part two

 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.

 Finally, brothers and sisters,

whatever is true,

whatever is noble,

whatever is right,

whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable—

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—

think about such things.  

Whatever you have learned or

received or

heard from me,

or seen in me—

put it into practice.

And the God of peace will be with you.

…for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.

I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is

to have plenty.  In any and all circumstances I have

learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry,

of having plenty and of being in need.  

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.


Philippians 4: 4-9, 11b-13 (NIV)
Friday’s  post began with a picture of lovely lush green grass.

A close-up view.

That could be the view from a zoom lens camera of the meadow pictured above.

To the ant, a patch of grass is a jungle.

To us, a square of grass is easily trampled underfoot.

A  meadow takes many footsteps to be surveyed.


Friday post  recounted Paul’s words as expressed by The Message,  vivid green  revelry.

Today, let’s back up a bit and take a bird’s-eye view of how Paul surveys the

grassy and sometime barren hills of our lives.

To get the proper vantage point, one must look at the author.

Paul, originally an opponent of Christ and His followers, found Christ as worthy

to defend after a blinding trip to Damascus.

Paul’s job description changed from persecuting believers to lobbying

others to become believers.

His road was not easy.

Not convinced?

Look at his resume.

Exposure to death continually.

Lashed 39 times.

Beaten with rods three times.

Stoned once.

Shipwrecked three times.

In danger due to bandits.

In danger due to his own countrymen.

In danger from Gentiles.

In danger in the city.

In danger in the country.

In danger at sea.

In danger from false brothers.

Hungry.

Thirsty.

Cold.

Naked.

A thorn that God chose not to remove.


It would  be quicker to list Paul’s good days as a servant of Christ.

This was Paul’s view scanning the meadow.

The view that leads to that lush inviting patch of grass.

This is our lens to understand the verses in Philippians.

Verses that are so familiar, I wonder if we have lost the awe of these

words written by a man who lived a life of hardship constantly.

He says to the Philippians…

He says to us…

Keep  doing the things that you have

learned

received

heard

and

seen

in

me.


Zoom in closer.

Can you see that small plot of land?

It looks like a soft place to rest.

It’s tiny acreage is covered with words like:

true

honorable

just

pure

pleasing

commendable

excellence

praise worthy.


This is the land that  Paul resided.

Despite situational terrain we might consider barren and uninhabitable,

Paul found it to be a fruitful spacious place.

It’s what he tells us to think about.

This is what we hear and learn from Paul.

He shows us that regardless of what is happening in our lives,

we can focus our minds on good things.

It’s not wishful thinking…it is intentional focused thinking.

That is one of the secrets he shares with us,

be content in whatever clump of weeds you find yourself.

Green grass or thistles.

Dwell on what is good!


When the days get hot and shade seems in short supply,

Paul tells us to not worry.

Don’t be anxious.

Trees are scattered throughout the meadow.

Branches that are held securely by prayers, petitions and  

thanksgiving.

The leaves do their wave of rejoicing.

Leaves of joy.

Reminding us we are to do the same.

Again and again.

Like an ice-cold glass of water or a gentle breeze on a sun-drenched

day, peace quenches the parched soul.

Peace that boggles the mind.

Peace that stands guard to protect the mind from running to

worst case scenarios.  

Peace that stands ready to bolster the heart when it wants

to beat in the rhythm of discouragement.

No one understands it.

Paul didn’t understand it.

He experienced it.

He walked in the reality of this surpassing peace.

We can know this peace.


Ever so gently we change our line of sight  to catch a glimpse

of a single inch of lime green blades.

It’s there that  reveals the true focus that departs from the panoramic

to the naked eye and finally to the magnified look.

Paul declares,

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.


This statement lowers our eyes revealing vast

life teeming beneath this speck of lawn.

How could  this activity escapes our gaze?

Paul knew that he could do all things through Christ because he

had come to know  God.

Paul knew the God above the meadow.

He knew a God that was always worthy of rejoicing.

Paul knew the God who designed trees.

A God who longs to hear prayers about everything.

Paul was acquainted with the God that gives peace beyond measure, unreservedly

and that transcends all understanding.

Paul lived in weakness yet found

the  God who gives strength for all things.

The God of Paul told him not to worry about anything.

The God of Paul was intimately involved in the meadow,

the plot of land and in the smallness of a blade of grass.

This is Paul’s God.

This is our God.

For this God is our God for ever and ever; 
   he will be our guide even to the end.

Psalm 48: 14

May you find him wherever your feet may roam today,

be it weeds,

wilderness or

in lush velvety green grass.

He is there.

He is the God of

all

all things

anything

everything

always!

What better way to sum up the great I Am!


 

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