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LIFE GATE CHURCH
STRESS - Hold On To Your Peace
We are talking about living more stress free and how important it is to maintain a more stress free lifestyle. I honestly canít tell you how many people came to me after last weeks lesson sharing stories with me about how stress effected them. I told Judy this is a very important series, truly about life and death. I wonder how much happier, healthier, and longer we could live if we learn to live more stress free.
When people say, "I lost it," what does that mean? It ultimately means they lost their peace. Too many people today live in turmoil. They are always upset about something. They are always in crisis. They donít like the people they work with. Someone is always rubbing them the wrong way. Thereís always a reason why they canít be happy. You ask them, "Howís life?" They say, "Well, Iíll be ok," meaning something or someone has them upset and stressed out. If we are going to experience Godís best, we must learn how to hold on to our peace.
Romans 14:17† For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and PEACE, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Becoming upset, stressed, and losing your peace is a trap to get you away from Godís kingdom and Godís best. When you are at peace, you include God in your battles. When you are at peace, you are in control and in a position of power. When you live in peace, you make the best decisions. When you live "in peace", you are happy, healthy, and will live longer. On the other hand, when you are upset and lose it, you are in a position of weakness. When you lose it, something or someone controls you. When you lose it, you canít make the best decisions. When you lose it, you exit Godís kingdom and entered the kingdoms of this world. You are in the enemyís territory and distance yourself from Godís best for your life.
Many people today will never fulfill their best destinies because they do not know how to rule their own emotions. They lose it. We need to understand how the enemy operates. HE SETS US UP TO GET US UPSET. He knows what buttons to push. He knows what gets to each one of us. Thereís nothing he would like more than for us to spend our entire lives upset, sour, negative, and stressed. If we are going to hold on to our peace, we need to recognize itís a trap and make the necessary changes. First off, the next time you feel yourself getting upset, you need to put your foot down and say, "Iím not falling into this trap. I am keeping my peace no matter what happens."
2 Thessalonians 3:16† May the LORD OF PEACE himself always give you his PEACE NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. The Lord be with you all.
A characteristic of the Lord is peace. A characteristic the Lord is with us is PEACE NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. When things donít go our way, our attitude and character should be, "No big deal. Iím not going to lose it. The Lord of peace is with me. Iím holding on to my peace." Make a conscious decision this is how you will live.
Another thing that helps us live more stress free is to identify things in life that cause stress. Be aware of your "stressers." It may be a certain person you work with. It might be a quirky habit of your spouse. You may get upset when you are rushed. What is it that causes you to feel tension and stress coming on? Take inventory and see what causes you to lose your peace. A step to overcome stress is recognizing what brings it on. Then you can deal with it and make necessary changes. Some people go fifteen or twenty years and allow the same things to upset them time after time.
With me, when I am up against a deadline and itís not going well, I feel stress coming. If I donít have my time Saturday to feel ready for Sunday, Iíll try to stress. Everything about Sunday is my ultimate responsibility and if any little thing goes wrong, or doesnít happen like I think it should, I could stress. I know this, so I do everything I can to make sure as little stress stuff happens as possible. Iím better and when it does happen, Iím learning to say, "No big dealÖ"
Nearly all of us will stress when we are tired. We are much more likely to say and do things weíll regret later when physically or mentally tired. When you get tired, be aware of that. If you are not getting enough sleep, or stay up late, it could be the reason you are a grouch and stressed all day.
My daughter-in-law knows she stresses out if she goes too long without eating. We notice Jen getting quiet. Then she will get a little irritable. She knows what it is and itís time to feed Jen.
Maybe you drink fifteen cokes a day and eat ten Snickers and you donít know why you canít relax and enjoy life.
You need to find the cause of your stress then you can deal with it. Most things that stress us, we can change easily, some we canít. For example, some of you have people working around you who you allow to steal your peace. You might not realize it, but every time you get around them, you get uptight. It can be something as simple as their voice tone, sarcasms, attitude, etc. Identify that and make the decision not to allow it to get the best of you. Donít go ten years allowing some small idiosyncrasy or someoneís habit to steal your peace.
†Many little things in life trigger stress. Little "stressers" get us edgy, so when a big "stresser" follows, we lose it. Say you already had small things to go wrong. Then BAM, something big happens and you lose it. If we will hold on to our peace with the smaller "stressers," we are more able to hold on to our peace with the big "stressers." Remember, the enemy sets you up to get you upset. Itís a trap.
Something that gets on my last never is smacking. It puts me over the edge in one second. I donít know why, but it does and my dad was the worlds greatest smacker. I mean, the man could smack eating popcorn. One day back when he lived with us, he and I were downstairs watching a ball game and he wanted some popcorn. I fixed it, handed it to him, turned, and went upstairs. Judy looked at me, smiled, and said, "Is your daddy eating popcorn?" I nodded yes. I recognized my weakness and decided not to allow it to get my peace. It really wasnít a big deal. (I wish I could hear him smack today.)
My lovely wife, Judy, has a habit of taking her shoes off wherever she feels like taking them off. After a few days, there might be five pairs of shoes piled up at that place. It might be in the kitchen. It might be in the living room. In my old days, that might bother me. Today, I just laugh at it. "Itís no big deal."
My point is, we all have "stressers" big and little. If you will identify your "stressers" and make the "Itís no big deal" decision, you will have way more peace and the more peace you have, the more you will enjoy your life, the healthier you will be, and you will experience more power.
Different things stress people. Yours might be paying the bills, having to wait in line, cleaning the house, or keeping the children. You say, or think, "I canít stand this. I hate to even think about it." You can either have that attitude the rest of your life or you can identify it and make a decision to hold on to your peace.
People say, "I wish God would just get all those "stressers" out of my way Ė all those things that upset me and all those people who push my buttons." No. You need to realize God uses those "stressers," those things and those people to perfect and mature you. You can pray night and day that no thing, or no one, will ever do anything to upset you, but itís not going to happen. The answer to removing your "stressers" is your coming to a place where you hold on to your peace. "Stressers" bring to life, aspects of our character we need to deal with. Anyone can be happy and full of peace when thereís no problem. The time to see what you are really made of is when you face those things having the potential to upset you. The worst in situations and people will bring out either the worst in us or the best in us. Iíve learned God is more interested in changing me than changing my "stressers." In fact, if he can change me, he actually changed my "stressers." When I stay calm even when someone is smacking, thatís when I see more of Godís favor. He rewards me. Those things mature, promote, and prosper us.
3 John 1:2† Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, EVEN AS THY SOUL PROSPERETH.
We prosper in life as our soul prospers. Notice also, soul prosperity has a very positive effect on our health. The soul includes the mind, will, emotions, attitudes and character. In the degree, you rule over and prosper in the soul area, is the same degree God will prosper you. We all want to have more peace and less stress, but itís in direct relationship to our prospering/improving in our soul.
I was in line at Wendyís at the drive-thru. The car ahead of me got its order, pulled forward, and stopped. I pulled to the window, to get my order. The woman in the car ahead jumped out of her car with her Wendyís bag in her hand. She had a vicious look on her face and came back to the window squeezing in between my car and the window yelling at the young girl inside. They put onions on a burger and the woman was irate. The girl went to retrieve a correctly made burger, but the woman yelled, "Just give me my money back!" She lost it and even I was embarrassed. I was afraid she was going to yell at me. She got her $2.99 and stormed back to her car. I thought, "Wow! Is that what I look like when I get upset?" Everyone inside the window was sort of laughing and, after the woman stormed off, the young girl laughed and apologized to me. I laughed, the people in the car behind me were laughing. The angry woman only hurt and made a fool of herself. She failed the "peace" test, but God will give her another chance to pass. She will face many situations where things donít go her way and will get just as angry making just as big a fool of herself until her soul prospers.
The next time you are tempted to get all upset and lose your peace remember if you do, you failed your "peace test," but thatís ok. God will give you more chances to prosper your soul.
Never forget how stress always does something to your insides. You are in health "even as your soul prospers." Ninety percent of the physical ailments we experience today are stress related and that stress may have actually happened weeks ago. I once went through a very stressful situation. Weeks after the event, Judy told me when I would fall asleep my hand would shake as if I had Parkinsonís disease. When you experience something like a sleepless night, a headache, a pain for no reason, a knot, a rash, etc, even though that specific day may be ok, if you will think back a week or so, you will likely remember a stressful time you went through. Your body is now paying the price on the inside.
John 14:27 (Amplified Bible) PEACE I leave with you; MY [OWN] PEACE I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. DO NOT LET your hearts be troubled, NEITHER LET them be afraid. [STOP ALLOWING YOURSELVES to be agitated and disturbed; and DO NOT PERMIT YOURSELVES to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
Jesus left us his peace. Itís on the inside of every Christ follower here right now, but Jesus put the responsibility back on us to activate it. You have to stop allowing things to agitate, disturb, and stress you. You make the decision and choice to not stress. You cannot permit yourself to be fearful, intimidated, and unsettled. Itís a power every Christ follower is given and bequeathed.
You are at your best when you hold on to your peace. You are in control. You make better decisions. You can experience Godís best. The enemy sets you up to get you upset. Be familiar with your "stressers." Before they push your buttons, make the decision to not allow or permit yourself to lose it. As you hold on to your peace, your soul prospers, your health prospers and your life prospers. Live longer, live healthier and live happier by holding on to your peace. Holding on to your peace is necessary to live a more stress free life and experience Godís best for you.
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