Philippians 4: I love you! I miss you! You are my joy. You are my crown. Don't ever forget that. Act like it! "That is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!" Phil 4:1 (NIV)
Euodia, Syntyche, my faithful loyal yoke-fellows, I plead with you to agree with each other in the Lord! Paul says. ". . .help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." Agree & help!
Here's another favorite: Phil 4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! [say it again and again and again: Be joyful again!] Let your gentleness be evident to all. [Let people see you gentleness] The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, [I hear people talk about anxiety ALL the time] but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. [my kids and I used to do "thank you-prayers". Write down your requests. Pay attention when God answers and when he doesn't. ] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [That's a promise!]" That peace of God isn't cognitive. It transcends what you can understand. Joy, peace, gentleness, anxiety - all potential topics.
God listens to it all my thoughts but I can choose what to think about, what I dwell on. Is it true? Is it noble? Is it right? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it admirable? Is it excellent? Is it praiseworthy? "—think about such things."A filter for my thoughts "Whatever is . . . —if anything is . . . —think about such things."(Phil. 4: 8-9 NIV)
Paul said, "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." [action - promise] Pick your favorite grown-up or teen. Pick one thing they do that you want to copy. Pick one way that they are like Jesus. Pick one thing that you remember someone saying that you can do that will make you more like Jesus.
So take vs 10-23. Imagine writing this letter to your students. Imagine receiving this letter from a godly person you respect. How would you translate this for your kids? What will you focus on? What can you do together to help kids understand what Paul is saying and become active participants? Concern? Contentment? Giving/receiving? What is the credit we get in our account when we give? What is that fragrant offering?