PEACE LIKE A RIVER PART TWO: REJOICE!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
-Philippians 4:4-7

Social media really can be a trap sometimes, especially when things are going wrong in the world.  Presidential elections, riots, wars, and rumors of war are all things that social media gets ahold of, and they get bounced around endlessly online, filling up this huge echo chamber of consenting and dissenting opinions.

You take to your phone, computer, or tablet, maybe hoping to just get information about what is going on in the world, but you end up sucked into negativity.  The news that gets passed through is almost always negative and you subject yourself to complaints, calls for all kinds of odd causes, and memes, oh so many ridiculous memes.

The thing that we need to realize, is that this is not how God calls us to deal with life.  Facebook was never meant to replace community, and our carefully picked online friends who always agree with our negativity are doing us plenty of harm.  When we look at the above passage, we can see we are called not to complain but to rejoice.  In fact, the scripture up there says it twice.  No matter what is happening in life, we should be rejoicing in the Lord.  We should display, to all people, the gentleness that the Holy Spirit gives us.  

So how do we do that, even in turbulent times?  The answer to this question, as the answer to so many things, is prayer.  In times of anxiety, in any situation, good or bad, we need to bring our needs, desires, and fears before the Lord.  When prayer dictates our life, rather than social media, then the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.  What better defense could there be from the trials of this life, then the peace of the one who created this world, and holds it all in His hands?  Praise God!

Discussion Questions:

1: Are there people in your life, either online or in real life, that are very negative?  How do you deal with that negativity in a god-honoring way?  How can you rejoice even in the face of negativity, and how can you help others to find the joy of the Lord?

2: What is a situation that you have been in, where you really needed the peace of God?  Did you respond by praying for peace, or did you try to relieve your anxiety some other way?  How did God finally work out your fears to bring you peace?

Pray for all of the anxiety inducing situations in our world, from hate, to disaster, to war.  Pray for brothers and sisters around the world who find themselves in need of joy, and the peace of God in their lives.  Pray that you will rejoice always, and in so doing, you will show the glory of God to the world around you.  Thank Him for incomparable joy and overwhelming peace.

-Chuck

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