4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.
A Note from the Author: If you are a regular reader of Pastor Rachel’s Tuesday Devotionals, I expect that you have enjoyed her writing. I know that I have. My name is Clarence Beverage and Pastor Joe and I have talked about joining the writing team for a while. This felt like the right time. I am truly honored to be able to do this and hope that I can be helpful.
Quite a few years ago my family doctor noticed that my PSA reading was increasing. That was followed by watchful waiting, then the “I need you to make an appointment with a urologist” for a biopsy, and then the realization that something had to be done. At that time Laura and I felt the obvious approach was radiation and found that a well known cancer center’s treatment program had been established at the hospital in Mt. Holly. So, we went ahead in faith that this was the solution.
I suspect that many of us have had to face themselves, or someone close to them, dealing with a potentially life threatening event in their lives. Being anxious seems to be a natural part of the process.
This week our theme is Faith & Encouragement – that through difficult times our faith can be relied upon, and even allow others around us to build their faith. I hope my faith story is something that you will be able to relate to. For eight weeks, five days a week, I drove, for a half hour each way, from Marlton to the hospital. Might you wonder what I did during that time? Worried a bit, prayed some but most of all listened to what was contemporary Christian music of the day. So much of that music was uplifting and became very meaningful. It didn’t take long for this time to be cherished renewal. It helped me talk with God and have greater peace. To this day I can look back and say that I am glad that I had that special time and recognize that it would not have happened without having to deal with a situation I never would have wanted.
For me, now, Paul’s words to the Philippians embody what I experienced and learned. But I could not really understand and apply the scripture until I had the experience of working through an anxiety filled situation using scripture, prayer, and music.
by Clarence Beverage
P.S. – An ending thought in terms of helping each other in our faith walk: often our anxiety can be attributed to focusing solely on the problem, especially at times when answers are not yet identified. A go to scripture for me is 1 Peter 1:3-4, which looks forward and reminds us of life eternal. It says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”
For Pondering & Prayer
All of us are wonderfully made and are unique in many ways. Do you feel that you are able to use life experiences to help guide you – even if it’s a work in progress? If you have felt uncomfortable about reaching out and sharing about a concern or difficult situation, please don’t. Our church is full of caring people, our prayer chain is always available, and did you know that we even have a Caring Team (a group of laypeople who do visitation) as well? You can access all of these by sending your request for prayer and support today.
Prayer: Holy Lord God, we thank you for the many things that you have given us and ask that you will help us to recognize the good and beautiful in our lives as that helps us to be thankful. We pray for the presence of your Spirit who strengthens us in faith that comes from your Word, and helps draw us ever closer to you in relationship. Amen.