Don’t Isolate Yourself

Ye also,as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus christ (1 Peter 2:5).

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Overcoming Anxiety 2

Here are three more steps you can take to overcome anxiety: (1) List your worries. For one week, make a list of the things you worry about most. Children? Health? Money? Marriage? Job? These aren’t one-time worries that come and go quickly. They’re things that make you “perpetually uneasy” (Mt 6:25 AMP), so begin to review them. Ask yourself how many of them have actually turned into reality? Charles Spurgeon said, “Our worst misfortunes never happen…most of our miseries lie in anticipation.” (2) Analyze them. You’ll detect recurring areas of preoccupation that may become obsessions: what people think of you; the fact that heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s run in your family; the fear that you won’t have enough to live on when you get old. Identify each fear and pray specifically about it. (3) Live in today. God has promised to meet your needs daily, not weekly or annually. He’ll give you what you need—when you need it! “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16 NKJV). The old hymn goes: “Not so in haste my heart! Have faith in God, and wait; although He lingers long, He never comes too late.” There are 807,361 words in the Bible, but you’ll search in vain for a single mention of the specific word “worry.” It’s not in God’s vocabulary, and it shouldn’t be in yours either. The Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer…present your requests to God. And the peace of God…will guard your hearts” (Php 4:6-7 NIV).

Overcoming Anxiety

Here are two more steps to overcoming anxiety: (1) Ask for help. Paul wrote, “Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2Co 7:5-6 NKJV). You’re not unique; others are facing the same fears too. By “telling” on your anxieties, they begin to lose their power. Remember: “Two are better than one…If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecc 4:9-10 NIV). Share your feelings with someone you trust, and ask them to pray with you. People are more willing to help than you might imagine. Less worry on your part often means more happiness on theirs. (2) Focus on God, not yourself. Jesus concludes His call to calmness with this challenge: “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Mt 6:32-33 NLT). If you seek wealth, you’ll worry about every dollar. If you seek health, you’ll fear every blemish and bump. If you seek popularity, you’ll obsess over every conflict. If you seek safety, you’ll jump at every crack of the twig. But if you focus each day on God’s kingdom, “He will give you everything you need.” An unknown poet wrote: “Said the robin to the sparrow, ‘I should really like to know, why these anxious human beings rush around and worry so.’ Said the sparrow to the robin, ‘Friend, I think that it must be, that they have no heavenly Father such as cares for you and me.’”

Claim your children for Christ

When a child is raised by praying parents who walk according to God’s Word, 85 percent of the time they’ll develop a strong faith before age thirteen. But what if your kids are already grown? One of God’s titles is “Redeemer,” which means He can give you another chance. Commit your life to Christ; that’s how generational cycles of failure are broken. Or what if you’re concerned about bringing a child into an evil world? The Bible says it’s the children of the light who push back the darkness (See Mt 5:14-16). God promised, “My spirit and my words that I give you will never leave you or your children or your grandchildren, now and forever” (Isa 59:21 NCV). You ask, “How can I compete with the negative influences around me?” Every study confirms that a parent has the greatest influence—greater than friends, school, or the media in determining the character and direction of a child. Think of it as a relay race. Success isn’t just based on how well you run, but on how well you pass the baton. Only when the story of future generations is told will you know whether you won or lost. The Psalmist writes, “You have taught me from my youth…Now also when I am old…do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come” (Ps 71:16-18 NKJV). Don’t drop the baton! Make it your goal to raise children who’ll pick up your legacy of faith and carry it farther than you did. When you commit to doing that, God will work with you and throughyou.

Don’t resort to Manipulation

Deep within each of us is a desire to run our own lives, and in some cases other people’s lives too. As a result we become experts at manipulating one another. This desire for control brings about different behaviors. Here are six of them you must be aware of and avoid if you want good relationships: (1) Emotional blackmail. “Do what I want or I’ll get angry and go to pieces.” (2) The guilt trip. “How could you do this to me after I’ve done so much for you?” (3) The eternal illness. “Don’t upset me. Can’t you see I’m not well?” (4) Help from beyond the grave. “Your dear father would have agreed with me.” (5) Divine revelation. “God told me you should do what I want.” (6) Humiliation. “Do what I want or I’ll embarrass you in front of others.” These are powerful tools we use to get others to do what we want. And not only are adults good at using them, teenagers can be masters of manipulation too. “Leave me alone or I’ll pull a stupid adolescent stunt (suicide, alcohol, drugs, and so on).” Or, “Do what I want or I’ll present you with a baby.” That threat unravels the nerves of every adult. Manipulation is a game any number can play—right in the privacy of our own home. But those who engage in it pay a high price in conflict, hostility, and resentment. What’s the answer? The Bible gives it to us: “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

Give each other space

To be happy in a relationship, you must give each other space. And you have to be secure to do that. Someone said, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours for life. If it doesn’t, it was never yours in the first place.” When you constantly crave someone’s affection and try to cling to them, you create the very thing you dread—distance. By overreaching, you drive them away. Just as a drowning person grabs anything that floats, including their rescuer, a panic-stricken lover tries to hold on to the one who’s attempting to escape. That makes them even more frantic to get away. The story’s told of a guy who wanted to date a beautiful girl but she turned him down. He decided that the way to her heart was through the mail, so he began writing her a love letter every day. When she didn’t respond, he increased it to three letters a day. In all, he wrote more than seven hundred letters in a single summer. Not only did his plan not work—she married the mailman! Appearing too anxious and available will drive the other person away rather than attracting them to you. Love is like a plant; when you smother it, it dies, but when you give it air, it thrives. There’s only one person who can ”fix” you, and that’s God. As you become more spiritually healthy you’ll become more emotionally healthy, and when that happens you’re more apt to find your needs being met. Paul bottom-lines it: “Love cares more for others than for self.”