Tag Archives: stressed out

Rock Of Help

When I get overwhelmed by circumstances and things going on in my life, I do an exercise in faith. Before I panic, I force myself to remember times when God has come through for me. I try to think of all the times before when things have been hopeless and at the last minute, He answered. Doing that reminds me that God answers at just the right time, that He sees my situation and that He’s been faithful in the past. When I begin to take my focus off of how impossible my situation is and remind myself of how capable my God is, my attitude starts to change.

The Israelites were at Mizpah offering sacrifices to God for their sin. I Samuel 7 tells us that all of Israel was there repenting. While they were gathered for offerings, the Philistines decided to attack them. The Israelites were scared, confused and began to panic. Samuel cried out to God on their behalf as he made a sacrifice. Verse 10 says that as he was making the sacrifice, the Philistines showed up for battle. God spoke from Heaven in loud claps of thunder that threw the enemy into confusion. After Israel routed the Philistines that day, Samuel set up a rock and named it “Ebenezer” which means rock of help.

Anytime that Israel was in distress, they simply had to look at that rock and remember that God came through in an impossible situation. It was a reminder that if He did it before, He’ll do it again. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. David knew that too. I wonder how many times he passed by Ebenezer and called out to God. In Psalm 61:2, he wrote, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” He wanted to be led to God, but also to that memory that God saves us just in time.

When we get overwhelmed, our prayer shouldn’t be one of panic. It should be that we are led to the rock that is higher than we are. When the enemy comes in like a flood, we need to run to that rock for safety. When we can’t see tomorrow because of all the trouble today holds, we need to remember the God we serve. We need to call to mind the great things He has done in the past and remind ourselves that we are not forgotten. We have not been abandoned. He will come just in the nick of time as He always has.

Don’t make your decisions based on fear. Make them based on the faith that God hears us. Make them based on how He has responded in your life in the past. Your situation may seem hopeless. You may be outnumbered, out gunned and surrounded, but you serve a God who is able. He is able yo deliver you from whatever you are facing today. It’s not too late. You’re not too engulfed. You’re not finished. When you’re overwhelmed, run to the Rock of Help. He’s there for you in your time of need.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Controlling Anxious Thoughts

How do you react to stress? I know we all handle it differently. One of the times i was stressed out, i couldn’t sleep. I had so many things going on that i couldn’t control. Those problems started causing other problems and things started to compound. The things I couldn’t control became all I could think about. I couldn’t sleep or eat much because i was so worried about all these things. Then my eye started to twitch, which drove me nuts. I figured I could control that so I went to the eye doctor. After checking out my eyes, he said, “There’s nothing wrong. This is usually a sign of stress. You’re not stressed are you?” I laughed and said, “Just a little.” I loved under that stress for a while because i kept letting my thoughts run wild about all the things I couldn’t control.

I eventually learned that worrying about things I couldn’t control was robbing me of so many things. I realized that i had to focus on what i could control which was my thoughts and spending time with the one who is able to control the things I can’t. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive. That means to stop them in their tracks, interrupt them and get them out. I had to train myself to quit letting them go wherever they wanted and force them into obedience to Christ. They don’t have a right to control me. I have been given authority to control them. Once I realized that, I began to use the Bible as my benchmark of truth against the thoughts. When I held them up to the Bible in comparison to what God says, if they didn’t line up, they had to go.

King David reacted to stress the same way. He let his thoughts get out of control until he was stressed out. He wrote Psalm 94:19 showing he learned to quiet them. He wrote, “Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight” (TPT). Many times, we simply need to get out of the present and into His presence to regain control. I like to turn the tide by turning on praise and worship to get in His presence and to start realigning my thoughts. I can then cast my burdens on the Lord and quit trying to do things in my strength. There are many things He created us to do, but carrying burdens that we can’t control isn’t one of them. We rob ourselves of the peace He offers and rob Him of things that should be on His plate instead of ours. If you’re anxious and overwhelmed today, make time to get into His presence and challenge those anxious thoughts. He offers you peace, calmness and His burdens instead.

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Controlling The Outcome

We’ve all been in a situation where we were outnumbered, outgunned and facing nsurmountable odds. It’s stressful to be in that place. Questions fill your mind causing you to doubt and to wonder if you’re in God’s will or not. Your fight or flight mechanism begins to kick in and it likes the flight option. In those moments, we have to be guided by our faith and not our fear. Moments like these are designed to build our faith and to grow our trust in God. If we run, we not only give into fear, but we lose an opportunity to grow our faith. God allows us to be in situations like this because He’s looking to grow our relationship. These pressure situations should cause our roots to go down deeper into Him.

In 2 Chronicles 14, Asa became king of Judah. After a long line of kings who disobeyed God, he changed course. He tore down the pagan altars his predecessors had built and turned the people toward God. There was peace during much of his reign, but it didn’t last. An Ethiopian came out against him with a million man army compared to his of just over half a million. He was thrust into one of those, “God, what’s going on? Aren’t I doing everything right” moments. He was outnumbered and outgunned, but his faith remained strong. He went out to meet the Ethiopian army head on knowing God was able to bring victory, and was willing to stand firm and fight even if God didn’t show up.

In verse 11 he prayed, “O LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and the weak; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in and rely on You” (AMP). Not only did he show up for the battle, he placed the outcome in God’s hands instead of his. There is an underlying peace in the turmoil when we give up our control of the outcome. It doesn’t make sense to let go, and often it goes against everything in us, but either God is going to step in or He’s not. Is your faith prepared either way? Even if he doesn’t deliver you or cause things to go “your way”, will you still trust Him? That’s the point we all must come to in faith. If we trust God is in control of the outcome, then we must determine ahead of time that whatever happens should deepen our faith not destroy it.

Photo by Piotr Makowski on Unsplash

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Comfort In Calamity

When I was in high school, my physics teacher gave us an assignment where each of us had to build a bridge out of popsicle sticks and glue. There were some other specifications it had to meet as well. Then, on the date the assignment was due, he put the bridges to a battery of tests to see how well they held up. One test was a weight test. He kept adding weights to the bridge until it broke. Only one bridge in the class survived this test. The rest all cracked at some point under the weights. On that particular one, the teacher ran out of weights to put on it and it was still standing strong.

The book of Nahum in the Bible is a book of prophesy that spoke of a time of calamity and hard times that were coming. Unlike some other books of prophesy, this one was designed to administer peace in those times. Even the name of the prophet God chose to write the book Nahum has significance to the prophesy. It means comfort. I believe God was telling the readers of this book that no matter how bad things get, He is there to comfort us and give us peace.

Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him” (NLT). I love that first phrase. It’s not a promise, it’s a fact. The Lord is good. He’s also strong. Each of us have a breaking point under the weight of stress, but God doesn’t. He is a strong refuge when we are weighed down. We must learn to trust Him with our burdens and the weights that we carry. Even though at times it feels like we’re alone, He is close to us ready to comfort us in our time of need and able to handle the weight that would crush us.

If you’ve been going through a tough time and have been wondering where God is it how could a good God allow bad things to happen, check out my friend’s book “God is Here” by clicking here.

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Peace In The Chaos

Do you ever get stressed out? When I do, it’s usually when I’m in a time crunch to get things done or when things are happening beyond my control. I used to get stressed out over many things and would let my mind run wild with all the possibilities of a situation. Then one day a friend noticed I was worked up and asked me, “Do you think this caught God by surprise or do you think He knew it would happen? If He knew it was going to happen then you don’t need to be worked up about it. Accept His peace, listen for His voice and let Him do in you what He wants to do.” Ever since then, when things start happening beyond my control, I remember those words and let His peace come in.

I’m reminded of when the disciples were in the boat and the storm blew in. There was chaos all around them, the boat was taking on water and they were considering abandoning ship. Jesus was asleep in the back while they were stressing out. When they finally went to Him, He spoke peace into the storm and it calmed down. Later, as Jesus was about to die on the cross, He was preparing them for the chaos and storm they were about to endure. In John 14:27 He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge]” (AMP).

Jesus knew we were going to have chaos in our lives and have challenging situations that would cause us to stress out. He commanded us to not let our minds run wild or to be afraid of the outcome. Instead, we are to remember that the one who spoke peace into the storm is not unaware of what you’re going through. Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms us. Knowing He’s in control and is aware of what’s going on should give you peace. He’s continually working in our lives and that means there will be uncomfortable moments and challenges. Let His peace calm you in those times and give you strength for the challenge.

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Prayer And Praise

How do you handle stress or bad news? I’m the type of person who replays the situation over and over in my head trying to find a solution. Each time that I don’t find one, the stress seems to get heavier. I begin to feel tired, but I can’t sleep because I’m too worked up. I try to think of something else, but I can’t. My mind fixated on the problem and all of its consequences. I even start to question myself as to why I wasn’t prepared for this. I keep concentrating on the problem until I remember that God knows the answer.

To help my mind make the shift, I play praise and worship music. I love how it invites the presence of God into the place where I am, and how it shifts my attention from how big the problem is to how big God is. From deep within me, I begin to thank God for all He has done in my life, for all He has provided and for all He is going to do. As I do that, i give the responsibility of finding the solution over to Him. I don’t have to have control of the situation or my future because it’s in His hands.

I know that’s easier said than done, but the truth is He is more capable of working out His will in my life than I am. He is able to use whatever it is that’s stressing me out for my good. By giving it to Him, I release myself of the stress of having to find a solution and the fear of making the wrong choice. I spend time reminding God of all the times in my life when He has intervened or taken what I thought was a bad thing and turned into something good. The power of praise and prayer changes everything.

David knew that. In Psalm 30:4 he wrote, “Sing praise to the Lord, all his faithful people! Remember what the Holy One has done, and give him thanks!” (GNT) He then reminds us that mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. We don’t have to fear what tomorrow will bring when we place it in a His hands. When we learn to pray and give praise in these times, we can wake up joyful because we are trusting our unknown future to the God we know.

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