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Overcoming Stress

‘I will give you rest’ Matthew 11:28 CEV

If the load you’re carrying is too heavy for you to bear, Jesus didn’t give it to you. Others may have, or you may have taken it upon yourself, but Jesus had no part in it. ‘If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light’ (vv28-30 CEV). The other stress management principle Jesus taught us is; give your stress to Him. You’ll never enjoy complete peace of mind until you develop a relationship with the Prince of Peace. Note, Jesus didn’t say, ‘Come to Me and I’ll give you more guilt, more burdens, more stress, and more worries,’ even though that’s what a lot of religious people seem to teach! Some churches create pressure. Instead of relieving it. But Jesus said, ‘I want to give you rest. I’m the stress-reliever. When you get in harmony with Me I’ll give you inner strength.’ Only Jesus can transform your lifestyle from stressful to satisfied. The greatest source of stress comes from trying to live our lives apart from the God who made us, trying to go our own way and be our own god. What do you need? If you’ve never committed your life to Christ you need a transformation. Give Him your life with all its stresses and say, ‘Lord, please give me a new life. Replace the pressure I feel with the peace You offer. Help me to follow Your principles of stress management.’

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF

They can be reached on 0845 6040401 or at http://www.ucb.co.uk

How to Pray Effectively

‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much’ James 5:16 NKJV

The Bible says: ‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months’ (vv16-17 NKJV). There are two words in this portion of Scripture that you need to pay particular attention to:

1 ‘Fervent’. This describes the intense heat you get from a blazing fire. The Amplified Bible puts it like this: ‘The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (dynamic in its working)’. If you’re not careful, you can fall into the trap of thinking you have to ‘work up’ strong emotions before your pray or while you’re praying, in order for your prayers to be heard and answered. Not so! Your feelings may move you, but only your faith will move God. The bible says, ‘He that cometh to God must believe… that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’ (Hebrews 11:6 KJV). Just because you felt God’s presence in a special way yesterday when you prayed, and you don’t today doesn’t mean your prayers aren’t being heard and won’t be answered.

2. ‘Righteous’. Elijah was a righteous but be he certainly wasn’t a perfect man. Yes, his prayers were effective. But he was also given to bouts of fear and deep depression. Here’s the key: because you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness you’re always worthy and acceptable before God, therefore you can be confident your prayers will be heard and answered. (see Romans 5:17). Knowing that you can pray effectively.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF They can be reached on 0845 6040401 or at http://www.ucb.co.uk