If you worry, don’t pray; if you pray, don’t worry.

Philippians-4_6-7

The Verse of the Day for May 5, 2016 reveals that, as believers, we are reminded that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Philippians 4:6-7 KJV

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Here is another rendering of this celebrated passage:

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

In exploring more fully this section of scripture, I recognize that some believers tend to worry about everything and pray about little or nothing. I recall the lyrics to a song which responds in this way:

If you’re going to worry, don’t pray.
If you’re going to pray, don’t worry.

I also came across a statement from author and philanthropist, Steve Maraboli:

“Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”

In fact, gratitude can counteract such negative forces. As John Henry Jowett notes, “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.”

I recall a discussion entitled “The Science of Gratitude” by Carisa Holmes, holistic health advisor, where she cites Robert Emmons, leading scientific expert on gratitude and professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. The widely recognized author maintains that being grateful actually improves one’s health.

Holmes examines Emmons’ research which “. . . associated the regular practice of attuning to gratitude with physical benefits, such as a stronger immune system, higher levels of positive emotions and with social benefits, such as being more forgiving, outgoing and feeling less lonely and isolated.”

Throughout the Bible, especially in the Church Epistles, believers are continually encouraged to be grateful. A previous blog entry looking at the Verse of the Day and other scriptures is revised and re-posted here:

One of the most dramatic reminders to live in continuous thanksgiving can found in I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV):

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.

The King James Version renders the verse this way:

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin with thanking God that we are alive and then adding to the long list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God.

J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” For believers, thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”; that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. We endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” a lifestyle that some have called “thanksliving.” The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all
His grace? What can we say to offer praise
Worthy of His glory? How can we call
With all our being upon His name and raise
A new song from the depths of our heart?
We must do more than mouth a platitude–
To express our soul in words is an art;
Yet words cannot express our gratitude.
Our words seem empty and without merit.
“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.
So we must worship God with our spirit
And must give thanks well for all of our days.
To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;
With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Listen to this scripture memory song based on Philippians 4:6-7 from Integrity Music:

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