Archive for the ‘Anxiety & Stress’ Category

colossians3_1-2

Colossians 3:2 (NIV) “Set your minds on things above, not on
earthly things.”

God tells us to think about things above. To me that means to think
about Heaven and what it is going to be like for us someday. Those are
good thoughts. In Heaven there will be no more tears, sorrow, death,
sickness, panic attacks, fear, anxiety, or diseases. We will have strong, healthy,
brand new bodies.

God doesn’t want us to dwell on our feelings. Do you know that your feelings
can’t hurt you? When we dwell on them we increase the amount of adrenaline
that is released in our bodies and other uncomfortable feelings crop up. God
doesn’t want us to go over and over again in our minds how someone has hurt
us. He doesn’t want us to worry about tomorrow and the things we will have to
face. He doesn’t even want us to be consumed with getting material possessions.
God knows that these things are not healthy for us to constantly think about.
Setting our thoughts on things above also means to think about Jesus, what
he is like and all about his life while he was here on earth.

Many times in the past when I could not go to sleep, I’d make myself think
about Jesus instead of concentrating on the noises outside. I’d start with his birth
and try to remember all I could about him; how he taught and healed people,
how he died and rose again. I never got through his whole life because
somewhere along the line I’d fall asleep.

You see, that was far better for me to think about then to fret over the next
day, or about myself and my feelings. Isn’t it wonderful how God helps us to
know how we should think?

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2corinthians10_5

II Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) “Casting down imaginations, and every
high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing
into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

I believe God wants us to be different from the world. We are different because
we are now his children, and we need to even think differently from those of
the world. As we read and study God’s word our thoughts line up more and
more with his. We learn what his will is and we become more like him. This is all
a part of our Christian growth. Our minds become renewed.

God loves us so much that he wants us to learn how to think his way.
Do you know what it means when it says “casting down imaginations?” I believe
in a practical sense that means not to daydream or fantasize about things. When
we do that we may get something in our lives that has a strong hold over us. Our
minds are very powerful. We can think up all kinds of things, not always good.
For example, if we watch certain T.V. shows (like the soaps) maybe we begin
to imagine ourselves playing out the part of the hero or heroine. What if it’s a hot,
steamy sex scene? Do you think God wants us watching that? No, he doesn’t.
When we do, we are conforming to this world.

Notice he says “and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of
Christ.” Isn’t it great to know that we can bring our thoughts into captivity? When
something is captive it is controllable. Our thoughts don’t have to rule us.
Do you know that our thoughts can cause all kinds of things to take place in
our bodies? They can lower or raise our blood pressure and temperatures.
Thoughts can cause us to perspire. All kinds of physical aliments are subject to
the way we think. Such as; headaches, heart problems, colitis, ulcers,
insomnia, irritable bowl syndrome, and more. Relationship problems also can be
affected by the way we think. For example; arguments, disagreements, and other
hurtful words affect us physically.

Do you know our thoughts can trigger panic attacks? Think about the “what
ifs.” As we think about “what if” this or that happens, physical changes actually
do take place in the body. Our adrenaline starts pumping and our hearts
start beating faster and harder. Our hands may break out in a sweat, and
we wonder, “what is happening to me?”

Take a step back then, and realize what you were thinking about.
Remember, God wants us to be able to control our thoughts. I confess I was once
totally controlled by my own thoughts. Now I’ve learned how to take that control
back. I believe with all my heart it is the reason I have not had a panic attack
in over seven years.

During those panic free years I’ve had some of the most challenging times of
my whole life, but I’ve not slipped back into having panic attacks again. Did I
have any panic symptoms? Yes, and when they started to come I was able to
prevent an attack from happening by praying and asking God for help, then
taking control of my thoughts.

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1corinthians15_10

Philippians 3:13b-14 (NIV)“…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is
behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to
win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is speaking in this scripture to the Philippians. He is telling them that he
has learned to forget the past and lean forward or strain toward what’s ahead.
It means to consider the past done with and settled. We can’t go back and do
it over. But, we can go on with a new outlook as we put the past behind us.
This will apply to people in different ways, because of our different
backgrounds.

One thing that comes to my mind immediately is forgiveness for
those who have hurt us in the past. This is not always easy, but it is God’s will
for us, and when we do his will we begin to feel the peace he has for us in that
situation. I believe a lot of our anxiety comes out of holding unforgiven hurts
inside. By letting them go we can begin to heal.

Paul speaks about pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called him. For us that prize is Heaven and all the glory to be found
there. It will be wonderful! And, there are no anxiety attacks in Heaven!
So, with God, it is possible to get a new outlook, a fresh start. We can put
the past behind and press on with God. This is great to know and encourages us
as we continue to battle fear. Let’s try not to dwell on our past fearful
feelings. Let’s try to put them behind us and know that God has something better
for us ahead. Let’s pray and read the Word, and learn how healing it can be.

Dear God, please bless this word to each and every one who reads it. Allow
them to ask you to search their hearts for anything that they need to forgive. In
Jesus’ name. Amen.

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romans12_2
Romans 12:2 (NIV) “Do not conform anymore to the pattern of
this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing,
and perfect will.”

Someone once said, “If you were to be arrested today for being a Christian
would there be enough evidence against you to convict you?” We Christians
don’t have to do the things we did before, we don’t have to follow the crowd,
we can be brand new.

For myself, after I became a Christian I lost the few friends I had, because
they did not understand me anymore, because I had changed. I knew I was
different because their foul language and bad behavior bothered me and it never
did before. When they would take the name of Jesus in vain, it was like a sharp
knife stabbing me in the heart. The good news is that God gave me another
group of friends who are really much better for me.

Today’s verse says, “be transformed!” We do this by renewing our mind, by
rejecting old patterns of thought and concentrating on new ones. I’ve found that
to renew my mind I must keep in the Word. As I read it, study it, and meditate upon it, it sinks down into my being and actually does renew my mind. It is a process. As it takes place, I discover what God wants for me.

God wants good things for all of us, just as any good father would want for
his children. When Christ comes in, instead of living just to please ourselves, we
begin to please him and lift up others.

God wants to help us fight fear and anxiety. His Word is full of suggestions
for achieving good mental health. Search and find a promise for yourself
today. Then claim it and stand on it. He is faithful!

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Spiritual Depression: #4 “Vain Regrets,” a sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

 

 


Here is another very important sermon regarding the unhappy Christian.  Sometimes people get hung up on the past, and constantly dwell on it.  Is that you?  When this happens we become unable to do the works Christ has for us, and the devil gets the victory.

Dr. Jones says this:

We must never for a second worry about anything that cannot be affected or changed by us.  It is a waste of energy.  If you can do nothing about a situation stop thinking about it; never again look back at it, never think of it.  If you do, it is the devil defeating you.

One scripture that comes to my mind while studying this sermon is what Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14:

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Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

He tells us to forget the past and press forward toward the mark for the prize.  Like a runner in a race, we need to set our focus to do the work that God has called us to do.

You may ask, “Do you have regrets?”  Yes, I have many of them.  There were times in my life where I did let my regrets get me down.  I was down-hearted and depressed that I didn’t have the life that many of my friends had.  I was poor financially, physically and spiritually.  But, I kept in the Word and I was able to learn that I didn’t need to stay that way.  I had to focus on Jesus and things above and not on the world around me.  We have a home in heaven and we have all spiritual blessings.  God will never leave us or forsake us.  He is with us always and has the best intentions toward us.

I will never forget one day as I sat in my chair having my prayer time this scripture came to mind.

Joel 2:25 KJV And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,…

I knew at that moment that this was a promise that God was giving me.  Tears started to run down my cheeks.  It was wonderful!  Yes, God would restore those years that I felt were lost, and I claimed that promise and had a new peace inside.  Do you know what?  God did just that!  Since that time, my health was restored.  I got completely over having panic attacks.  Fear no longer controls me!  I met a wonderful Christian man and got married.  With him I got 4 step-children, and 8 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.  I’d say God restored to me the years the locust had eaten!

How about you?  Are you willing to quit thinking about your past regrets and press on with God? I’d love to hear your comments below, and I do hope you listen to this excellent sermon.  You just might find the answers you look for.

 

 

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Spiritual Depression #1  “General Consideration,” by  Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones.  This is a series of sermons given by Dr. Lloyd-Jones back in the fifties.  To make it easier for you to follow I’m putting at the top of my posts the lesson number, title and author.  I’m doing this because I am also featuring some sermons by my pastor and I don’t want to confuse you.  My thoughts are below.


 

Are you a Christian?  Are you depressed?  Do you think that Christians should get depressed?

psalm34_18Or, do you think we should be joyful all the time?  Some Christians think we should run around with a big smile on our face no matter what.  It is my opinion that Christians do get depressed at times because we are human, and that we can be overcomers of depression because we have the Lord.  I know fellow believers who battle depression.  In fact, I know quite of few of them. I also find myself depressed or feeling down at times, and I don’t like it.  Lately, I’ve had many issues in my life and I sometimes find myself getting really gloomy, and feel like a big weight is on my shoulders.  That reminds me of  scripture:

Mat 11:28-30 KJV Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus is calling me to give him my burdens and He will carry them for me.  Isn’t that wonderful?  He will do that for us.

Recently, I came across a series of sermons by Martyn Lloyd-Jones given back in the mid-fifties called, “Spiritual Depression.”  I thought it might be helpful to listen to these 24  sermons and see what I can glean from them. Why don’t you join me?

I just listened to the first one, but the audio was not very good at all.  It was difficult to hear so I used my ear buds and that helped some.  Hopefully, the next one will be easier to listen to. You can listen if you wish by clicking on the bar below. Then, it would be awesome if you would share your thoughts in the comment section of this post.

There is also a book you can purchase with these sermons.  Here is a link to that: Spiritual Depression: It’s Causes and It’s Cure

The first sermon, “General Consideration,” is actually an introduction to this series.  It is based on Psalm 42:5.

Psalm 42:5   KJV Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

The first thing that jumps out to me is that David sounds depressed.  So, I see that men of God got depressed.  We are not so different. In this Psalm David is having a conversation with his own soul.  He is actually talking to himself, and asking his soul why it is so down. He asks why he is not at peace. Then he tells his soul to hope in God.  Isn’t that where we need to put our hope? And he says he will praise God.

So, in a nutshell we can see that David became depressed in his lifetime.  He had to have a talk with his soul, and get himself back on the right track.  I have to do that myself at times.  This is a good illustration of how David handled his depression.

In this first sermon Martyn Lloyd Jones talks about the general causes of Christians becoming depressed.  They are temperament, (introvert or extrovert) physical conditions, and reactions.  With the primary cause being unbelief.

My takeaway:  The devil uses our “self” in order to depress us.  We must take control.

Hope you enjoy this study along with me.

 

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Dread

Does the word dread ever enter your mind or conversation?  It does mine. Sometimes when I’m tired I dread having to go to the store for groceries, or I dread the housework facing me that day, or I dread an appointment; especially the dentist or doctor.  Sometimes I even dread having to get up and start my day. I thought to myself, “Why do I dread things?”  “What is dread anyway?”  So, I looked it up in the dictionary and here is what I found: Dread: “To be in terror of; fear greatly.  Fearful anticipation.”

Wait a minute!  Fearful anticipation!  What?  I thought fear was out of my life.  I didn’t know that dreading something was being fearful.  So, is it sinful to dread things?  I don’t want to sin against God!

I looked up “fear.”  Here are some synonyms for fear:  anxiety, dread, panic, trepidation, worry, stress.  Oh no!  I’m not liking what I’m reading! What does the Bible say about anxiety?

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Mat 6:25-34 MKJV Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26) Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are? (27) Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? (28) And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, (29) but I say to you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Therefore if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much rather clothe you, little-faiths? (31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? (32) For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. (34) Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it. (Emphasis mine)

In these verses I count the phrase “do not be anxious,” three times.  Just think about it, these words came out of the lips of Jesus himself!  Amazing!  And, when He says something we can take it to the bank.  This is a command!  Do not be anxious!  There is no other way to look at this than anxiety (and all those other terms we use, like dread, and fear) is  sin.  In these verses Jesus Christ has told us not to be anxious about anything:  our life, our immediate needs, and our future.  If I dread things then I am also being anxious, and anxiety is definitely sin.  I need to confess to God that I have sinned and repent of it.  Repent means to turn away from.  I need to turn away from any dreadful thoughts and turn them over to God.

Doubt

Doubt and dread are first cousins. What is doubt?  Doubt is to be unsure, or distrust, or something uncertainexodus6_30 or unsettled.  Yes, when we are uncertain and unsettled in our minds about something than that thing becomes bigger than us and we begin to dread it.  Our minds go over the situation time and again, and sometimes we blow it out of proportion. We doubt that we can do the thing that lies before us, or we feel it will make us feel uncomfortable, and we dread it more and more until we are paralyzed.

Jas 1:6 MKJV But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. (Emphasis mine)

Picture the waves of the sea crashing upon the seashore.  The wind drives the waves against the shore and then back out to sea again to be driven in again.  We are like a tiny boat on that sea and when doubt enters our minds we are tossed all about not being able to make decisions or function.  We need an anchor.  The Bible is our anchor and we can find our answers there.  Don’t be tossed about by everything you hear or think.  The mind is the devil’s playground, and dread and doubt can keep us from doing the work God has called us to. Satan is happy when we are full of worry and stress.  Are you experiencing this?  Is there something you know God wants you to do but you are full of dread when you think of doing it?  Cheer up!  There is an answer.2 Timothy 1;7

Discipline

So, what is the antidote for dread and doubt?  It is another word that starts with “d.”  It’s discipline. According to the dictionary discipline is, “training that develops self-control.”  That’s it!  We need to discipline or train our minds in order to be in control of our thoughts.  “How do we do that?” you may ask. Let’s look to our anchor the Bible for the way out of the storm. Do you know that God loves us so much that He told us what to even think about? It’s true!

Php 4:8 NASB Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Emphasis mine)

It’s right there in the Bible.  We have to discipline our thought life.  Think about what you think about! Examine your thoughts according to Philippians 4:8.  Are you thinking rightly? Or, are your thoughts anxious?  If you catch yourself thinking about something you truly dread, or perhaps a doctor’s report you are about to receive, then check out your thoughts.  Are you blowing them out of proportion? Are they true?  Or, are you jumping ahead to the “what ifs,” or “what might be.” These words are also a picture of Jesus.  He is all of these things.  Set you mind on things above.

Col 3:2 NASB Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Our minds can be renewed.  As we study, read the Word and pray God will renew our minds and it will change us.  We don’t have to be the way we used to be.  We don’t have to think all those awful thoughts that drag us down.

Rom 12:2 MKJV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.

Deliverance

Deliverance is to “set free.”  I like those words.  If I can just get my mind to be rid of any fearful, dreadful, anxious thoughts, than I would not feel stressed and I’d be free!psalm3_8

2Co 10:5 MKJV pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; (Emphasis mine)

Let’s not be captives of our thoughts!  Let’s be free! Who is in charge?  You or your mind? Take control and set yourself free.  God says in the above verse that we can take captive every thought.  If He says we can than we can!  With God’s help, prayer and keeping in the Word we can be disciplined and overcome dread and doubt.

How do we do this?  Here’s how.

Php 4:6 MKJV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Emphasis mine)

Checking your thoughts and then prayer.  Ask God for help, and be thankful.  Tell Him things that you are thankful for.  He is waiting.  He is right there all the time ready to help us if we will only call on Him.

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If you change what you think about do you know what will happen?

Php 4:7 MKJV And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Isn’t that wonderful?  We can have a peace which we cannot even describe.  I know this is possible because I’ve had this peace.  I still have to be careful every day and monitor my thoughts according to Philippians 4:8.  I can’t let them get away from me.  It is very easy to fall back into the bad thought habits that were once an everyday part of me.  I must be on guard.

In summary we see:

Dread: It keeps us from doing God’s will in our lives.

Doubt: When we doubt we are not trusting.  It is Satan’s tool to trip us up.

Discipline: Be aware. We need to break old bad thinking habits and acquire new ones according to the Word.

Deliverance: Depend on God to set us free.

If you have trouble in this area I would suggest you take a 3×5 card and write out Philippians 4:8. Put it where it is easy for you to see or get too.  You could place it on your desk, in your purse, on your visor in the car; wherever it is handy for you. It would also be a great scripture verse to memorize so you wouldn’t have to depend on finding your card.  Also memorize Philippians 4:6-7

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