PART 23 – GRATITUDE BEATS ANXIETY (26/3/20)
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“Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11)
We find what we look for. To misquote Jesus, ‘seek and you will find’ - if you seek to see God’s work, you will find it; if we seek to see problems and people’s faults, you will find them! There is always more to give thanks for than ever is going wrong! Paul encourages us,
‘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 4:5-7).
Rejoice in the Lord
Paul urges us to, “Rejoice in the Lord”. Our circumstances change, but our Father stays the same. He is consistently loving, Almighty and faithful. Therefore, we can always rejoice in Him! We can always say “Our Father in Heaven. Hallowed by your name”.
He is near
Jesus has promised, “Surely I am with you to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). When we lose faith in God’s presence, we become fearful, controlling, defensive… Paul urges us ‘let your gentleness be evident to all’; when fear enters, love and gentleness are lost.
This is so important at this time when we have more time and more reasons to worry. Many of us are spending far more time together than usual. Therefore, it’s vital, that we allow faith to make us gentle.
How do we overcome anxiety?
Paul teaches that anxiety is beaten through 'prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ If we will bring all of our daily needs to the Father; If we will give thanks for all that we see the Father doing, we are promised, ‘The peace of God, which transcends all understanding’. We all need this kind of peace!
Learning to have gratitude
Recently I’ve been seeking to be more grateful. Too often I fixate on what’s going wrong, rather than having eyes to see what the Father is doing. At the end of each day, I set aside some time to sit in silence. I recall the events of the day in my memory and give thanks for everything that has given me any joy: that amazing cheese sandwich; that song I listened to that lifted my spirit; the government working hard during this crisis; that person I met with; that half an hour of sunshine; my wife features everyday…Anything big or small.
When was the last time you thanked God for clean water and an inside toilet?
Gratitude beats anxiety! Therefore, every day in everything, pray and give thanks!
How will you make gratitude a bigger part of today and your lifestyle? Perhaps at the end of this day, you could sit, recall, and give thanks for the many good things that God is blessing you with.
During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – EVERY DAY IN EVERY THING PRAY AND GIVE THANKS.
Have you ever had a need that God has met?
Introduction - please read in your group
This week we have come to the phrase, ‘Give us today our daily bread’. The title of the message on Sunday was, ‘Every day in every thing pray and give thanks’.
We can often pray and give thanks for the big things in life whilst neglecting to pray and give thanks for ‘daily bread’. We are to come to the Father daily with particular focus on the day that's in front of us. Today, this day, God promises to meet our needs.
It’s also very important to notice that Jesus uses the term ‘give us…’. We are to be in close community so as to know and pray for one another’s needs.
Read The Lord’s Prayer
“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (“…For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”) (Matthew 6:9-13)
i) Give us…
To make this a reality, we all need to be close enough to people so as to know and pray for one another. No Christian should be isolated from God or their brothers and sister.
Discuss: How can you deepen relationships through this current crisis?
Our relationship with God is to be like old-style shopping where one acquired what was needed each day. Jesus promises “your heavenly Father knows what you need” but we are still taught to pray this every day. The Father wants us to come to Him every each day and not just in a crisis!
Discuss: Do you ask and give thanks about all your needs? How could you make prayer and thanksgiving a natural part of your lifestyle?
Go around your group, each one sharing what they would like prayer for at the moment. Pray for each person in turn. In particular, what are your 'daily bread' needs at the moment?
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