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Peace isn't determined...

Dear Friend,

Today I am sharing a devotional shared by friend D. Andrews from San Diego.

“Love Lives Here” is a reminder from GiG Kathi that, “…peace isn’t determined by our circumstances; it’s determined by the way we respond with God’s help to those circumstances.”

GiG, I’d like to continue where I left off yesterday in encouraging us all to relish in peace and contentment. It is true that our contentment should be governed by our inner attitude and the decisions we make and not the external circumstances regardless of what they may be, yet there are several of you or someone you know who are neither experiencing contentment nor peace.

My prayer is that we will uncover the “secret of contentment” as modeled by the apostle Paul. Doing so will help us experience joy and peace regardless of our current situation. Let’s start with God’s inspired Word provided through Paul in Philippians 4:4-13: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

I know it seems strange that a man in prison would be telling a church to rejoice. But Paul’s attitude teaches us an important life lesson—our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances. Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him. So as Paul urged the Philippians, I too urge us onward and upward in being joyful and content.

GiG, I suspect we all have had first-hand experiences in getting discouraged. It’s easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or to take unimportant events too seriously. It’s important to have a go-to person for those occasions. She (or he) can help you look at life from the right perspective. If you do not have such a person (prayer partner), I pray that God will bring someone into your life for that specific role.

Why is obtaining an accountability person for this matter so important? Oh, GiG, discouragement has a way of spreading more rapidly than the flu. Discontent can be so bad that even when all is going well we can be pinned to the ground by it. If truth be told, we often go about our day failing to recognize genuine contentment when we see it. That’s why an accountability person is so vital to point out when we’re getting sidetracked.

GiG, the short and long of it is this: genuine contentment is freedom from worry and frustration about everything in life—even unfulfilled desires, or inability to control or change our situation.

Lack of genuine contentment will allow circumstances to cheat us out of peace. Like I mentioned yesterday, I'm not saying we will never again experience anxiety or frustration. But what matters is how we respond when those feelings grip us.

How do we respond when circumstances are out of our control? Do we get angry? Do we try to escape? Does our despair make us want to give up? Paul chose to give his anxieties to Jesus in exchange for peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). Having a personal relationship with Jesus means that same peace is available to us too!

Paul goes even further in his example. He tells us to turn our worries into prayers. If we truly want to worry less, then simply pray more! Yup, whenever we get that itch to worry, stop and pray because our children and friends need a role model living out a devotion to God through prayer, Bible reading, and holy living.

GiG, if we make knowing and following Jesus our first priority, we’ll experience contentment and peace that’s contagious. But in order for that to happen, we need to rely on God’s promises and Christ’s power to help us be content. And if you asked me, that’s a good contagion.

Are you ready for a spiritual pulse check?

Does it seem like you simply always want more? If so, it’s time to ask God to remove that desire and teach you contentment in every circumstance. He will supply all your needs, but in a way that he knows is best for you.

Let’s be encouraged to see life from God’s point of view. Focus on what we’re supposed to do, not what we feel we should have. OUCH or Amen!

God’s Got It…so we can HOPE—Hope is not the absence of fear, it is the presence of God.

Have a “We Can” Wednesday, June 20, 2018—do everything through Christ, who gives us strength. Yup, explore the paradigm of having great needs, instead of being discontented because of not having what we want

Called to serve and encouraging others to thrive,

DEA Semper Gratus--always grateful; therefore, "My situation should not change my praise, but my praise can certainly change my situation!"

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