / Owing our Thoughts

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Peace. At the present time, there seems to be little of it be found anywhere. There is unrest, a decided lack of peace civilly, politically, economically and in the current pandemic with its perpetual antiphonal chants of opposing opinions filling a 24 hour news cycle. What is one to do to find peace? Where is one to go? So many of us are so care-worn, we cannot catch a moment’s peace. So here’s a question – do you just want peace – the noise to go away; or the peace of God, which can only be had when we have the God of peace? That’s our focus today on Though the Word in 2020.
Along with Luke 5:17–26; Psalm 109; 1 Chronicles 18–20:3, our reading today takes us to that very familiar passage Philippians 4:2–9.
Now verses 6 & 7 are often taken as a small section by themselves. Reasonably enough. The emphasis upon prayer bringing us the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds in Jesus, is right and good in and of itself. But it fails to see how Paul’s point is not for Christians to use prayer as a mere mechanism to get peace. As though peace is something we can have apart from – as verse 9 puts it: the God of peace with us. In other words, it is God being WITH us which is the source of all peace. He brings peace, He doesn’t just give it. And if we won’t have or seek Him, in truth, we will not have His peace either. The 2 are inseparable.
So, we major on trying to not be anxiety-ridden by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, making our requests known to God. Good. But there is more to this. For if we do not also take up the call of vs. 8 to govern our thought lives, and live out the truth of the Gospel in vs. 9, we still will not know the God of peace. Peace will still elude us.
So, what do you think about? Do your thoughts run away with you? Or do you put your thoughts into your service? Do you direct your thoughts to ponder things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise?
Let me tell you, you will not find the things which support such a thought life on FoxNews, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, The Drudge Report, or any other news or commentary outlet. The only sure source of truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness and the rest, is God’s Word.
Am I saying we pay no attention to what’s going on around us? Not at all. I’m saying the God of peace does not grant us peace when we allow our minds to fix on what can only agitate by its nature. That we need to reclaim our thought lives. Know the news. But think on, meditate on, muse on, consider the things which are in concert with seeing, knowing and growing in the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ.
The World is not at peace. Nor will it ever be until Jesus returns. And we can think on the broad turmoil roiling all around us, or we can think on other things as the mainstay of our inner dialog.
So, what occupies your thoughts? If it leads to fear, agitation, anger, cursing of others, pointing the finger, complaining, and unrest of soul – something’s amiss. Give your brain a vacation. Every day – for at least some time – “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in the likes of Paul —practice, and the God of peace will be with you.”
I’m Reid Ferguson. God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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