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Focusing on the good produces peace

January 31, 2024

Daily Scripture

Philippians 4:4-9

4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. 9 Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

In these verses the apostle Paul talked about gladness, gentleness, an absence of anxiety, a spirit of gratitude and a deep, abiding peace. But these things didn’t just happen naturally, without any awareness on our part. Paul ended by saying “practice these things.” We become strong Christians by choosing to direct our thoughts and our actions toward our God, who promised us rich spiritual and relational rewards.

  • “Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people,” Paul wrote (verse 5). Various marriage counselors and pastors have noted the sad irony that many people treat strangers or casual acquaintances far more gently than they do their spouse or children. How’s your gentleness quotient toward “all people”? How is it toward the people to whom you are closest, the people you say you love?
  • Verse 6 said, “Don’t be anxious about anything; rather bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.” Do you pray regularly about your closest relationships? Are you at ease talking with God about whatever is on your mind in that area of life, whether happy or difficult? Do you give thanks for those you love, and who love you?

God, you created me (like all humans) to be in relationships. Fill me with the qualities that will make me a blessing to everyone, and especially to those I love the most. Amen.

GPS Insights

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas serves in donor relations at Resurrection. She’s a Boston native and moved to Kansas City in 2020. Her husband Blake is a provisional elder in the UMC and is a Congregational Care Pastor at Resurrection Leawood. Her favorite pastimes include pottery, hiking, frisbee, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her daughter and their large orange cat, Tuna.

Mindset can have an incredible impact on perception. If you’re looking for the darkness in our world, you’ll find it because it’s certainly there. That’s the unfortunate reality about being human. There is pain, inequity, and injustice. To be honest, you really don’t have to look that hard. As if it wasn’t hard enough to face our personal struggles, we tend to be consumed by headlines and stories. It’s hard to decide where my passionate heart should focus on a day-to-day basis. I find myself wanting to fix it all (shout out to my Enneagram 2 friends).

In the book Amanda Held Opelt’s book A Hole in the World: Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and Healing, she discussed the complexities of laughing while grieving. At the time, I was experiencing immense guilt in moments of joy, feeling like I had all the right reasons to be angry and sad about what I was going through. Amanda’s words expressed an affirmation I needed to hear. You still deserve joy. Not despite your grief or instead of it, but in the midst of it. You can experience both together.

That’s the heart of today’s Scripture for me. It’s a big ask to rejoice always and to be glad always and to focus on what’s lovely. Sometimes life doesn’t feel lovely. But sometimes it does. God’s peace is what surpasses understanding, and it’s hard to understand the days when we feel consumed with darkness and still find reasons to smile. That’s God at work. Take notice, soak in the good. Both can exist together, and God invites us to find peace in knowing we can find rest in Him.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.