God is Near!
Pastor Leonard Navarre
Welcome friends to YOUR BIBLE BOOST. It is my prayer that the next few moments together will be a time of encouragement but also a time to challenge each one of us to walk more faithfully with our Lord Jesus Christ.
I don’t know about you, but I suspect you are much like me. There are times when I feel anxious, worried and down right nervous over how life is shaping up for me. Our Bible Boost for today speaks to those feelings. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “The Lord is near; have no anxiety, but in everything make your request known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God which is beyond our utmost understanding will guard your hearts and thoughts, IN CHRIST JESUS.”
Notice how logically and beautifully this passage unfolds. The recognition of God’s presence is followed by the admonition “not to worry”.
Overcoming worry and anxiety begins with recognizing that God is near. Joshua 1:9 says, “do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “and I am with you always, even to the end of the ages.” So one of the first steps in overcoming worry and being anxious is to realize that “GOD IS NEAR”.
Reminds me of a story I heard long ago of a little boy who was scared still to walk down the street where a bully resided. One day one of his friends saw him walking right by the bully’s house and inquired why he wasn’t afraid to walk by the bully’s house. The little boy responded, “Well, my big brother is watching out the picture window to make sure I make it pass the bully’s house.”
God is watching, God is providing, God is close. So, do not be afraid and do not be discouraged.
The text also stresses the need for prayer and how to pray. We are to take all things to the Lord in prayer WITH THANKSGIVING. Notice the emphasis. Not just pray. BUT, pray with thanksgiving for whatever it is that is causing the anxiety.
So, I challenge you. Put this scripture to the test. The next time you find yourself on edge with anxiety. Are you worried, wringing your hands, don’t know what to do or where to turn? Pray, thanking God for whatever it is that’s causing the worry. Notice, it doesn’t matter the circumstance, for it says, “in everything” our prayers are to be offered with “thanksgiving”. I challenge you never to ask God for anything, anytime without reflecting upon the ledger of His bountiful blessings.
REMEMER now. Where is the apostle Paul when he writes these words. Do you remember? He is in jail. And from jail writes these words about “guarding your hearts”. Because Paul knows that if you allow your mind to wander it will bring up all sorts of creatures from the shadows. So Paul writes these words without anxiety worry or despair. What a great example for us today.
We can guide our minds and emotions to the promises of these words in Philippians. God is near. Don’t worry. God will hear, don’t worry. Give thanks for what God is doing and has done. Don’t worry.
When we follow these teachings, verse 7 says that a peace beyond our understanding or the worlds understanding will overflow into our hearts and lives to set up barriers against negative and inappropriate thoughts.
When we take our thoughts so stained with mistrust and purge them with the overflow of a grateful heart, we find that God is on guard just like this scripture tells us. We discover that the painful notions of worry are replaced by the soothing assurance of His presence and His peace.
Remember our Bible boost from Philippians 4:6 and 7…THE LORD IS NEAR! Don’t worry!