Summary: We’re going to look at how to live a blessed or privileged life.

INTRO: I was living in Kearney, Nebraska, just graduated from the university with finance degree, Tammy was finishing her degree, and Felicia was around a year old. The doctors, several months earlier, informed us her heart was enlarged and beating too fast because of some heart condition that needed to be fixed or she would not live very long.

The surgery was done in Omaha, the first procedure did work so they tried another. It went well. Tammy would stay in Omaha with her mom visiting Felicia while I drove back to Kearney couple hundred miles to go back to work. I got a call the next night from Tammy in tears saying the procedure failed. The doctors at that point didn’t know what to do.

Getting off the phone, asking God about the situation, and all of sudden peace flooded my heart and mind that it was going to be ok. And it was ok. Felicia did have to go through another surgery a few years afterward to finally fix the problem. God was faithful.

Today: We’re going to look at how to live a blessed or privileged life.

TITLE: Keep the Fire Lit TEXT: Philippians 4:6-8

I. Everyone has had some difficulty (problem, tragedy). This does not matter if you’re a believer or not. Bad circumstances happen to everyone because we live in a broken world. Bad things happen to good people as well as bad things happen to bad people.

A. The key – am I going to be blessed through it and after it.

1. Many people mistakenly assume just because they’ve gone through some hardships or tragedies that somehow the world owes them or that people owe them.

-Because they’ve been hurt or have been wronged.

Point: This is a wrong way to think, this will only lead to a life of despair, anger, bitterness, disillusionment.

B. Understand the depth of pain and hurt you suffered does not equal comfort and ease on the other side.

Example. Friendship. You are the one who does everything in the relationship for years and now that person abandons you. You’re hurt, you’re wounded, you’re in pain. You think that person owes you.

Marriage. I’ve been faithful to that woman all these years and she’s run off with a younger man. You think she owes you and if you’re not careful you’ll wait around the rest of your life to be paid back. This leads to anger, bitterness, disillusionment and it will spill over in other relationships you have.

1. This is not the way to think. We need to move in truth, the truth will set us free.

II. Truth to a blessed life – text today.

A. Rejoice in the Lord always. Notice the word of God gives us instruction to rejoice in the Lord.

-Paul not only says it once but twice, showing us how important it is.

1. Our joy is in the Lord – when we live like this our attitude will be one of rejoicing.

2. Paul goes on to say – let your gentleness be evident to all.

-Why can I be gentle – because the Lord is near. When I understand the Lord is near I don’t have to worry or be anxious no matter what the situation is because the Lord is near.

Example. Daniel, prophet of God, was thrown into a lion’s den by some individuals who wanted his job. They manipulated the circumstances. As a result he was tossed into a pit of hungry lions. But the Lord was there. Daniel prevailed because he trusted in the Lord. Daniel recognized the Lord was near.

B. Pray rather than worry. In fact we are to present our request with thanksgiving.

1. Notice what our attitude is to be like – thankful, joyful, not anxious.

Question: How can this be when I’m in a difficult painful circumstance? It’s the idea that Father is going to see me through it.

2. Do you know what he does – he will give you a peace that transcends all understanding that goes beyond, past what we could even understand.

-This peace stands guard in our hearts and minds.

3. Understand the great apostle is writing this, falsely accused and imprisoned. He is chained to a Roman guard 24 7 awaiting trial. Paul knows suffering and hardship.

-He’s telling us how to get the peace of God.

Thought: God is the only one who can give you a blessed life. You can eat at the finest restaurants in the world but the Lord is the only one who can give you true joy. You can have all the power in the world like Joseph Stalin who ruled the Soviet Empire, a ruthless individual who killed anyone who stood in his way. But he had trouble sleeping, afraid someone was going to kill him. So he had several secret bedrooms he slept in, paranoid someone was going to do him in. God is the only one who can bring peace.

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