Calming Troubled Waters
Calming Troubled Waters
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Php 4:4-9 NIV)
Introduction: How can you tell its going to be a bad day? Here are several good indicators. You see a "60 Minutes" news team in your office. You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold. You turn on the news and they're showing emergency routes out of the city. Your twin sister forgot your birthday. Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway. Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat. Your income tax check bounces. You put both contact lenses in the same eye. 
Some days the stress factor is higher than others, and as Christians we are not immune from the pressures of life, but our Scripture passage gives us powerful tools that can tame raging rapids and turn them into peaceful streams. Here are five tools to help us reduce stress and find peace.
I. Rejoice In a Personal Connection
A. A Source of Delight
B. A steady Delight
II. Respond With Peaceful Composure
A. A Command: Mellow towards others
B. A Caution: Mindful of God
III. Relax In a Prayerful Connection
A. Relying on God
B. Relieved of Anxiety
IV. Reflect with Praiseworthy Concentration
A. Thoughts worthy of praise
B. Examples worthy of praise
V. Reap a Peaceful Confidence
A. Confidence in the Protection of God
B. Confidence in the Presence of God
Conclusion: Calm the troubled waters of life. Delight in your relationship with God, and treat others mildly. Turn your situation over to God in prayer, and keep your mind above the fray, fully relying on the providence and protection of God. A sign in front of a church said, "If life is a puzzle, look here for the missing peace" and spelled that last word p-e-a-c-e!
 --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 18.
 -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).