Friday, December 5, 2008

Surviving the Holidays Part 4

The last principle for surviving the stress of the holidays is the principle of meditation. No not medication, meditation. In order to survive the added stress of the holiday season we must spend time meditating on the word of God. We must spend time daily in God's presence.

Look at our example Jesus. In Luke 5:15 it says "But the news about Jesus spread even more. Many people came to hear Jesus and to be healed of their sicknesses, but Jesus often slipped away to be alone so he could pray."

As Jesus's responsibilities grew, and the pressure mounted around Him what did He do? He prayed often. He made it a habit, a routine, a regular occurence in His life.

There is so much noise in our lives. So many things competing for our attention. The best way to combat this stess filled life is to regularly find a quiet place with God.

Jesus said it like this in Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Let's all practice bringing our stesses and pressures and anxieties to God, and there we will find rest.

Come back next week as we continue this discussion on Surviving the Holidays.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Surviving the Holidays part 3

We have been talking about surviving the holidays. Stress is a big part of this time of year. How do we handle the added stress that comes along with the Holiday Season?

We are looking at 4 principles for handling stress. These are principles we can see in Jesus's life.

The first principle was the principle of identification, the second was the principle of prioritization. Today lets look at the third principle, the principle of relaxation.

When we look at Jesus's life we see that He knew how to come away from the crowds and the pressures, and to spend time resting. In Mark 6:31 we read "Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them "Come away by yourselves, and we will get to a lonely place and get some rest."

Sometimes you just have to stop. You have to come away and get to a lonely place and rest. I like what I heard someone say one time "If you don't come apart, you'll come apart."

The holiday's are an extremely busy time of year. Parties, and shopping, and family visits, and traveling and everything else that comes along with this time of year. If we don't learn to also relax, we can end up all stressed out.

What are you doing to allow yourself to rest? Are you taking a regular time of rest and relaxation in your busy schedule. The Bible commands us "to remember the sabbath day and keep in holy". Even God rested on the 7th day. Don't forget to stop long enough to rest during this busy season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Surviving the Holidays part 2

We started yesterday talking about surviving the holidays. One thing that seems to happen during the holiday season is added stress. How do we deal with this added stress during the holidays?

This week we are looking at how Jesus delt with stress, and we are specifically talking about 4 key principles that help us to deal with stress.

Yesterday we talked about the principle of identification. Today let's talk about the second principle, the principle of prioritization.

If you want to relieve stress you have to prioritize. You have to stay focused on the most important things.

That's exactly what Jesus did in John 8:14 He said "I know where I came from and where I am going." Jesus was saying, I know my purpose and nothing can distract me from it. My life is prioritized.

One reason we have so much stress in our lives is that we get things out of order. We focus too much on the unimportant things and don't focus enough on the things that matter, and then we stress about the important things not getting done.

We may spend too much time watching tv, and then stress because we don't have enough time to do something that really needed to get done. Or we may spend too much money at the mall or at our favorite restaurant and then stess because there is not enough money at the end of the month to pay the bills. The problem is priorities.

In order to relieve stress we must do the most important things first in every area of our lives.
The fact is you can't do it all, and when you try, the result is stress. So you have to prioritize. Do the important things first, then when there is time and money left over you can pay attention to the less important things, and somethings you have to eliminate all together.

I like what I heard said one time "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Surviving the Holidays part 1

Well today is December 1st. I guess the holidays are officially here. This can be a very stressful time of the year if we are not careful. So, over the next couple of weeks, I want to talk a little about surviving the holidays.

Let's start this week by talking about stress.

Stress is a big part of our daily lives. We all face it. There is relational stress, financial stress, stress caused by the demands on our time. This is a stressed out world.

Stress can be magnified during the holiday season. All the extra holiday expenses, as well as the extra activies, and then there are the family issues.

How do we surivive the stress that life brings our way. This week let's take a look at several principles that Jesus used for dealing with stress.

The first principle is the principle of identification.

If you want to learn to deal with stress it starts by simply knowing who you are. Jesus had this principle down. He knew exactly who he was. "He said I am the light of the world, I am the way the truth and the light. I am the bread of life, I am the vine..." Jesus had settled the issue of identity. He was completely secure in who he was.

Hears the deal. If we don't settle the issue of identity, we will have a load of stress. If we don't know who we are, then others will try to squeeze us into their mold. All of that squeesing can sure cause alot of pressure and stress.

Before you can even begin to deal with stress you have to settle the issue. Who am I? What has God called me to do? Not who do others want me to be and what are others trying to get me to do?

Jesus said it like this in John 5:30 (NCV) "I don't try to please myself, but I try to please the one who sent me."

Paul said it like this in Galations 1:10 "Am I trying to win the approval of men of of God?...If I were trying to please men, then I would not be a servant of Christ."

Tomorrow we will talk about the principle of prioritization.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blogging break

I'll be taking this week off from blogging, but I'll be back next week. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving holiday, and don't forget to check back next week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness part 4

We have looked at being happy. What does it take? First we must choose to be happy, second we must consider others first. Third, we must be content wherever we are.

We live in a world that is never content. We are always looking for bigger and better. We are constantly searching for the next big thing. Looking for the next high, the next thrill, the next experience.
We never seem to be happy just where we are. We seem to live in someday mode. Someday when I get to the next destination I will be happy. When I get married, when I get the promotion at work, when I get a new car, when the kids are in school, when the kids are out of school, then I’ll be happy. On and on it goes, and when we get those things we just begin looking to the next thing, but we never stop to be thankful and joyful right where we are.

The Bible teaches us to be content wherever we are.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11-12 “…for I have learned to be content whatever the

Paul was in jail when he wrote that. His circumstances were not happy circumstances, but He chose to be content even in the midst of a dark and lonely prison.

We have so much to look forward to. God has a great plan and future for our lives. But we also have a lot to be thankful for right here and now. Let’s do as Paul did and learn to be content right where we are.

Next week is Thanksgiving, a day of thankfulness. Let’s not wait until next week. Let’s make everyday a day of thanksgiving. The more content and grateful we, the more we will receive God’s joy in our lives.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness part 3

We have been talking about the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is never caught, but it can come to us when we live according to God’s word. How do we learn to be happy? How do we receive the joy of the Lord?

We have to choose to be happy, but we also have to consider others before ourselves.

Happiness is found when we get our eyes off of ourselves and on to others.

The happiest people in the world are those who serve others. There are people who give up nice homes and good jobs and expensive cars to go to poverty stricken countries and serve as missionaries. Many of them will tell you the times that they have the most joy are when they are serving and ministering to those less fortunate.

There is no I in happy. There is also no I in joy. These things come when we are selfless, when we put others first, when we serve.

In John 13, Jesus set an example for the disciples when he considered them before himself and washed their feet. Then look what He says in John 13:7 just after washing their feet “And now that you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.”

Jesus set the example for living a joy filled life. Serve others and you will have joy.