Stress Out!

"I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."- John 15:5

Stress. We all face it, we all have levels of it, and we all wish we could get under the covers so it would stop bothering us! There are very real pressures we face: Deadlines at the office; getting the kids out the door in time for school; meeting the unrealistic expectations of "needy" parents; paying the bills. Added on top of these responsibilities are the undue and unhealthy thought processes we create of unpleasant scenarios that may or may not ever come to fruition. We are weighed down by anxieties and filled with the poison of worry, doubt, and fear. We begin to panic as we picture losing a job, being diagnosed with a disease, our children being mistreated at school, or falling victim to another bout of depression. With all the thoughts we entertain it is no wonder that people live life on edge and in subjection to the lies. Just this week I was having lunch with a dear friend and as we were processing this very issue, I said, "The weakness of our flesh and the enemy of our soul makes for a bad combination!"

The fact is that just because we all face stress, does not mean we are meant to live in fear to it and slavery of it. The fact is that we all can be set free from the stresses of life and place this barking enemy back on its leash. We have been given the authority through the Holy Spirit to have the right and the power to master our flesh, take captive our thoughts, resist every form of temptation, and overcome every dark and deceptive attack marked against us. II Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." This type of artillery though comes from a source much deeper and greater than just having the right words rolling of the tongue, a positive outlook, and strong will power. It flows from the deep resource of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus that cannot be broken. Let me share from my own stress moment last week.

Last week I had a series of nights where I wasn't sleeping much. On one particular night I was calling out God and quoting as many Scriptures that had to do with "the mind", "fear", and "peace" as I could recall at two in the morning! Then in the midst of my cries, I heard the Lord speak a Scripture over me. It was the words of Jesus in John 15 at the top of this article. At that moment I knew that the most important thing for me was not simply confessing my faith but connecting to the source where all life, peace, strength, healing, and joy emanates from. I found myself drawing into the Lord presence, resting in His love, and allowing Him to work on my tired body, weak thoughts, and stressed condition. How good it was to find myself in the Vine, the source where all true life flows. As I woke up that morning I noticed a picture frame next to our bed with the very verse from John 15. I had never seen it there before, so I supposed that it was Mia's weekly craft from church. However, when I asked Joanie about the frame, she said it had been given to her months ago at a women's conference.

Think of it. All these months that picture was in my view everyday and I missed it. In the same way, as we deal with every moment and situation that adds burden or blocks peace God's Word, Truth, and Hope is ever present and always available to us. Let's not miss Jesus in the midst of all the junk of life. Let's put stress back in its rightful place as we find our resting place in our Savior where the stream of all life, health, and deliverance flows!

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