Too Stressed Out for God?

God, I know You are there, and I know I should come to You with my burdens. But right now, I’m just too stressed out!

After facing one challenge and disappointment after another, I didn’t have the energy to go to God. I should have been giving Him my burdens all along; but instead, I chose to stack every new weight upon my own shoulders. The weight of acknowledging my spiritual failure was only making things worse, and I feared the Lord would echo the same judgment and condemnation I was placing on myself when I met with Him again.

I was wrong. When I finally crumbled under the weight of my troubles, I landed in the book of Psalms. There, I found compassion, empathy, and advocacy. The Lord assured me of His love, reminded me of its extent, and gently lifted my soul into His arms of grace.

If you or someone you know is in need of a message of hope, consider watching Dr. Stanley’s latest series on encouragement. In it, he shares how God uses Scripture and other believers to lift our spirits when troubles arise. The series has ministered to me, and I believe it can minister to you as well.

Don’t allow circumstances to drag you down into depression and despair. Remember that the Lord is our shield and protector in difficult times. He promises to counsel us whenever we ask, and we can freely come to Him in our times of need.

by Linda Canup

Christ: The Key to Contentment

Philippians 4:6-7

While in prison, Paul penned precious words about the sufficiency of Christ. We tend to attach the idea of contentment to beach vacations and mountain retreats, but the apostle wrote that we are not to be anxious in any place or at any time, because we have the Lord’s peace.

Contentment is the believer’s “birthright.” Peace is part of the spiritual fruit that’s ours when we trust in the Savior (Gal. 5:22). Scripture describes it as an inner peace that passes all understanding (v. 7).

Jesus lived through conflict with a sense of inner quiet, and because of His indwelling Spirit, that remarkable calm also belongs to God’s children. That is important because there are times when we come across a problem with no earthly solution. In situations like that, we learn that self-sufficiency is a lie. We can’t cope alone, but Christ is enough for us.

Here is the flip side of the coin: “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the LORD” (Isa. 48:22). Modern culture slaps the word wicked onto only the most vile of actions and people, but God’s definition is much broader. The wicked are those who willfully reject His right to forgive their sins and take Lordship over their life. If you are not a believer, you cannot experience true and lasting contentment.

When we are born again (John 3:3-8), we become children of the living God and rightful heirs to every good thing that He has to offer. This includes the deep, inner peace and joy that can withstand any trial. What can man do to the one who belongs to the Lord (Heb. 13:6)?

Waterless Clouds

“Woe unto them! . . . clouds they are without water, carried about of winds.” (Jude 1:11-12)

This appears to be the only reference in the Bible that compares clouds to people. Several references use cloud imagery to depict the presence of God directing Israel (Exodus 13:21), speaking to Moses (Exodus 16:10-11), anointing the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38) and the temple (1 Kings 8:10-11), and speaking to the apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). Our Lord Jesus was taken up to heaven in a cloud (Acts 1:9) and will return in a cloud as well (Luke 21:27).

Here, however, Jude applies a strong negative imagery. Those who introduce evil into the Lord’s churches may seem to represent the presence of God, but their misty vapor holds no “water”—it will only obscure the brilliance of light and obfuscate the real “temperature” of the environment.

In an agrarian-based economy, clouds were hopeful signs of rain to refresh the land. Some of that positive view has been lost by urban societies, which often see rain as an inconvenience. New Testament imagery connects water with life-giving properties emanating from the Holy Spirit and with the cleansing value of the words of Scripture (John 4:14; Ephesians 5:26). Paul warned Pastor Titus about many “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers” who must be stopped so that “good men” would become “sound in the faith” (Titus 1:8-13).

Thus, Jude compares those who hinder “the faith” to those who appear to represent godly pursuits and character but are empty of the refreshing and guiding power of the Holy Spirit and void of biblical wisdom and insight. They are “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14) and “serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18). HMM III

O Lord my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me

O Lord my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me.— Psalm 30:2.

IT is sometimes a small matter that hindereth and hideth grace from us; at least if anything can be called small, and not rather a weighty matter, which obstructeth so great a good. And, if thou remove this, be it great or small, and perfectly overcome it, thou wilt have thy desire. For immediately, as soon as thou givest thyself to God from thy whole heart, and seekest neither this nor that, according to thine own pleasure or will, but settlest thyself wholly in Him, thou shalt find thyself united and at peace; for nothing can afford so sweet a relish, nothing be so delightful, as the good pleasure of the Divine Will. THOMAS Á KEMPIS.

If at any time this life of ours grows feeble, or low, or lonely, I know no other remedy than to return to its Eternal Source, to God Himself—and through Him all the means of grace become again living and true; and through Him all His creatures become again near and dear and accessible. ELIZABETH RUNDLE CHARLES.

The eyes of all wait upon thee

The eyes of all wait upon thee. Psalm 145:15

He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. — The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. — Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.

The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. — Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God.

The LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. — And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. —If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Acts 17:25. Psalm 145:9. Matthew 6:26. Romans 10:12. Psalm 121:1. Psalm 123:2. Isaiah 30:18. Isaiah 25:9. Romans 8:25.

Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken

The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. Genesis 21:1

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. — David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. — God will surelv visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. — I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt. and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. — There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel: all came to pass.

He is faithful that promised. —Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? — Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away —The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Psalm 62:8. 1 Samuel 30:6. Genesis 50:24. Acts. 7:34,36. Joshua 21:45. Hebrews 10:23. Numbers 23:19. Matthew 24:35. Isaiah 40:8.