Read. And re-read.
Most Saturday nights you’ll find me and our two daughters gathered in the living room, relishing in our freshly cleaned house (…because that’s what Saturdays are made for, right? Giving the children an opportunity to give back to the household that shelters them throughout the week?) and preparing our hearts and minds for Sunday morning’s worship service. Saturday nights represent a sacred time the Holy Spirit prompted me to initiate several years ago with our children. Early in their childhoods, it looked a lot simpler, consisting of a Bible story and quick prayers before bed. But as they’ve grown and matured, the conversations have broadened and deepened, giving way to a beautiful and rich discipleship connection.
I would love to say that I spend hours in preparation each week, procuring a noteworthy teaching curriculum. But the truth is, I’ve found it hasn’t been necessary. The beautiful thing about technology developments has been connecting over God’s Word daily through the Bible app plans I’m reading with each of them. Saturday night opens the door for further discussion of something that the Lord brought to the surface for me in the previous six days.
Recently I was reading through Philippians and intentionally read and re-read through chapter 4. It’s a familiar passage of Scripture and can typically be one that I could glaze over.
“Yes, I’ve read this often. Memorized it as a kid. Got it.”
But because Scripture is alive, it can often strike the reader differently each time it is read, spoken, and encountered. Currently I’m reading the Bible through in the New Living Translation–both Old & New Testaments with our 17-year-old and the New Testament with our 12-year-old. So I’m getting a lot of the same segments twice this year. And I am loving it.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7 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.
8 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. 9 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 4:6-9]
This segment of verses starts with a simple directive from the apostle Paul, but one that is easier said than done. “Don’t worry about anything.” Is that even possible? I don’t know about you but often I find that the messages God inspires me to preach or teach on come out of issues He is personally challenging me with. Perhaps in all that Paul was encountering on his own missionary journey, finding one obstacle to his ministry after another, he was reminding the believers at Philippi, along with himself, that worry will get you nowhere, except perhaps into a curled up fetal position in the corner of a dark room. And so this series of verses is personally challenging me these days as a fresh reason for worry, or “concern”, as we prefer to call it, arrives as consistently as the morning newspaper each day. Over the next few entries I’ll bring out some insights that I have been passing along to my disciples here at home and in many conversations I have been having over these past few weeks.
Let’s dig a little deeper, read, and re-read together.