Do not be anxious about anything, 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 under-standing, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
I am giving a similar message in my home church this Sunday.
Some bullet points:
* Many of us are learning to be thankful for blessings we formerly took for granted. Or, as my sister told me, “I never thought I could get emotional over buying a roll of toilet paper.”
* Many for the first time, seriously considered their own mortality. God certainly led some of these to salvation who, previously, were too busy or couldn’t be bothered with understanding the need for a Savior.
* I am thankful for new technology that allowed me to ride out the lockdown with a robust homemade Sunday service including, music, prayer, worship and my pastor’s online sermon. I also participated in up to three Bible study groups per week on ZOOM, two of which were with members of churches I attended before moving away.
* I also felt the “peace that surpasses all understanding” during this virus. I believe in God’s sovereignty and understand that whether I stayed healthy or whether I got sick and died, I was squarely in God’s will for my life and could face the crisis with no fear.
* I was blessed by God to have opportunities to be generous, opportunities to serve, opportunities to share, opportunities to pray for others and opportunities to grow in Christ.
This is just the shortlist. Yeah, 2020 has been downright awful but my continual prayer is “not my will but Thy will be done” and I try my best to walk in this manner. My heart goes out to everyone who lost loved ones or suffered job losses or were made prisoners in their own home. God has His plan and we simply must trust Him to have the best interests of us all in the events of this year.