Just last week, I returned from a mission trip adventure in the Philippines. We flew into Manila and saw a beautiful town that looked like New York City, then went down just blocks away to see slums that were jam-packed with people who had almost nothing.
We were able to walk into some of these very poor villages and meet the people who lived there.
On one trip, we took 300 sandwiches and juice for the people. I also had many Frisbees to give the little children and see their joy and excitement. You would have thought I had handed them a $1,000 gift.
Our team helped remodel an orphanage where precious children who are homeless will live. What a marvelous opportunity that was for me to grasp what's really important in life.
Being there brought back a very favorite Bible passage that says, "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done." (Philippians 4:6-7)
Don't worry about anything. What a concept.
It's only with God's help that we can make life a no worry adventure. Yes, to not worry about anything.
The Greek word in this verse is translated "anxious." It means to be pulled in different directions. Our hopes pull us one direction; our fears pull us the opposite direction and we are pulled apart. Worry is the greatest thief of joy.
Our loving Heavenly Father says, "Instead, pray about everything." When we find ourselves worrying, we must practice correct praying by getting alone and talking with God. We must realize that he is big enough to solve our problems.
Then, we're ready to earnestly share our needs and our problems. "Tell Him what you need." All day and all night long he's there for us to reach up and tell him what we need.
Another key element in prayer is giving thanks, "Don't forget to thank Him for all He has done." (v. 6).
My recent trip to the Philippines was a key wakeup to all that I have to be thankful for. I don't want to get so distracted that I forget every day -- and everywhere I go -- to practice being thankful for all God has given me.
This passage continues to say, "If we do this we will experience God's peace."
"If" is the big word in this statement. It's our choice to focus on the junk or the good stuff. If we reach up to our loving Heavenly Father and practice praying, we'll have peace no matter what situations we face.
For years I had a bumper sticker on my car that said, "No God, No Peace! Know God, Know Peace!"
I need to get another copy of that bumper sticker to put on the car I now have because it reminds me (and everyone I drive by) that knowing God results in his peace.
Knowing him every day in every situation is so vitally important.
* The Rev. Marty Armstrong is a former pastor of Cathedral of Joy in Richland.
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