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Janet's Blog

Believers in a Stressful Age


This post was partly inspired by an article I read today
PEACE IN THE MIDST OF STRESS
It was only a short article but inspired me immensely.
Then I took a different direction that compliments.
Please take time to read this.
 
Stress is prevalent in our world today, but there is a way to handle stress without turning to addictions and other things. Internal peace can be found through Jesus even in the midst of stressful circumstances. (1)

In this world, common ways to cope with stress in recent year have been through addictions such as over-drinking, over-partying, over-eating, over-shopping, over-spending, over-accumulating, over-working, etc. ever on the increase, effecting many hearts and lives. (2)

I feel such compassion for children in families who are caught up in these kinds of environments because in one way or another, they are affected. I feel for elderly people too, because they see such a different world and the situations many of their families are in that are radically different to the stress they are familiar with.
Jesus told his disciples how to handle stress when He said, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (3)

When Jesus said, "…in Me you may have Peace," He taught believers that peace in the midst of stress is experienced by living in Him and through Him. Jesus stated the same thing when He said, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit.  Apart from Me you can do nothing." Part of the fruit that Jesus is speaking of here is the “Peace that passes all understanding” that only comes from abiding in Him. (4)
 
So what is abiding?
 
The Apostle John wrote, "By this we know that we abide in Jesus and He in us, because of the Spirit He has given us." Abiding in Jesus is not keeping a set of Christian rules or performing some self-disciplined Christian activities, it is a believer having the Holy Spirit living within him or her. When we believe the Spirit who lives within – not to just know about Him  – we will experience His peace in the midst of stress. (5)
 
This is more than a mental acknowledgement, this is realizing “Yes Holy Spirit, You live in me, You are the One who is here to guide and strengthen me……You are my Comforter……You are the Spirit of Truth in the midst of confusion……”
 
This is when you quiet your soul for He says “be still and know that I am God”.
Yes, He is the One who “instructs us and teaches us” how to walk in the safety of
The Lord and the way to go.
 
As we look to Him, He will make steady our steps and make our path straight. He will bring Peace where there is turmoil when we draw aside and separate ourselves with Him like Jesus did with His Father.
 
The way we feel and the way we behave is directly connected to what we think about in our mind. If we continuously set our mind on the truth, we can experience Christ's abundant life and have plenty of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control in the midst of the stress of life. (6)
 
1 2 3 4 5 6 above is by Greg Brezina from Christian Families Today

 
When Christian’s thoughts are Earth-bound
 
To set our minds on things of earth in much of our thinking: our work, our interests, social life, TV and the Net, stifles the life and fruit of the Holy Spirit because it gives little or no room for Him to express Himself and speak to us. With the pace of living today and all it’s concerns, so many of us neglect quality prayer-time to sense His presence and devotion time, where we build ourselves up with His Words. From morning to evening, we fill our minds with earthly input that it crowds out the things of the Holy Spirit. What we to give the most time to in our thought-life is going to determine how much faith we have when we pray; how much and how often we sense His Presence; what response we give to The Lord; how important His guidance is to us; how much love we show in our relationships from day to day and stressful moments.
 
Yes, the quality of our lives and direction in life, harmonious relations etc all depend on how closely with relate with Him on an everyday basis. All of us desire blessings and answered prayers. Often we want the Gifts instead of the Giver it seems to show up…….when we are ready, to spend a few minutes in prayer. Even prayer groups have their prayer lists and tell Him what to do and how He should do it. And so it is with us personally when we don’t take time to come aside with Him….be still and allow Him to speak to us. Like any good relationship, a skill or interest……this takes practice.
 
The reality is that we can’t expect to be distant today and close tomorrow. Not unless a real change of heart and mind takes place…….and then there is a renewing of our mind to take place. We are all instructed to “be transformed by the Spirit and
renewed in our minds”.
 
“What does all this have to do with stress and meeting my needs” you say? It has everything to do with it because we are living in a stressful world – for some of us that includes relationships – and we’re running on empty……..but we don’t run our cars on empty do we? “no, that would be silly” we say “no-one does that”. Well no, but we do so spiritually in life.
 
Why the Church System Disappoints
 
And here is where I must address the issue of the church-system as we know it today:
It is radically different to the Early Church that we talk so much about – in ignorance really – because since the Roman emperor changed Christ’s Church into a State Institution, we have had many problems since. This may surprize you when I say this__ previous to Constantine and his misguided self-commissioned remodelling of the Church, Christians did not meet together in buildings. They worshiped in their homes and gathered together in each-others houses. The Greek orators of that day met in buildings and gave long impressive speeches……people went to be entertained.
 
Sad to say, we have 1-2 hour sermons, we are entertained with music groups……in addition to that, the “leaders” do everything we are called to do…….then we get up and go home. Sorry, it’s true. We get told what to do and how to do it……we get prayed for instead of seeking The Lord ourselves……we get wet-nursed like infants…… and in the same service we  sometimes get told  “we can do mighty things in God” do we not?
 
And we wonder why Christians are not strong like we should be. Why? Because
that system makes us weak spiritually. That system is destined to fail……
because someone does our thinking for us etc  
If we have a spiritual Pastor, he does our listening for us (when it comes to God’s voice)
he operates in the Gifts of the Spirit and he cares about our needs (if there is personal communication). Can you tell me how this kind of environment
conditions us for Stressful times?
 
Returning to the True Pattern
 
No, we need to get back to the New Testament ways. That is why the Lord is raising up House Churches throughout the earth. “The Kingdom of God does not consist of talk but Power (God’s ability in us the believers)” and “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking (rules and regulations) but Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit”.
When those in the world see this, they will come and be saved. They will seek us out like they did in scripture. We are told that “they turned the world up-side-down”……..and Families were Saved. So attractive were the Glad Tidings (Gospel) manifest in hearts
and lives (right there in the community).
 
Muslims have their buildings and rituals but we have “Christ in us, the Hope
of Glory”……..”You shall no longer go to this mountain (or in a building) to worship God ……for true worshippers will worship Him in Spirit and Truth”. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in beloved…….and that’s where we come in (all believers) no system was
mentioned here. Jesus said to James and John there is to be no Hierarchy…..yet that was the very thing that Constantine introduced (he was no friend of Christianity to promote that)
but Early Christians fellowshipped in each other’s homes with Great Joy!
 
God’s Order of Things was Always….
 
Three times our Lord God set things up to fellowship with us and the enemy sought
a way to pervert it and make us a sorry bunch devoid of fellowship and power.
 
Think about it: the 1st time was with Adam and Eve……he tempted them with the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” He changed God’s words to them by saying “has God said?” enticing them that “they would not die” and through their submission, he succeeded in changing God’s order of things that was unbroken fellowship with Him where they knew and experienced only the Goodness of God.
 
The 2nd time was with Israel where they worshipped The Lord in their houses – apart from special occasions – the Levites taught them from house to house until they thought up an idea (God did not tell them) to arrange a meeting place in a building instead.  From that, we see the Pharisee system that displeased Jesus.
 
The 3rd time was after Jesus commissioned a Body of believers (The Church) to walk with Him like His followers did and in 300AD Constantine changed all that.
Yes, the enemy knew that it would spoil the intimate fellowship they had with Godand each-other and weaken their walk with God, so we would be Christians with “a form of Godliness, denying the Power of God” that is to deny Him His rightful place over His Church – the Body of Believers – for the ministries are ministering in a different way than He intended just like the Levites were. Christ’s order of things has been changed drastically and many Christians – even ministers – shy away from the real Power of God when it is evident through some-one who has tapped into it (lives in it).
 
Where do we go from here?
 
Yes, no wonder there is a book called Jesus has left the Building and prophecies where The Lord is saying “I want My Church Back!” Be careful you are not resisting Him if you think otherwise. Jesus still says to us "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" and He did say “Follow Me” ……He also said that “Whoever follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the Light of Life”. We see so many Christians in  need of healing, depressed and stressed, anxious, needing freedom from different bondages…….

Why is this when Jesus said it would not be so? Two reasons: because our priorities in our personal lives are not centered  around Him  and  the order of things has changed in the way we fellowship and worship Him in a church-system instead of a Body of Believers.
That’s why so many Christians have been saying/feeling for so many years now
“something is wrong” and many are leaving and finding what they have been
searching for in the Home Church Movement.
 
In our Personal Lives….
 
How do we best deal with every day stresses?  Start to acquaint yourself with The Lord closely. This is like a precious new garden you need to nurchure every day so it will stay
nice and beautiful.  It is also like when someone is newly-wed or has a new baby – you would not neglect relating with them closely every day would you? There is no joy in  a garden over-run with weeds……a romance that has lost it’s closeness…….a baby that is fretful……and that’s what we end up with spiritually
when we’re missing precious time with The Lord.
 
Believe me, it is no different. Many of you are choked up with the cares of life. Many of you have lost your passion for Jesus and find it difficult to sense His Love. Many of you are stressed and fretful, unwell…….looking for a way out of it.
 
You know the world does not have answers so they turn to addictions, over-drinking and over-partying. Maybe you also are  consoling yourself with over-eating, over-shopping,
over-spending or over-accumulating. You could even be hiding yourself in overworking or pleasures like many do in the world for stress-relief.
 
“JESUS SAYS THIS SHOULD NOT BE YOU. I DID NOT INTEND ANY OF THIS
FOR YOU MY CHILDREN.  SEEK TO KNOW ME…..SEARCH FOR THAT PATH AND FOLLOW ME……FOR THERE
 I WILL LEAD YOU TO PASTURES GREEN WHERE THE RIVER OF LIFE
FREELY FLOWS”.
 
It’s in HIM__  it’s ALL in Him beloved……the “PEACE that passes all Understanding”…….you will find you’ll have less questions anyway, sitting at the
feet of Jesus.
Mary knew “the one thing needful” remember? And after Martha learnt the same from Jesus’ encouragement to her, she believed that He could raise her brother Lazareth,
when others were upset in disbelief.
 
And the Holy Spirit can make you strong too if you follow Jesus and Mary’s recipe.
You don’t need lots of sermons but maybe what you do need is some good healthy devotion time that is more personal and The Lord can speak to you in the quietness.

I heard a prophecy many years ago where The Lord said “His Peace  cannot rest on a troubled spirit” because when we are anxious we cannot receive that Peace and blessing He offers us and that’s what this prophecy was in reference to. So take time to receive the engrafted word that is able to save your soul (mind and emotions).
 
 “His words are Spirit and Life” and “He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to Him”.  Right now, that needs to be you…….and if you stay in the Resting Place
(His Presence on a daily basis) He can change your present story into a Testimony that will influence others…….He will make You a Blessing…….never mind the evangelists who come to town.  Jesus can make you into a garden whose waters never fail if you Trust in Him and respect your relationship with Him like that new garden, a new spouse, a new child.
 
It is not my place to tell you to seek out a House Church. There are three friends of mine
who have managed to make a Church personal and progressive. They all have a
sensitivity to the Holy Spirit (ministry and believers) and are close knit families.
It is for each one of us to Seek the Lord first and always.
 
Through the week at least, we need to be walking the way you have been reading.
This is “the New and Living Way – Walk ye in It”, a song once said. And it went on to say
“I am guided and led by His Right Hand”…….you will get all the guidance you need when “He is your New and Living Way”.  JUST JESUS!
 
May the Peace and Grace of The Lord be with your spirit.

 
 
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