Archive | October, 2012

Paul’s Recipe for Reducing Stress pt 8 – Christ

October 13, 2012

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Philippians 4:10-13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

We ended the last ingredient with the statement with “A life lived in Christ will be fulfilling and provide all that is needed.” Indeed Paul backs that statement up with his final ingredient for stress free living – Christ. Living in union with the living and exalted Christ is truly the secret to living well and happy in this temporary place.

This isn’t just a one off statement for Paul. Look at 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 where Paul discusses the thorn in his flesh:

…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Again we are reminded that our challenges are meant only to strengthen us and as long as we remember to keep Christ in our life, we will easily surmount them.

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Paul’s Recipe for Reducing Stress pt 7 – Forget Possessions

October 11, 2012

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Philippians 4:10-11 – Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Paul was genuinely appreciative of the gifts sent to him, but he wasn’t dependant on them for happiness and in fact being prosperous didn’t really offer him contentment.

Today, we are no strangers to being influenced by wanting more. The American culture is becoming more and more service based rather than being a culture that makes and kills only what it needs to survive. It has become cheaper and easier to just buy these things from someone else, so our industrial and manufacturing concerns are shrinking. Ultimately the desire to have more and more causes us enough stress to never be able to enjoy the things we are working for.

A life lived in Christ will be fulfilling and blessed with all that is needed.

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Paul’s Recipe for Reducing Stress pt 6 – Godly People

October 9, 2012

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Philippians 4:9 – Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Again we think about God’s Peace and this time we look at getting help from our brothers to achieve it. Paul was using himself as a model for instructing the Philippian folks how to conduct themselves, including what he taught and wrote publicly and privately directly and through others. These things where to be taken as the rule of faith in order to receive the Peace of God.

We can continue to use Paul as our model by taking people we know and trust to be godly people and follow their example. Now this works both ways and we are to remember that there might be someone out there that is leaning on us to be that godly person. When we live a life where we have surrounded ourselves with godly people we support and strengthen each other.

Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

Paul was greatly encouraged when he received the gifts from the Philippian church. Here is perhaps the most important Christian with all the strength of God behind him being so humble as to say he needs their support. Certainly a follow up to surrounding ourselves with godly people would be to depend on them. Conversely, we lose a valuable resource if we are not surrounding ourselves with them.

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Your Calling is Calling!

October 7, 2012

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While job hunting I’ve noticed that has used the catch phrase “Your calling is calling.” It is somewhat of a hobby of mine to find the Biblical principal that a successful enterprise based their business model on (whether they know it or not). As Christians we can leverage our faith in God’s plan by building a life around the examples He has given us in His word.

Take for example Esther, and the opportunity she seized to save her people from destruction by performing a risky action. Her cousin Mordecai had asked her to plead with the king to cancel an order to exterminate the Jews living under his rule. She was afraid to do so because to appear before the king without being summoned was punishable by death. Mordecai responds in Esther 4:14 with what I consider the thesis statement of the book of Esther:

“…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

In other words, “Your calling is calling”

Put another way, wasn’t Esther saved or put into a prominent position to serve others? Esther is convicted by this statement and ultimately saves the Jews. We have another example of “Our calling is calling” in the context of being saved so we can serve others in Mark 1:30-31:

30But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. 31And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Notice that Simon’s mother-in-law immediately got up and began taking care of the group gathered at their house after Jesus healed her. If we are to live by the examples the Scripture gives us, then serving others so that they too may be saved should be one of the cornerstones of our lives. Didn’t Jesus do the same for us?

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Paul’s Recipe for Reducing Stress pt 5– The Good and Spiritual

October 3, 2012

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Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

One of the things that caused Eve to sin in the garden was the promise to know all that is good and evil. (Genesis 3:5) She didn’t stop to think that when one already knows all that is good, there is no need to know the specifics of evil. Eve coveted something she effectively already had.

Paul knew that the things we have in our mind will manifest themselves in our daily life. The mind is like a fertile field – whatever is planted in it is exactly what will be returned. It doesn’t matter if it is poison ivy or Silverqueen corn. Studying and contemplating things that are not wholesome does not allow us to have the “mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5) but meditating on the things in Paul’s list leaves us with the foundation of a peaceful existence.

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