Aloha Friday Message – July 9, 2010

Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I found something extraordinary the other day. I want to share it with you. Please, follow this link:

I do not know who constructed that card but s/he must think much the same way we in the MBN think!

This verse from Philippians has been in several AFC’s over the past few years. It is a powerful message. It is so easy to forget that we do not need to be anxious. Eager, yes, but anxious, definitely not. That seems especially difficult recently. There are so many things which can stir up anxiety – there’s the oil spill, and two wars, the economy, and the weather, and that’s just the obvious stuff. There are matters that are less global, too – unless you’re directly involved in one of these four just mentioned – and things in our lives can make us fretful, too. Our kids and their future, our health or the health of a loved one, our jobs if we are fortunate enough to have one, aches and pains, traffic and pollution, and a million other things can all weigh upon us and wear us down.

So, are we to just merrily skip on down the road and ignore all of these things? No, that’s not wise; I don’t think it’s even possible. We cannot just ignore anything and everything that isn’t pleasant. But, we should not allow these things to steal our joy or dim our hope. When we contemplate all of this negativity from the perspective of our own lives, it seems overwhelming. If we try to commiserate with everyone who is suffering because of any of these things, we realize how helpless we can be against such an ocean of suffering. When we make the decision to share our concerns with God, to be thankful that he will help us understand, then we place our lives in his hands, we submit our spirit to his keeping.

Hope, peace, joy, and love – and much, much more – all of these fill us and surround us when we give God everything. Oh, it’s so tempting and so easy to say we hand it all over and then pick and choose a few things to hold onto so we’ll have something to worry about or to feel guilty about. Remember this? “Any of the things you have that you can give away are your possessions. Everything you cannot give away possesses you.” Paul is encouraging us to be possessed by God and by no one and not thing other than him. That is the source of that peace that surpasses understanding.

No one can do that perfectly. There are very few of us who can even do it well. Most of us utterly fail moment by moment, day by day, year by year. But there is One who did accomplish that goal of being totally in sync with God. Do you say, “Well it was easy for him! He was God!” No, not that easy actually. He was also completely human and as a human he completely submitted to God with prayer and thanksgiving. Imitate him. Before you give your life over to worry or despair, before you unleash you anger over another hurt or disappointment, take a moment, and use that moment for prayer and thanksgiving.

In the television epic LOST, Jack learned that he could close his eyes, count to five, and allow only that much of his life to be controlled by fear. We can do better. We can take five to join our hearts and minds and spirits and wills with God. Because we are imperfect, that union may not last more than a couple of seconds, but that is enough to allow peace to inundate us. We do not hold our peace; we are held in peace, the Peace that surpasses understanding.

Well, Beloved, that’s a wrap for today. Please, pray for one another with tenderness and joy, being thankful for all your blessings. For all the things that make the headlines, give thanks to God and request that he give you a better understanding. If you truly believe that immigration is out of control, the world is converting to Islam, the economy is going to destroy our nation and that all of this is unbelievably horrible … you have missed out on having some of that unsurpassable peace. Many of the same people who fear these things also believe that God’s hand is always active and that none of these things occur without him allowing it. If you believe he is actively involved in all that is happening and that nothing that happens is unexpected to him, you’re missing out of a big flood of peace if you can’t make that apply to everything globally, even universally. It is most definitely wrong not to care about all of these issues. In the recent past these AFC messages have looked at acts of mercy, acts of faith, and the path of commitment. It is essential that we care and that we care enough to take action to mitigate the suffering and sorrowing in this world. We can even suffer and sorrow for them and with them. But to feel that unsurpassable peace, we have to “let go and let God.” IF he allows it – whatever it is – we can trust him to make it right.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

Please get out there and do your part to mitigate whatever it is that worries you. Do that with prayer and thanksgiving and with the expectation it will bring you peace. It wouldn’t hurt to count to five a few times, either.


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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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