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St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote to the Philippians preaching, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"(Philippians 4:4-7). These are some of the best words we can hear to start our day. Paul says that we are not to be anxious, but in prayer and supplication let everything be made known to our God, for He grants peace to us that surpasses all understanding. We rejoice in the Lord always because of this peace. The best part of waking up isn't cheap coffee in your cup, but knowing that throughout the entire day your Lord grants you peace that surpasses all understanding.
Think about it. What troubles you throughout the day? Does your health, money issues, or family strife? Does a deadline at work or school have you stretched thin, like butter over too much bread? Are you terrified of how you'll get through the morning, lunch break, afternoon, week, month, or year? Does anxiety have you dreading the worst and creating scenarios in your head that will probably never happen? In short, you have a million things that can and do pop into your head every morning and the devil would love to take those things and destroy your entire day. May this not happen, but instead. may Philippians 4:4-7 be your get going juice, your pick me up, that gets you through the day in the knowledge that Jesus loves you and will take care of you.
For St. Paul doesn't just tell people to rejoice in the Lord in and of themselves. Rather, St. Paul exhorts the Philippians and us to rejoice in response to the grace of our Lord that He grants to us freely. We rejoice because of what Jesus did and does for us. Luther speaks in the Large Catechism on the work of Jesus saying, "He has snatched us, poor lost creatures, from the jaws of hell, won us, made us free, and restored us to the Father's favor and grace. He has taken us as His own, under His protection, in order that He may rule us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness" (Large Catechism II.30). The greatest gift is that Jesus has freed us from fear, purchased us from the devil, rescued us from death, and overcome the world and now bears its burdens. Jesus bears all our sin, all our burdens, all our fears. He hears our issues, our fears, our concerns, and answers them by bearing them in His wounds and putting them to death on the cross. Jesus hears us in our days of anxiety and trepidation and comes to us, not with words of chastisement for not trusting in Him, but with words of comfort to calm our terrified conscience and ease our mind. Jesus comes to you today, this morning, and grants you peace that surpasses all understanding, to guard and keep your heart in mind that Jesus is your Lord who will never leave you nor forsake you, no matter how messed up you think your day is going to be, or how bad your day gets.
So, cut and paste Philippians 4:4-7 over your front doorway on your way out, so that every morning, when you leave, you will be ushered out into this lovely world in the knowledge and joy that you are a recipient of Jesus grace that surpasses all understanding. You wake up and face the day, not on your own, but as a beloved child of God with the angelic host keeping guard over you. Face the day today, for If God is for you, no one can be against you, even that little anxious voice in your heard that creates fear and doubt. Peace be with you, and may the God of peace who purchased you on the cross, Jesus the Christ, guard and keep your heart this day in the joy of life everlasting.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear, in great joy, the voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.