I was inspired reading my friend Bonnie’s blog and a friend’s Facebook post. Read more here. Their thoughts started me wondering if God had a word for me this last year and I had not noticed or sought one out. I saw this and it was a kiss from God for me. I could not get this one word out of my mind. Still days later I can not stop thinking about it.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.”
I really like that verse but I recently realized that without quoting it in context, it’s stripped of its full power. The last 4 words of Philippians 4:5 are the power source that unlocks the peace of God that transcends all understanding.
Those four words are, “The Lord is near.”
And because He’s near, we don’t have to be anxious – we can have peace that rises above any circumstance. Any circumstance. So grateful for this truth.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
“The Lord is near” NEAR jumped out and spoke deep to my heart.
I never noticed those four words. I am so quick to jump to the verses beyond this. I am so quick to remind myself not to be anxious, turn my worries into prayers and thanksgiving. I learned this many years ago, so it is something I do often. I start to worry so then I take time to pray. Praying without ceasing has taken new meaning for me. I worry a lot so then I take time to pray all the time. I worry then breath a quick prayer. Sometimes the prayer is God help!!! Sometimes the prayer is where are you in this God. But I prayed. It was what I did when I started to worry.
But then to see He is NEAR before the worry and anxious heart starts. Before the cares of the world come down to crush me into tears. And has the world the last couple of years come to crush me. Matt’s variety of health issues, including cancer. Finances. Bills. Car Repairs. He is already there.
He is near when I don’t know where the next bill money will come.
He is near the sick. So before Matt’s health issues started eight years ago, He was near. He was near when he was diagnosed with cancer. He was near through treatments.
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria,and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[g] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Matthew 4:23-25
He is near when I don’t know where the next bill money will come. Money is really tight with only me working at Walmart. Matt’s health has not allowed him to work. God has provided through so many different ways.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
He is near when I get great news or bad news. God is near.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73:28
I have seen God provide in all the situations. It has been a struggle don’t get me wrong. It has been downright HARD. But to realize he was NEAR before they happened is just a mind blowing revelation to me. He is near when the car broke down. He is near when the wallet was lost. He was near when Matt’s health declined. He is near when we got news it was cancer. He was near when anything stressful happened. He was near when things worked out good. He was near.
This last two years God has been NEAR through it all. I want to notice as things are happening that HE is near me. I want to realize and truly grateful as I pray when I worry that God is there already NEAR.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19
I don’t have to do anything for God to be near me. He has already done all that needs to be done. He is near me by his own doing. He is near because he choose to die for me and my sins just like he chose to do it for your sins. It is by GRACE that God is near me.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13
My one word for 2016: NEAR!!