Wednesday, February 27, 2019 -
“Vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8). Even though most people consider what I was convicted of to be an act of righteousness, the repercussions have been significant for me and my family.
But when we go through affliction, one of the first things Christians do, and justifiably so, is examine their own hearts, echoing David’s words, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). But this search of our hearts should be a daily occurrence, not just when we face difficulties.
The suffering Kathie and I have faced has drawn us far closer to the Lord than at any point in our lives. Never before has Scripture had so much meaning for me. Each page speaks to me as never before, and most day I hate to put it down. I have learned we are to expect, and even look forward to, persecution for Christ’s sake. In many ways, suffering is a gift from God, for it creates a dependence on Him.
Someone sent me these Scriptures today, from Philippians 4:4-9: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you.”
What wonderful words of admonishment and encouragement from the apostle Paul! No matter what, I must rejoice! Always! Not only when things are going great. Others are watching what our attitudes and reactions will be. So we mustn’t be anxious at all – but instead take everything to God. The Greek word translated supplication in this verse implies asking for something for our own benefit! But we are to do this with a thankful heart.
And what is the end result when we thus cast all our burdens on God with rejoicing and a thankful heart? The peace of God beyond comprehension that protects our heart and mind!
In verse eight, Paul takes it a step further – that we are to guide the thoughts of our mind, and only think on truth, the honorable, right, pure, lovely, and things of good repute – anything and everything worthy of praise! Put aside the negative thoughts. Give God every burden, every attack of Satan, and every fear – and then the God of peace shall be with you.