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Keeping our Hearts

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

Sometimes bible corrections are very subtle. Like any great work of art, the smallest of brush strokes can distinguish genius from a hack job. When the New King James Bible renders Philippians 4:7 it dulls the sense of the verse; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. I take offense with that.

There are many great proofs of a King James Bible. Other than the glory it gives to our Lord Jesus Christ there is no greater proof than to see it work in people's lives. I heard Gail Riplinger state that as a professor at Kent State University in Ohio she noticed that some Christian girls who came to her for advice were eventually able to overcome great tragedies in their lives. She noticed that others could not.

With further observation she noticed that the girls who used the King James Bible were far more apt to recover their lives and recover an emotional stability, whereas the girls using the new versions were far more apt to continue struggling with their troubles and depressions. It was this observation that set her to research her first book, The New Age Versions of the Bible.

I am a pastor. I am a father and a husband. I am also a human being. There are times when I need to shepherd my family or my people to find peace, and there are times that I need it myself. I have never found a greater place to secure peace than to obey the instructions of Philippians 4:6, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. I have guided many a person through obeying that verse. I guide them as one who believes that the verse says exactly what God wants them to do.

The first requirement is that they, "be careful for nothing". This is a matter of the human will. The person obeying the verse must stop being full of care over the issue that is eating at them. On a long term basis that seems impossible. If a house is being repossessed or if a loved one is missing or dying, the best a person can do is to momentarily let go of the burden of care. They must then use that moment to obey the rest of the verse.

The second requirement is to use prayer and supplication. To pray is to talk to God and to ask. Even today in a court of law, a request made to a judge is called a "prayer to the court". To supplicate is more formal. The Oxford English Dictionary defines supplication as : A humble plea; an earnest request or entreaty, esp. one made deferentially to a person in a position of power or authority.

The person supplicating is going a little deeper. They are earnestly requesting help from the supreme deity. They have made it into the throne room of grace and with all deference to the great God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob they are making their requests known to him. There is one caveat to that. It must be done with thanksgiving. It is not enough to get God's attention. It is not enough to recognize him for who and what he is, the person making the prayer and supplication must do so with thanksgiving.

I have ground my teeth and gagged as I have thanked God for certain troubles and disasters in my life. Nevertheless, as I have made my requests to God with prayer and supplication, I have thanked him. I have thanked him for hearing me. I have thanked him for caring. I have thanked him for circumstances that have forced me to him in supplication.

What then is my reward for this? What is it that I teach my people to expect? It is not answer to prayer that is promised. It is something far greater. It is the peace of God actively working in their hearts and minds. It is not just him working in the hearts and minds. The very peace of God himself, a peace that can not be explained moves in. It takes over. It keeps our hearts and minds.

Like the Great Physician coming upon an emergency and shooing the nurses and emergency workers to the side, the peace of God keeps the heart and mind of the afflicted. It isn't just guarding the hearts and minds like the New King James Bible says. It is keeping them. It is his peace taking over the heart and mind that makes the difference. I don't want him outside guarding. I want him to come in and take over.

That great God of all comfort takes both the heart and mind of the overwhelmed and puts them in his own keeping. I have found that inexplicable peace in the face of unbearable tragedy to be far greater than any answer to prayer the I could have asked for. My people have found that peace when they have obeyed Philippians 4:6. Sometimes it lasts for five minutes, sometimes it lasts for weeks. It always comes and it always takes over the hearts and minds.

Very often, their deepest desires are not granted. The tragedy they feared comes upon them. Instead of destroying them, it strengthens them. It is God's peace that makes the difference and ultimately becomes the greatest gift.

Step #1: Quit caring.

Step #2: Both pray to God and supplicate him. Mixed in with thanksgiving, list your requests.

Step #3: Rest in the peace that he gives. Don't try to understand it, it passeth understanding.

This is the word of God that we're dealing with. It works. I have learned that there is nothing that the original manuscripts could do that my King James Bible cannot.

What if that peace leaves? Rinse and repeat. There's no limit on the verse. It works as written.

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