Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chill Out

Chill out or crash!

Unfortunately, crashing has almost become a national pass time. Stress stretches us beyond limits.

Anxieties are eating us alive.

  • 1,000,000 Americans have a heart attack each year.
  • We consume 13 billion prescribed doses of tranquilizers, barbiturates, and amphetamines annually.
  • 8,000,000 Americans have stomach ulcers.
  • There are an estimated 50,000 stress-related suicides or suicide attempts each year.
  • 48% of Americans report lying awake at night due to stress.

We don’t need a diagnosis. It’s how am I going to make my mortgage payment this month to avoid a eviction notice? How can I have dental work done on my kids teeth? Will the transmission on our old clunker last another six months? Will I pass the final examine to graduate? How can I face the bullying at school or work? Most of us know we have it, but we don’t know how to get rid of it. We need deliverance and relief.

Stress comes from so many different directions and never seems to have a holiday. It can happen at a grocery store as one lad discovered. He was strolling past the store when his eyes caught glimpse of a basket of apples being displayed on the side walk. The storekeeper saw the young guy eyeing the apples and ran outside to chase him away screaming, “Trying to steal one of those apples?”

The startled guy replied, “No, I’m trying NOT to.” You see, stress doesn’t just come from the things we do but also from the things we struggle with not doing.

We all know the routine. Trying not to doubt and keep a positive attitude. Trying not to get up tight about dismal economic realities globally. Trying not to explode when I get angry.

Jesus was well aware of the stress dilemma, and encouraged us to chill out. It is expressed plainly in Matthew 6:34 (The Message). “Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Moses found therapeutic value in the wise counsel of God who said, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be…the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” (KJV – Deuteronomy 33:25, 27)

This passage may not be my candy stick, but it is one of my favorite passages of Scripture to which I quote frequently to find relief from stressful situations. As a matter of fact, I would like to ask you to recite it with me verbally right now. “As MY days, so shall MY strength be…”

This assurance from God provides me with chill out incentive and assurance. Then I apply Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4-7 to my situation. I like to think of it as God’s “5 B’s” for chilling out.

Be fearless

(Philippians 4:1 – “Stand fast in the Lord…”)

Stress is often linked with the absence of hope and the presence of despair. And, consequently, is the incubator of fear. Fear provokes us to run from our problems to leave the stress behind us, but it doesn’t work. Fear sticks to you like a leech, and the more you fear the more you feel stress.

Paul has the answer. His command is: STAND FAST IN THE LORD. Henry L. Gilmour, a hymn writer of many years gone by, expressed it so beautifully in the words of this sacred song.

“I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest,I’ll sail the wide seas no more;

The tempest may sweep over the wild, stormy, deep, In Jesus I’m safe evermore.”

Take shelter in “the Heaven of rest” and chill out.

Be thankful

(Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord…”)

Rejoice in the Lord!!!! Not your circumstance. Your circumstances change, and sometimes it is from bad to worse. But Jesus is the same. He never changes. He never vacillates. He never amends His promises and with draws His presence. That’s what we are thankful for. We rejoice in the Lord. He is steadfast, sovereign, significant and always sufficient. Chill out by rejoicing in Him. It will get your mind off of your pressures and remind you of who God is and what He is capable of doing regardless of the bleak situation you are facing. Rejoice in God without regrets.

Be optimistic

(Philippians 4:5 – “The Lord is at hand…”)

What a relief it is to know that the Lord is at hand. He is near and never far away. Where is God? He is HERE. Seeing our needs, sensing our pain, shaping our destiny, sanctifying our hearts and settling any claims the devil levies against us.

Psalms 46:1 gives me reason for optimism. “God is our refuge and strength, a VERY PRESENT HELP in trouble.” Don’t crash. Chill out. God is with you.

Be prayerful

(Philippians 4:6 – “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God…”)

Joseph M. Scriven and Charles C. Converse explained how we can chill out in the words of an old, old hymn of the church titled: What A Friend We Have in Jesus. If you know the song, sing it now.

What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit

O what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Pour your heart out to the Father, and He will pour out blessings to you.

Be calm

(Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God….shall keep your minds and hearts through Christ Jesus.”)

Cool in a crisis. Serene in times of storms. Unflappable in unpleasantness. Poised under pressure. Paul refers to it as “peace that passes all understanding…”

God give us that inexplicable peace in our hearts today that will help us to chill out and not to crash under stress is my prayer.

Chilling Out

Pastor Jimmy & Bob

No comments:

Post a Comment