August Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson
Just last week I read a great article from Dr. Charles Stanley’s, “From The Pastor’s Heart.” It impacted me because he was writing about stress and the negative, hurtful results that occur in our lives because of it. Let me share briefly some of his main points.
Stress is the unavoidable consequence of living in a fallen, sinful world and because of that fact we can never fully escape it. But, we can learn to cope. Without the coping skills, stress can debilitate us. In Dr. Stanley’s case it debilitated him and caused him to take an extended hiatus from preaching and ministry. In those times, the Lord taught him these valuable lessons.
First, he learned that the solution for stress is solitude with Him. It means being with Him. This is not Bible study or prayer request time. This is when we separate ourselves and connect with Him. This takes time and time alone with God teaches us to view our problems from His perspective and find joy in His presence. You will note that Jesus did this exact thing…many times. He left the disciples and the multitudes and went to the beach or the mountains or the desert and was alone with His Father. Paul the Apostle did it, too. After his conversion he headed off to Arabia, a wilderness desert.
Secondly, he learned to find a place free of interruptions and diversions. I’m convinced that the Enemy uses distractions very effectively against us. And life is filled with distractions! The funny story is told of Susanna Wesley, who had 19 children, including John and Charles Wesley. When she wanted to be alone with God, she put her apron over her head! All the children knew she was not available at those times.
Thirdly, he learned that God wants to spend time alone with us. This is an incredible truth. He created us in His image and desires a relationship with us for all eternity. No other creature has been given this privilege. You’ve heard it said, that love is spelled, “T.I.M.E.” We want to spend time with those we love. And those who love us want to spend time with us. Time is the most precious commodity that we have, because we can only spend it once. So, spend it wisely.
You will discover that your investment of time in His presence will pay great benefits and your worries, anxiety and stress will fade away.
Finally, he learned that time with God prepares us for the day. So, how does your day start? Why not make it a priority to start your day with a verse of Scripture and prayer? By doing so, your mind and heart will be God-sensitive and you will be able to hear His voice guiding you, encouraging you and instructing you.
Always remember these fabulous words from Jesus, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” St. Matthew 11:28-30