In yesterday’s blog, I shared some of the thoughts I’ve had–feelings I’ve experienced–since my heart attack nearly three weeks ago. MY hope is that from my experiences you may draw strength to face your own challenges, whatever they may be.In my devotional reading today, I’m in the book of Philippians, a book I’ve preached from, probably dozens of times. The text that jumped out at me this morning was chapter 3, verses six and seven (and I can’t begin to guess how many times I’ve preached these verses).

I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first I need to lay a foundation for it. Anxiety is not uncommon when one is experiencing serious situations, medical or otherwise. I talked to my rehab nurse about how I’ve been waking up every morning about 4:00, and lying in bed asking myself, “Am I experiencing symptoms of more heart problems? Or am I having an anxiety attack? I feel my heart beating inside my chest; should I take a nitro? Should I wake up Marsha and have her check my blood pressure? Should we call 911?” My rehab nurse replied that, often, we become hypersensitive to what we’ve always experienced, and it affects our ability to interpret what we are sensing.

So, here I am this morning, after having one of those awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night experiences, concerned, if not frightened, about what I’m sensing at the moment. And I sit down with my morning coffee and breakfast, read through the different devotional materials I use every day, and open my Bible to today’s reading from it. I read, “Be anxious for NOTHING (emphasis added), but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your HEARTS (emphasis added)…

In context, Paul is writing about the spiritual heart, believed then to be the source of our emotions. But it was as though God was saying to me that the peace of God would guard my literal heart through Christ Jesus.Am I suffering from anxiety or depression? NO! But do I have anxious moments? I can’t imagine anyone experience what I’m experiencing not having some. But am I overcome by them? No, rather, I am overcoming them, because Jehovah-Shalom, the God of Peace, is giving me His peace, and is guarding my heart both physically and spiritually.

So, what about you? Are you allowing anxiety to well up inside you, bringing with it its cousins, depression and fear? How about letting God know through prayer and supplication (requests)–the CEV says, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything”–with thanksgiving. And His peace will guard your heart and mind. It’s a promise!

About Pastor Jim Dixon

Jim Dixon is a husband, father, grandfather, pastor, missionary and with his wife, Marsha, an author. Jim and Marsha are founders of God's Blueprint for Marriage, a ministry based on the experiences they had during reconciliation and restoration of their tumultuous marriage that would have ended in divorce, had it not been for God's intervention. Their marriage workshop called, not surprisingly, "God's Blueprint for Marriage" shares details of their failing marriage and, more importantly, the lessons they learned during the restoration process. Their book, "God's Blueprint for Marriage", is available through their web site, Jim is Missions and Small Groups Pastor at their church, Word of Life Fellowship. He and Marsha have a strong ministry presence in Peru, where he is a leader in the Evangelical Church of Christ of Peru, a Peruvian denomination. And Marsha is founder of Mujeres de Valor (Women of Worth), a ministry helping women in Peru find their place in service to God. They also work with Victory Bible College-Peru and Victory Fellowship of Ministries, organizations dedicated to training and supporting pastors and church leaders in that nation. Their two sons, Michael and Jeffrey, are also in ministry, Jeffrey full time as Youth Pastor of their church. Additionally they have a number of "adopted" sons and daughters, many of whom are in ministry as well. Jim is a professional storm chaser. You can hear him during severe weather in NW Arkansas on 40/29.
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