3-21-2019 – e-News

Hello again!
While I am sure all of us would like an extra day or two off from the humdrum of everyday life, being forced inside because of chemicals in the air is probably not anyone’s preferred way of finding space to relax. However, as I sit at home writing this, I am reminded of something that Pastor Jim talked about this last Sunday: treating Christ as the primary focus of our lives.
Sometimes in our lives, we can treat our relationship with Christ as a piece of our life rather than the foundation upon which our life is built. We spend time with Jesus only as it is convenient to the time we spend focusing on other things. Instead of understanding the need for us as Christ-followers to intentionally incorporate Christ and His teachings into every area of life, we place limits on the time we include Him in our life. As such, we inevitably get distracted – and things that should not be our first priority end up eating away at our time, our focus, and our spiritual well-being. When Paul found himself in prison – again, not anyone’s idea of a relaxing time – did he give in to his fear? Certainly not. What did he do? He trusted in the power of Christ, and spent his time incorporating Christ’s Love into his present circumstance! As he famously states in Philippians 4:11-13:
“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.”
What Paul is showing us here is the power that Christ can have in our life when we truly rely on Him and make Him the primary focus of our life. Paul found himself locked away in a cell, with all the time in the world to think about his present circumstance. Yet instead of looking at where he was through the lens of his own anxiety and fear, He looks through the lens of Christ’s power and love. Because of that, he finds peace. He can endure because he is not focusing on the temporary circumstances of his life, but instead upon the eternal life He has through his Savior. This is why he says he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him: because whatever life may throw his way, He knows to what to stay focused upon!
So, wherever life may find you as you are reading this, my challenge for you is that you remember to make Christ the focus, the foundation, and the fulfilling presence you need in your life. It is a challenge I make to myself as well. Don’t be distracted by whatever challenges you are facing. Acknowledge them, face them, endure them – but understand that, through it all, there is a Savior greater than any of it enduring it with you. That Savior will deliver you through it all, so long as you keep your focus upon Him.
In closing, listen to what Paul again has to say just a few verses earlier in Philippians 4:8-9: “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.”
Focusing on the God of peace, Pastor Andrew
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