Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
December 14th, 2022
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
The other day, as I was driving the food bank van for pickups, I heard something on the radio that made me tear-up with love! I was listening to a secular radio station which was playing Christmas music, and between songs the DJ played a clip that has apparently gone viral of a 5-year-old kid who heard his dad and grandfather discussing their concerns about the family business. Then this little kids’ voice came over the radio saying “Daddy, grandpa, don’t worry about tomorrow, just think about today, that’s what God says. Every day has enough trouble for it’s own. God will take care of it.”
And I just thought: how sweet! Out of the mouths of babes come pearls of wisdom that adults really need to hear. And for Jesus’ sermon on the mount to be quoted on a secular radio station (a very popular one, that lots of people listen to around the holidays) was just such a surprising blessing! I praised the Lord for that family that has brought up that child with a knowledge of the scriptures, and was thankful that, apparently the ‘virality’ of this clip justified it’s being played on the airwaves. In the hustle and bustle and clutter of messages, God’s word got a little moment there through the mouth of a child.
Obviously, in sermon preparations and the like, I’ve been thinking of the Nativity story a lot lately. Things went so crazy for Mary and Joseph, several times over! Yet the word “worry” or “anxious” isn’t found in those passages (not to say they didn’t experience them – can you imagine not being able to find even a hotel room for your wife while the press of labor is intensifying on her? And the son of God, no less!). But it’s just perfect example of God providing every step of the way. Scripture identifies a half-dozen times how this apparently crazy story, on the surface level, was actually making prophecies from hundreds of years prior click into place (see Matthew’s account for the bulk of these).
And Ellen White elaborates on the idea in the Desire of Ages how the three gifts of the wise men were God’s provision for the necessary flight (fleeing) to Egypt. Mary and Joseph had no idea that gifts were on their way, nor that fleeing would be necessary. But God knew, and handed them the gift (which had begun its journey months before) right on time, likely mere days before it was needed.
So, I realized, I need to trust more, too. I mean: he’s caused the sun to shine, the air to come into my fully formed lungs, my brain to keep my conscious mind awake, and here I am worrying if I’ll be taken care of? Surely, the angels must shake their heads at we fickle humans.
The verse quoted above from Philippians 4 discusses a great exchange: we can give our anxieties to God, and in return receive his perfect peace. What a great thing to receive during the holidays! It makes me realize that trust is, yes, an intentional decision that requires effort, but it’s also a great relief and benefit to all who invest in it.
So I just invite you to put your lives, your needs, into the hands of the One who made all and is over all today. I close sharing some lyrics from a favorite hymn of mine. It’s not a Christmas hymn per se, but read/sing it slowly to yourself and pray it to God just now, asking Him to come into your heart and give you that gift of peace.
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know “Thus saith the Lord”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more!
I pray that God’s love, God’s peace, and God’s comfort can fill your heart today and for the remainder of the week and beyond. And let’s be sources of peace and encouragement to others at every opportunity.
May God bless you all.
Pr. Mark Tatum