Whatever is Learned, Do

“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

PHILIPPIANS 4:9

Summer is pretty much gone, (officially in a few days) and the autumn season is upon us. We begin to notice that the leaves, as beautiful as they appear, are dying, falling, and making more yardwork for some of us. I’ve had an interesting summer. It has been very fruitful, in reflection of the season, yet without its hardships. I completed Insanity, which was trying, but developed a new discipline in my life. I am now a fitness instructor. I developed a children’s dance program, made new friends, took a few road trips, and took my first professional photos (which may not be much, but the Lord gave them to me as a gift and confirmed that moving forward with my business was exactly what He wanted from me).

Unfortunately, 21Verses hasn’t had a post since the 4th of July due to all the craziness that is life. God has taught me so much about relationships with others and my role in relation to the people I encounter.  Although we have skipped past a few parts, which will be revisited, from verse 8, verse 9 is where my heart is as fall approaches.

My prayer is that with new responsibilities, new positions, new work, new friends, and in a fairly new place, the call to reach those who don’t know Jesus and assist with the growth of other believers is still the same. It’s not a new phenomenon that you should be different within the workplace. There is no special new assignment for reaching those who need Jesus. There is no new assignment from Jesus. Everything that you have been called to and created to do is always under the umbrella of the Great Commission: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18,19

Paul reminds us of this in many of his letters but my focus is verse 9 of this chapter. Jesus commissions us to emulate His life based on all His teachings. Paul says the same and encourages discipleship. One mark of true believers in Jesus.

Gospel Groundwork Part 2: 21Verses of Freedom

groundwork2 To be justified means to be declared as righteous in the sight of God. Very simply put, you may have heard the saying, to be ‘justified’ can be remembered by saying, “Just as if I’d never sinned”. Before we get to the application part of Romans, we first have to look at how one is saved. If you aren’t saved, Jesus made a way for you to be free from the bondage of sin, even if you have not accepted Him yet.  To be justified through faith means that you have to believe what Jesus did was on your behalf and that He desires a relationship with you, for free. If you already have accepted Jesus as your Savior, reflect on whether you have surrendered to the full weight of His lordship in your life or not.

As you read this post, which is Romans 5, I pray that you will accept that Jesus has made a way for you to stand rightly before Him. If you are a Christian, reflect on the love He gives, the hope you have, and the forgiveness that you have been given for FREE. The act of justification was NOT FREE. Jesus paid the price for sin. He presents it to us as a free gift of grace. Independence Day was over 2000 years ago when the Savior of the world suffered, died, and was resurrected for you and I so that His glory could be seen and His grace experienced by us.

This has everything to do with how you live your life. It has everything to do with how you love your spouse. It has everything to do with how you serve others. It has everything to do with how you date. It has everything to do with how you choose your career. Sisters, what Jesus did on the cross has everything to do with your freedom.

ROMANS 5, NIV

(Bold and italic emphasis mine)

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Guarding Your Heart Series- “Whatever is Honorable”

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“FINALLY, BROTHERS,

WHATEVER IS TRUE,

WHATEVER IS HONORABLE,

WHATEVER IS JUST,

WHATEVER IS PURE,

WHATEVER IS LOVELY,

WHATEVER IS COMMENDABLE,

IF THERE IS ANY EXCELLENCE,

IF THERE IS ANYTHING WORTHY OF PRAISE,

THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.”

Philippians 4:8

My younger sister was recently told her privileges of TV and freetime had been suspended because she had abused her grounds to speak freely, and moved into disrespectful territory. The God-given authority, her parents, whom she should honor, had reminded her that she over-stepped her boundaries and dishonored them. Her response, which got her in even more trouble, was “SO DON’T HAVE ANY RIGHTS!?” She’s 11.

I don’t like politics.  I don’t like to vote. I don’t know much about how the government actually works. (Does anybody really?)

However, I know that the reign of God and the acceptance of His absolute authority in the hearts of men is a concept that many people, and even Christians despise. Even those who participate in political talks, who are Christian, rarely speak of Jesus as Lord and King, in the literal, everyday context.  Christian jargon uses phrases like, “Jesus is Lord”, “Jesus is King”, “King of Kings”, and “Jesus is Lord of my life” way too loosely without a life that matches the words, although they are all true.

Do you know what it means to make Jesus the Lord of your life? It means that your life has to be a theocracy. Theocracy is a form of government in which the people and land are governed by a god, gods, or a ruler with direct connection with the divinity. Moses and the Hebrew people are considered a theocracy in social studies.  Moses spoke directly to God and conveyed God’s law to the people. Simple. However, what about your personal life? The example of Moses is an Old Testament or “old covenant” example, meaning that before Jesus came to earth in human likeness to pay the price for sin through His death, burial and resurrection, those who wanted to follow Yahweh could not have direct access to His ways or words without going through the prophet of God or priest.  Jesus is has three primary offices he holds of Prophet (Luke 13:33), Priestest (Heb.4:14), and King(Eph.1:22; Col. 1:16-17). (You can check this post for further study and explanation of the threefold offices of Christ.) Jesus executes these offices perfectly and in them we see the ruler of our hearts.

We must submit our lives to His authority as King and ruler of everything in our lives (James 4:7). Those phrases are just words without actually submitting to the lordship of Christ in our lives.
So what is honorable? Whatever is honorable or noble is what we are discussing in this post, so what does the lordship of Christ in my heart have to do with what I should think on? The Greek word here is semnos meaning venerable, honorable, grave, serious, dignified. I love word studies because they give you a deeper meaning of the original word where our English languages sometimes fails.  This word is derived from the Greek word sebó which means to worship.  Honestly, I was a little confused at how we went from thinking of honor, to worship.

This word really means that we should think on whatever is worthy of worship with a sense of weighty awe, reverence, and grave sobriety.  Whatever is of noble stature, exalted in moral character and uprightness, is what we should meditate on.  Jesus is worthy of our worship (Ps. 96:9). Jesus is to be reverenced and feared (Deut. 13:4; Ps.33:3). Jesus is royalty and therefore, He is honorable (Zechariah 14:9).

In America, we have a democracy. A democracy is a form a government where the people decide who represents them and govern the society.  As an American, I can say that I am VERY unclear about how a monarchy is run.  A monarchy is the form of government where there is one ruler, who rules the government well, and wise, and is the sole decision maker.  American Christians have no idea what this means. We are very spoiled believe that our decisions are our own and we are entitled to live how we please. We want to marry how we choose. We want to speak our minds. We want our own way. We love to tell people that they cannot tell us what to do. We love to say “This is America!” or something about our rights when confronted with any hint of tyranny, like my sister, who believed the parents she should honor, had taken away her freedom and turned from loving to tyrannical.

Tyranny is the form of government where the ruler has obtained the office of a monarch, unnaturally or unlawfully and has corrupted the office. We can sometimes live like we think God is the tyrant, not the monarch. He loves us and wants to protect us. He is kind, gentle, loving, and gracious. He is also just and will not tolerate anything trying to be a tyrant in your heart. No spouse, no job, no vanity, no thing will overthrow Him in your heart. He won’t allow it. He is jealous and has clearly stated that there will be no other god in your life before Him.(Exodus 20:5, 34:14)

Surrender your heart to Him. He is a kind and merciful King. He can rule your heart better than any tyrant or democratic government ever could. When your id, ego, and superego (psychological voices of reason in your head) try to make the decision-making in your life democratic, remind them that this is not a democracy. What the King says in His Word, the Bible is what is going to govern all your decisions. Remind the voices around you that you are not of this world and that you will not entertain other options that are contrary to the Bible, or against your King’s laws. We cannot live a “when in Rome” lifestyle. We are called to live like we belong to another kingdom.

The ruler of your heart must be the King, Jesus. There are no other options in his Kingdom and He will never share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11).

Jesus is honorable, noble, upright, and worthy of worship. Nothing in my life requires that kind of attention, but Him. Spend time in quiet, solemn, meditation, where you think on the goodness and wonder of God. Take time daily to worship Him with a serious, reverential attitude. Think on these things and the peace of God will bee with you. Phil. 4:8

Guarding Your Heart Series: Whatever is True

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“FINALLY, BROTHERS,

WHATEVER IS TRUE,

WHATEVER IS HONORABLE,

WHATEVER IS JUST,

WHATEVER IS PURE,

WHATEVER IS LOVELY,

WHATEVER IS COMMENDABLE,

IF THERE IS ANY EXCELLENCE,

IF THERE IS ANYTHING WORTHY OF PRAISE,

THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.”

Philippians 4:8

There is much talk about what truth is today. “What is ‘your’ truth?”  “I’m/That’s the truth” ” Find your truth” and so on. The primary thing this whole series should point to, is the fact that you cannot guard your heart from life. God is the One who guards your heart with His peace in every situation. One way we receive this peace and are able to experience it is through meditating on God’s word. God’s word is the Bible. The Bible should be the most important book that you read each day. I remember being in college and with all the reading, it was impossible to have a desire to read God’s word.  I felt like I already had so much to read!! I preferred listening to conference and church service messages or sermons then because it was more palatable.

It was true that I had a lot of reading to do. It was true that I needed to make time to read the most important book in my life. It’s true that I did not read God’s word like I should have and during times of stress and temptation, I fell short. My heart was not guarded. I was not prepared to cope with the cares of this world and I lost the SENSE of God’s peace. God’s Spirit was drawing me near most of those days and when His voice beckoned me to receive His peace and be still so that I could find direction in my life.

Even now, at times, I forfeit the peace that is mine, that Jesus left with me, with us, and I pick up “my truth”.

John 1 says, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus prays in John 17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” 

There are many, MANY passages on God’s word, the inerrancy of God’s Word, the concept of walking in truth and God’s truth.  God’s Word, Jesus, is truth. God’s Word, His way and the completeness of His thoughts were embodied in Jesus Christ as He lived through what He spoke to us and as He followed the Father’s way and will completely and perfectly.  Jesus left us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, to teach us His Word, the words that He spoke.

Jesus says in John 14:25-27, These things I have spoken to you (the word) while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (the word). 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” [emphasis and parentheses mine]

Now we are back to God’s peace. Jesus encourages us HIMSELF by saying that we should not be afraid and that we should not let our hearts be troubled!!  Why? His peace is left with you to rule your heart! He says that He will send His Spirit to remind us of all the truthful words that He said and in the same passage, says He gives you His peace.

WHATEVER is TRUE- God’s Word is true, Jesus is true; so think on these things. Think about Jesus and His words to us.

Don’t cling to lies from the world that will tell you that your ways are best for you. Don’t believe that a day at the spa or a fancy vacation will bring you the peace you need. Don’t believe that your spouse will be your source of peace.  And most definitely don’t believe that your truth is THE truth or that all roads lead to God.

Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:5-6

The lack of being filled with the truth of the Bible, will cause a troubled, anxious heart and you will believe so many lies, that the truth of the Bible will seem frivolous. Then what will you be meditating on? We all have heard the quote about watching your thoughts because your thoughts become actions and your actions become habits. I want God’s truth to be my thoughts. I want God’s truth to fuel my actions. I want God’s truth to be my habit. Whatever is true, think on theses things.

Read John1, John 14, John 17, 1 John 1 and Psalm 1

Guarding Your Heart – Whatever! Subseries

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“FINALLY, BROTHERS,

WHATEVER IS TRUE,

WHATEVER IS HONORABLE,

WHATEVER IS JUST,

WHATEVER IS PURE,

WHATEVER IS LOVELY,

WHATEVER IS COMMENDABLE,

IF THERE IS ANY EXCELLENCE,

IF THERE IS ANYTHING WORTHY OF PRAISE,

THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.”

Philippians 4:8

Let’s review how to cooperate with the work of God that brings peace to guard our hearts:

  • Rejoice in the Lord
  • Be known as a gracious woman who extends grace and does not impose legalism
  • Be aware of Christ’s soon coming
  • Do not be anxious nor filled with anxiety about anything
  • Pray and pray consistently and often
  • Give thanks to God
  • Tell God what you desire, no matter what it is
  • Don’t be surprised when God’s peace guards your heart

Paul is at the beginning of his conclusion in his letter to the Philippians by verse 8.  He begins it with “Finally”.  This is a beautiful indicator that the process that we went over for the believer in Jesus regarding the anxious heart and God’s peace is sealed with one more thought.  He encourages us to think. Think about these things.  In the next few posts I want to breakdown these attributes that we so easily recite without care. This verse is almost like a mantra of sorts. The repetition of the “whatsoevers” or “whatevers” have a cadence that help you remember the characteristics ascribed to these “things”.

I wanted to build up to what those “things” are, but I feel the Lord leading this post in a more direct way.  The Greek word hosos, meaning “whatever” is very inclusive. It means “all things whatsoever, or all that”; “how much, how great, or how many”.  There are so many wonderful nouns that could be placed with the characteristics named, but why list what is obvious in the text? Does this mean we should think about rainbows because they are lovely? Or virtues and merit because they are praiseworthy? This can cause you to think the text is permitting your thinking and meditation to be subjective and relative. What if I think murder is praiseworthy? Or revenge is right or just? What if my truth does not line up with God’s word? Is it still true? God’s word is not speculative. It is concrete; it is absolute. We cannot take what we think to be true or just or commendable and attribute our own definitions. The Bible is the final authority on what life, marriage, love, justice, truth, honor, glory, grace, and “whatever” is.  God created these “things” and therefore He is the One who gets to define them. The Scripture is explicit on what your mind should be set on and not be set on.

Colossians 3 says to set your mind on things above.

Philippians 3 says enemies of Christ have their minds on earthly things.

Psalms 1 says to meditate on God’s law day and night.

Romans 8 describes the mind that is set on the flesh and the Spirit.

1 Peter 1 talks of a sober mind that is focused and alert.

Now we know that all things are created by Jesus, for Jesus, and are sustained by Jesus(Col.1:16; John 1:3; Rom.11:36). We also know that these things that He made were made to His glory and our enjoyment. However they were not made to be the source of change in our lives, nor worshipped, and they definitely were not made to be thought of as a means to inner peace. They merely and greatly reflect God’s ingenuity, beauty, and perfection. They do this insofar as we observe what God allows us to as His truth, justice, honor, and love in created things, so that we worship the Creator, Jesus, who is the One who satisfies what these creations appear to do.

The primary point here is that God perfectly knows “whatever things are …”. He knows what truth is. He knows what is able to be honored. He knows what righteousness and justice are. He knows what is pure. He knows what’s lovely. He knows what is of a good report and to be commended. He knows what is excellent and He knows what is praiseworthy.

The Holy Spirit is revealing to you, as you are reading this post, that He IS all these things. His perfect character and nature in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is and always will be everything you need to meditate on in this verse.

In the next few posts, we are going to take some time to explore where these characteristics are in the Bible and what God says about Himself, you, and His many gifts.

What steps can you take this week to change your thinking to meditate on WHATEVER or WHOever is …(Philippians 4:8 fill in the blank)?

Guarding Your Heart Series Pt. 5-Cooperate

peace“AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS”

Philippians 4:7

I believe God is going to allow many of you to receive the freedom that is yours in Christ from studying these passages. Let’s recap our past few weeks together, because today, God is going to speak to you about what is causing so much anxiety in your heart or preventing you from seeing Him clearly today.

According to Proverbs 4:23, guarding your heart is:

  • Keeping the sin that flows from your heart under the submission of the Lord to prevent yourself from hurting others
  • Protecting others from the damage that you can cause that may have lifelong effects
  • Putting to death any indulgences of any sin in your heart that can damage your fellowship with God and your relationship with others

According to Proverbs 4:23, guarding your heart is not:

  • Putting up walls around your heart so that you don’t get hurt
  • Withholding your true feelings, self, emotions, opinions from a significant other out of fear of being hurt or their response
  • Protecting the ugly, inner parts of our personality and habits to ensure perfection in a relationship

I also mentioned that it is actually impossible to guard such a precious thing. In fact, God is the only One, by His Spirit, who can guard your heart. You cannot put up the necessary barriers and guards to what comes out of your heart or affects it. Why? You have to trust God and turn your heart towards Him. Trusting in yourself with what you are capable of is dangerous and foolish. Also trusting yourself to try to “handle” a situation where you will have to resist the enemy, temptation to sin or temptation to respond sinfully in a hurtful circumstance will usually not end well if we are honest.

Jeremiah 17:5 says, “…Cursed is the man who trust in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Verse 7 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is in the LORD.” On top of that, Jeremiah 17:9-10 continues to say that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” ( proving that it is something which no one will understand) and goes on to say, “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

You must trust God with your heart.

You must trust God with the hearts of your friends and family.

You must trust God with the heart of your significant other or spouse.

You must trust the power of God’s Spirit in you to give you the ability to resist the devil and temptation.

GOD IS THE ONE WHO GUARDS THE HEART.

PERIOD.

We do, however, play a cooperative part in working with the Spirit of God in our lives to apply this. I shared with you that this whole thing is not about being a good woman, the best wife, mom, or girlfriend. This is about you following Jesus and His ways and He will empower you to fulfill any role He allows you occupy.

Remember that being a wife or mom is not promised to any of us.

Being a follower of Jesus is what we must focus on in order to fulfill these roles, if they ever are afforded to us. Colossians 3 is clear about “putting to death” earthly things in you and to,

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…and above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the PEACE OF GOD RULE IN YOUR HEARTS, to which indeed you were called in one body.

This passage is very similar to Philippians in explaining what we should be doing to cooperate with the work of the Spirit inside of us. Verse 18 solidifies the order of events in your life. First, put off worldliness. Second, put on Christ-likeness. And THEN wives submit, husbands love, children obey, fathers don’t provoke, bondservants or workers obey, and work as unto the Lord, masters or bosses be just and fair. The order is clear sisters. Know your place in Christ. This passage covers work and family! Paul is very clear in this passage in Colossians about the order to seek God, know your identity is in Jesus, cooperate with His work in you to remove anything earthly in you, and fill yourself with the acts that reflect, and are empowered by, Him.

This is how we get back to Philippians 4 which gives us clear instructions on how to position ourselves to have our hearts guarded by God.

Let’s review how to cooperate with the work of God that brings peace to guard our hearts:

  • Rejoice in the Lord
  • Be known as a gracious woman who extends grace and does not impose legalism
  • Be aware of Christ’s soon coming
  • Do not be anxious nor filled with anxiety about anything
  • Pray and pray consistently and often
  • Give thanks to God
  • Tell God what you desire, no matter what it is

“AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS”

Guarding Your Heart Series Pt. 4b-He’s There

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“DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING,BUT IN EVERY SITUATION,

BY PRAYER AND PETITION, WITH THANKSGIVING, PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS TO GOD”

Philippians 4:6

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear;

what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”

– John M. Scriven

 In the last post, I gave my personal experience with anxiety and depression and how Christ has set me free from the bondage that anxiety can easily bring to the Christian woman.  Unfortunately, we measure how we can get through our trials by comparing them with those who are less fortunate than we are.  Those who have gone through “more” than we have in our lives are seen as saints, or stronger than us because they have had to endure more.  Everyone of us has our share of trials that God has ordained which shape us into the women He wants us to be. As I don’t believe the mindset of comparing trials is beneficial normally, I do believe that we can learn from the strength and mistakes of others. Sometimes we can approach our lives with sensitivity when we keep the purpose of the trial in context. There is so much weight and truth in this one verse of Philippians for us to glean from.

Guarding your heart from your personal motives that may not glorify God and from the lies of the world is essential to keeping your peace.  A worldly mindset that stems from lusting after what you see, feel, desire, and pride of the heart could be that of entitlement(1 John 2:16). We think we are entitled to a “good man” because of how much we have done for others. We tell ourselves we “deserve” the American dream; well-behaved children, a loving, sexy husband who loves Jesus and serves, maybe a cute pet, a clean, well-decorated home in the suburbs, and a welcoming church home. We are not entitled to any of this friends. We are sinners, saved by grace, making us saints (Eph. 2:8). It is by grace that your messed up self, husband, and children have been or have the opportunity to be saved. You and I were not born with a “perfect life” coupon; a golden ticket, EZ Pass for living above trials.

John M. Scriven wrote the beautiful hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” as a poem to his dying mother, who lived across the world.  He had his share of heartache in this life and from it wrote the most beautiful words to comfort someone he loved dearly. Scriven’s tale starts with being a very privileged man who was born into a wealthy family. He was to marry the love of his life, but tragically, she fell from a horse into water, while riding to meet him, and drowned the night before their wedding. Later, Scriven moved to Canada and married another woman, a relative of the woman he worked for. She was baptized in an icy river before their wedding, developed pneumonia, and died four months into their marriage. I’m convinced that this man knew pain. He knew the friend Jesus could be, in loneliness, anxiety, and grief.

Marriage is SO very temporary.

We place much anxiety and worry over the person whom we will marry and invest so much care into the daily living after marriage, that we often forget that we are eternal beings.

“Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there”

This is why Jesus continues to prompt us to not worry for anything, and to give our cares to Him (Matt.6:25-34).  He encourages us to make Him the primary focus because this earth is not our home(1Peter 2:10).  Scriven was able to write the beautiful words to this poem, now international church hymn, because he was able to understand that it is an honor and privilege to take things to the One who is there for us. Jesus is here for us. He knows the plan He has for our lives and is a good God who will give to us all that we need to please Him (2 Peter 1:3).

Guard your heart from the lies that Satan will tell you through media, people, and even your own thoughts. You can do this by re-ordering these thoughts in your mind, casting down any high thing or thought that tries to exalt itself against the knowledge of God and His word (2Cor. 10:4-6). God’s word is the final authority in your life. It must be the only thing that we believe to be the truth or we will constantly fall victim to dissatisfaction, discontentment, anxiety, and worry.  This is why the verse states to bring everything to God, making what you lack or desire known to Him, with thanksgiving.  Why with thanksgiving?

When we are thankful for what God provides, we will realize that He has given us everything we need in Him. You are not alone. You are given daily bread. You have peace. You are loved.

Philippians 4:6 says with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. God knows that you have a need in your life, relational, emotional, physical.  He knows before you ask. However, keeping the peace that will guard you heart, as we will see, will be ever present as you take everything to God in prayer.  Scriven’s words weren’t written out of the life he started with- privilege.  It has to be assumed that knowing that God bears all our griefs, and being “heavy-laden” are words from experience.

“Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!”

 Sister, your experiences will allow you to speak life and hope into another sister’s pain. The glory of your greatest victories in your life will be given to the Lord because you know that He bears your burdens and the peace you experienced in a time of such turmoil only came from Him. He is there.

It’s the peace that surpasses understanding.

-Joy