[The following is an unedited automated transcript of what Geoff Thomas shared at the prayer meeting prior to the Fellowship Conference.]
I draw your attention to Philippians 4 and the very well-known words in verses 4-7. Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Three things here that characterize us, characterize each Christian is joy in the Lord. We sing hymns and they don’t sing in Buddhist temples or in mosques, and then listen to a cantor singing in a synagogue. But we sing boys and girls, men and women, families, individuals. We sing. We are expressing our joy. We rejoice in the Lord. And secondly, a Christian is characterized by gentleness. It’s it says self-control. It’s self-discipline. We’re not wild-eyed fanatics. We’re not extremists. We are gentle. You know, welcoming one another and the way we share meetings and speak. And then thirdly, we’ve been delivered from neurotic anxiety We are not men and women who are paralyzed with worrying. We are not losing sleep about things that don’t matter. There are three or four areas he’s talking about here. He’s talking about trivial “What am I going to wear?” “I going to wear I can’t wear this color.” “I can’t wear these training shoes next summer.” They were last year we worry. Kids worry about trivial. And again, we worry about things we can’t control. You know, you wish you would an inch or three inches taller worrying about it won’t had an inch to your stature. Will I live to get my pension? I paid into it all of the time. Worrying won’t make you last a day longer. You worry when the thunders roll that your house is going to be struck by lightning. Will my examiner, who now has the papers that I’ve sent in, will he will he be fair and just? Is the baby in my womb OK? And we worry things we can’t control. If you worry about things like that, then what will change? Will things change? And thirdly, there are problems that have not yet materialized and you worry about what might happen about tomorrow. This might happen. There might be a world war your company may closed down. There’ll be a rebellion in the church. This might happen. That might happen. Jesus has sufficient until the day. Is this even added to today’s worries with tomorrow’s possibilities? And then the fourth thing about which we are not to be anxious are the things that will take care of God says I will supply all your needs in Christ Jesus. And you know, if you say, Well, my mother was a worrier and I am a worrier and I’ve got a worrying disposition. It’s not because you’re more sensitive than others of us. It’s that you’re not believing. You’re not trusting. Oh, ye of little faith. Jesus says, oh what peace we often forfeit and what needless pain we bear because we don’t carry everything to God in prayer. So we are to cast our cares on Him. That’s what he’s there for, to receive our cares. Jay Adam’s stor: This man, his reputation in the in the community was he was a terrible thing he walked like a question mark all the time and shuffled along Then one day a friend saw him and he was real alert. And this friend was enormously impressed with this. So he said, Hi, Bill, how are you? I’m fine. I said, Yes, fine. I said, “You’ve been such a worrier. Oh, it’s all gone. I’ve changed totally.” How did that happen? There is someone I employed, and he does all my worrying for me. Oh, one how much does he charge you? He charges me $50 a day. “50 bucks a day!” “How can you afford that?” Oh that’s his worry. He says now you understand that his story, what it’s about. It’s about the caring, loving shepherd of all of our soul. The one who says, take my yoke upon you. It’s easy. My burden is light, come to me. I’ll give you rest come to me with your worries. Casting all your cares upon him for he cares. It matters to him. How you are the savior who wept when he saw the people rejecting him in Jerusalem. So how are we to deal with our worries? Well, we read the words together. The six be anxious for nothing. But in everything by prayer and supplication. With Thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of going, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. That’s what He tells us to do. So you you bring to God a supplication. You bring on a petition, you know, the petitions the people take to the Senate and to the White House, and they gather the 10,000 and they are summoned with their cases and they’re ushered in and treated very kindly. Lots of people have trouble with something and they bring it to high authority. You and your wife, you’ve got a concern for family, of course, and you bring together in your morning devotions, you say, Lord, please, this is our concern about our little girl. In everything by prayer and petition, you bring it to God and you look at the problem in the light of Scripture. You look at a problem in the presence of the Lord. And just by talking about it in his presence, you are talking about the wonderful counselor who knows everything, every possibility, all the future, who knows what your real needs are, your real concerns. When you go and you you turn it around and you talk about it in his presence and it shrinks and it shrinks when you do that in the light of his love, of his only competence, it’s a wonderful, great place to present your requests. He is so sympathetic. He’s more willing to listen then we are to ask. And he gives the very best counsel he can see the implications of what you’re asking for in the future, what we don’t know. And he turns it and he it and he answers, he is a prayer-answering God. So often it dissolves our concerns. When we’ve said there’s a prayer, we poured it out to him, go to God, go to go with it. So don’t forget to present your petitions to the Lord. Remember Mary and Martha and their brother they told Jesus. Remember the disciples of John the Baptist told Herod that killed him. And they went and told Jesus and we had to go to this wonderful, caring, living, powerful, sympathizing person, we are to go to Him. And then we had to mix what we say with Thanksgiving verse 6: with Thanksgiving you’ve got a problem. But it’s not all you’ve got? Is that the only thing you brought to the conference then? A big problem? Or of other things of thanksgiving of many blessings since last we gathered here. What about the anticipations about seeing dear friends the expectations that the gospel will come to you not in word only, but in power of the Holy Ghost. And as with much assurance. So are there not things you can thank God for? For the safe journey, all these things that I’ve mentioned shouldn’t you pause and not just hurry to him and say, But Lord, But start, “Are Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be your name,” was a great name, is the name of our Savior. So you just tell God your worries. You must say, “Ah Father, thank you for my dear parents, thank you, Will my husband and my wife and my children and my church and my pastor. And thank you for peace. Thank you for the blessings that I’ve received. A fundamental principle of prayer is that you don’t bring petitions to God without also bringing gratitude. Even if it’s where you’re not tonight. You’re not in the flames of hell. You’re here today of grace. I think it’s one of the most difficult lessons as we move through the desolation of some of the fearful, strange providences that God would bring into our life. That we can thank God that we have much light on other things. There’s no circumstance in which the Christian can ever say, “I have nothing to thank God for.” There are always many things that we have to thank God for despite the suffering we may be in. And then you’ll come to this great conclusion that prayer and worry, are mutually exclusive, these two things cannot live together. The worry is going to destroy the prayer. Or the praying is going to weaken the worry. Paul says you go to God and offer him the problem and you get it done. And then you cry to him that you’ll be able to leave it there. Rolled out at his footstool and in his presence. Don’t get up minutes later, and start to worry about it again. That’s the great challenge of having a loving savior. You think of the whole problem of our past sins and we can keep dragging them up. “Wonder how she is doing now?” “What is happening there.” And Oh, we sigh, and your wife will say to you What you saying about all just a little just sadness, little regrets. Now that all your sins are forgiven sins, every one of them, so that Jesus was able to speak to a woman some area and he was able to tell her that you knew all about her husband. She’d found the guy she was living with and she talked and he talked to her, answered her question, told her about himself. And then you remember what happened, how she went to him, and she said to them, Come, come and meet him, and told me everything. Isn’t this the Christ isn’t this the Messiah? Come, come when Jesus talks to us, when Jesus reminds us of something, when there’s been a flush of pride and ego and the Lord wants us sweet and usable in His hands, and he might just say, let’s just think about this we still say, Come and meet a man Who told you me, he told me, the Lamb of God, the sin atoner, a great atonement, the great answer for all my needs, you say don’t forget you’re a sinner saved by grace. Our sins are buried in the deepest sea. And we know to look for a snorkeling kit and do some aqua diving and try to retrieve them. He’s dumped them in unattainable depths. It will never see the light of God again. So you petition him and you present your request to him and you leave it with him. You can’t handle your own guilt. You can’t. It’s too big for you. But it’s a grain of sand to the maker of the universe. And he will take it from you. Deep in unfathomable depths of never-failing love He treasures up his bright desires and works his sovereign will. Blind unbelief is for sure to error. and scan his work in vain, God is his own interpreter He will make it plain why it happens. You won’t be in heaven twisting your hands in frustration and forever it will be seen to your total satisfaction in the great day. so I’ve told you about certain ways in which we foolishly worry and how wrong it is and the ways of we are to deal with it. We are present it to God. We thank Him for His mercies, and we tell are to leave things at his feet. And then finally we’re told something wonderful happens that the peace of God that replaces our worries and the peace of God is a reality. The Bible that’s on your lap when you feel it pressing down on your knees. Now, that’s a tangible reality. A congregation of Christians singing together. You hear them, you can sense them, you can see them. It’s a reality. And God’s peace is as real as those things. It’s just as tangible. It’s surpassed all understanding, and it guards your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. It’s a wonderful concept. We’re told here that the living God, the only God there is the God of peace. You go into him and He’s peace in Him is peace. The deeper you go, the more peace you see there is from God. There’s no little explosion in a dark corner of heaven where just peace operates furtively and it doesn’t exist. In other words, there are no fears in God. There are no obsessive fears in God. There are no distracting anxieties in God. They’re not gwaning tensions in God. The Father has no such fear. And the Son and the Holy Spirit. And there are no psychological tensions or criticisms or hurt that one ever possibly do to the other. He is called in Scripture: the blessed one! He is completely integrated. He’s completely fulfilled. He’s a unified personality. He is a God of total satisfaction, of total attainment, the God of peace. And that is the peace that He gives to us: His peace. The peace of the divine One, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He gives that peace to him when we’ve gone to Him with our fears and worries. It’s not that He is working on our peace though he may well be, and may well have to or any of the graces that we have and strengthens them. It’s wonderful, but it is that God’s own peace becomes ours. So take to God your worries. So unmanageable, so uncontrollable, so unpredictable. It can wake you up at 2:00 in the morning so destructive and you take them to him. You take them and you petition him with this problem. That’s my problem now. And I am leaving them with you. Please give me your peace again and again. Never stop. It seems incredible. I think some of you think I’ve got it wrong. Can I have God’s own divine peace again and again? And my only reason for insisting that it is so is it is because the words of our ex make it so great and the peace of God will go in your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It’s a picture of the security stop. It’s the picture of the soldiers. It’s the picture of the soldiers guarding the Russian spies coming into the Ukraine and the Ukraine soldiers that aren’t that God is watching, looking in the no go zone and in every way guarding their families and their towns and their homes. And the peace of God is is just like that, and one of the consequences of the newest believer being drawn to Jesus Christ is having the life of God in our souls. Being joined as a branch in the living vine and of his life, coming into us we bring to him our sins and our fears and worries. And he takes and he exchanges it by giving us His immense peace, and this conflict does not trouble him when he hears about we’ve done things and he gives us his peace. That’s that’s what the gospel senses. That’s the baby steps of the gospel come unto me. All ye labor under heavy I will give you rest. Come to me. Weary burdened, please bring it to me. I can cope if all of Dallas came tonight to Jesus. All the young people with their attentions, all the women with their fields, all the men with their problems Let them come to him, he can handle it. He’s confident enough to do so. And what he will do, we will give you a rest what our reality in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He gets my anxiety and I get his his peace.
Let us pray together. Our heavenly Father, thank you, thank you for these words. How well do we know these words? All this incomprehensible, glorious and it’s mine not for the years of time alone, but for eternity, this peace is mine. Bring our cares and our concerns you’ve heard them so often about loved ones, about issues these in Your Grace sweetly help us not to pick them up and worry about them again and again, but leave them with the Lord Jesus Christ. Deliver us from spoiling all that we will hear in these next days by the attack of anxiety that are fiery darts from hell. Help us to keep the shield of faith high through the week and to say I have peace of you, Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
0:00 – Three things a Christian is characterized by: 1) Joy in the Lord 2) Gentleness 3) Not paralyzed by worrying.
4:57 – Story to illustrate the point of not being anxious.
9:30 – Do you go to the Lord in prayer with your cares?
10:27 – Do you give thanks when you take your cares to the Lord?
12:48 – There is no circumstance we can be in which we will find we have nothing to thank God for. There is always something to give thanks to God for!
14:01 – What about our past sins?
17:40 – The peace of God replaces our worries.
24:48 – Closing prayer.