School Orientation Devo 2021
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If you have your Bibles turn to 1 Samuel chapter 30 as well as Philippians 4, we are going to be looking at both of these passages
**Introduce self and call to Gardendale Baptist Tabernacle (STRESS in starting adult life, marriage, ministry and now just when were understanding the routine of things here and settling in, we get blessed and my wife gets pregnant, which brings on a whole new level of stress)
And so in life, there are seasons of stress, and if you’re a pessimist there will always be something to complain about and stress out over.
And I love the quote “You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond, you can either react in the flesh, or respond in the Spirit”
And so this morning really quickly I just want to encourage you, and give you some tips on how to manage stress biblically, and give you some tools to help you whenever seasons of stress come your way.
So in Australia there is a phenomenon where the penguins who have migrated there for winter, will eat a species of saltwater fish that is red, known as red fish. And when these penguins eat too much of this red fish, their feathers begin to actually get a red hue to them. Well these penguins like to stay on the sandy beaches of the coast most of the time. But there is another predator in Australia, the dingo. The dingo will go up and down the beaches looking for these penguins to attack and eat. So these penguins must band together to defend themselves from the dingoes and if a dingo gets to close, these red penguins will actually tackle the dingo to scare it away. And I found a real, real life picture of this
**So when I taught the Senior Bible class last year, whenever they had a test or quiz where they had to list something, they would always come up with an acronym for it that was so ridiculous and so crazy that they couldn’t forget it. And so that’s what I’ve done here. Of course that story I just told was completely false, but hopefully the phrase Red Penguins Tackle Dingoes will help you to remember these 4 steps for managing stress, which are Rejoice, Pray, Think, and Do.
So lets first take a look at 1 Samuel 30
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
**explain what’s happening in passage
— Amalekites attacked Ziklag, a city in Judah and stole the Israelite men’s families, David’s men blamed him
But David encouraged himself in the Lord. It doesn’t say much else about that but we can see the action that he took afterwards
And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.
He prayed and he obeyed.
But we want to get a little more applicable than that so let’s turn over to Philippians 4
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
This is a great passage of Scripture to come to when you just need to be encouraged and just need some peace.
So very quickly, let’s look at 4 tips for managing stress:
1) Rejoice (v. 4)
1) Rejoice (v. 4)
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
To rejoice is to be overwhelmed with joy, it is to be content. Joy gives us a reason to rejoice.
Joy comes from a complete trust and hope in Christ, a belief in His promises to us. Promises like Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Regardless of how it may seem, if you are saved, if you are a child of God, He is working all things in your life together for good. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, even when everything seems like its going wrong and it seems like everybody is against you or has abandoned you, God is working the situation for good.
*God is in the business of redeeming situations that seem irredeemable.*
I think of Joseph in the book of Genesis. He did everything right, he was faithful to the Lord, yet his brothers attacked him, sold him into slavery, his boss’s wife tried to seduce him, he was accused and thrown in jail, yet he still became one of the greatest leaders of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. And here is what he had to say about it:
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
We have a complete trust in Christ and a hope in Him. We have an eternal hope and that hope gives us an eternal perspective, that we aren’t working for treasures of this world but for eternal treasures: souls saved.
Bottom line: We can rejoice in any circumstance because we trust Christ and have hope in Him
2) Pray (v. 6)
2) Pray (v. 6)
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Some translations put it this way: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
It says don’t worry. How? Easier said than done, right? How do I just not worry? By prayer, and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.
Your Heavenly Father is the best person to vent to. He wants you to come to Him when your struggling, it shows that you understand you need Him for every little thing in life.
*Usually when we get stressed, it’s because we are trying to do Kingdom work with fleshly tools.*
We begin working and doing our job in our own power and our own strength. We sometimes forget were doing ministry and we treat this job like any other job, you can’t do that. Do not forget your calling. You must be able to pour into these students every single day, and you cannot pour from a cup that is empty.
**If Brother Jason were to walk around this whole room with a vacuum, but never plugged it in to a power source, it would not matter how many times he went over the dirt, it wouldn’t matter how hard he pushed himself to get this mess clean, if that vacuum is not plugged into the power source, it’s not gonna do any good, it’s not going to make a difference.
You must be plugged into the power source, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the way that you do that is through prayer.
James 5:16 says “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
In the previous chapter, James chapter four it says “ye have not because ye ask not”
In order to combat stress and in order to minister to these students effectively, we must be people of prayer.
3) Think (v. 8)
3) Think (v. 8)
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Your thought life is one of the most important, integral parts of your spiritual health.
**In the past week alone, not one, not two, but three. Three men that I look up to in ministry have had allegations of immorality come against them, they’ve been accused of some terrible terrible things. And it breaks my heart. Listen, their actions, are a fruit of their thoughts. If they would guarded their thought life, these things would not have happened. They wouldn’t have acted on these terrible thoughts if those thoughts weren’t there in the first place.
It is your own little private world inside your head. You can imagine anything you want, think about whatever you want, you can say and do things inside your head that you would never do in real life and if you do not control your thoughts, You. Will. Fall. You will break. If you allow yourself to dwell on thoughts that are of anything, anything ungodly, it will break you.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
If you do not control your thoughts, whatever thoughts you dwell on, will eventually come out and become a reality in one way or another.
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
I used to be in charge of a kids ministry in college, and when we would talk about sin, we would always make sure to mention that sinful thoughts are still sin.
**Do hand motions
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord: But the words of the pure are pleasant words.
We must keep our minds clean and pure. We must focus and think on good and godly things.
Thinking on good things can help us eliminate stress. Thinking on good things doesn’t mean you neglect the things that are causing stress, but you have the right perspective and that itself can help reduce the feelings of stress, so think on good and godly things.
4) Do (v. 9)
4) Do (v. 9)
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
When you become overwhelmed and stressed maybe you have so much to do, the worst thing you could do is become paralyzed by that stress. If you don’t know what to do or where to start, just start somewhere.
This isn’t necessarily biblical this is just free advice from experience, if I have a lot going on and I get stressed, I will usually just start with the easiest thing I need to get done, and once I get that task done, I can feed off of that tiny victory and continue to get more things done.
Rely on the power of God to help you do these things, which we talked about under prayer. Pray and ask for the Lord’s help.
Before you begin to “do” though, be sure you have rejoiced, prayed, and thought on good things. If you try to push through the stress alone and just work through it, you will just become burned out.
Do what you know to do. You have learned, received, heard, and seen godly examples in the Word of God and maybe in your own life, you just need to do it.
When David was overwhelmed by his circumstances around him, he encouraged himself in the Lord, we can do the same by following these four steps.
Rejoice- Rejoice in Christ by trusting in Him and having hope in Him.
Pray- Pray to God, ask Him for the power to overcome the overwhelming circumstances your dealing with.
Think- Think on godly things, control your mind. Do not let your thoughts dwell on ungodly or unprofitable things.
Do- Do what you know you need to do. Don’t get paralyzed by the stress, refer to godly examples to work through it.
Red Penguins Tackle Dingoes