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.
Oh what treasures lie
within a thankful heart,
How sweet the sound
of joy within the voice
When we give our praise
through every smile and trial.
What a friend we have in Jesus
when with Him we share our cares,
how precious are the words we speak
as we go to Him in prayer.
Wherever we are going
and no matter what we do
let us remain joyful
because God will see us through.
~Marcell Warner Bridges
©10 September 2018
It feels like the calm before a storm. Actually, at the moment, it is the calm before the storm as we wait for Hurricane Florence to arrive in our part of the state.
I’ve watched the coverage until I’m sick of it. We’ve done all we can to prepare. Now that the initial preparations are over, my mind is working itself into a frothy worry.
Worry can lead to depression and typically during a depressed state we lose our joy. We might get to where we can’t even function or find a way to crack a smile.
But what is joy really? Is joy smiling? Is it being happy all the time? How does the bible define joy?
In Philippians 4:4 Strong’s Concordance defines it as: calm delight. I think when we read this verse, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice!” We might get the mental picture of jumping up and down in giddiness or always smiling and laughing, praising God in excitement.
And while that may be a way we can rejoice in the Lord, because who doesn’t praise God in excitement over certain situations, I really like this idea of ‘calm delight’. Does this not give you an instant sense of peace just to read those two words together?
I imagine it to be a feeling of peace within your soul. Even when the winds are battering around you, your mind is spinning off into another dimension with your heart hammering, and your body feels the energy of ants crawling through it, it is that peace that passes understanding deep down which gives you the ability to rejoice in the Lord. Have a calm delight in Him that He is going to get you through this and the hope that there is something better on the other side.
Last week I gave you the first 7 points to how to avoid losing your joy. We ended with Thanksgiving. Being thankful while we pray because that brings about the peace that passes all understanding. This week we begin with the thoughts we should be thinking about to continue to be calmly delighted in the Lord.
Here are the other seven:
8. Think on these things (4:8). This verse lists things we should be thinking on. Things that are true, honest, pure, lovely and of good report. Trading our anxious thoughts for good thoughts always brings hope and joy into our hearts.
9. Practice the Word (4:9). So all of these things that you have learned, heard, and seen in the Scriptures, do them. Faith without works is dead. We must put our faith into practice.
10. Rejoice in the Lord greatly (4:10)! Continue to rejoice in the Lord. Be thankful for those who have the opportunity to help you and take care of you.
11. Be content (4:11). Choose to be content in what you have and where you are in life. Don’t let yourself long and desire for things you cannot have.
12. Faith (4:13). Lean on God to help us do all things. I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST. Not on my own or through human help but through the help of Christ.
13. God supplies (4:19). God supplies all our needs. Not our wants because those can be superficial and not good for us. But God supplies what we need because only He has the riches and the power to do so.
14. Be kind (4:21). Be kind and good to each other. And let the grace of God rule in your hearts so you can give grace to others.
Should you find yourself feeling a bit down and wondering what to do, turn to the Lord. He’s always here to lift us up when we are down. Ask Him to bring good thoughts into your mind, things worthy of praise. I do believe this is what David refers to when he says he “strengthened himself in the Lord”.
From My Heart to Yours,
P.S. Here are some links to blog posts I read this week with helpful tips on working through anxiety and depression. I hope they help you too:
Depression and How I Dismantled It by Susan Ely
10 Things People Without Depression Take For Granted by Recklessly Alive