Take the Philippians’ Challenge and See What Happens

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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21 thoughts on “Take the Philippians’ Challenge and See What Happens

  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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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’!
      Deb recently posted..How to Have New Hope When You Pray the Lord’s PrayerMy Profile

  5. 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. 😉🙏

  6. 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.

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