2Tim. 3:1 BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come perilous times of great STRESS and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].
Is. 30:18 The Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore HE LIFTS HIMSELF UP, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a GOD of justice. Blessed are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and LOOK and LONG for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!
April is Stress Awareness Month. Personally, I think we’ve been celebrating Stress Awareness for the past 3 years. This morning I want to introduce Stress Awareness Month to Jesus Awareness Month. It’s time to make the STRESS and trouble that’s hard to deal with and hard to bear aware of the GOD of Justice, who LIFTS HIMSELF UP to have Mercy on you and show you His Loving-kindness.
Stress is the Gravity of Life. Every step of living takes energy to break through the resistance of stress. Under normal conditions stress is no more difficult than walking. But like the ocean, floating on an inner tube along the shore is refreshing. But being tossed by 30’ waves in a tempest is life-threatening. Stress isn’t a killer until the storm comes.
As the world becomes more stormy everyone today is struggling with STRESS…
- About 33% of people describe feeling very stressed
- 75%–90% of healthcare visits in the U.S. are stress-related
- 48% of the U.S. has stress-related sleep problems
- 13% of children will acquire stress-related anxiety disorders.
What you feed grows—What you starve dies. So Stress can quickly grow from a Shih-Tzu to a Wolf. There are tons of scriptural devotions and self-help guides to assist with the maintenance of the Personal Stresses of provision, health, and relationships in a calm world. But what happens when the world goes mad?
GOD warns about the added External Stress of a culture exploding with evil. In 2Tim. 3:1-5 the GOD calls it perilous times of great STRESS and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. And He warned us about the intense stress of this time, saying…
…People will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Our present world is rapidly aligning with the Apostle Paul’s prophecy…
- Absurdities, Insanity, and Evils are bursting the seams of society and flooding into every void.
- Education, Media & Culture are run by Elitists, and
- The Economic & Political World is ruled by Totalitarians.
We are wired to overcome our trials by Winning, Solving, and Getting Passed them. But when those trials don’t let up, and consistently overwhelm us, unresolved Stress turns into anger and apathy. And when people’s sense of safety erodes their resistance to Stress breaks down. Then out come the behaviors you never imagined you’d act out. When Stress wears thin the skin of your Composure it tears, and undisciplined thoughts and behaviors begin to leak out. And those leaks will quickly expand into toxic spills. Will Smith’s acting out at the Oscars looked like a sign of Behavior that would ordinarily be suppressed breaking through weakened defenses.
When people feel powerless, a sense of hopeless causes them to give up and give in. Then the thought, Why bother? opens the doors for people to…
- Say things they would never have said before,
- Do things they would never have done before,
- Go places things they would never have gone before.
- Imaginations and temptations are being acted out.
- What was hidden under the surface is now jumping out.
Jesus great warning is coming into view: Because lawlessness abounds the Love of many will grow cold.
BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER: Ro. 5:20 Where sin increased, GRACE abounded all the more.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be STRESSED or lacking in courage.
The world gives peace as a greeting, but I give you MY PEACE—the very power of the Father’s Love that’s holding Me up in this moment of betrayal. I don’t just speak it to you, I GIVE it to you!
Is. 30:18 ..The Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore HE LIFTS HIMSELF UP, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a GOD of justice. Blessed are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who EXPECT and LOOK and LONG for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!
GOD Lifts Himself Up above the Storms of Stress. He eagerly longs and looks for the opportunity to be gracious to you.
When you Expect, Look and Long for His
- And His Matchless Unbroken Fellowship
He will find you, show you His loving-kindness, and Lift you and Up with Him.
The peace the world gives depends on those who create the the trouble promising to fix the trouble. Oh, the stress of waiting! But in the time of trouble Jesus’ peace Lifts you up and keeps you from the Trouble-Maker…
John 17:15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.