My Stress

two white haired old men playing chess

There is good and bad stress. Today I’m writing about bad stress.

“Stress alters your body. 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.” (WebMD) “Stress has both physical and emotional effects on our bodies. It can raise our blood pressure, increase our breathing rate and heart rate, and cause muscle tension. These things are hard on the body.” (MedLine Plus)

Nerve cells and dendrites. Source: Pixabay free

Dr. Cheryl Conrad, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, believes that chronic stress can have significant negative consequences on brain plasticity and resilience and may be a factor in depression, anxiety, PTSD and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Jesus Speaks Peace

I believe the reason Jesus’ first response to people often was “peace” because lack of peace alters the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. (This is your brain on stress)

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with stress. The “why” is not germane but I will say it is perhaps the most difficult issue I’ve faced. Through this time I can testify that Jesus has given me peace in my spirit.

An interesting side-effect of this spiritual battle I find myself in – yes, the root of bad stress is often spiritual – is that my hair has turned white almost overnight; not all of it, but nearly so. That’s fine. As an adopted child, grafted into the lineage of Jacob, I am resting on Isaiah 46:3-4 (ESV)

Isaiah 46:3-4

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
    carried from the womb;

even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.

I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.”

I assume white hair qualifies for “gray” :).  This passage is for everyone that has received Jesus, even if you don’t have grey hair! Receive the peace that God speaks to us through this passage in Isaiah. Be at peace.

Photo by Vlad Sargu on Unsplash

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Remnant

My mother was a sewer. My mother-in-law was a professional sewer. My wife is a sewer. I am not. However, one thing I have learned is that I must never discard anything that contains cloth without first giving my wife a chance to scavenge any remnants of cloth that may prove useful to her.

In Deuteronomy 28:62-63 (ESV), God says, “Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God. And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

Reading Deuteronomy, chapter 28, is tough. It’s the chapter that has all those curses God establishes against God’s chosen people if they fell back into their old ways or gave themselves to false gods and worldly ways. This is serious stuff, and it eventually came upon the Israelites because they didn’t remain vigilant in keeps God’s commandments.

The promised destruction did fall upon God’s chosen people, and they were scattered across the face of Earth. However, God always keeps a remnant of his people – “…You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number…

Time after time, God’s “called” people have fallen back into sin and apostasy. Nevertheless, there are always a few that keep the Faith even in His most fierce judgment. As God said in 1 Kings 19:18, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” God is speaking of a remnant.

Let me ask this, do we want to be God’s remnant or God’s target? There is forgiveness for our sins through Jesus, our Savior. Even so, a time is coming for God’s wrath (i.e., anger, rage, fury) to be poured out on the world. We don’t know when that will happen, but everyone knows that there will be a day when death will call their name. Everyone has been given a binary choice, serve Jesus, or serve the world; there are no other options.

A remnant or a target, that’s the question; we need to choose wisely.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

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