Monday, February 25, 2008

Thank you GOD!

I just want to give glory to God for a great weekend! God is really teaching me to eliminate and manage stress. It worked! I noticed that if I don't have peace I can't give it out to anyone. God is faithful. I worked all weekend and God was so faithful. I was rested. I ate pretty well. I had peace and walked in peace. I was able to exercise a little as well. All thanks to God!
Saturday's weather was gorgeous. I took a 41 minute walk which was such a blessing! It wasn't for exercise purposes only, it was a mental break as well. I want to thank God for everything. I'm thankful today.
I'm back to my daily routine now. I'm still thankful.

My Pursuit of Peace
(Devotional I shared at work on February 5)
STRESS is the unnecessary weight that cleverly clings and entangles us. It may come in the form of a flooded basement. I experienced it when I came back from Brasil. There were 4 feet of water down there. Stress may come in a phone call demanding the completion of a new task when you already have a week’s worth of paperwork in front of you.

Only you know how stress affects you. Stress clings on me in a form of high blood pressure, chest pains, anxiety, headaches, constant worry and back pain. No matter which stage of life you’re in you may be affected by stress. It may come through sickness. It may come when you decide to change your family members and solve their problems. You’d know stress if you saw it 10 miles away from you.

There is a way out! The Prince of Peace is the way out. Let’s see what He has told us in John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
The Bible tells us to pursue peace. It’s a commandment I didn’t know until recently. Here’s psalms 34:14: Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it!
How do we pursue peace when stress is all over us? Let’s read Isaiah 26:3: You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Keeping our MIND on the Lord should be our first response to stress. Another powerful weapon is waiting on the Lord.
Let’s read Isaiah 40:31: But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
Wait on the Lord. Hope in Him. Serve the Lord. Expect great things from the Lord he will change your strength and power. That’s a powerful promise!

As Christians we need to fight stress as a spiritual issue. We are spiritual beings living on earth, right? God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We are also encouraged to walk in the Spirit. A good way to fight stress with Spiritual weapons is putting on the armor of God. Let’s look at Ephesians 6:17: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

You may be tempted to get your own sword and fight against stress. Use your own means. This is what the sons of Koreh said in the Psalms: “I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory;” Psalms 44:6
Praying, fasting, reading and confessing the Word of God are all powerful spiritual weapons. If you need more convincing on using spiritual weapons, here’s what we know from the book of Ephesians chapter 6 verse 12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Because we’re not super spiritual and we live in the world – although we are not of the world – there are some natural things we can do to combat stress AFTER we have used our spiritual weapons. We can avoid stress eating by giving our bodies non-food rewards such as taking a walk, reading a good book, watching a funny movie. We can eat well, we can exercise, we can sleep 8 hours for a change. I believe God uses these as ways weapons on the pursuit of peace.
You can’t give what you don’t have. If you are stressed it’s because you lack peace and Jesus gave us His peace over 2,000 years ago. It’s up to us to pursue it.