I can still vividly remember one of my fellow students from my time at Baptist Theological College, who was not considered and intellectual giant by any stretch of the imagination, saying very clearly 'We need to preach the How to.' It is all very well those of us who have a calling for preaching and teaching Gods word too; lay out the principles, precepts and doctrines. I have found it is very easy to present ideals and goals with utter conviction, convinced that this is God's word; but showing people how to reach and achieve these precepts is so much harder.
I also remember another well respected elder in the denomination who was invited to give a layman's view point of preaching. I can recall his words; 'unless you have struggled with a truth and experienced Gods word to you concerning that precept, do not preach that topic!' This advice for a young 'gung ho' preacher did not leave many subjects/topics left.
This introduction is a roundabout way of introducing a verse from 1 Peter 4:7
The end of all things is near.Therefore be clear minded and self-controlledso that you can pray
To pray effectively we must be 'able to curb ones passions' and to be 'calm and collected.' But try telling this to a believer who is under stress. Think back to the times when you have been in pain, been confused, been beside yourself with worry or facing a major crisis in your life. Have you been able to think straight with a clear head focused on God? These last few weeks I have lain in bed in the still cold and lonely hours of the morning trying to focus on God when the thoughts in my mind are turning to the C word and I am panicking for this night is never ending. At times I have not sensed God's warmth for my mind is oppressed with my pain and discomfort wondering why God has abandoned me.
Is there a way out of this dark cesspool? I believe there is as I have found two truths that must not be forgotten in the midst of our suffering, so that we turn our tears of sorrow into tears of joy with laughter
1/ Turn to the Word. Ps 107:20
He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
I have found that instead of trying and struggling to pray and turn my thoughts to God in my strength the best strategy is to stop and begin to read from the Psalms. In so doing you are opening your mind up to God's word so that he can minister to you with the breath of his love. Thus we surrender our minds to the living word that brings salvation, health, healing and deliverance ;and above all the glory of the Lord will flood the room as he did in the tabernacle's holy of holies. In effect we have allowed God to create a holy place in our mind where he can dwell in holiness and love.
2/ Remember that Jesus has called us his friends. John 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
To be known as a friend of Christ and in turn a friend of God is enough to fall down at His feet and worship Him who sits on the throne and lives forever and ever. For this truth acknowledges that we are in communion with God and He will speak to us with words that will bring life, for his words are like the deep waters that never run dry and bring nourishment to the trees planted in his temple. For it is true that the secrets of the Lord are revealed to those who fear Him with reverence and awe; knowing that we are knit together with God through the blood of Christ.
In this way I have found that I have been blessed abundantly with every spiritual blessing in Christ so much so that my cup overflows as the oil of gladness has been poured over my head which has saturated into my mind. Hence the spirit of heaviness has been replaced with a spirit of joy and a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Is 61:3n
In this manner I go forth as a witness unto him with a spirit of beauty to share with those who weep, with the oil of joy to nourish those who mourn, wrapped in a garment of praise that conquers those whose hearts are full of despair.
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Good advice from one who certainly knows and understands the powerful effects of stress on the mind and the body. Thank you, wmj!
I appreciate the scriptures that you've given us and have written them down on my calendar.
"How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, 'Your God reigns." Isaiah 52:7 God Bless, Phil
Thank you wmj. A timely and greatly uplifting word for times of swirling turmoil or in panic wishing to fade away.
I find myself turning to Psalms a lot. A favorite passage of mine is Psalm 18 with one of the key verses being Psalm 18:28. Another is Psalm 91. How those precious words penned so long ago, speak to me now and bring calmness and peace to my mind and my heart. Another thing I do is begin to sing hymns or at least let their words flow through my mind.
"When peace like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, "It is well, it is well with my soul".
" Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word; just to rest upon His promise,and to know, Thus saith the Lord!"
"When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand."
You are in my prayers.
Many times in my life when facing unbearable stress or physical pain, the only part of God's Word I was even willing to consider reading or thinking about are the Psalms. I believe that is part of the reason they were written. The Psalms are there to comfort us, act as a conduit when we are angry or feel forsaken, encourage us to get up and quit moping around and ultimately to know that no matter what happens in this life, our life is hid in God. I feel your pain brother and for what is is worth, I can tell you I have been there and gone through what you are experiencing as others on this site have also. No storm lasts forever. Hang in there and I pray God gives you what you need from His Word and His people.
You tell us in this blog to turn to the Word. Isn't it strange that too often when we are stressed or worrid that we only turn to the Word as a last resort, when it ought to be our first port of call for His Word does indeed heal us.
Awesome word of encouragement!