Monthly Archives: February 2015

Surface Causes of Stress

Looking under the hood is not enough. Check out the parts that have received excessive wear and tear. Are you worn and torn by stress? Have you analyzed your own condition? This is not about somebody else. It is about you and your life. Take a close look at Paul’s many experiences, and examine them in the light of your own experiences. You will see the circumstances, which are most likely to cause stress. If you have pressures in your life that are not being used to press you closer to the Lord, you may be on the way to a blowout! [For the headings in the following section, see Ogilvie, Making Stress Work for You, 37. For a list of common surface causes of stress, see Keith W. Sehnert, Stress/Unstress: How You Can Control Stress at Home and on the Job (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1981), 68-69.]

 

“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.” 2 Corinthians 11:22-31.

 

 

Conflict

 

Paul was met with what is to be considered as extreme opposition from others vv. 23-24

 

Examples:

 

Opposing values of family and friends. Unresolved anger in relationships. Unrealistic expectations of another person. Lack of open communication in relationships.

 

Crisis

 

Paul was shipwrecked and often in extreme danger. vv. 25-26

 

 

 

Examples:

 

Death of a friend or family member. Separation or divorce. Severe illness or handicaps. Unexpected trauma of any kind.

 

Change

 

Paul was constantly on the move, often going without sleep. vv. 26-27.

 

Examples:

 

Change of environment. Change in financial state. Change in employment. Change in sleeping and health habits.

 

 

 

 

 

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Under the Hood

In order to understand what stress can do to an individual, June Hunt uses the illustration of a car.

When you start hearing noises like clanking and smoke billows from the hood, you respond by going to a nearby station where you can talk to a mechanic. The first phrase that the mechanic says is to look under the hood. Unfortunately, many of us may be more concerned about the distressing condition of our car than the condition of our physical bodies. Here are some questions we need to ask ourselves…

Are you sensitive to the warnings of your emotional engine? Your physical symptoms could register that you are on the brink of burnout.

“A man may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in his bones.” Job 33:19

Checklist for Burnout

-I have difficulty relaxing

-I have tightness in my neck and shoulders

-I have lower back pain.

-I feel tired and lifeless most of the time.

-I have frequent severe headaches.

-I get indigestion often.

-I often have diarrhea or constipation.

-I could be getting an ulcer.

-I have trouble sleeping at night.

-I grind my teeth at night.

-I am susceptible to every cold and virus.

-I have allergies or asthma.

-I eat and snack excessively.

-I have lost a lot of weight.

-I often have cold hands and sweating palms.

-I have shortness of breath.

-I have rapid pulse.

-I generally feel nervous and unsettled.

Not everybody will suffer with all of these signs. If you have checked four or more, there is a need to evaluate how you are responding to the pressures in your life. Are you releasing your heavy load to the Lord and allowing His peace to permeate your heart?

 

“A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Proverbs 14:30

 

The Four Stages of Stress

Stage 1

No Light

Insufficient Stress

No motivation to move responsibly.

Stage 2

Green Light

Positive Stress

Motivation to move responsibly.

Stage 3

Yellow Light

Negative Stress

Motivational warning signs to slow down movement.

Stage 4

Red Light

Burnout

Movement is stopped and repair is necessary.

Stage 1: No Light

When there is insufficient stress to move responsibly, you will find that the person…

-avoids responsibility

-has poor relationships

-is not productive

-has no energy

-experiences depression

-lacks perspective on life

Stage 2: Green Light

When there is positive stress, you will see that the person…

-faces responsibility

-has responsible relationships

-is productive

-is energetic

-is enthusiastic

-has fulfillment of purpose

-has a positive perspective

Stage 3: Yellow Light

The warning signs of stress are like the amber lights on a traffic signal: They caution you to be on the alert, to slow down and to be prepared for upcoming change. The physical warning signs of stress can be…

-tension headaches

-muscle aches

-heavy sighing

-high blood pressure

-ulcers

-hyperalterness

-loss of sleep/excessive sleep

-lack of concentration

-indecisiveness

-irritability

Stage 4: Red Light

Burnout is certainly not God’s will for us. It may actually mean that we have not processed the stresses of life in a godly way. Instead of living at Stage 2, we become…

-overwhelmed by responsibility

-withdrawn from relationships

-minimally productive

-depressed (lack of enthusiasm)

-purposeless

-without perspective

-easily fatigued

-lacking the ability to concentrate

-indecisive

-irritable

 

Introductory Information on John 17

John 17

A close look at the text reveals the following information:

1.   The word “You” is used 34 times. Refers to the Father.

2.   The word “Me” is used 22 times. Refers to Jesus Christ.

3.   The word “them” is used 16 times. Jesus calls His follower.

4.   The word “world” is used 14 times. This speaks of the world at large.

 

Theme: Jesus Prays to the Father

Thought: Our Intercessor

Key Verse: Verse 11-12 and 21

 

The fact that Jesus is our High Priest brings to mind Philippians 2:6-8. Please see Addendum 1: The High Priest Position.

 

This chapter will be divided as follows:

1.   The High Priestly Prayer Verses 1-12

2.   The Disciples in the World 13-21

3.   The Disciples’ Future Glory 22-26

 

References for this work are as follows:

1.   New American Standard Bible

Updated Edition

The New Inductive Study Bible

©2000 Precept Ministries International

Harvest House Publishers

Eugene, Oregon

2.   NASB

Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible

Red Letter Edition Revised Edition

©1977

AMG International, Inc.

The Lockman Foundation

3.   WordSearch 9 Database

(Bible Research Software)

 

 

 

 

Jesus Speaks Plainly

Jesus says that previously He taught them in short, traditional sayings, which expressed obvious truths.  A time is coming when various teachings will be spoken plainly. In the Old Testament, proverbs and riddles were used to teach various topics. Although the disciples are not ready for the full understanding of the new relationship with God that Jesus describes, He is getting them ready. http://ref.ly/Jn16.12

As stated earlier, they will have the privilege of praying in His name, and their prayers will be answered. Their new relationship will cause them to know the love of the Father. They believe that Jesus came from the Father. Jesus lets them know He is returning to His place with the Father.

In response to these facts, the disciples tell Jesus that He is now speaking plainly. They now understand His teachings. They say that they know that Jesus has all knowledge. That is why He has no need for them to ask Him any questions because of He has special insight. Note http://ref.ly/Jn1.42 and http://ref.ly/Jn2.24f.

 

Notice that there is a transition from verse 29 to verse 30. The word used is “now.” There is a time coming when they will be scattered because Jesus is leaving. Note that this may refer to Zech. 13:7 (compare this verse with Matthew 26:31). The Old Testament often says that God’s flock will be scattered for lack of a good shepherd. Compare this statement with Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 23:1 and Ezekiel 34:6. Jesus will be left alone. Yet He is not alone because the Father is with Him.

 

In the Name of Jesus

John 14:14 says that if they ask anything in Jesus’ Name, He will answer it. In John 15:11, Jesus makes the following statement: The words that He has spoken in order that His joy might be full and their joy may be full

Up until now, the disciples of Jesus Christ did not ask anything in His name. After His Ascension, they would use His name in their prayers. Note http://ref.ly/Jn14.12, which speaks of the divine endowment to perform works like Jesus. The word “works” could refer to righteous deeds. Jesus’ works/miracles are multiplied through His followers. This is an invitation to radical faith.

When reviewing Jewish tradition from this perspective, some pious teachers could receive from God almost anything they asked. This was said to be the case because of their intimate relationship with God. This was not allowed to the majority of Jewish believers. Now those who would grow into an intimate relationship after Jesus’ ascension would receive this privilege. Because of this spiritual communication, the believers’ joy would be full.

The word “full” is translated from the Greek word pleroo, which means to be complete. Note http://ref.ly/Jn15.11.

When it comes to ancient Judaism, it used “name” in so many overlapping senses that the context tells us more here than the background. When studying this in the Old Testament, this word often meant reputation or renown. When God acted “on account of his name,” it was to defend his honor. “In the name of God” could mean as His representative acting on his behalf. Exodus 5:23; Deut. 18:19-22 and Jeremiah 14:14-15. This means according to his command Deut. 18:5, 7, etc.

 

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Spiritual Implications

Stress is a spiritual issue that has an effect on a person’s entire life. Pressure is not the perpetrator. [See Warrick, How to Handle Stress, 5-6]. How an individual reacts to pressure reveals their understanding of God’s ways. An individual can allow pressure to come between them and God. An individual can also make the choice to allow pressure to press them closer to God. There needs to be an evaluation of their mental, emotional and physical response to the pressures that produce stress in their lives.

 

Mental Response

It must be understood that this kind of stress is a result of how an individual thinks about or interprets events. [Ibid.] If an individual dwells on something negative that is going on, then that person will feel stress. If that person makes the choice to dwell on God’s faithfulness to provide, God will replace their stress with His peace.

You should ask yourself this question: Do you have a positive or negative outlook? When you dwell on negative thoughts, you can turn even good circumstances into stress. That is how much power you can give your thoughts. That is why God wants you to mediate on what is pure and holy.

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things…And the God of peace will be with you.” http://ref.ly/Pp4.8-9

 

Emotional Response

This is how you process your thoughts. Bitter thoughts bring bitter emotions. If you think forgiving thoughts, you will feel forgiveness in your heart.

Although feelings need to be recognized and acknowledged, they are a product of your thinking. They can be controlled. Emotional immaturity makes you a prisoner to your feelings and keeps you chained to undue stress.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. http://ref.ly/Ro12.2

Physical Response

An individual’s physical body automatically responds to external pressure. When an individual dwells on difficulties, fatigue is developed. If an individual trusts God for His timing, He provides peace.

Medical science has its own special definition of stress. It threads mental and emotional reactions to the central nervous system. “As other physiological systems begin to activate in order to meet the external demands in life, if the pressure is not dealt with in a healthy way, you become susceptible to a variety of physical problems.” [Biblical Counseling Keys by June Hunt] Look what God reveals in Proverbs. We are told to keep His words in our hearts. This is how the believer can avoid many of the consequences of stress.

“Keep them [God’s words of wisdom] within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” http://ref.ly/Pr4.21-22