This reading is Philippians 4.
Paul starts with a plea to two women who are arguing. It must not have been a matter of church doctrine, or he would have addressed it. Petty disagreements in the church can hold back our witness and service.
V. 7 is one of my first memory verses. We are told not to be anxious about anything. We are to pray with thanksgiving, regardless of our circumstances. The “peace of God that transcends all understanding” is often interpreted to mean a peace that is so fantastic that we can’t even understand it. That may be, but it also might mean that the peace will surpass our understanding of the problems that were making us anxious to begin with. In short, the peace of God may put everything into perspective for us.
After Paul tells us not to be anxious, he tells us what to fill our minds with in v. 8. This is a great reminder that we get to choose what we think about. It is easy to get into patterns of negative thinking about failures, hurts and disappointments. But we can elect to think about what is true, noble, right, lovely, etc.
Verse 13 is often misinterpreted to imply that we can do all kinds of spectacular things with Christ’s help. That may be true, but that isn’t what this verse is saying.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
But reading verse 12 you can see that the context is that with Christ’s strength, we can be content whether living in plenty or in need.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Learning to be content with what we have is a great secret indeed!
Verse 22 shows how the Gospel had already reached Rome and into Caeser’s household (“All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.”)
The next reading is Psalm 1.