STRESS CAN BE A KILLER.  These past few years we have seen an unusual amount of stress caused by job losses, home foreclosures, bankruptcy and an uncertain future.  Most Americans do not know how to deal with stressful situations.  As a result, because of too many demands, stress drains one’s energy and can cause depression or sickness.

Stress comes from a lack of control of a situation, thoughts, fears, work related, time scheduling, health, financial problems, relationships and many other reasons.  Stress comes when situations control us rather than us controlling it.  Sometimes we have stress and are not sure what is causing it.  Knowing the cause provides a better chance of controlling it.  Many times changing habits or our attitude corrects the problems causing stress.  However, if we are unwilling to accept responsibility for our actions it makes it difficult to release built up tension.   The best way I have found dealing with stress is to pray about it and trust God to handle it.  For me, it has always worked.

Let’s look at the meaning of faith and confidence.  If we define confidence as believing in our ability to do certain acts in which we depend on ourselves for completion and then define faith as requiring us to believe something that doesn’t seem reasonable to the human mind.  Faith trusts in the God Who promises and performs things that may seem supernatural.  May we further define that confidence comes from the mind and is intellectual and faith comes from the heart and is spiritual.  I had to learn the importance of faith and trusting what the Bible teaches.

What we have learned is that most people do not know how to deal with stress.  Many times we are never aware that we are under stress, pressure or tension.  My experience was being a store manager of a large department store.  At peak times we had 485 employees.  There were too many things to be done and not having enough time to do them all.  In 1984 I had a heart attack and by-pass surgery.  In 1987 I resigned and started my own business.  In 1993 I developed prostate cancer and had radiation.  It was in remission for a few years and then returned.  September 2005 another massive heart attack and by-pass surgery with about a ten percent chance of surviving.  From these experiences I started researching and trying to determine how to live a tension and stress free life.

The Bible tells me that faith and trusting God’s promises will free me from stress and bring peace and calmness in life.  I read stories how God had blessed people.  It said that Caleb had the strength of a 40 year old when he was 85.  At that age he led his group into the promise land and captured it.  Is that possible today for an 85 year old to have the strength of a 40 year old?

Romans 8:5 – 6 – “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

The mind governed by the flesh probably means stress and confusion; the chaos could result in physical problems.  But a mind governed by the Spirit gives life and peace and possibly a longer life.  What made many in the Bible different from most Christians today?  Their minds were governed by the Spirit that was on them or in them.

John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”   Worldly peace usually means a lack of conflict.  Christ’s peace is confidence that the Holy Spirit will comfort and guide us through any circumstance.  There is no reason for our hearts to be troubled or should we be afraid if we are trusting in God.

If we want this peace and be free of stress there are other things the Bible tells us to do.  We are to love God with all of heart, mind and strength and others as ourselves.  We are to live according to His Commandments.  Thou shall have no other god’s before me?  Thou shall not lie.  Thou shall not steal.  Thou shall not covet.  Plus the others Commandments we are given.

It seems living a holy and stress-free life is no more than living to please God and it must be every believer’s priority.  God requires each Christian to turn their lives over to Him.  We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.  We are told to become sanctified and holy.  Sanctified means to separate ourselves from the world and give ourselves to God.  We are told to prepare ourselves for heaven in the way we live.  The Bible teaches us to let the Holy Spirit take our sinful, self-centered nature, our old habits and behaviors and let them be transformed to emulate the life of Christ.

I have learned that to continue working everyday as an investment advisor requires a healthy body and an alert mind.  I believe what the Bible teaches, if applied, allows a Christian to live a longer, healthier and more peaceful life.   In addition I have learned to spend ten minutes daily exercising, walking for 20 minutes and spending at least ten minutes reading my Bible and another ten minutes praying. I have done this for more than 25 years. My cardiologist says it is a miracle that I am as healthy as I am.  God says living by “My Ways” will help you live longer and healthier.  Think you are too busy?  You may not like the alternative.

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