#204 – THANKSGIVING (1/10/20)
Are you more aware of the good things in your life or the things that are going or could go badly?
Yesterday we saw that we can talk to our Heavenly Father about anything that is worrying us. Paul adds that our praying is to be full of thanksgiving. Paul writes,
'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ (Philippians 4:6)
There are always abundant things for which to be thankful. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of ascending a long climb. As you progress, you look ahead to the goal and try to keep a good attitude. On such a slog, it’s important to enjoy the view; look back and see the terrain that you’ve covered already. See the path snaking back into the valley. Maybe you can see your car, now a tiny speck, in the valley. You’ve overcome a lot! This is like thanksgiving. It’s recalling all that God has done already. Let’s recall Paul’s example in the opening of this letter,
‘I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…’ (Philippians 1:3-5)
Paul had reasons to be anxious about this church, his imprisonment, his life, their unity…but he prays with thanks! He gives thanks for specific things like their ‘partnership in the gospel’. Let’s learn to do the same in all circumstances.
Think about what’s bothering you right now. Take some time to thank God for what you can thank Him for in relation to those issues.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - MAKE PEACE YOUR GUARDIAN THROUGH PRAYER
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
When have you felt most peaceful and why was this the case?
Introduction - please share in your group
On Sunday, and during this week’s devotionals, we are considering how we can experience the peace of God in all circumstances.
Firstly, Paul shows us that we are all prone to losing peace in our relationships. He encourages two leading women in the church to work out their difficulties,
‘I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.(Philippians 4:2-3)
Secondly, Paul talks more broadly about how we can make peace our guardian through joyful prayer. He writes,
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:4-7)
As we choose worship, prayer and thanks as we are assaulted with anxiety, we will enjoy peace with God, peace in our relationships and inner tranquility that defies logic.
Discuss in your group
(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)
1. What does it mean to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ and why does Paul repeat this? (4:4)
2. How does knowing that ‘the Lord is near’ (4:5) help us to be gentle and less anxious?
2. We are encouraged to bring everything to the Father in prayer (4:6). How could one cultivate this habit?
2. What is the peace of God that we are promised as a guard? (4:7)
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
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