09
Sep
08

managing stress

Stress is on the rise in today’s world. The good news is that although Christians may be in the world, according to the words of Jesus recorded in John 17:16, we are not of the world! We don’t have to operate in the world’s system—thinking, talking, or acting like the world—and we shouldn’t! In fact, our attitude and approach toward situations should be entirely different from the world’s.

The source of our stress isn’t really difficulties, circumstances and situations. It’s our attitude and approach toward them. The world (unbelievers) responds to difficulties with upset, but Jesus said in John 14:27 to …stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed…. He never promised that we wouldn’t have to deal with anything disturbing or disappointing.

In John 16:33, Jesus said, …In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] Jesus said difficulties would come our way, but they don’t have to upset us. We don’t have to accept the stress being offered. We have the privilege of approaching the challenge in a calm, peaceful manner.

25
Jul
08

worry or worship

Worry and worship are exact opposites, and we’d all be much happier if we learned to become worshippers instead of worriers. Worry opens the door for the devil, but worship is reverence and adoration for God that leads us into His presence. God created us to worship Him, and I don’t believe we can walk in victory if we don’t become worshippers. Sometimes when we don’t have what we need or want, the enemy tries to discourage us and keep us from worshipping God. But when we know that God has our best interests at heart, we can worship Him regardless of our circumstances. Remember, God is good even when our circumstances are not! God doesn’t always give us our heart’s desire right away. He wants us to develop a deep, personal relationship with Him and an outrageous love for Him so much so that we can’t live without it. This kind of relationship and love brings the worshipful attitude that God wants us to have.

To worship means “to reverence,” or “to defer to.” We are to have reverential fear and awe of God. We are to respect and honor Him, and defer to Him by submitting to and obeying Him, and adapt ourselves to His will. We must realize that Christ, living in us, has come to lead and guide us into a special lifestyle of worship and victorious living. When Satan throws worry on you, I challenge you to stop what you’re doing, get down on your knees before God, and begin praising Him. Worship is a spiritual weapon, a warhead or bomb you can use against the enemy. Your prayers and worship will get you heavenly help, and you won’t have to fight your own battles. God’s grace and power can make things happen with ease that you can’t bring about no matter how much you struggle.

So stop worrying about everything, give it to God, and live in grace. Grace isn’t just divine favor—it’s power! Don’t waste another day of your life worrying. Determine what your responsibility is and what it is not. Don’t try to take on God’s responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can’t. So give yourself and your worries to God and begin enjoying the abundant life He has planned for you.

25
Jul
08

peace and rest

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Jesus wants to ease our burdens and give us rest. The Message Bible says it this way: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30). That sounds good, doesn’t it? I’ve had enough heavy stuff in my life, and I want to be free. It’s nice to know that we don’t have to figure everything out. We need to get comfortable with saying, “I don’t have a clue, but I’m not going to worry about it because God’s in control. I’m going to live free and light!” When we’re overloaded with the cares of this life—struggling, laboring and worrying—we need some help. Our minds need to rest from worrying about how to take care of problems, our emotions need to rest from being upset all the time, and our wills need a rest from stubbornness and rebellion. So we need to be humble enough to call out to God and say, “I need help!” Your beginning doesn’t have to dictate your ending. Get God involved in every area of your life and allow Him to lead you into rest.


25
Jul
08

develop an attitude of faith and prayer

I’ve learned that my attitude has a lot to do with living a worry-free life. There will always be situations that cause us concern, but with God’s help, we can live above all of it and enjoy life. Cast your care on the Lord and say, “God, I trust You, and I’m going to enjoy the life You have given me.” When you give your problems to God, you must also decide to be satisfied with His answers. Trusting God to do what’s best for us involves dying to self. Paul said, …it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). You can trust God to do what’s best for you, so you don’t have to worry about it. When you have a positive attitude and keep your faith in God, you can’t be defeated. We must stop trying to make things happen the way we want and get to the place where we desire to please God more than ourselves. The Christ in us has to supercede what we want. Faith and the Word of God will help you overcome worry. Worrying involves negative thoughts, but speaking positive things out of your mouth will interrupt those negative thought patterns. When we are full of the Word of God, we can speak it out of our mouths in faith. Faith is stronger than doubt, negativism and unbelief. Faith has a positive attitude that can overcome our past and lead us into a great future. Faith is a powerful force that cannot be conquered. Another powerful force is prayer. When you’re under pressure, it’s always best to pray about it instead of talk about it. Prayer is the blueprint for a successful life. During His time on earth, Jesus prayed. He entrusted everything to God—even His reputation and life. We can do the same. We don’t have to explain all the problems to Him; we can just give them to Him and ask Him to take care of everything. Don’t complicate prayer. Just have confidence in simple, believing prayer.

Look at Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:6,7: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. If you’re a Christian who goes around burdened or weighed down all the time, something is wrong. You may have had faith in Christ for salvation, but you haven’t moved into walking in faith daily for the life that God has given you. The Bible tells us that God is faithful—that’s one of His major characteristics. He can be counted on to come through for us, so we should trust Him totally and completely. When we do, we’ll be ready for anything that may come our way.


25
Jul
08

cast your cares on him who cares for you

First Peter 5:6,7 says, Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Since Jesus invites us to cast all of our care and worry on Him, why do so many of us refuse to let go? Apparently, we’re not yet fed up with being miserable.
The only way to have victory in our lives is to play by God’s rules, and He says we must quit worrying if we want to have peace. So when things come our way that cause us to be concerned, we need God’s help. How do we get it? First Peter 5:6,7 lists two important steps: 1) humble yourselves, and 2) cast your care on Him. That seems pretty clear and simple, yet some continue struggling because they’re too bullheaded to ask for help. But the humble get the help. So if your way isn’t working, why not try God’s way? All of us would be better off if we’d learn to lean on God and ask for His help. But as long as we try to do everything ourselves, God will let us. He won’t take care of our problems and worries—our cares—until we turn loose of them and give them to Him. Either we’re going to do it or God’s going to do it, but both of us aren’t going to. Now, casting your care doesn’t mean you can be irresponsible. God won’t do for you what you can do yourself. You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can’t. When we humble ourselves and ask for His help, then He’s able to release His power in our situations. It’s only then that we can really enjoy life. So the cure for worry is humbling ourselves before God, casting our cares on Him, and trusting Him. Instead of making ourselves miserable trying to figure everything out on our own, God wants us to place our trust in Him and enter into His rest, totally abandoning ourselves to His care. I know that when we are able to believe and say, “God, I trust You,” it will literally change our lives. Psalm 37:3 says, Trust…in the Lord and do good…. God didn’t create us to worry about helping ourselves all the time. He wants us to sow good seed by reaching out to help others. When we simply trust God and get busy doing the good things we know to do, then He’ll bring a harvest of blessings into our lives and meet our needs.


25
Jul
08

the cause and cure for worry

Worry, feeling uneasy or troubled, seems to plague multitudes of people in our world today. It’s human nature to be concerned about the bad situations in our world and in our personal lives, but if we’re not careful, the devil will cause us to worry beyond what’s reasonable. Worry is like a rocking chair—it’s always in motion but it never gets you anywhere. So why do we struggle with it? And what good does it do? Worry is the opposite of faith, and it steals our peace, physically wears us out, and can even make us sick. When we worry, we torment ourselves—we’re doing the devil’s job for him! Worry is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives. Too often we trust our own abilities, believing that we can figure out how to take care of our own problems. Yet sometimes, after all our worry and effort to go it alone, we come up short, unable to bring about suitable solutions.

At a young age, I discovered firsthand that people hurt people, so I didn’t trust others. I tried to take care of myself, deciding not to depend on anyone who would hurt or disappoint me. Too often our experiences in the world teach us this, and even after we become Christians, it takes a long time to overcome it. It’s difficult to learn how to trust God, but we eventually must learn that trying to take care of everything ourselves is too big a task.

18
Jul
08

the high cost of low living

Satan tempts us to live a low life, but God tempts us to come up higher. One of the worst mistakes we can make is to get complacent, thinking that what we have right now is okay. A mindset of low expectations holds us back because God can only do through us what we believe for. Be careful that you don’t get in an “okay place” spiritually. I don’t want to be average because I don’t serve an average God. God is a God of excellence, and I want to follow His example. Matthew 16:25,26 says, For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]? Low living has a high cost. Nothing is worth giving up the wonderful, peaceful, joyful, righteous, holy life here on earth and the promise of eternity in heaven. If your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, yet you spend your life resisting the will of God and living according to your mind, will and emotions instead of operating in the mind of Christ, you are living the low life. God wants you to be blessed, but He doesn’t want you trying to provide it for yourself. He doesn’t want you to seek things or put things ahead of Him. He tells us in Matthew 6:33, …seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (KJV). So know yourself and know your problems. Recognize your strengths and ask God to take care of your weaknesses. Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).