A Lenten Journey: Climbing to the Cross – Day THREE

Philippians 4:1-9 (The Message):

My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.

I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding grudges. And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Umm….I’m sensing a theme developing here…
Whacking away at the worrying again.

But I like what Peterson has done here in The Message –
he’s summed the whole thing up with one line:

“It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry 
at the center of your life.”

Such a practical fellow, Paul was. 
Try praying instead.
Think about good things.
Struggling with this faith stuff?
Do what I do. 

But you know what I think?
I think Paul was a little bit worried himself – yes, I do.
Those two women,
the leaders in the church,
the ones working right alongside him to build this church in Philippi,
they’ve had a falling out.
And it troubles him.
It troubles him a great deal.
He URGES them to make things up.
He recruits the guy with all the consonants in his name 
to work on the problem, too. 


Because they’re good people,
‘their names are written in the Book of Life, too.’
And because he cares about them, he worries the situation a bit. 

I take heart from this small piece of personal meddling.
I truly do.
And I’m going to take Paul at his word and do what he does.
I’m going to carefully meddle once in a while, too.
       If I care about the people involved,
       if I want those harmonies to resonate,
       if I think the worrisome matter needs hands-on action as well as prayer action. 

And I’m not going to worry about it when I do.
Holy Friend, here’s where I really need your Spirit’s discernment and grace: would you grant me the wisdom to know when intervention is holy and good and when it’s just plain nosy? How I want to celebrate You every day, all day. Teach me to revel. Maybe if I learn how to do that, the nosiness/holy intervention quandary will disappear. I think I’d like to find out. Amen.
Click here for day one of this series and an explanation of what it’s all about. 

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  1. Glenda Childers says

    I loved the idea of revelling … all day in God.

  2. Patricia Spreng says

    shaping my worries into prayers… my panic into peace… ahhh.

  3. Diana Trautwein says

    Yeah, I really like that image, too. And that’s what I did a lot of yesterday on that bird shoot.

  4. Diana Trautwein says

    I do think it’s the only remedy. :>)

  5. So timely…today I watched in horror (really!) as a loved one made incredibly disrespectful, hurtful comments about her spouse (another loved one) in a very public forum…and I didn’t know what.to.do.