Daily encouragement

Video by

Matt Shaw

ACF Devo Team

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Philippians 4:6-9

Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me — everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Behind the Scenes

Ever have a thought run through your head that you can’t get rid of? A thought that spirals into something fearful? Something happens in the world, and you start to focus on that and soon you’re running down a rabbit trail of “what ifs.” It’s harmless at first. It might start something like this, “Oh, my husband is running a little late. I’ll turn dinner down to low, so it doesn’t burn. He probably just got caught up in a conversation on his way out the door. What if his boss called him in and wants him to go on a trip. Oh man, that’s going to be such a pain to handle all of the appointments coming up by myself. No, that trip was given to Larry. Wait, what if he got into a car accident? What if he is on the side of the road right now not being about to reach his phone and is bleeding? What if he’s hurt really bad, even unconscious? What if…? What if…? What if…?

Our world today has so many things that can ratchet up our anxiety and severely affect our mental health, but our verse today has a prescription for that.

First, we see that we are to pray about everything. What do we pray about? EVERYTHING. We aren’t told to just pray about the big things; we are told to pray about ALL the things. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The really mundane and the life-altering. We bring it all to Him.

Next, we see that we are to be thankful in our prayers. God is the greatest scientist — I mean really, He designed our bodies, so He knows what’s good for us. In an article in Positive Psychology, I learned that research shows “when we express gratitude our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately making us feel happy from the inside.” How cool is it that the Creator of all things made us in such a way that when we are thankful, we have physiological responses that make us happier? So, when He tells us in His Word to be thankful, it’s not just because He wants to be appreciated, but also because He wants us to feel better.

Finally, we see that we are to ASK. James 4:2b says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” We’ve already investigated how and what we are supposed to ask for, but I want to look at the result of being thankful (besides a better emotional state) and asking; our Scripture says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (emphasis mine). This is a clear prescription on experiencing peace — God’s peace. To be clear, God’s peace and the world’s peace will look different. The world’s peace says that all your troubles go away and you get everything you want. God’s peace says that He is with you in the storm, and that you will make it through.

Make it Real

If you keep going, you see that Paul also says to “fix your thoughts” on some really good things — what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. When we do that, look what happens… Then the God of peace will be with you.

This is so good — when we approach Him in everything with thankfulness and when we fix our minds on the good stuff, we get God’s peace and His presence. Guys, I don’t know about you, but if I have His peace and presence in my life, I can face anything. Will my anxiety, depression, and troubles magically disappear? Probably not, but will I be able to take the next breath and the next step and face the next thing — most certainly! That’s His grace and mercy. That’s His promise.

End in Prayer

Father God, You are so, so good! You promise that when we focus on the good things You have given us and fix our minds on the things that honor and glorify You, that we will experience Your peace and Your presence. What more could we possibly need? We thank You for Your goodness and Your peace. In Jesus’ name ~ AMEN!

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator