Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bible Verse Thursday Challenge #29 - Stress Reduction

Blessed Thursday to you!  I'm so pleased that you stopped by for this week's Our Daily Bread Designs Forum Bible Verse Thursday Challenge!  This week's challenge is all about reducing our stress level.  That's right, did you know God gave us instruction for how to reduce stress?  He knew our lives would hold some hardships and tests and that they would stress us out!

How do you handle the stresses of life?

There are a lot of them, that is for sure.  Many of us are thinking a lot about the economy, gas prices, unemployment, inflation and recession.  Many of us are thinking about the conflicts in the Middle East and wonder if it will ever end in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Many of us have been thinking about crimes in the news this week.

And then there are just the ordinary day to day stresses of living.

So it is no wonder that many of us have been thinking – is there a way to stop the pain, the meaninglessness, and the guilt?

We live in a complicated and hurting world and there are many out there that offer answers.  The apostle Paul, though, does offer real answers to the stresses of life.


Paul writes…

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Note the phrase that is in the middle:

“Think about these things…”

It is the heart of this passage.  It is the action (verb).  “Think about these things,” is more than just think.
It is more than a momentary thought.  We are to think through these things.  We are to ponder them.  We are to give them weight.  We are to give them value by the time we spend on them.  We are to think how we are going to put these qualities into practice.

At the very least, what Paul is doing here is exhorting us to have fit minds. We are to have disciplined minds.  We are to have minds that are trained and used to thinking about the kinds of things that are included in this list.

So, let’s see what qualities Paul wants us thinking about...

1.  TRUE
We need to recognize the truth about God, we need to recognize the truth about ourselves and we need to recognize the truth about our relationship with each other.  We are to put our minds on what is genuine and place our thoughts on what is real and authentic and not on what is fake.

We are to give thought on what it means to be people of dignity and integrity.  In fact, the word here in the original Greek gives the meaning of reverence. This idea of reverence connects because when we are around someone that is honorable that we want to be around them.  We want it to rub off on us.

3.  JUST
We are to think about what is the right thing, how to do the right thing, when we are to do the right thing and why we do the right thing.

God has given us a lot of instruction in this book.  We know the right thing to do and we know the wrong things.

4.  PURE
Here our instruction is to set apart one’s self from sin.  God wants us to follow His design for life, which is for our good.  He wants us to specifically follow His design of the relationship of marriage. Anything outside His design is defilement.

Take hold of things that endear us to others.  What the Greek word describes is that which is beautiful and attractive.  It is the idea of that which is winsome and pleasing.  This applies to either things or people.

So, if we are around people that don’t build up…
If we are around things that seem to drag us down…
That’s not where we are supposed to spend our time.

We should spend our time embracing that which is of good report.  Literally, it means “worth talking about,” that which is fit to hear.

Strive for high standards.  Paul wants us spending time on things that are excellent, that which is outstanding and exceptional is to draw our attention.

What I really like about this passage is that it is not so much a picture of restraint, but a picture of what we are to embrace.  These are the matters we are to be passionate about.  When we possess passion for what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, then the stresses of life will take a back seat to what is really important and we will have peace.  Our heart and mind will experience calm even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.

Your challenge this week is to create a project using this scripture or another verse that gives us instruction on how to deal with the stress in our lives or how to embrace that which is good.  When uploading your project, please use keyword ODBDBVT29 and then hop on over to Our Daily Bread Designs Forum to share your creation with us!

God Bless!

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