Take the Philippians’ Challenge and See What Happens

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If divisive rhetoric is wearing you out, making you anxious, and maybe even depressing you ... take the Philippians' challenge and see what happens. #BlessingCounter #Faith #Hope

You know the feeling…

You can’t put your finger on it. In general, things are pretty good. You’re not dealing with a major life crisis, but you feel like you’re that cartoon character who walks around with her own personal storm cloud hanging over her head.

I started questioning whether I was fighting another season of anxiety and depression when the Lord lovingly and gently gave me another explanation.

You see, I became interested in politics and current events about 10 years ago. It’s made for great conversations at our house. I keep Rev up to date on what’s going on in the world and he gives me the history buff perspective that keeps me grounded.

But friends, it’s gotten so ugly!

And it doesn’t matter what side you’re on or who you voted for … both sides are guilty.

The vitriolic words coming out of the mouths of everyone, be it a political leader or a news personality, is awful. And don’t you be blamin’ the other side. I’m tired of hearing “yeah but they started it!” I’m a mom and a grade school teacher … been there heard that a thousand times or more.

The truth is, my neighborhood doesn’t look like what these people are telling me.

The people in my neighborhood come in all shades, shapes, and sizes and we all live together rather well! People are cordial, caring, and kind. They look out for each other and I don’t even know where they stand politically.

When I go out into my community, I see people who look very different from me. Some are dressed in ways that indicate they have different religious beliefs … yet, we smile at each other and say hello and we try to help wherever we can.

And no, I haven’t died and gone to heaven already.

I still live in a community in the United States of America.

I’m guessing that many of you live in communities a lot like mine.

As I sat down to read my Bible this morning, I asked God to point me to what He wanted me to read … and He led me to Galatians 6.

It starts this way…

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. v. 1

Did you see that?

“Humbly and gently.”

And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. v. 2

Friends, we may not be able to change what others say and do but we can with God’s help, love like Jesus.

Later, Paul wrote…

So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. v. 9 – 10

And I personally believe, that if we ever want those who are outside of the family of faith to become part of the family of faith … we need to “do good” to them also!

Jesus said, So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34–35

And in Galatians 5, Paul wrote…

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. v. 13–15

I’ll admit it, the biting and devouring I’m seeing when I turn on the news, is hurting my heart. So, I’m going to do something I probably should have done a while ago…

If divisive rhetoric is wearing you out, making you anxious, and maybe even depressing you ... take the Philippians' challenge and see what happens. #BlessingCounter #Faith #Hope

Take the Philippians’ Challenge and See What Happens

I’m turning off the news channels and hiding all that is divisive and agitating on social media.

And I’m going to take to heart Paul’s words to the people in Philippi…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

There is so much good happening in the world.

We went to the Mercy Me Concert in KC last week and stood for hours with 7,000+ fellow believers praising, worshipping, and lifting high the name of Jesus. (And 7,000+ more gathered to do the same the following night.)

Rev has visited two different homeless shelters in our area … where servants of Christ are making a difference every day in broken lives.

Countless people are working to help the people who lost everything along the Florida Panhandle.

Families are doing foster care and volunteering. They are sponsoring children around the world and right here in our community, there are people who go into homes to take care of widows each week.

And every single day, I see you encourage each other online through social media, blog comments, and personal texts and messages.

Friends, there is so much good happening. So much of the life going on around us is … true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. 

And I want to focus on that.

Maybe you do too. Or maybe, you’ve been doing it all along. I can be a slow learner who is thankful for God’s grace and patience.

Whatever the case …

If divisive rhetoric is wearing you out, making you anxious, and maybe even depressing you ... take the Philippians' challenge and see what happens. #BlessingCounter #Faith #Hope

I’m inviting you to join me in a Philippians’ challenge this week. 

  1. Take a fast from the news and from your Twitter feed until after the mid-term elections.
  2. Grab a journal and make a list of things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable each day.
  3. Invite your family to have good news conversations at dinner each night.
  4. Do one small act of kindness every day.
  5. Pray for our nation, our leaders, and for the upcoming election.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1–4

Because we have God’s promise…

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

God is good! He loves us! And He’s given us a beautiful Truth, Jesus, the One who is able to change hearts and minds … who transforms lives.

So, I’m taking the Philippians’ Challenge, turning off the junk and practicing the presence of God this week. If you’re in … let me know in the comments. And to help get us started, share something good you see happening in your community.

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  1. Like you, Deb, I’m a news junkie, but I try to let the bad stories/conflicts roll of my back and focus on the good that is happening in this world. Yes, my neighborhood and community sounds a lot like yours, people helping others and being friendly and kind. Praying for all those who have yet to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and therefore, how to love their neighbor.

    1. Good for you, Martha! I’ve never been very good with conflict … so, the current conversations have really agitated me. Since I can’t do a thing about besides praying, I’m going to pray like crazy and trust the rest to the Lord. He has so many awesome things for me to think about! Blessings and hugs, my friend!

  2. A challenge I can wrap my head and heart around. As you so clearly point out the converse of this verse is true also, so whatever it takes to think thoughts that are pure true, pure, honest, etc. we should do.

    1. It’s taking His Word seriously and knowing that He desire is to bless and encourage me with His truth! All the junk is sooo temporary anyway! Thanks Nylse and many blessings!

  3. What a great challenge, Deb–both to pull away from Twitter and to read and anchor our thoughts in Scripture! I have a friend who really gets into the political stuff–watching it like it’s her bread and water. So she’s felt this same discouragement that you’ve mentioned. Who wouldn’t? It truly is a very divisive and hostile time in our country. I think you are wise to sound the alert and throw down the gauntlet for change! Thanks and I’ll be pinning!

    1. It is, Beth, and I’m realizing that this discouragement is a choice. I want to be informed enough to vote but not so informed that it’s depressing. 🙂 It’s all about balance and focusing on all the goodness the Lord puts around me. Thanks and blessings!

  4. Our freedom is to serve one another! Amen! This post just brought that piece of the scripture to life to me right now. Beautiful post Deb!

    1. I’m so glad, Carmen! Thank you, Girlfriend!! Blessings and hugs!

  5. I’m in! But I must admit I have been “in” for a while when it comes to politics. I also don’t watch most of the news. The last 5 mins or so is usually a positive and uplifting story and I will catch that. I look for good and all the many things I can be grateful for. Thank you Deb for this post!

    1. Yay, Lynn! I’m looking forward to filling my heart and mind with all that is good, pure, and true. Most importantly … things with lasting value! Thanks for joining the challenge! Blessings!

  6. Paula Newton says:

    Hi Deb, I’m not very good (nor that interested) in computers, blogs and such. Living here in NZ on the other side of the world however I love reading your posts… they are always so on the button and its always amazing (but not surprising – thank you Lord) how your writing address’ concerns, worries or thoughts I’ve been having week in and week out. Fabulously in tune, useful and many a time needed, giggle. This week after reading your post, I am plucking up the courage to email? you hopefully covering both #2 & #4 of the Philippians Challenge. I often thank the Lord for you, I admire your writings and its a given you can only be lovely! So from little ole New Zealand a big huge hug and please know you are making a difference for one person in the most unlikely of places.

    1. Wow, Paula, where do I even begin? How can I truly tell you how very much your kind words mean to me. I love this ministry. God truly transformed my life! I’m not sure many people would say they see a huge difference on the outside … I’ve always been in the church and in Bible Studies, I’ve been kind and shared the truth about Jesus. But on the inside, I was an anxiety-ridden mess! I believed God’s truths for eternity but was terrified about the awful things that “might” happen on any given day. God has been so faithful to walk with me through things I never thought I could handle and He has given me JOY instead of fear.

      Knowing that my story has blessed and encouraged you … well, it means the world! And I could almost hear your NZ accent as I read your words and so wished we could sit down over a cup of something so I could know your story as well. Many blessings to you and bug huge hugs right back at ya’!

  7. I am in and thus far, two of my friends. Thanks for your Godly example. May God richly bless and may life then go better. ????????

    1. Oh YAY, Diana! Thank you for letting me know! Praying your week is blessed with all that is lovely and joy-filled! Blessings and hugs! Deb

  8. What a great challenge. It is so easy to get caught up in what is going on in the environment around us. I wish that it was as easy for me as turning off social media. Sometimes the environments that are immediately around me are a little more toxic. However, I can still focus on what is pure, right, and lovely. And I can absolutely pray. Thanks for this invite to a different way of thinking.

  9. I’m in. I’m sick of the junk!

  10. I am in, Deb! Thanks for your dedicated work.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad, Karen! I pray it blesses you!

  11. I just stumbled across your Pinterest article and loved it. I used it for my prayer and Bible time. Thank you so much for your post on prayer.

    1. I’m so glad it blessed you, Anita! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. God bless you!

      1. Watching the news these days can really get a person down. We need more kindness and love in our hearts and more trust in our Lord. Thank you for reminding us of that.

        1. You’re so right, Linda. Focusing on what is true, honorable, and excellent isn’t easy but oh my, how it changes and blesses the way we look at life. Thanks much for visiting and for stopping to say, “hi.” God bless you!

  12. Hey Deb and others. I’ve just read about the Phillipians challenge and can I say, boy, do I need this. I’ve had a most horrible 3 years. Had a relapse of depression, diagnosed with fibromyalgia, became unable to hold a job, and my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married to me, so there you are….its been one thing after another.
    Through all this I have been determindely faithfull, in a gritted teeth way…..anyway I’ve been in and out of a negative funk since the husband gave me his news and I only realised a week or so ago that I wasn’t helping myself much….so the Phillipians challenge has arrived just at the right time….you know how it is….a little bump from Holy Spirit and a light goes on in my head and I’m filled with inspiration.
    So I’m telling you all this because I often need to be held accountable!!
    Ok, starting right now…its officially the Sabbath now and I’m committed to media fast (oh no! No Pinterest!) for this Sabbath and a Godly focus and only positive content shall pour from my mouth. I’m only doing a day because I honestly don’t think I can do a week, but will at least start….so folks I will remind myself to comment again once the Sabbath is over and let you know how I went!
    God bless you all, regards, Mandi from Australia

  13. Hi, Just found your postings and have been enjoying them very much, I fave up watching the news last year before I went to work and discovered that my days were alot more positive because I was not feeding all of that negativity in my brain, then I had to move and started watching the news again, but I am going to take this challenge , I read my bible more when I don’t watch the news, thanks for taking the time to post this blog, God bless.

  14. What a beautiful and inspiring blog. It may have been written a few months ago but I believe I can use it now in my life. Thank you for this blog, you must be a wonderful and loving child of God.

  15. I only just received this & I love it Deb!!! I stopped listening to the news (all sides) a while back AND a few weeks ago I deleted my twitter account because of all the hatefullness….I use Instagram but follow Christian people except for 1 & that might change too! God bless!

  16. I just came across your article tonight, and my Heart was really touched. That I need to add more to my scripture study and prayer. in January I started hand witting the New Testament as a way to help me really digest and learn what the Savior wants me to do or change in my life, but more so to feel his love every day. Your Article helped me to know that I need to spend more time serving others, This year has been a tough one for us my husband started Dialysis two years ago and in April of last year had is leg amputated But the Lord has really Blessed Our lives through all of it, He is now beginning to walk. I am so Grateful for all the rich Blessings from others, and I want to start again Serving.

    1. Hi, Elda! Thanks so much for stopping to say “hi.” I’m so glad to know you were blessed by this. You and your husband have had a hard couple of years. Rev and I went through a very difficult time a number of years ago and God gave me Psalm 73:26 as my life verse – My heart and my flesh may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. It always blesses my heart when I look back and see God’s healing strength in my life. And I’m so encouraged when friends like you, share their stories of faith and strength too. Thanks and God bless you!

  17. Thank you for the loving reminder and nudge in the right direction! Spring dreary days alone are enough to navigate with depression but, add in how the government is running amuck and it becomes a real battle. Thank you for putting yourself out there for the hope we all need❣️

    1. Shelley, there are plenty of things to discourage and depress us. I have to take the challenge every day to help me remember that God is sovereign and everything is under His control. When I stay focused on Him I can do a better job of staying positive no matter what is going on around me. His hard to understand peace has carried me too many times to count.

  18. This is such a great post! Thank you…I know I am late to the party, but this is even more relevant today, after what we have endured for the past two years. I finally decided to stop watching the news the summer of 2020. Only recently have I paid any attn to it and only because I am concerned for the people of the Ukraine and how to pray for them.

    I really appreciate this challenge… while I attempt to reset my attitude during this current recovery phase of the pandemic. I just ran across this article on Pinterest…I’m glad it’s still circulating! God knew I needed it today…thank you!

    1. Sara, thank you so very much. Your encouragement is truly a blessing. I have to take the challenge daily myself . . . there are so many things trying to distract and discourage us. Only with the Lord’s help! God bless you! Have a wonderful day!

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