A Mid-Winter “Pep Talk”

  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 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.”

Philippians 4:4-9


The calendar indicates we are more than half through winter, it’s not too late for a half time speech!

Lots of people talk about this being a barren time of year — a dry time spiritually. I don’t feel dry or dormant spiritually. Quite the opposite. I have enjoyed the snow and sunshine, but still deal with the scraping and shoveling. I am enjoying seminary, but this semester has been very demanding. My study space at home looks nothing short of war torn!

As a child, I actually looked forward to February 12. I was born in Springfield, Illinois, and I thought I had a special tie to Abraham Lincoln. I liked celebrating his birthday. My grandmother died on February 12, 1983. This was the first of many January-February losses in my family. I don’t dread it, but I seem to do a lot of reflecting. In the last week I have been to two memorial services and I find myself reminiscing.

Paul had a special relationship with the Philippians. The verses we read are part of his pep talk in his final appeal to them. His message is keep on keeping on. Those six verses provide direction and hope and a reminder to think on these good things. For today, that is a gift.


Loving and gracious God, we thank you for the gift of prayer and the opportunity to practice and share all we have learned and heard and seen of our loving Savior.


Nathan Martens