Friday, October 11, 2013

Stressed Out?

Are you stressed out?  Here is some help – the word “stressed” is the word “desserts” spelled backwards.  You’re welcome!  Stress free now?  Me either.  There are a lot of great things found in Scripture to help you deal with stress.  One of my favorite verses is John16:33.  Jesus Himself said, “These things I have told you so that in me (Jesus) you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart.  I have overcome the world.”  Now that’s great news that meets every one of us right where we live.  While all of us are faced with varying troubles, Jesus overcomes them all and gives us peace.  I didn’t say He takes all of your troubles completely away.  You can have peace in the middle of your troubles.  Peace isn’t the absence of trouble but the presence of the Lord in the midst of them. 


Another verse in the Bible I remind myself of frequently is Philippians 4:4.  “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”  When does this verse say to rejoice?  ALWAYS!  How do you rejoice in sickness, death, or pain? How do you rejoice when your mate leaves you (that’s assuming you want them to stay)?  I think this verse tells us rejoicing is a character trait of the Christian.  While trouble may present itself, true joy is found in the Lord, not circumstance.  He is joy.  Joy isn’t good and not bad.  It is Jesus!   I think this verse reminds us to focus on the joy of the Lord and not to worry.  Philippians 4:6 reminds us to also be anxious about nothing.  What does worry produce?  Usually more worry.  Someone once said worry pulls tomorrows clouds over today’s sunshine.  None of us can add a single hour to our life (Matthew 6:27).  Worrying about tomorrow’s problems today is bad medicine.  Matthew6:34 goes on to say, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“


Another thing Scripture tells us to do is pray.  I didn’t finish Philippians 4:6 in the previous paragraph.  It says, “be anxious for nothing” but doesn’t stop there.  The key to not being anxious is prayer.  The verse continues to say, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  The next verse implies that prayer in the middle of anxiety brings peace.  “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Prayer puts your troubles into perspective and causes you to remember to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).  God cares about your struggles.  Take them to Him and throw all your troubles on Him.  He can bear our burdens where you and I cannot.  Sometimes we worry or are stressed out because we think the wrong thoughts.  Proverbs 23:7 says what we think in our hearts is what we are.  If you consume yourself with negative or “worst-case scenario” thoughts, you will drive yourself crazy.  When the Devil says, “what if…” to you, tell him, “so what!”  Philippians 4:8 says we should think about only what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  Other thoughts should be taken captive and made to obey the truths of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 


Paul knew how to be content in every circumstance (Philippians 4:11).  Whether he had little finances or was hungry, he was content.  He knew God was for him and not against him (Romans 8:31).  Stress free living really is this:  godliness with contentment which brings great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).  You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).  God will supply all your needs according to His righteousness (Philippians 4:19).  You can overcome stress in Christ!


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