Today’s Scripture: Philippians 4:6
Good afternoon and happy Monday to you. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, and more importantly encountered God where ever you choose to worship at be it Sunday morning, Saturday evening, or Sunday night. To me it doesn’t matter when or where you attend church as long as when you’re there…you encounter God.
I know that we had the sweet presence of Jesus fill our sanctuary at New Life Christian Center – Centerton Campus on Sunday morning. It’s awesome to press in, and have the presence of God just fall. If you’re not experiencing that where you go to church…maybe it’s time to check out a different church.
I mean this isn’t part of the message, but I guess the Holy Spirit can say what He wants…if you’re going to church for any other reason than to encounter God…then you’re going to church for the wrong reason. Listen, it’s too late in the world in which we live, and we’re too close to the rapture of the church to be playing church anymore.
I may not always be the perfect example, but I knew when the Lord spoke to me this years theme: Getting Serious About Being Serious With God…that the time for having one foot in and one foot out of the Kingdom of God was over. It’s time to be either hot or cold…and there’s so many lukewarm Christians out there who think they’re okay…you’re not. It’s time to get off the sidelines…and get serious about being serious with God.
I don’t know who that was for, but I’m always happy to speak for the Holy Ghost. It’s always a better message when the Holy Ghost speaks anyways…Amen.
So…let’s see what today’s message is about…I saw the name Tim Tebow…so I imagine this ought to be a pretty good message.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6
It’s a good thing to take this verse and put it on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or basically anywhere that you’ll see it on a regular basis. Just because it’s good to remind ourselves that we’re to be anxious, careful or worried about nothing…but to pray about how much? Every thing. It’s also good to be reminded that we’re to pray with thanksgiving…and that’s because we should be praying knowing that God hears us, and that we need to always pray as though we know God not only hears us…but has already provided the answer for us.
Tim Tebow loved to write this verse under his eyes, but it’s a verse we should have written in our hearts. Many times we will need to call up this verse and claim it in our situation.
Jesus spoke about worry in His Sermon on the Mount. In fact, we talked about that in our 15 Days in the Word with John Piper – LET JESUS ARGUE WITH YOUR SOUL ABOUT BEING ANXIOUS message. Here, we’re reminded to be careful for nothing. If you look at different translations of this verse this word careful is translated as: anxious, worry, and the Amplified Version translates this verse this way:
6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. Philippians 4:6 Amplified Version
The point here is to remind us that we need not be careful, worried, or anxious about anything…and if we are then we’re encouraged to cast our cares and burdens upon the Lord. In fact, Jesus issues us the Great Invitation to cast our burdens and yokes upon Him in exchange for ours.
Why all this insistence on worry? Because worry leads to doubt and unbelief. Jesus encouraged us to “Fear not, only believe”. The reason the Israelites couldn’t enter into the Promised Land wasn’t because of their sins, it wasn’t because of their murmuring or complaining…it was because of their unbelief. So there’s a lot of talk in the Bible about not worrying, not fretting, and not being anxious about anything.
It’s hard to imagine a quarterback living this verse, especially in the extreme situations they face.
Do not be anxious about anything – How about 300 pound defensive linemen pouncing at you?
But in every situation – Down by six and one yard from the end zone with two seconds on the clock in the last quarter?
By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving – Who has time to talk to God scrambling out of the pocket?
Present your requests to God – “God, help me!”
In every situation…we’re to take our requests to God. Now, I like that the writer talks about just a quick “God, help me!”. Listen, some times that’s all we’re going to be able to say. I can tell you that there have been probably hundreds of times (if not more) where the only thing I could manage to say was just that. “Help me, Lord.” I can promise you that He hears those prayers just as much as He hears the long, overly worded ones that we pray to sound spiritual.
We’ve talked about prayer before, and it’s amazing to me how many people think they have to always have this long, drawn out formal prayer, and that talking to God like you’d talk to anyone else is disrespectful to Him. I realize that most people approach God like He’s their Judge, but He’s also our Father. There’s always a time to approach God formally, but there’s also times where you can just approach God like He’s your Father, your Friend, and that’s because He’s just as much our Father and Friend as He is our Judge.
Listen, there are some times when we’re in certain situations or circumstances that “Help me, Lord.” is all we’re going to have time to say. I guess the point of this is to help you understand that it’s important to not get caught up on how you approach God…and to just approach Him. It says that we’re to bring Him EVERY thing. Not some things, not just the hard things, or the bad things…it says EVERY thing.
I’m sure Tim Tebow muttered quick prayers in desperate situations, but notice he claimed the verse BEFORE the kickoff, not during the fourth quarter. He was prepared for the worse situations, setting his heart monitor before things got tough, not trying to remember the verse while his heart rate skyrocketed.
Here’s a good thing to remember. In the beginning of this message I suggested that we write this verse on one of those sticky notes, and make sure it’s some place where we are going to see it on a regular basis. Why? To remind us that we need to be prepared with this verse BEFORE we go out into the world. Why do you think morning prayer and devotional time is so important? It prepares us for the day. It helps us to be in the mindset of Christ…and when things come our way it helps us to be in that mindset already. So that when circumstances arise we can boldly and confidently just say “Help me, Lord.” knowing that He will.
While things are calm, we need to tell ourselves NOW not to worry. To present every possible request NOW, so when something comes up we’re not surprised. We need to know NOW that God can handle anything, even if you fumble.
That’s the point of bringing EVERY thing to the Lord. Good, bad or ugly it all is to be taken to the Lord in prayer and supplication. I love how this writer says that we’re to take every possible request NOW…even when things are calm…because Jesus promised us that perilous times would come. The more we condition ourselves to bring EVERY thing to the Lord when times are good and relaxed…the more instinctual it will be to seek Him when troublesome times come.
God can handle anything we come up against, but the important thing is to bring them ALL before the Lord.
There’s a lot of scripture that talks to us about worry, fretting, anxiety, and they all tell us that we need to take those things to the Lord. However, I agree with the writer of this devotional that it’s good to bring ALL things to the Lord because when we are in the habit of bringing things to Him whether they’re good or not…we’ll always be in the habit of bringing EVERY thing to the Lord.
Remember…He cares for us. He loves us. He wants and desires to help us, but He can’t do anything if we don’t go to Him…Amen!?!