2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
The Bible tells us that fear is a “spirit.” This spirit has a mind that thinks and a voice that speaks, and if you allow it to – it will control you. Today if you’re battling a “spirit of fear,” make this your prayer: “Lord, Your Word says when I seek Your face, You’ll hear me and deliver me from all my fears (See Psalm 34:4). So I cast down every anxious thought that rises up against what I know about You and Your power (See 2 Corinthians 10:5). I stand on the promise that You’ll never leave nor forsake me (See Hebrews 13:5). I rest in the truth that nothing is too hard for You (See Jeremiah 32:17). I rejoice in the assurance that You’ve already given Your angels responsibility for keeping and protecting me in all my ways (See Psalm 91:11). I resist the spirit of fear, and command it to flee in Jesus’ name (See James 4:7). By faith I decree that Your peace, which passes human understanding, will guard my heart and mind (See Philippians 4:7). Therefore, I will not let my heart be troubled or afraid (See John 14:27). In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.” Now instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the Problem-Solver – God! That may not immediately resolve your difficulty, but it’ll keep you in a peaceful state of mind while you wait for God to work. Isaiah said, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT). Note the word “fixed.” As you go through this day with your mind “fixed” on God, you’ll have “perfect and constant peace” (AMPC).
Soul food: Neh 11-13; John 19:1-16; Ps 105:8-15; Prov 30:5-9
Romans 12:6 NCV
The Bible tells us that God has given each of us gifts. Sometimes we can think that we are not good at anything, that we have nothing to offer. But if God’s given each of us gifts then that can’t be true. These gifts give us a purpose and a role in God’s kingdom. We don’t all have the same gifts. For example, some people are gifted musically, others are gifted at speaking and teaching. Some people are gifted in hospitality, others are gifted in art. 1 Corinthians 12 uses the analogy of a human body to explain this. ‘A person’s body is one thing, but it has many parts. Though there are many parts to a body, all those parts make only one body. Christ is like that also’ (v.12 NCV). If we are being honest, we can probably all admit to times when we have been jealous of other people’s gifting. Maybe they can do something better than we can, or maybe their gift gets them more public attention than ours. When we are feeling like that, it’s important to remember that all our gifts are from God and for God. It’s not about us. Using our gifts is all about glorifying Him, not ourselves. Paul goes on to say: ‘If each part of the body were the same part, there would be no body. But truly God put all the parts, each one of them, in the body as he wanted them’ (vv.18-19 NCV). We can’t compare ourselves to other people because we have all been made to be unique and have different purposes to fulfil. We need to focus on discovering the gifts He has given us. Let’s celebrate how He has made us, and the fact that He has a unique purpose for us.
Josh 8:30-10:43; John 14:26-15:4; Ps 146; Prov 28:9-12
Isaiah 40:29 TLB
Sports Illustrated magazine says, “Stress fractures begin when the shocks and strains of playing game after game create tiny cracks in outer layers of bone. When those cracks become large enough to cause severe pain, they are known as ‘stress fractures.'” If you’ve ever had a stress-fractured mind, you can relate. It eats at you by day and keeps you awake at night. And when you try to “medicate” it with alcohol, or drugs, or an affair, or overeating, or a hyperactive lifestyle, it gets worse. What should you do? (1) Change your focus. “Come to me…and I will give you rest…Let me teach you…and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT). “He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:29-31 TLB). Instead of struggling alone with the burden, share it with the burden-bearer and let Him strengthen you. (2) Lighten up! “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Don’t make such a big deal out of everything! Lighten up and laugh more, especially at yourself! Do you even remember the last time you enjoyed a good laugh? Accept your imperfections. Let some stuff go. Stop trying to be Wonder Woman or Superman. Get away for some fun. Yes, you need fun too! Cancel some of your not-so-important meetings. If you want things to change, you will have to change them. Today talk to God; He knows how to heal stress fractures.
Soul food: 1 Tim 4-6; John 5:31-47; Ps 126; Prov 24:10
Psalm 55:22 NIV
When we feel stressed, we can try and find distraction and comfort in things that might actually make our situation worse, such as food, back-to-back TV shows, endless scrolling through social media, and making ourselves really busy. All these things are used to take our mind off what we are feeling, but they don’t deal with the problem. But God doesn’t want us to live our lives crippled by stress. So what can we do when we are feeling stressed out? Firstly, we need to take it to God. The psalmist writes: ‘Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you.’ To make it through times of stress we need to let God sustain us. He knows we are going to feel stressed and weak sometimes, and He promises to give us the strength we need. Instead of struggling alone with the burden, let’s share it with the burden-bearer and let Him strengthen us. Secondly, we need to remember that we are not God. Sometimes we can think that everything depends on us, and that causes stress. But we are not called to fix every situation or be everything to every person. We are called to put God first and let Him direct us. Thirdly, we need to be prepared to make some changes to our lifestyle. It might mean taking a temporary break from social media, scheduling in some more times to sit in God’s presence, writing gratitude lists to help us focus on the positives, or asking for help in the areas where we are struggling. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference. So let’s not allow stress to rule our lives, and instead bring it to the One who can bring peace, strength, and life to us.
1 Tim 4-6; John 5:31-47; Ps 126; Prov 24:10
Mark 3:14 NIV
Don’t try to do it all yourself. One of the reasons we get stressed out is because we think that everything depends on us. Not Jesus. He enlisted, trained, and empowered twelve others so they could share the load. He delegated His work. He got other people involved. So why don’t we do that? Two reasons: (1) Perfectionism. We think, “If I want a job well done, I’ll do it myself.” That’s a nice idea, but often it doesn’t work well because there are just too many things to be done. We simply don’t have the time and talent to do everything ourselves. It’s really an egotistical attitude that says, “Nobody, but nobody, can do it the way I can!” Do you think Jesus could’ve done a better job than His disciples? Of course, but even knowing that, He still let them do the work. Why? Because we need to let other people make some of the mistakes in order for them to learn, the same way the disciples learned. Don’t rob others of an education. (2) Insecurity. “What if I turn this responsibility over to someone else and they do a better job than I do?” That possibility is threatening to many of us. But you won’t feel threatened if you know who you are, who you’re trying to please, what you want to accomplish, and the one thing you need to focus on. In order to be effective you must get other people involved, because you can’t focus on more than one thing at a time and do it well.
Soul food: S of Sol 1-4; Matt 25:41-46; Ps 3; Prov 21:4-8