Monday, February 21, 2011

Daily Stress

Study Passages: Philippians 4:4-5; 1Thessalonians 5:16-18; Ephesians 1:3

Has stress taken over your life?

Our society has placed so many demands on us that it often feels like all we are doing is making decisions. We are constantly bombarded with images and criteria that we must measure up to in order to feel loved and valuable. Everything from our dress size to the kind of car we drive is under scrutiny. We are evaluated based on if we are democrat or republican, tall or short, rich or poor, married or single, educated or uneducated.

Our tensions seem to multiply on a daily basis causing us to lose the joy and pleasure of living (Philippians 4:4-5; 1Thessalonians 5:16-18).

In many cases God is not making any of these demands. It is not that we cannot experience joy, because we are blessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). It is the external pressures in our lives, as determined by the world’s standards, blocking our internal joy from being experienced each day.

For example, there was a young man that owned a 1976 Buick Electra 225. Although an older car, it drove well yet he was not happy. He was embarrassed and did not want to be seen driving it. He completely missed the blessing that it was paid for and he owned a vehicle that ran without any major problems.

Why let the pressure of what others think determine your happiness? The only pressure we should be experiencing should be from the molding done at the hands of the Potter (Jeremiah 18:4-6).

Consider Colossians 3:1-4:
“If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

Luke 12:22-23; 25-26 states;
“And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for {your} life, {as to} what you shall eat; nor for your body, {as to} what you shall put on. For life are more than food, and the body than clothing. And which of you by being anxious can add a {single} cubit to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why are you anxious about other matters?”

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Does Your Love for God Look Like?

Study Passages: John 6:44; Romans 3:11, Luke 12:22-36, Hebrews 1:3, Matthew 22:36-40, John 13:34-35, John 14:15

Are you in love with Christ or is He simply your insurance to get into heaven? Do you turn to Jesus for help in your time of need or is simply an afterthought, someone to turn to when all else fails?

Anything or anyone that has won our heart controls or, at the very least, has tremendous influence over our will. For example, if we love money we will work overtime in a heartbeat. If money drives us, we may even play the lottery, secretly or openly.

When we love something, it also influences our time. If we love football then we often spend hours in front of the television every Sunday watching game after game. We won’t even check the time on our watch unless it’s to see when the next game starts. The high cost of a ticket won’t faze us because we will spend whatever is necessary to get the best seat.

While watching the news the other day, a commercial came on that showed a man who went to all the Super Bowl games. He said he missed special moments in his life, such as babies being born, birthdays of family members, and anniversary celebrations. He loves the game so much that it did not matter where the game was, what was going on personally or how much the ticket cost; he was going to be at every Super Bowl game.

You might view him as an extreme, but the reality is people do not mind spending money or going through a challenge for something they love. We always find a reason to legitimize why we need to spend and sacrifice more for the things we love.

How does our love for God look when we express it? There is no question He loves us. He drew us to Himself to be saved (John 6:44; Romans 3:11), He provides for us daily (Luke 12:22-36), He sustains everything through His Word so we can function day by day (Hebrews 1:3), He died for each believer (John 3:16), He intercedes for each believer (Romans 8:26) and He provides each believer a place after death (John 14:2-3).

How does our love for Him express itself? He said love should lead to us to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40), love each other (John 13:34-35), it should lead believers to abide in His Word (John 14:15), and it would lead us to worship Him and serve Him.

When our words say we love God, do our actions say the same?