‘Grinch’ group bullies elementary school into canceling live Nativity

Judge: Artistic performances don’t ‘establish’ a religion

December 11, 2019

A live Nativity scene in Stuart, Florida (Photo by Joe Kovacs, used with permission)

A “grinch” organization that flexes its influence each year during the holiday season, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, has “bullied” a school district in Oklahoma into canceling a live Nativity scene that had been part of the school’s annual Christmas celebration.

Liberty Counsel said it’s prepared to represent the school if officials decide they want to restore the holiday display.

LC said FFRF not only was wrong to insist such displays aren’t allowed, it mischaracterized a court ruling on the dispute.

FFRF wrote to Supt. Bret Towne of Edmond Public Schools in Edmond, Oklahoma, declaring “the Chisholm Elementary School Christmas program may not include a live Nativity scene in the performance.”

Liberty Counsel, which has handled many such disputes, said that while FFRF cited a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, the atheist organization failed “to accurately describe” the decision.

“The 7th Circuit simply did not make the sweeping ruling claimed by FFRF. FFRF has once again selectively related what actually happened in a suit, in order to frighten a school district into compliance,” Liberty Counsel explained.

The ruling stated clearly, “We are not prepared to say that a nativity scene in a school performance automatically constitutes an Establishment Clause violation.”

FFRF had said, “While a public school can hold holiday concerts, religious performances and instruction that emphasize the religious aspects of a holiday are prohibited.”

It continued, “Please note that including a live nativity performance in a school’s holiday concert remains illegal even if participation in the nativity scene is ‘voluntary.'”

FFRF cited a previous dispute in which it wanted to ban a 20-minute Nativity within a program that covered about 90 minutes.

The appeals court said: “The district court found that the Christmas Spectacular program. … A program in which cultural, pedagogical, and entertainment value took center stage – did not violate the Establishment Clause.

One judge wrote: “It is not sound, as a matter of history or constitutional text, to say that a unit of state or local government ‘establishes’ a religion through an artistic performance that favorable depicts one or more aspects of that religion’s theology or iconography. [The school] would not violate the Constitution by performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor or Handel’s Mesiah, although both are deeply religious works and run far longer than the nativity portion of the ‘Christmas Spectacular.’ Performing a work of art does not establish that work, or its composer, as the state song or the state composer; no more does it establish a state religion.”

“Liberty Counsel therefore stands ready, along with our affiliate attorneys in Oklahoma, to provide assistance at no charge to Edmond Public Schools, if the district desires to resume a live Nativity in a school Christmas program,” the organization promised.

 

Original here

How you Can Become a Better Person Starting Now

Can you Really Change?

Most people wonder if it’s possible to become a better person after maturity. The answer is a resounding yes. There’s actually room for change at every stage of our life. With a willing spirit, you can transform your personality. Once you figure out the best and easiest approach to take, you can decide the most important personal aspects to work on. Taking into account the best interest of others and your well being, below are some of the most important things you’ll need to work on, in order to make the changes.

Photo by Freshh Connection on unsplash

Help Others:

Good people support and encourage others to do and become their best selves. I believe one of the greatest responsibilities we have is to support ourselves and others to live as close to their unique potential as possible. Because everything we say and do has a negative or positive influence on others. We should always take into consideration the words we speak to and about others.

How you can show Support?

  • Have some faith in others.
  • Hold high expectations.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Be honest.
  • Share yourself.
  • Set the best example.
  • Challenge them.
  • Be mindful of your questions.
  • Invest your time in them.
  • Acknowledge them.

Let go of Anger:

Your relationships can create a haven from stress as well as help you become a better person. But if you walk away from unresolved conflicts, they can become a significant source of stress. Let’s face it, conflicts are common in our society. They happen with our families, neighbors, friends or colleagues. You have to face them in the right manner and come up with a fair solution. The best way to improve in this area is to learn conflict resolution strategies. Let’s take a look at 5 of this tools that are more effective:

Conflict Resolution Strategies:

  • Recognize that all of us have biased fairness perception.
  • Avoid escalating tensions with threats and provocative move
  • Overcome an “us versus them” mentality.
  • Look beneath the surface to identify deeper issues.
  • Separate sacred from pseudo-sacred issues.

You can also identify what your anger triggers and eliminate them as much as possible. Also learn to let go of any grudge and residual anger.

Be a good Listener:

Listening to others and is one of the best things you can do for another person and yourself. It shows them that you value their opinion and allows you to develop closer connection with others. You also get to hear perspectives you might otherwise dismiss. It is important to engage in active listening with the people in our lives. Being an active listener can change your life for the better. It fosters deeper relationships and exposes you to thoughts, ideas world wide views beyond your own experience. You never know what you might learn from someone.

Self Care:

Self care is vital for building resilience when facing life’s unavoidable stressors. Making sure that you get enough sleep is important for your physical and emotional wellbeing. Less sleep can make you less able to brainstorm solutions to problems you come across. I don’t know about you, but when l don’t sleep enough, it makes me very edgy the next day.

Eating a proper diet is also essential in keeping your body and mind healthy. When you eat healthy, problems like bloating and constipation are never going to be on your worry list. That means you will be in optimum shape for handling stress – which gives you added resilience to manage those challenges that come up unexpectedly.

Be Polite:

Being polite is an act of kindness. We can show politeness to everyone we come across. It is not a trivial thing. This little act instill positive feelings in the people around you. Maintaining a certain level of politeness and civility is appreciated because it shows thoughtfulness, considerations, and kindness.

Live with Integrity:

Personal integrity is a cornerstone of whom we really are. It also shows what we stand for. Integrity is part of our mortal foundation. Integrity shapes the person you become with time. Living with integrity means being true to your ideas. It means that your outward actions reflect your inner beliefs and values. It means making necessary changes to live up to your standards. Take time to understand what integrity means to you and how your decisions align with your values. These things can help propel you towards becoming a better person.

Original here

 

Are You A Bully Or Bystander For Christ

by Benham Brothers | March 24th, 2019

When we were kids, our dad used to say, “Boys, we are called to walk the narrow road for Christ – and that means there are ditches on both sides.” He learned this lesson well over the years.

So for followers of Christ today, if we are going to get in the game and be a bridge for the Lord, then we’ve got to walk the narrow way that leads to life – not just for our own sake, but for others’ as well.

One thing we’ve found through the years is the way for us to stay on the narrow path is to walk in love. But the ditches of anger and fear are always one step away on either side – especially in today’s polarized and often paralyzed culture.

We’ve discovered that boldness apart from brokenness leads to anger. Yet brokenness apart from boldness leads to fear. To faithfully be a bridge today requires both boldness and brokenness – to have one without the other lands us in a ditch off the path of the narrow way, rendering us ineffective for God.

If we are bold for God’s truth but not broken over our sin, we’ll operate out of a spirit of anger. This makes us bullies, which leaves others disconnected from God – because the truth we’re speaking can’t get past the angry look on our faces.

Boldness apart from brokenness makes a bully. This is what anger produces.

If we’re broken over our sin but not bold for God’s truth, we’ll operate out of a spirit of fear. This makes us bystanders, which also leaves people disconnected from God – because we’re too afraid to share the truth that can set them free.

Brokenness apart from boldness makes a bystander. This is what fear produces.

But if we’re both bold and broken we’ll operate out of a spirit of love. This is what gives us the power to faithfully stand in the gap in today’s culture and bring divine connection to divinely disconnected people.

Boldness and brokenness make us a bridge connecting Heaven to earth for those around us. This is what love produces.

We see this balance played out in the life of Peter, a man who fell into the ditch on both sides of the narrow road but finally found his way back onto the path and was used powerfully by God.

Think of ol’ Pete in the Garden on the night Jesus was betrayed. When he was awakened and saw the mob coming to take Jesus how did he engage?

He boldly grabbed his sword and cut off a man’s ear.

Not good – he was a bully.

But then we see him following Jesus at a distance into the city. His boldness was out the window. And when a young girl claimed he had been with Jesus he denied it three times.

Not good either – he was a bystander.

But thankfully, Jesus didn’t leave him in either ditch but, rather, restored him. And on the day of Pentecost it was Peter who boldly stood to his feet and proclaimed the message of the Gospel to the thousands gathered in Jerusalem, knowing full well it could cost him dearly.

And he did it with a heart full of love for the Savior he had failed but Who forgave him, set him back on his feet, and enlisted him in His kingdom-building effort here on earth.

That day, heaven touched earth for over three thousand people.

This was Peter, the bridge. He was both bold and broken. Operating out of a spirit of love, he was ready to stand. When the crowd showed up, he didn’t run after them or run from them; he stood for them.

This is what walking the narrow road for Christ looks like today. He wants to use us, but we must be both bold and broken to be useful.

 

Original here

Where is my peace?

6th Jul 2019

pexels-photo-1161268This week started off pretty horrendously. I was managing a little stress after a disagreement with someone, the kind of stress which usually I can manage quite well, but, combined with what I believed to be a friend disrespecting me with careless words, throw in a couple of bickering kids, a house that is upside down, and a washing pile that looks like it belongs to old mother Hubbard, an unexpected bill and an overwhelming urge to run away from home at thirty-eight.  And that’s only the first week of the summer. I was feeling completely overwhelmed by not really an awful lot.  A flick through social media seemed enough to tip me over the edge. Seeing that perfect family holiday, another perfect relationship, a mum who has just crafted something beautiful with her well-behaved children while sitting peacefully around the table, a family much bigger than mine that has a super tidy house. Why, oh why is my life such a shambles? Why am I so crap at parenting? Why can’t I manage my home like that? The questions mount up.

So I have hurt, anger, comparison, inadequacy, stress all piling up in a big heap on my shoulders. And this presented itself as verbal diarrhea when I took (yip that gross) swipe at a friend in the most ungodly fashion, practically biting their face off over a very unimportant matter (sorry DB & thank you for your grace), followed by a whole lot of tears, a stop at the garage for an extra large bar of chocolate and home to sulk in my room. Well because I’m six and that’s what you do when you’re six. Please, if nothing else, please let me know I’m not alone here! We all have these little mishaps, yeah???

I did the only thing that was left to do in my sorry state, which probably should have been my first move but a killer headache and sleep in had left me rushing out the door like a maniac. I came home, went to my room, grabbed my notebook and Bible and lay on my bed and spent some quiet time with God. I lay there and talked to God about all the trouble on my heart. Immediately, and with the added help of two paracetamol, my throbbing headache and aching heart started to ease.

In Philippines, it tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

My Bible’s footnotes say prayer and peace are closely connected. The one who entrusts cares to Christ instead of fretting over them will experience the peace of God to guard him from nagging anxiety.

So often we try to create our own peace with the quick fixes, the chocolate or the Netflix marathon, or the other activities that help us switch off from our stressful circumstances, when the Bible tells us that we can find peace through simply spending time in prayer. So when we feel the need to unplug from the world, that probably means what we really need is to disconnect with the world and connect with God. From there we will find our peace.

It’s not that my situation changed. I still had that unsettling disagreement to sort out. My kids were still squabbling, my house was still a bit of a mess. The magic fairy hadn’t turned up to pay the bills and do the laundry. All these things still felt bigger than me. But I know my God is bigger than even my biggest problem.

But rather than running away from my stress I need to chose to run to God with my stress.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Psalms 46:1 NLT

I looked up the meaning of refuge and the definition says the state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or difficulty. That doesn’t mean I get to escape from everything, that just means I get to rest from it while strength to continue I get from the Lord. So often I try to depend on myself for that strength; I try to do it all on my own and leave God out, but this verse reminds me to go to God and he is my refuge and MY STRENGTH.

While I’m finding my rest and strength with God then I’m reminded that all these things that are causing my strife are all manageable. Because God has given me everything I need to deal with these situations and, from him, I can get wisdom guidance and help.

Spurgeon, the absolute legend, said this:

“If indeed the Lord is our refuge and strength, we are entitled to seek after a spirit that will bear us above the dreads of common men. Not everyone can sing the psalm of peace amid commotion and clarity. We must belong to the believing company, we must have the Lord as our God, and we must learn the art of prevailing in prayer.”

But I guess in these situations in life we can all be wise to reduce the build-up of these stressful situations. We have to be willing to help ourselves and, as appealing as it may be, I can’t just take to my bed with a giant whole nut bar and hope that everything is better by the time I get up again. I need to find time to spend with God, like proper intentional time carved out every day, and for me this needs to be a discipline that I will not waver on, even if it means saying no to other things or maybe it means going to bed an hour earlier and not sitting scrolling through social media. But actually setting my phone down and pulling out my Bible, like the real paper version, not the electronic version, reading scripture and talking to God.

I also need to wise up and be a better steward of my money. Get wise and budget for unexpected bills. Plan a holiday allowance, stop impulse buying, save for a rainy day and then I wouldn’t have the unexpected bill stress

Battles for me, I guess I need to chose when to fight battles and with whom. I realised a while ago that I actually have a choice to be offended or not. I will tell my boys when they so often come telling tales of what this one said or whatever and I will ask them if it’s true. Usually, they will answer no. So I will say, then it doesn’t matter (mama needs to practice what she preaches). Choosing not to allow other people’s poor choice of words or bad manners to offend you is a great decision and, in turn, that can cut down on any unpleasant, heated discussion because, well, it probably won’t even affect you what they say because you know the truth.

AND FINALLY

The biggest for me! Don’t fall into the comparison trap. I can just picture the devil, pitchfork in hand, giving even the most secure Christians the poke over the edge into the hellfire of comparison, and social media is his fuel to the fire. See all that stuff on social media, that’s the highlight. However, even knowing that doesn’t seem to stop us. And I do it too. I put the best version of me on display for all to see. It’s not that I pretend that my life is all peachy perfect but I’m not going to post a makeup free selfie of my freshly squeezed face sitting in amongst all the clutter of my home. Noooooo I’m not. But stupidly, I will look at others’ lives through their hi-light reel and feel so inadequate. So this is where I need to be careful about how much of what I see on social media I allow to influence my life. Sometimes that’s gonna look like a media fast or social media free days to guard against that.

So today I want to encourage you to ask yourself if my peace is lost. what do I need to give up?

is it that busy schedule that needs to change?

is it the novel needs set down and the Bible picked up?

does the FB/Insta app need deleting off your phone?

Do you need to put some boundaries in place with that friend overstepping the mark?

Do you need to let go of pride and ask for help?

where is my peace?

Growing numbers of parents are taking a stand against moves to impose lessons on LGBT issues on primary school children

by Godinterest

Parkfield Community School

Parkfield Community School

Protesters against LGBT teaching at a primary school have been banned from gathering outside the gates of Anderton Park Primary School by a High Court injunction which was granted on the basis that the risk to children became “too serious to tolerate”. Birmingham City Council said the behaviour of demonstrators was “increasingly unacceptable” and that they pursued the injunction in order to protect staff and pupils when they return from their half-term break on Monday.

After months of demonstrations outside Anderton Park Primary School Birmingham City Council decided to pursue the legal action. The Council leader Ian Ward said “common sense had prevailed”.

The school had to close early before half-term due to escalating action.

The council said it sought the urgent injunction after the risk to children became “too serious to tolerate”.

Birmingham City Council

Protests have been held outside Anderton Park School for several weeks

Nazir Afzal who is in charge of steering talks between the council, parents and teachers, told Sky News that six weeks of discussions have been unsuccessful.

Protests have been held outside Anderton Park School for several weeks

Protesters were not made aware of the High Court application but told the BBC they still intended to gather next week on a street further away from the school.

How did it all begin?

No outsiders in Our School Teaching the Equality Act In Primary Schools, by Andrew Moffat

The No Outsiders project was the brainchild of Andrew Moffat, assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham and based on a book written by headteacher Andrew Moffat.

In an attempt to teach equality amongst children in school irrespective of gender, sex, race or religion. The project aim was to change attitudes towards South Asian and Muslim homosexuality by teaching children about the Equality Act 2010 and British values. He also wanted pupils to “be proud of who they are while recognising and celebrating difference and diversity”.

When did controversy begin to unfold?

The Government intends to introduce compulsory Relationships Education at primary school level from 2020, which will teach children as young as five about “different types” of families.

Parents at seven primary schools in Greater Manchester have contacted school management to complain about proposed LGBT lessons.

In January this year a parent whose child attends Parkfield school raised a petition, claiming the teaching contradicted the Islamic faith.

How did the school respond to the growing anger?

The No Outsiders lessons were paused to allow teachers to “re-engage with our parents”, Mr Moffat said.

What do education chiefs say?

Ofsted has backed the No Outsiders programme, with its chief inspector Amanda Spielman saying all children must learn about same-sex couples regardless of their religious background.

Respecting parents

The Christian Institute’s Education Officer John Denning said respecting parents is “essential”.

“The protests reflect the lack of confidence parents have that schools are observing the proper boundaries of their role.

“The law is clear that teachers must respect the range of views amongst parents and not undermine them with one-sided propaganda.”

“It is being justified by claiming that it is required by the Equality Act, but the Act is explicit that it does not apply to the school curriculum.”

 

Original here


VIDEO The Narrow Path To Personal Peace

May 18, 2019 by Dr Charles Stanley

Wars, riots, domestic violence, and international conflicts—it’s clear that the world is not at peace. But our internal worlds don’t have to mirror this external chaos. In this message, Dr. Stanley speaks of Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace and explains how we can find inner contentment and true rest through a personal relationship with Him. Don’t let things like anger, lust, or bitterness steal your peace. Learn how to trust God and let Him calm your soul with His soothing presence.

The Narrow Path to Personal Peace

KEY PASSAGE: John 14:27

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Matthew 5:9 | Luke 9:5 | Luke 10:5

SUMMARY

The night before His crucifixion Jesus gave His disciples an amazing promise: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27).

He wasn’t saying that all their conditions would be serene, easy, and comfortable. On the contrary, He was telling them they would have peace of mind and heart even though their circumstances were painful, difficult, and uncertain. And this is the same kind of peace Jesus promises to all of us who belong to Him.

SERMON POINTS

The peace Christ gives is a settled sense of satisfaction in Him. It’s not dependent upon good conditions but on a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We can be confident that no matter what we face in life, He is with us and in us through the Holy Spirit. And one of these days, whether we die or Jesus comes first, all the troubles of this life will be over, and we will be in heaven with Him forever. Then everything will be made right just as He promised, but until then, we have His peace within us as we live in this world’s pain and trouble.

Christ’s peace is not like that which the world offers.

This age is not characterized by peace, whether external or internal. People are anxious about their jobs, finances, relationships, and situations because the world cannot give them the peace that transcends circumstances. The only thing it can offer is counterfeits, which falsely promise that peace will come when they can have whatever they want. In the days when Jesus lived on earth, Rome was doing its best to keep external peace in the empire by subjecting everyone in two ways—through power and pain. But the peace Christ gives doesn’t come through coercion. The Greek word for peace is eirene, which means to bind or join together, signifying oneness without strife or consternation. Jesus Christ’s offer of peace comes when a person is bound together with Him.

Without that relationship, genuine peace will always be missing no matter how many other good relationships one may have. Furthermore, anxiety and a lack of tranquility may result in physical ailments. Although people oftentimes seek relief in other alternatives, they will never truly find peace apart from Christ.

Jesus is the source of this peace.

Christ’s peace is not something we can work to attain but a gift freely given to all who belong to Him. It’s actually the gift of Himself that is acquired at salvation. At that moment, an eternal relationship with Christ is established, and where He is, there is peace. One of the evidences of this relationship with the Prince of Peace is that we become peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). And the most basic way of doing this is by connecting other people to the ultimate Peacemaker, Jesus Christ.

There is a narrow path that leads to peace.

The world offers a wide selection of ways to find tranquility, but they are all false. Yet this is the path most people choose. They move from one false hope to the next but are never able to satisfy the gnawing need for peace in their hearts.

When Jesus sent His disciples out to proclaim the kingdom of God, He said to them, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house’” (Luke 10:5). This verse is a good reminder for us to pray for those whose homes we visit. Although we may not know the circumstances of their lives, the Lord does, and we can pray that they will receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, and experience His amazing peace.

On the narrow path to peace, there are obstacles that steal our peace.

  • Lustful thoughts. When a Christian is looking where he shouldn’t and desiring something sinful, he will have no peace because of the conviction of sin that comes from God’s Spirit within him. Lust always creates chaos in the heart and soul.
  • Guilt. Peace is fragile and is easily lost when we feel the guilt of our sin. It could be something we said or did that we shouldn’t have, or perhaps something we should have said or done but didn’t. Either way, our peace evaporates under the Spirit’s conviction.
  • Anger. Peace and anger do not coexist. Animosity toward someone stirs up negative emotions and robs us of a tranquil spirit.
  • Bitterness. If we allow past hurtful experiences to fester, we will have no peace because our focus is on the wrong done to us and not on Christ. He suffered more injustice than anyone else ever has but harbored no bitterness, and we are to follow His example.
  • Self-centeredness. If we are preoccupied with what we want or think we deserve, we will have no peace because such thinking is rooted in pride.
  • Doubt. Any time we doubt the truth of God’s Word or His promise to answer our prayers, we can’t have the peace of Christ ruling in our hearts.
  • Unbelief. Those without Christ cannot have His peace because they don’t have a relationship with Him. They may display a limited or conditional serenity, but it is easily lost and won’t last.
  • Jealousy. A preoccupation with a desire to have what belongs to someone else robs us of tranquility and contentment.

How can we experience Christ’s peace?

  • We must believe that He is in control of our lives and our circumstances. Otherwise, we will try to take control, and there is conflict in that struggle.
  • We must believe that Christ’s offer of peace is real and be willing to accept it in spite of our feelings.
  • We must fully surrender our lives—mind, will, and emotions—to Jesus as our Lord. This includes yielding and conforming our character, conversation, and conduct to His will.

Having Christ’s peace does not mean that we will never have any trouble, suffer pain or illness, or feel afraid. But whenever these experiences come our way, we will be able to respond with absolute confidence and certainty in the sufficiency of Christ. He is adequate for every situation and will always carry us through it. In fact, sometimes the most difficult, painful, and trying circumstances can become the seedbed for the awesome peace God gives to us in those moments.

RESPONSE

  • Is your life characterized more by peace or anxiety? What situations most commonly rob you of peace? Where is your focus in those times? Is it on yourself, others, circumstances, the unknowable future, or Christ?
  • What is your level of peace when you are trusting God versus when you are trying to control your life or the lives of others? Who is more qualified to be the one in charge—you or God?

Original here

The “A” Word

May 10, 2019 by Discerning Dad

 

 

Men…we were created in the image of God to be the covering for our families…the rock, the foundation, the supplier, the hunter/gatherer, the fix-it guy, the put-gas-in-my-car guy, the guy who has all the answers for our kids crazy questions….the guy who mows the lawn and pulls weeds.

Well darn…that’s a lot of responsibility.

But do we let our family see us sweat about it? Heck no. Instead, we bottle in our feelings, restrict our positive emotional output and kick the dog when we are frustrated. If the dog’s not available, we kick the wife and kids…. maybe not physically but certainly emotionally.

A man’s hidden paradigm – anxiety – we bury it deep inside and don’t let ANYONE in to see all of it…maybe glimpses, but that’s all. The American culture is to keep anxiety buried (or medicated) so it can’t be seen. I have been (and still sometimes am) that man. The problem is that anxiety isn’t just about being worried. As men we don’t stand around wringing our hands waiting for things to get better.

We usually look for some sort of outlet to divert the need to think about the things that cause us stress…. any distraction. It can be sports, obsessing over a hobby, or maybe burying ourselves in our job. These things are socially acceptable…and the church community generally doesn’t have an issue with either.

On the socially “unacceptable” end of the spectrum, anxiety can also be the conduit that leads to other issues. We were designed to be on this earth and walk in the power and authority of God, but we trade that power and authority for other things.

Fear, Anger, Lust, Control

These attributes can be manifest in many ways…. family abuse, substance abuse, pornography, affairs…. pick your poison. If you are doing something not honoring God, I guarantee you know it. We may be very good at hiding our sins, but we know the entire time, unequivocally, that it is sin. But is this how God instructs us to deal with stress?

So, what does the Word say about how to deal with anxiety?

Let’s look at a scripture that Paul wrote while sitting in an uncomfortable jail cell, probably hungry (hangry?) and thirsty and not knowing what his fate may be at the very next moment…. a perfectly good reason to be stressed out….and probably a bit agitated.

Phil 4: 4-9 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Okay men…let’s break this down.

1. Rejoice in the Lord always …I will say it again, REJOICE! – God is our #1 priority! You are NOT rejoicing in your circumstances…. you are rejoicing in who God is and that He is with you during your circumstances. If you place your problems and circumstances before God, they are an idol in your life.

2. Let your gentleness be evident to all. – RELAX…. This begins very close to you and your circle of influence. At home. With the kids. With your wife. With the dog. Alone in the car dealing with traffic. At work. In public. Stop being defensive. Don’t feel the need to prove you are right. Take a cue from Elsa…. LET IT GO.

3. The Lord is near. Duh…you know this…. or at least you should.

4. Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
a. Bring your situations to God – Pray immediately and let God know specifically what your worries are.
b. Be THANKFUL – THIS IS HUGE! Let God know how much you appreciate all He has done in your life!! Think about this…. How great do you feel when your kids show you appreciation and gratitude just for being Dad??

5. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
a. Our Promise from God for being obedient to verses 4-6!

6. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
a. Verses 8 & 9 are NECESSARY!
b. Whatever unnecessary things in life cause you anxiety cut them out…This is necessary and will require for you to do some soul searching. If our current political situation causes you stress, stop watching the news, cut out social media, stop letting people bait you into conversations that get you fired up. YOU know your triggers. Identify them and leave them alone. Think about things that are pleasing to God…. I don’t think our Savior cares too much about Russian collusion.

7. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
a. And the God of peace WILL be with you. Wow! Mic drop.

Prayer: Lord – In the midst of my problems I choose to focus on YOU!! Regardless of the difficulties my path may present, YOU are GOD and YOU are MIGHTY, and YOU are SOVERGN. I will trust in YOU and LEAN on YOU for all things in my life. LORD, THANK YOU for all that YOU are in my life, Thank YOU for my family, my existence and the opportunity to REJOICE in YOU. I give my worries to YOU and accept the PEACE that YOU promise in my life. I choose today to focus on YOU and the things that please YOU. LORD, make your path and will clear to me daily. In JESUS MIGHTY name! Amen!

Jordan Lynde
Guest Discerning Dad

 

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