Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. Life must have been overwhelming for in chapter one he wrote of the benefits of dying and going to heaven. So how does one transition from a death wish to talking about rejoicing (to be cheerful and calmly happy), being gentle (patient), prayerful and thankful? Perhaps a key is found in verse 8 when he spoke of disciplining our thoughts by focusing on what is virtuous and praiseworthy. The result: “the peace of God will be with you.”

Without question, we live in troubling times. The threat of the spread of the Coronavirus has created a hysteria in our country. This is a time to calmly and purposely take the necessary precautions to protect the physical health of your family.   As I write this devotion, Gina and I have submitted to a self-imposed two week quarantine at home because of our recent travels to Israel. After consulting with our board of deacons, we made the decision to comply with government recommendations and have suspended all group activities and worship services at the church until such a time government officials give us the “all clear” to resume our regular schedule of activities.

This is a time to take the necessary steps to ensure the spiritual health of your family. Block out a part of each day when you spend time alone in worship, prayer and reading God’s word. Participate in the audio and video teachings we will be making available.

This is also a time to let your light shine. Follow the advice from Paul and rejoice, be gentle with others (even with the guy who bought the last package of TP right in front of you), be thankful and focus on things virtuous and praiseworthy. We have the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, a heart of peace is the result of focusing on the right things.