Philippians 4

Day 1

Read Philippians 4:1-9

“Do not be anxious about anything.”  What a bold statement Paul made there…well, in the light of how we talk about it now.  Paul was not making a medical diagnosis and declaring a way to overcome the mental struggles of anxiety as we understand it now.  He was actually probably speaking out of his experience.  How do you sit in prison and not experience some anxious thoughts and feelings?  So he was sitting in what he was experiencing and imagining what version of that the church he loved was also experiencing anxious thoughts and feelings.  Then he laid out his answer to that problem: pray and ask God for help in your struggles and be thankful.  What a strange strategy and clearly we know THAT won’t work?!  Right?  Have you ever tried it?  Why not give it a go today and see how it helps.  Trust Paul.  Trust the Bible.  See if it helps.

What are the supplications or needs that you want to bring before God today?

What are the things you need to stop and thank God for today?

How does prayer, supplications, and thankfulness help anxious thoughts and open the door for peace from God?

How can you encourage someone around you with this idea today?

Day 2

Read Proverbs 2

We are talking a lot this week about the battle that goes on in our minds and robs us of peace, which is the desire God has for us to experience.   Paul, in our text from the sermon in Philippians 4, suggested a list of things that we should aim to think on as we battle with prayers for supplications and thanksgiving.  It is safe to say that there is wisdom in this idea.  In fact, this is the idea of wisdom, is it not?  Those things in that list (just, true, honorable, etc.) can all be used of God’s word, which is wisdom for us.  Proverbs has this interesting way of presenting the idea of wisdom as a lady or an instruction from a father figure. 

Verse 4 says we should seek wisdom like “Silver and search for it as for hidden treasure…”  That is a good poetic way of saying something, but practically what is it actually saying?  How do you do this?

James tells us in chapter 2 that we have but to ask for wisdom if we need it.  Proverb 2:6 says the same thing.  How does God give wisdom?

What is it that you need wisdom for right now?

How do you get that wisdom for what you are facing?

How does this become your prayer today?

Day 3

Read Ecclesiastes 2:12-25
Have you ever tried to read the whole book of Ecclesiastes?  It is a confusing mess that looks like the writer changes positions and teachings so many times before he lands on an idea.  You can grab a small section of this book and find yourself quoting something that you are certain the Bible doesn’t actually say.  The book is not written as the type that you can jump in the middle of and just be caught up and have a complete thought.  Take this rant that we have for today before us.  I can feel it, but at certain times I am wondering if the writer is allowed to say what he is saying or not.  Not every book is a teaching list.  Always try to understand what kind of writing it is that you are reading in the Bible.  You can’t read this like you do Philippians.  So think about what is being said here.
What parts of this can you relate to?

Is the writer being fair in what he is saying and how he is saying it?

What do you think of the conclusion the writer comes to in verse 24-26?

Share some of these ideas on the app in the 5 Day Study section of the messages.

Day 4

Read James 4:1-12

Philippians 4:1-9 is about the idea of peace coming into our minds because that is what God desires for us.  It is the age old battle of the Bible between chaos and peace.  Death and life.  Good and bad.  Light and dark.  A result of the struggles that comes with the chaos is the idea that we deserve something better or different.  This causes selfish ambition and conceit to rise up and their result is the struggle with other people around us.  According to James, he lays this all out as our struggle to be greater and mightier than we need to be.  That is what selfishness is.  The answer to that is humility.  Humility draws near to God and allows us to change our perspective and thoughts.  You see, in Paul's version of all of this in Philippians 4, we are told to pray for supplications and be thankful.  In James' version of the problem, the prayers are about what we want to get and then spend on ourselves. 

How have you seen this pattern played out around you this week?

What desires have started quarrels around you?

How do people ask for things only to spend them on themselves?  What is a practical example of that?

How can this be a part of your prayer today?

Day 5

Read Philippians 4:1-9

I love this text.  That is why I brought us back to it again.  In Romans 12:1-2, Paul tells us that we can be transformed as our minds are transformed and not conforming to the world we are in.  It seems like the battle of the mind was something that Paul paid attention to.  Maybe he was so aware of it because of his own struggles with it?  Do you picture Paul as an anxious person that struggled in his mind?  Think about the idea of peace in your mind right now.  As we were getting ready to leave out on vacation there was a slow rolling of peace that kept coming as the days ticked down.  I became overly aware of the load that responsibility was weighing on me.  It wasn’t more responsibility, just noticing it unlike before.  This added stress and all sorts of things to my mind that just kept piling up.  That’s where these verses get to be so helpful.  It is a reminder that this is not the arena I want my mind resting in.  For me, I need to go through the list given here that Paul says are the better places for my mind to dwell.  

How would you practically help yourself walk through this process of changing your mind to think of this list of things?

How do you describe peace from God?  What is it like to experience it?  Spend time thinking about that idea.  

What are the things that are keeping you from the peace of God and capturing the places of your mind?

How does this become your prayer this week?

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