Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How About a Trade?

Here's an idea -- how about if the Packers make a trade with the Jets for Brett Favre?

John Wesley's Holy Club Questions

While students at Oxford, John Wesley and a few friends (including his brother, Charles, and George Whitefield) formed a group called "The Holy Club." The purpose was to deepen their faith, and help them to live it day by day.

They created the following list of personal reflection questions to be used during their daily private devotions (I suggest you read them in light of Romans 8:1):

1. Am I creating the impression that I am better than I am?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words?
3. Do I break confidence -- tell others' secrets?
4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, habits?
5. Can I be trusted?
6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
7. Did God's Word live in me today?
8. Am I enjoying my prayer time?
9. When was the last time I shared my faith?
10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
11. Do I go to bed on time and get up on time?
12. Do I disobey God in anything?
13. Do I have an uneasy conscience?
14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, touchy, irritible, or distrustful?
16. Am I proud?
17. How do I spend my spare time?
18. Do I thank God that I am not like others?
19. Is there anyone I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, disregard or resent?
20. Do I grumble and complain?
21. Is Christ real to me?

Monday, September 29, 2008

In Him We Live

Father, I bless thy name that I do live,
And in each motion am made rich with Thee,
That when a glance is all that I can give,
It is a kingdom's wealth, if I but see;

This stately body cannot move, save I
Will to its nobleness my little bring;
My voice, its measured cadence will not try,
Save I with every note consent to sing;

I cannot raise my hands to hurt or bless,
But I with every action must conspire
To show me there how little I possess,
And yet that little more than I desire;

May each new act my new allegiance prove,
Till in thy perfect love I ever live and move.
-- Jones Very (19th Century American Poet)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Long Walk in the Woods

A long walk in the woods is good for the soul.

"I went out for a walk,and finally concluded to stay out till sundown" said naturalist John Muir, "for going out, I found, was really going in."

The forest brings the majestic symphony of God's orchestra alive -- a far better production than anything originating from Carnegie Hall.

The heavens declare the glory of God. The birds, trees, sunsets. and lakes remind us that all is well.

Want a good remedy for a troubled heart? Go take a hike! Get out into nature and observe - watch - listen. You will find peace there. It's hard to be all worked up when you are quiet in a woods.

The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." Somebody bigger than me is in charge of the universe. I don't have to panic when situations arise beyond my control. Watch the birds. You'll see!

Joy is the natural state of the soul. The absence of joy indicates some kind of soul disease.

"Entanglements" keep us bound in turmoil. Sometimes, we let our negative emotions get the upper hand, and distract us from the path of peace. Fear and anger are both major entanglements, which can tie us up in knots before we even realize it. It's hard to be fully alive when anxiety and resentment are squeezing the soul.

Consider the lillies.

Joy is internal, not external. It depends not on circumstance. "Stone walls do not a prison make, not iron bars a cage." A free spirit can never be imprisoned.

Hardships will come - but then they will pass. Yesterday's tears are merely passing showers. We should not dwell on the dark clouds. The sun always is shining behind them.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Buzzard, Bat and Bumblebee

My friend, Pandora, sent this to me recently:

THE BUZZARD:
If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

THE BAT:
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

THE BUMBLEBEE:
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

PEOPLE:
In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee.We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Your Problems Can Help You Grow!

Your problems can help you grow!

Life’s difficulties can seem overwhelming. Disappointments, rejection, and painful experiences tempt us to cave into discouragement.

When faced with a Goliath sized obstacle, what do you do? Cower in fear? Ignore it? Throw a tantrum?

On ignoring: In The Hobbit, Tolkein remarks, “If a dragon lives with you, it’s best never to leave him out of your calculations.”

Genuine problems must not be ignored. If you sweep a dead skunk under the rug, it won’t get any better.

So how do we deal with difficulty? Put the problem in the right perspective! Realize that life is made up of problems. Troubles are everywhere and everybody has them. Don’t be surprised when they come your way.

Problems contain the seeds of their own solution. You can find the answer if you get on the “solution side” rather than the “problem side”. (By the way, you don’t have to be too smart to identify a problem. You need to stretch your brain a little, however, to see the solution.)

Problems are only temporary. Better days are ahead.

Focus on what you have, rather than what you’re lacking.

Be patient and learn something from this situation. Every pearl is the result of an oyster’s victory over an irritation.

If you don’t get bitter, you surely will get better!

Turn the problem over to God. He can rectify what you have wrecked.

Don’t run from your problems. Instead, let them stretch, challenge, and develop you.

Deal with today’s problems today. Refuse to put off what needs to be done now.

By the same token, do not allow worry to take over your life. As poet, Robert Frost stated, “Just take things as they come and handle them the best you can.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

3 Things a Speaker Should Do

I found these challenging thoughts on preaching at Perry Noble's blog:


1. Get alone with God and let Him set you on fire.
2. Understand that people will always Misunderstand what you say.
3. Keep the "One Day" principle in mind (One day we will give an account before God -- preach in light of that.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Send the Fire!

A powerful revival song by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army:


Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
O see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the offering now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Don't Wobble

Commit yourself to something greater than yourself! The world has enough people who go through life seeking their own personal gain. There are plenty of folks who just “go with the flow.” We need individuals who will stand up and dare to be different.

What are your convictions? What principles guide your life? A life without principle and conviction is like a boat without a sail or rudder. Nobody knows where it will end up.

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

Those rare people who really make a difference are those who stand on their convictions. This is called character -- a priceless gem available to anybody who is willing to pay the price.

Somebody said, “If you stand, just stand. If you sit, just sit. But whatever you do, don’t wobble!”

Once you determine your values and convictions, hang on to them for dear life! Don’t wobble! Keeping commitments is hard work. Standing strong in the face of adversity is sometimes lonely. But keep on. Hang on. Don’t wobble.

The prize does not go to the person who merely starts a marathon – but to the one who finishes. Stand up for what is right and keep going – even if you have to run alone.

It’s time for you light the fire of conviction in your life. Enough of this bland, lukewarm business!

Pour yourself into a greater task. Live by a higher standard. Make some decisions and know where you’re going. Then you will find just how exciting your life can be.

Don't wobble!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Throw it Back

The self is like a baseball. Throw it back to the divine pitcher who pitched it to you in the first place, and the game of love goes on. Hold it, and the game is over.

-- Peter Kreeft

(Thanks to Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed for sharing this thought provoking quote.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Souls Ablaze

Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God.
-- Samuel Chadwick

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Prayer and Encouragement

A few weeks ago, I received the sad news that my friend, Shirley, had died unexpectedly. She and her husband, Dannie, were pillars of our church before they moved to Missouri a few years ago.

I immediately called Dannie on the phone.

"Dannie, I heard the news about Shirley and I'm so sorry."

Dannie was glad to hear from me.

I continued, "I want you to know that all of your friends up here in the northwoods are praying for you."

"I can tell," he replied, "I've been amazed at the peace and strength I've had all the way through this terrible ordeal. It has been just unbelievable. How could I possibly have such peace at a time like this? Then I thought, 'I know why! Someone is praying for me..'"

Dannie continued, "You know, Pastor Mark, light travels at 186,282.397 miles per second. But I've discovered something that travels even faster than that! It's the prayers of God's people!!"

"Losing Shirley is the hardest thing I've ever experieced, but with good Lord's help, I'm going to make it. Actually, when you think about it, I didn't really lose her, because I know right where she is. She's rejoicing in heaven. Someday, I'll get to see her again."

There were tears in my eyes as I hung up the phone after that amazing conversation. How ironic. I had called to encourage Dannie, but this dear man turned it around and became the encourager.

Three "take-home" points from this conversation:

1) Faith in God brings peace in the face of life's most bitter circumstances.
2) Praying is the most important thing you can do. It covers the distance and expresses our deepest love.
3) Since this is the case, I encourage you to stop right now, and whisper a prayer for somebody.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shake It Well

Said one traveler to another:
“I have come a great distance to listen to the words of the Teacher, but I find his words quite ordinary.”

“Don’t listen to his words. Listen to his message.”

“How does one do that?”

“Take hold of a sentence that he says. Shake it well till all the words drop off. What is left will set your heart on fire."

-Anthony deMello

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lacks Power

Over many a Christian leader's record could be stamped these words: LACKS POWER. Why do so many ministers and lay leaders have a vague restless awareness that something is lacking in their leadership?
-- Wesley Duewel, Ablaze for God, p. 78

perhaps the greatest lack in most Christian leadership and ministry is this divine bestowal, the Spirit's empowerment. . . . Perhaps the greatest, and most revolutionary change that could happen to your leadership would be for you to receive and continually experience the divine dimension. Once you receive it and experience the difference it makes, you will not want to minister without it.
-- Duewel, Ablaze, p. 79

Everything Passes

Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God.

--Saint Theresa

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ablaze for God

We launched our Ablaze for God series yesterday. There is a beautiful spirit of expectancy in our people, and a deepened commitment to prayer. It's exciting.

Those who have just been "going along for the ride" are a bit uncomfortable, but I remember my daddy saying that Spirit-led ministry will:

1) comfort the disturbed and
2) disturb the comfortable.

You can follow what we're doing at the Ablaze for God Blog

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fire in the Bible

In Scripture, fire is often a symbol of God's presence and power.

1. First command -- "Let there be light" -- and there was light. God's radiant light. (Gen 1)
2. Abraham -- God appeared as a blazing torch (Gen 15)
3. Moses -- the burning bush (Ex. 3)
4. Children of Israel -- Pillar of Cloud and Pillar of Fire (Ex. 13)
5. Mt. Sinai -- smoke, lightening, fire (Ex. 19 & 24)
6. Priests ordered to never let the holy flame go out (Lev. 6:12)
7. Elijah -- called down fire from heaven (1 Kings 18)
8. Isaiah -- in temple glory of Lord filled it -- smoke, fire (Isa 6)
9. John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize with Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3:16)
10. In the upper room, filled with Holy Spirit, flames of fire came upon their heads (Acts 2)
11. Our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

Long Sermon

A preacher was delivering a longwinded and boring sermon. Halfway through, a man got up from his pew, and walked out of the church.

"Where are you going?" the preacher called out.

"To get a haircut."

"Why didn't you get one BEFORE church?" the preacher asked.

"I didn't need one then."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Greatness

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

-- Helen Keller

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ablaze for God

An e-mail sent to my congregation

Dear Hayward Wesleyan Church Family,
In all my years of ministry, I have never more eagerly anticipated the coming weeks than now! God is up to something wonderful. Let's join Him!

Thank you to all who participated in the unusual prayer services last Sunday. Literally hundreds of prayers went up before the Lord. Together, we sought His face. I know this was pleasing to Him. We've had several reports of significant spiritual breakthroughs as a direct result of what we did on Sunday. I'm certainly glad we followed the prompting.

This Sunday, we are officially launching the Ablaze for God series. I ask you to pause right now and pray for our church. Pray that we will all sense the presence of God in fullness, and that our hearts will turn towards Him. Pray that needs will be met, new commitments will be made, hearts will be set right and lives will be transformed. God moves in answer to prayer! He moves US!

Our Ablaze for God Series will include the Following:

1) Sunday Mornings:
We will cover the major themes from a powerful little book called Ablaze for God, by Dr. Wesley Duewel. (available at God's Country Christian Bookstore)
The themes are:
* Your Life Aflame
* Your Power
* Your Love
* Your Accountability
* Your Prayer
* Your Anointing
* Your Integrity
* Your Infilling

Please make it your aim to attend all these services, if at all possible. If you are unable to attend due to travel or illness, we encourage you to get the cd of the message, or you might be able to listen to it online via our church website: http://www.haywardwesleyan.org/ (Under Resources, then Sermons -- still working on the technology)

2) Monday Evenings:
Sept. 22 - Nov 3, we will meet at the church from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be deeper teaching on the theme from the weekend, as well as small group discussion. This is a great way to discover what small groups are about. I encourage you to make every effort to attend these meetings.

3) Daily Devotionals:
Starting Monday, Sept. 15, we will provide daily "Your Life Ablaze" devotionals, written by members of our congregation. The devotional booklets are hot off the press and will be available at church this Sunday. You can also pick up a copy at the welcome center or church office any time. We will post the daily devotional on our Ablaze for God blog.

4) Ablaze for God blog:
Speaking of the Ablaze for God blog, besides the daily devotionals, there will be other inspiring posts to help you in the spiritual quest. I encourage you to bookmark it, and visit every day.

5) Prayer Effort:
Recognizing the importance of prayer in an endeavor like this, we are calling our congregation to a special season of focused prayer.

* Prayer Vigil:
We will launch our special prayer effort with a 24 hour prayer vigil, starting midnight, Friday, Sept. 19 and continuing through midnight, Saturday, Sept. 20. You are invited to come to the sanctuary any time during those hours and join your heart in prayer with the others who have gathered.

* 168 Prayer:
Coming out of the prayer vigil, we are planning to have someone praying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the entire Ablaze for God series. There are 168 hours in a week -- so we are looking for 168 "prayer warriors" who are willing to devote an hour a week to this mighty cause. We will provide guides and resources to help you in your praying.Sign up at church this Sunday, or call the church office: 634-4613. Together, let's saturate these next few weeks with our prayers! See Psalm 16:8!

* Weekly Prayers:
As the Holy Spirit orchestrates, some will gather for prayer at various times throughout the week. Watch the church bulletin and the Ablaze for God blog for a listing of the available prayer gatherings.It is exciting to see what God is doing. Don't miss the blessing."

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." I Cor. 2:9

Some Recent Reads

Three books I've read recently:
1) The Stout-Hearted Seven: Orphaned on the Oregon Trail. by Neta Frazier
Frazier tells true and courageous adventure of the Sager children who bravely face starvation, disease, cold, crippling accidents, and finally, a massacre. I couldn't put the book down -- and now, I'm reading it aloud to my children. They're lives intersect with missionaries, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. A great story -- and well written.

2) The Bright Forever by Lee Martin
A novel that makes you think about what goes on beneath the surface -- rather dark and depressing.


3) Firstlight by Sue Monk Kidd
A collection of inspirational writings. I love the way Kidd turns a phrase and captures the sublime in the ordinary.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Prayer Sunday Report

Last Sunday, we devoted the whole morning to prayer -- no sermon, no announcements, no praise band -- only prayer. Jesus said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer." So, this past week, that's exactly what we did.

The services flowed like a river -- one into another -- each one with it's own prayer focus. We set up several prayer stations in the sanctuary to engage the congregation in the prayer effort (rather than them being passive.)

Designated music leaders in each service prayed about what songs we should sing. . . and the congretation sang them as prayers. It was beautiful.

Hundreds of people actively participated. Many people received spiritual help. I've heard some beautiful reports of significant breakthroughs. I personally prayed with at least 20 people -- and the other pastors and prayer workers reported a similar morning of intercession.

Prayer stations included:
* Forgiveness (write grievance on rock with washable marker, then dip in water.)
* Communion
* Pray for the Nations
* Interweaving (Braiding yarn -- praying for loved ones and relationships)
* Letter to Jesus
* Leave and Pick Up Prayer Requests (written)
* Praise Ablaze Banner (with kids in mind -- draw or write praise to God)
* Prayer With Someone

Bruce, the Baptist pastor in town, came and joined us for the early service.

Not everybody was enthusiastic. Some found the prayer stations distracting. (Hard to focus when people are milling around the church) However, for the most part it was an amazing, powerful experience.

I'm glad we did it.

Complications

The centipede was happy quite
until a toad in fun
Said, "Please tell me which leg goes after which?"
That worked her mind in such a pitch,
She lay distracted in the ditch,
Considering how to run.
-- Anonymous

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

Last night, Lambeau Field was Mr. Rogers' neighborhood!

I'm glad to see him have a great debut -- after all the unwarranted flack the poor fellow's received. I was glad also to see Favre have a great game as well.

I suppose one can root for both the Packers and the Jets.

Denouncing

There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong,but it takes some eyesight to see what will put it right again.
-- Will Rogers

Saturday, September 06, 2008

What If Your Life Went Public Tomorrow?

Joy Ziegler posted an insightful observation about the intense media scrutiny of Sarah Palin. . .

It got me thinking, what if my life "went public" tomorrow? What if others evaluated my every decision? If they scrutized how I raised our family and spend my money, how would I hold up? Would they have a lot of "dirt" to proclaim to the press or would they see a life of integrity?

Ablaze for God

Our church is launching a special series called "Ablaze for God" It's a time to focus on prayer, renewal and deepening our spiritual commitment to the Lord, based loosely on a powerful little book by Dr. Wesley Duewel entitled, "Ablaze for God."

Themes include: Your Life Aflame, Your Power, Your Love, Your Prayer, Your Accountability, Your Anointing, Your Integrity and Your Infilling.
  1. Starting September 14, this special series will continue through the first week of November
  2. This will, of course, be our emphasis on Sunday mornings.
  3. On Monday evenings, we will gather again for a deeper teaching on the same subject. (Sort of like a spiritual Monday Night Football!)
  4. Also on Mondays, at the conclusion of the teaching, we will break into small groups to discuss the theme of the day. This is a great place to ask questions, share your insights, or to merely listen in.
  5. There will be a daily devotional, launching September 15. We will have it in booklet form at the church -- but you can also read the 50 devotionals at the Ablaze for God Blog. (I created it a few days ago, just for this special purpose.)
  6. We will have a special prayer focus during these days -- and I encourage our friends, far and near to join us in prayer as we seek the heart of God.

Sarum Primer Prayer

God be in my head
and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart
and in my thinking;
God be at my end
and in my departing

-- appeared in a 1514 "Book of Hours" (Cambridge) and then later published in Salisbury (Sarum) England in 1558

Friday, September 05, 2008

You Can Beat Worry

Two men were climbing a steep hill on a bicycle built for two. When they finally made it to the top, the first man said, "Whew! That was a stiff climb. I think it was the hardest hill I've ever been on."

"It certainly was," his companion replied, "and if I hadn't kept the brake on, we would have slid down backwards!"

When we worry, it's like pedaling uphill with the brakes on. Anxious thoughts make life ten times harder.

Unfortunately, our natural human tendency is to worry about our situations. Is there anybody on this earth who is not familiar with the uncomfortable gnawing of worry in the belly? I seriously doubt it.

Yet, although worry is familiar to us all, we don't have to treat it like a welcomed guest. In fact, we have every right in the world to kick it out! No Vacancy! "There's no place for you, bub! Get out!"

How can we evict worry from our lives? Let me offer a few suggestions:

1. Talk to yourself!
A great way to abolish worry is to ask yourself the right questions such as,* Why am I feeling tense right now?* Will the world end if what I'm worrying about comes true?* Is stewing over this making it any better?* Who else is worked up over this issue? Why or why not?* Is this worth losing sleep?* What is the bottom line fear in this situation?* So what?

2. Sell yourself some hope.
You've already been selling yourself on fear,tension, and all the "What ifs". Why not switch gears and start looking for what's going right?Elmer Wheeler, in The Wealth Within You, said, "Men become courageous by the same process that they become fearful; successful and confident by the same process that they become failures. Both are ideas that we sell ourselves. If you are timid and fearful or feel inferior, you do not need to learn the technique of selling ideas to yourself. You are already a past master at the art. All you need to do is change the ideas you sell. Suggest confidence to yourself in exactly the same way you have been suggesting failure."

3. Seek wise counsel.
It really helps to talk the issue through with someone who has a level head and the wisdom of experience. Good advice is worth more than gold.

4. Pray about it.
A burden is really a call to prayer. If it's big enough to fret about, it's big enough to pray about. The Bible tells us to cast our cares upon the Lord because He cares for us! Prayer increases faith, which puts the kibosh on worry.

5. Take a dose of reality.
Worry casts long shadows on little things. It exaggerates the problem, and turns mice into monsters. If you think your situation is really bad, why not look around? You will find lots of people who have it worse. Chances are, your problems are not nearly as terrible as they seem.

6. Think "through" not "to".
Often, people think "to" a difficulty and then panic. When we come up against a big problem and then camp out, it only leads to frustration and worry. The much better path is to keep exploring solutions. Refuse to let the issue get the best of you. Working at absolution drains the worry away.

7. Keep moving forward.
Worry and positive action don't usually go together -- You're either invested in on or the other. If you're spinning the worry wheels -- it's better to get onto another track of thinking.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Set Your Sails!

We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind of heaven . .
-- G. Campbell Morgan

Good People

"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity."
-- Quotation from Sarah Palin's acceptance speech

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Back to School

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
—William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Where Revivals Begin

Revivals begin with God's own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervour and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones…Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!

-- Andrew Bonar

Monday, September 01, 2008

Stressed Out

I saw an interesting sign on a box a while back-- "Warning, contents may explode under stress!"

Don't you wish volatile people had labels like that? "Warning -- This person is stressed out and ready to explode!" Then, we'd all know when to steer clear! Of course -- from time to time, we'd all have to wear a label like that -- because stress is common to everyone.

Life is stressful. The day you're free from stress is the day they carry you away in a coffin. We can't expect to be stress-free this side of heaven. Businessman, Malcolm Forbes recognized this when he said, "If you have a job without aggravations, you don't have a job."

We can learn to deal with our situations, however, so the stress won't get the best of us! Here are a few thoughts on beating stress in your daily life:

1. Try to take life one day at a time.
Poet Robert Frost said, "Just take things as they come, and handle them the best you can."

2. Remember that God is always bigger than your problem.
Your mountain may be great -- but God is greater. Faith can move those mountains in your life!

3. If they don't derail you, your problems will develop you!
As long as you keep an open heart, you will grow through your painful situations. Refuse to retreat into a hard shell. Instead, with an open heart, face the situation and embrace what comes.

4. Use what you have. Don't worry about what you don't have.
We must each paint our rainbow from the colors we've been given.

5. Remember the JOY recipe :
Jesus first,
Others second,
You third!

6. Don't allow dread and gloom to cast dark shadows into your life.
A lot of folks are like Charlie Brown, who said, "I've developed a new philosophy -- I only dread one day at a time."

7. Dump the baggage.
The more junk you carry with you from the past, the less likely you will be to experience a better tomorrow.

8. Think beyond the present situation.
As Albert Einstein observed, "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level at which we created them."

9. Never believe any problem is unsolvable!
There's always a solution somewhere.

10. Pray!
This is always the FIRST and last option. If your problem is deep seated and long standing -- try kneeling!