(week 1 of church service on hiatus due to COVID-19)
March 15, 2020 Philippians 4:4-8; Ephesians 1:16-19; Psalm 46; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 1:2-8; Acts 17:26,27
During our panel interaction we took a look at some passages of Scripture that help us dial in our thinking. And dialed in, right thinking usually produces good fruit.
Don’t underestimate the importance of knowledge - of knowing truth about God and how He works – especially in difficult situations. It’s important to know what God is really like so we aren’t led astray by misconceptions about God. Our culture is chock full of misconceptions about who God is. A wrong view of God can lead to some really detrimental behavior, causing us to miss out on the blessings God really does want to give us (Matthew 25:24-27).
Philippians 4:4-8 really has us focus our thought process on the things of God and God’s perspective or vantage point. Paul’s point in doing this is that the result will be for our protection and for our peace of mind. Understanding who God is and how He wants to interact with us opens up these kinds of possibilities. In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul lets us in on how he prayed for the church at Ephesus. There is a lot here but I want to point two very important things. He prays for a spirit of wisdom and of revelation regarding our knowledge of God, and for us to be able see with the eyes of our hearts, what is the hope of our calling = hope. Let us not stop praying this both for ourselves and for our own church. This is one of the best things one can pray. And we can always know it is God’s will. The second thing I want to point out is that Paul says he does not cease giving thanks for them – having heard of their love and faith. I don’t know who is reading this but if you are, you must be among those who want to genuinely grow in your faith in Jesus and to learn how to better love as Jesus would love. I am so thankful for those who have an insatiable desire to grow in their faith. You are those who make ministry very satisfying in real time.
Psalm 46 gives us the kind of assurances we all need to hear often but especially during what can feel like desperate times. Acts 17 echoes this in as Luke reaffirms that we are where we are supposed to be and it fits into God’s plans – as it should He is the One who designed it all. We are right where we need to be to carry out the plans and purposes God has for us.
It doesn’t always feel that way and the James 1 section reminds us that we need just ask for God’s wisdom. God stands ready to give generously the wisdom He promises.
Why? Because as the great high priest, Jesus has been where we have been in many different circumstances – tempted as we are, but without failing (Hebrews 4).
As for the present turmoil, this too shall pass. It always does.
In the meantime, we are to stand steadfast and allow God to work His will in us in order to to train us and discipline us. It will all help shape us if we allow Him to do so during this unique time.