Stress: 2

‘I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me.’ John 5:30 NIV

Know who you are trying to please. Jesus didn’t try to please everybody, so isn’t it foolish for you to try to do something even God doesn’t do? It was a settled issue with Jesus: ‘I’m going to please God. End of story!’

And God replied, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:17 KJV) When you lose sight of who you’re trying to please you’ll always cave in to three things:

(1) Criticism, because you’re overly concerned about what others think of you.

(2) Competition, because you’re afraid somebody will get ahead of you.

(3) Conflict, because you’re threatened by anyone who disagrees with you.

Jesus said, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ (Matthew 6:33 NKJV) By focusing on God’s will you simplify your life! You’ll always be doing the right thing, the thing that pleases Him, regardless of what anybody else thinks. We love to blame stress on other people and on our obligations: ‘You made me do… I have to… I’ve got to.’

Actually, there are few things in life apart from our jobs that we must do. So what we’re really saying is, ‘I choose to […fill in the blank…] because I don’t want to handle the consequences otherwise.’ Rarely does anybody make us do anything, so we can’t blame other people for our stress. When we feel pressured, we’re choosing to let others put us there. The fact is, we’re not victims unless we allow ourselves to be pressured by outside demands.

SoulFood: Matt 5:4, Isa 51:1–16, Ps 30, 2 Cor 1:3–7

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

Matthew 5:4 ()

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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Isaiah 51:1–16 ()

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51:1   “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
    you who seek the LORD:
  look to the rock from which you were hewn,
    and to the quarry from which you were dug.
  Look to Abraham your father
    and to Sarah who bore you;
  for he was but one when I called him,
    that I might bless him and multiply him.
  For the LORD comforts Zion;
    he comforts all her waste places
  and makes her wilderness like Eden,
    her desert like the garden of the LORD;
  joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the voice of song.
  “Give attention to me, my people,
    and give ear to me, my nation;
  for a law will go out from me,
    and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.
  My righteousness draws near,
    my salvation has gone out,
    and my arms will judge the peoples;
  the coastlands hope for me,
    and for my arm they wait.
  Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    and look at the earth beneath;
  for the heavens vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment,
    and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;
  but my salvation will be forever,
    and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
  “Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
    the people in whose heart is my law;
  fear not the reproach of man,
    nor be dismayed at their revilings.
  For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
    and the worm will eat them like wool,
  but my righteousness will be forever,
    and my salvation to all generations.”
  Awake, awake, put on strength,
    O arm of the LORD;
  awake, as in days of old,
    the generations of long ago.
  Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
    who pierced the dragon?
10   Was it not you who dried up the sea,
    the waters of the great deep,
  who made the depths of the sea a way
    for the redeemed to pass over?
11   And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
  everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
12   “I, I am he who comforts you;
    who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
    of the son of man who is made like grass,
13   and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker,
    who stretched out the heavens
    and laid the foundations of the earth,
  and you fear continually all the day
    because of the wrath of the oppressor,
  when he sets himself to destroy?
    And where is the wrath of the oppressor?
14   He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
    he shall not die and go down to the pit,
    neither shall his bread be lacking.
15   I am the LORD your God,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the LORD of hosts is his name.
16   And I have put my words in your mouth
    and covered you in the shadow of my hand,
  establishing the heavens
    and laying the foundations of the earth,
    and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

Psalm 30 ()

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A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple.

30:1   I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
  O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
  O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
  Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
  For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.
  Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.
  As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
  By your favor, O LORD,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
  you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.
  To you, O LORD, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
  “What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the pit?
  Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10   Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
    O LORD, be my helper!”
11   You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12   that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

2 Corinthians 1:3–7 ()

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Sun 15 March, 2020


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