If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Leviticus 1, John 20, Proverbs 17, Philippians 4. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Philippians 4.
Just a quick note before we get to Philippians 4: John 20:26b-28 contains one of the clearest expressions of the deity of Christ: “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” If you’re ever talking with someone who has questions about whether Christ was God or something else, here’s an excellent passage to show them, right in the final chapter of John.
Now to Philippians 4: Given all the difficulties and stresses he faced during his ministry, it must have been incredibly encouraging to have the Philippians as his friends. While they had some interpersonal problems (cf. 2:3-4 with 4:2-3), they were loved deeply by the apostle and they returned that love, even sending Epaphroditus to help personally (2:25) as well as financial aid (4:10-18). There is so much joy in this letter that it is easy to forget that Paul was in prison when he wrote it (cf. 1:12, 17). This is the background out of which he wrote the chapter we read today. These are the circumstances he lived in when he wrote verses 6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Undoubtedly he was a man who had practiced these commands in his own life repeatedly; his command to the Philippians to deal with their fears this way rose out of his own experience as well as from the inspiration of the Spirit. In verses 8-9 he commands them to discipline their thoughts toward good and godly things instead of focusing on their problems, complaints or fears. While we have much less to fear than the martyrdom that ultimately took Paul’s life, his teaching reminds us that, no matter how little or much we fear, the Lord is waiting to hear our prayers and give us peace as we look to him.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page . And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.