Life has been pretty tough all over lately. Fires swooped in to destroy people’s homes. Smoke makes it hard for people to breathe. The economy is bad and people are losing their homes, their jobs and their retirement funds. Some people are sick, some people are exhausted and some people are so busy they don’t remember why they started.
So, as we study Philippians, the book of Joy, and approach the time of year for rejoicing and thankfulness, some might ask, how? How in the midst of this do we find joy or thankfulness?
We find joy and thankfulness because we turn to God. And we remember.
Exodus 15:2 The Lord gives me strength and makes me sing; he has saved me. He is my God, and I will praise him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I will honor him.
Psalm 13:5 I trust in your love. My heart is happy because you saved me.
Psalm 18:19 He took me to a safe place. Because he delights in me, he saved me.
Psalm 34:4 I asked the Lord for help, and he answered me. He saved me from all that I feared.
Psalm 116:1-3 I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him. Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out. “Save my life!” God is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.
Isaiah 12:2 God is the one who saves me; I will trust him and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord gives me strength and makes me sing. He has saved me.”
Philippians 4:4-5 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.