Tag Archives: Epistle to the Philippians

The Key to a Peaceful New Year

Read Philippians 4:11-13


“And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

diceWell, it is officially a New Year. The holidays are past, the festivities are over and the beginning of another twelve month period has officially began. This year it seems that we will be visited by a monster snow storm to kick us off for the new year. Uh oh! Is this an omen? Is this a sign of an ominous and troubled year?

Have you ever noticed that each New Year’s Eve and, subsequently, each New Year people celebrate the waning of the previous year and the dawning of the new year as if the last year was the absolute worst year ever? This year was certainly no different. “Good riddance 2013” I saw signs and people exclaiming on television during the new year celebrations going on. “Hello 2014! You’re going to rock!”

But did 2013 stink and will 2014 rock? Or will we, by this time next year, be exclaiming “Good riddance 2014!”, while completely forgetting how excited we were to usher it in. Are we ever satisfied with anything, or is every year absolutely the worst year EVER? Have you ever stopped to notice how negative we are of where we are, and absolutely how giddy we are at the prospect of getting what we want in the future.

But the reality is that, more than likely, we will not get everything we WANT. The reality is that there will be things that WILL go wrong and against what we planned. The reality is that life will continue to be challenging and that growth will continue to have its moments of pain. That is just life. If you’ve ever watched the first five minutes of up, then you’ve seen the summary of life in a nutshell. Things happen, time keeps moving, we age and then, no matter what year it is, at some point we will end up dying. That is the cycle of life and we all go through it.

The question is, just as it was in the movie UP, what are you going to while your time is still here on this earth. Are you going to lock yourself up in your house and sulk over time gone by. Are you going to relentlessly wish the coming of every new year only to hastily usher in that year’s end when things aren’t going your way? Are you you going to be childish in your approach to life, throwing temper tantrums and conniption fits when you don’t get your way? Or are you going to take a deep breath, realize that you DO NOT NEED all of the things you REALLY WANT and be content with what you have.

The apostle Paul knew what contentment was. He stated that whether he was sick or healthy, beaten or loved, imprisoned or free, hungry or full, he was content in all situations. Paul was a person who was filled with the PEACE that God has to offer us. I am sure he would have rather not been in prison, and starving, and poor, and beaten; however, many of those things were outside of his control and he trusted that, no matter what, God would provide for him what he NEEDED. And that trust…that faith…gave him PEACE.

The challenge for you today, and for every day, is to be content. If a bad situation occurs, certainly try to work your way out of it…even seeking help if need be…so that you can move forward and grow; however, don’t lament and sulk over your situation. That does absolutely no good. Don’t be selfish and shallow like the people on New Year’s Eve wishing for the new year to bring them THEIR WAY. Rather, EXPECT the new year to bring you GOD’s WAY and you will NEVER be disappointed; rather, you will be content and will have God’s PEACE.

“[People fall] from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment [they] want to multiply [their] daily wants. [People’s] happiness really lies in contentment.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Lord, help me to be content in all things, this year and all of the years to come. Amen.


More than Wind Chasers

Read Ecclesiastes 1-2; Matthew 6:19-34


“And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

More than Wind ChasersThe past eight days have been some of the most awakening days of my life. Last Monday, October 29, Hurricane Sandy slammed into Southern New Jersey, and wreaked havoc for much of the Northeastern part of the United States. Since then, many have been without power. My church, parsonage and my entire town, for the most part, is still without power as we speak. In fact, I am sitting in a public library typing this devotional and trying to get at least some work done.

For those of my readers who do not live in the Northeastern region of the U.S., this time of year is typically not the warmest of times. Winter is fast approaching and, as of today, there is a possible nor’easter storm on the way. These storms can pack a wicked punch in terms of winds and precipitation (which usually is in the form of snow). Add that to no electricity and the people in my area, especially the ones who don’t have any generators and/or fireplaces, are facing a potentially dangerous situation. And my area of the state is mostly dealing with no electricity, unlike the Southern portion and the shoreline which has been utterly wiped out.

Over the past eight days, I have had quite a bit of time to reflect on how much we come to depend on technologies such as electricity, phones, cell phones, smart phones, electronic devices, computers, cars, and other such things that we normally take for granted. It is amazing to me how much stock I, and billions of other people, put into artificial and human-made technologies. When said technologies fail, we are left feeling completely alone, isolated, confused, lost, and utterly hopeless. Like the author of Ecclesiastes, we are left feeling like we have spent our time chasing after the wind. Indeed, we are left feeling like everything is meaningless.

Yet, thankfully,the story doesn’t end there. In this time of reflection, I have seen a power that far surpasses the artificial power provided by electricity. I have seen people reaching out to those in need. I have seen people invite neighbors, friends, family and even strangers into their homes in order to provide them with shelter. I have seen people from across the country and even from Canada, coming down to help with the relief efforts. I have seen people who have electricity sharing it with those who need to charge their phones. I have seen volunteer fire departments opening their buildings as places of shelter, providing food, entertainment, hot showers and places to sleep for people who are in need.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end with the grim assessment of Ecclesiastes. We are more than wind chasers. What I see, instead, is a grander story of hope, healing and wholeness unfolding in the midst of what initially seemed as a hopeless and devastating situation. In this, I see what Jesus meant when he taught us to not sweat the small stuff, but to seek first the Kingdom of God and trust that God will provide the rest . The proof is in the pudding. The small stuff has been literally washed away, yet God is providing through the love, compassion and generosity of millions of people. This IS what the Kingdom of God looks like.


The richest people in the world are those who have stock in relationships.


Lord, I thank you for being my provider. There is nothing I need that you haven’t supplied. Help me to fill the needs of others. Amen.