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Psalm 04

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Help in Stressful Times

Psalms 4:1-8



How many of us know what stress is?

I think David knew what stress was as well.  Illustrations??

Here is a stress test from the internet:

1.I feel overwhelmed and confused. Never, Sometimes, Often, Always
2. I have difficulty sleeping.
3. I find myself feeling worn out at the end of the day.
4. I have increased digestive problems such as heartburn, constipation and diarrhea.
5. I feel self-conscious or inadequate.
6. I have difficulty concentrating, making decisions or remembering things.
7. I feel depressed or I cry uncontrollably.
8. When things don’t go my way I get angry and aggressive.
9. I experience shakiness, trembling or nervous laughter.
10. I eat more food or drink more alcohol to make myself feel better or more at ease.
11. I experience eye strain and/or have dark circles under my eyes.
12. I feel all wound up, tense or nervous.
13. I experience tension or tightness in the muscles of my neck, back or jaw.
14. I have arguments with my co-workers or boss.
15. Changes in my daily routine, living conditions or relationships cause me distress.

There are also many suggestions for how to help deal with stress:

1- Identify your triggers
2- Get a Massage
3- Do Breathing exercises
4- Do some Aerobic exercise
5- Develop a support network: Studies show that women are better able to cope with                         emotional stress than are men due, in part, to their stronger support networks.

Trouble with these things is they miss relying on the Lord

When David was in distress he looked to the Lord

Psalm 121:1-2

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?  My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

How do we go about looking to the Lord for the help that he can give?

1.      We must ask

2.      We must wait

3.      We must trust

I.                   The first thing that we need to do is the most obvious: ask! V. 1

1.      This is the most obvious step.  We must ask.

      David asks two times in verse 1 for the Lord to hear him

2.      Jesus tells us the same thing:

Matthew 7:7 Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Matthew 7:11 "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

3.      The Apostle Paul tells us the same

Phil. 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I believe that it is prayer that unleashes the power of God.

4.      What does that prayer include?

We have to be careful here not to say that it is the form of the prayer that is important.  It is not!!  It is the cry of faith that the Lord responds to.

1)      Praise for who God is.  “O God of my righteousness”

It is helpful for us to stop and realize how great God is

He is greater than whatever is causing our stress

He is great enough to help.

2)      Gives thanks to the Lord:  recognizes that it is His work

               “You have relieved me in my distress”

3)      Asks of the Lord “hear my prayer

                                                Comes with an attitude of seeking mercy

Illustration of a fellow at a park on a cold, windy day.  A young girl that he knew cuddled up to him for warmth.  She later told someone that he was a good cuddlier.  God is like that.

II.                 We must believe that God will help

1.      David gives another simple step, and yet seemingly one of the hardest

      v. 4 “be still”

Psalm 46:10

Psalm 27:14

Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

2.      We are a very impatient people!!

This may be the simplest and yet hardest command that God gives

Someone once said, “The trouble is that I am in a hurry and God isn’t”

What I feel the problem often is that we are seeking for ourselves and God is seeking after His glory

            Note verse 2

When are we often stress out the most?

            When we are not seeking the things of God

When we are worried about how things are going to turn out for us

When we are worried about what other people think and not what God thinks

3.      What does “be still” look like?

v. 4 Meditate on your beds

Be still and focus on the Lord

I believe that when we are stressed out we need to stop and examine what our meditation is.  Is it on us or is it on the Lord?

I have been to many seminars where they talk about dealing with stress in your life.  Most have centered on focusing on yourself more.  I have found that that concept does not work real well.  I have found that my focus needs to be more outward and upward if I am going to deal successfully with my stress.

III.              We must trust in the Lord v. 5

How do we show our trust in the Lord?

1.   We do what is right v. 5

Why is it that when people seem the most stressed that they use that as an excuse to stop doing what they know is right.

I.E. Too stressed to come to Church

       So stressed that they turn to drink, foul language, anger, etc.

2.      We believe that the Lord will work v. 6

We know in our hearts that the Lord will lift our countenance

That is shown in the way that we live, act, etc.

3.      We know that the Lord has put gladness in our hearts v. 7

Not pretend and live as if He has but know that He has

Often I wonder is we cover the gladness that He has put there by focusing on what is causing us to be stressful?

Harvest time:  I think of Nabal, Abigail, and David

4.      We act on the peace that He gives. 

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