Coping with Stress

We all know that life can be stressful.  Some times are worse than others. Sometimes, everything seems to come at us all at once.  There are some steps we can take to reduce the stress in our lives, yet, there are some stressful situations that we might not be able to escape right away.  Whatever your situation, God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you.

When to Reduce Stress

cropped-your-word-is-life-11.pngThere are just some behaviors and treatment we receive from other people that we simply do not need to put up with.  For example, if you are in a relationship with someone who is either physically or verbally abusive, it is time to make some changes.  To continue to tolerate the treatment you are receiving in that situation is detrimental to your well-being. If you are married to someone who is abusive, seek help through a trusted pastor or other spiritually mature Christian.

If your job is too much for you, then, it is time to decide what you will deal with and what you will not tolerate.  Will ignoring the situation help?  Sometimes, it does.  There are people who get a thrill out of bothering others.  Not allowing them to know they have succeeded is just the response they need.  Other times, it is necessary to confront.  How will you know?  You must seek God in prayer concerning the situation.  He will lead you by peace.

When You Just Need to Cope

There will be some stressful situations in which you must cope.  In other words, there might be a reason that God will not allow you to leave this situation.  It could be a job, a bad marriage, or a church.  When the Holy Spirit leads you to remain in a stressful situation, God is going to bring good out of it.  He is going to use you in this situation.  He will get glory from it in some way.

When coping is the case, you must really draw near to God, or, you will not stand strong in the situation.  You will need God’s grace moment by moment.  Get into the Word of God and find scriptures that apply to your situation.  Quote them out loud. Get before the Lord in prayer. He will give you what you need for the situation, and He will allow you to come out in victory rather than defeat.

His grace is sufficientWe all face situations that we do not like, and we all go through adverse circumstances.  What we must remember is that we do not have to allow those things to destroy us.  We can choose to allow the Lord to refine us and make us better Christians from these situations.

 

What about you?  Are you in a stressful situation from which you should flee?  If so, go in the name of Jesus.  Are you in a stressful situation in which God has told you to stay?  If so, trust Him in this situation, He will bring you through, and you will not be destroyed.

 

What Does the Bible Say About Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply being aware of something.  This could consist of a great variety of issues or situations.  One could mindful of eating.  Another could be mindful of words spoken.  Someone else could be mindful of friendships.  The list could go on.

The Word Speaks of Being Mindful

Only you can change your thinking.Although mindfulness has been attributed to aspects of Buddhism, God’s Word has plenty to say on the subject.  For example, Psalm 19:14 (MEV) states the following: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  If a thought has been meditated upon in the heart, it had to pass through the mind first.  God is concerned with what we think about and our awareness concerning various areas of our lives.

In Psalm 8:4, David asks, “Who is man that You are mindful of him?”  This indicates that God was mindful of us.  In other words, He had a strong awareness of us.  His focus was on us.  If God is mindful of us, shouldn’t we be mindful of Him?  Isaiah 26:3 states that God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are on Him.

Mindfulness that is achieved God’s way brings peace and joy.  If the mind is not focused on what it ought to be, we lose peace, and we tend to wander from the Lord.  Being mindful of the things we focus on raises awareness which can bring the change we need if we allow it.

How to be Mindful

Now that the meaning of mindfulness is understood, the next step is to figure out how to be mindful.  Being mindful is a choice.  It is simple, yet, not easy.  Colossians 3:2 states that we are to set our minds on things above.  If I set an object somewhere, it means I need to pick it up from one place to set it at the desired destination.  To set your mind means you might have to move your thinking from one direction to another.  Mindfulness is work.  To begin with, your thoughts will try to drift back to the place from which you brought them.  After consistent renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2), you will find that the process becomes simpler.  We can never stop renewing our minds, or being mindful, but the battle is not as intense the more we practice the process.Mind

Consider your thoughts and ways.  Ask the Lord to direct you to the areas of your life in which you need to be more mindful.  This will look different for everyone because our struggles are not all the same.  Once He reveals an area in which you need to be more mindful, surrender that area to Him, and allow Him to help you redirect your thinking.

 

What about you?  What does mindfulness mean to you?  Are there areas of you life in which you need to be more mindful?

No Confidence in the Flesh

Once we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, it seems that we should realize we have no righteousness in ourselves.  Deep down, we know, but our human nature tends to push the correct knowledge somewhere in the mind where we are not confronted with the facts.  Although we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we begin to think that we are responsible for our own righteousness, conveniently overlooking the fact that we are saved by grace through faith.

Paul’s Confidence

No Confidence in the FleshIn Philippians 3, Paul discusses the subject in great detail.  In verse 3, Paul states that he puts no confidence in the flesh as many Jews of his day did.  Insisting that new converts to Christ follow the Jewish law was a popular trend in Paul’s day.  Although popular among some Jewish people, it was controversial, and it was not biblical.

Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a Pharisee of Pharisees. He followed the law to the letter.  He crossed all his t’s and dotted all his i’s, so to speak, before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.  Although he had great credentials, Paul acknowledged that his greatness was nothing compared to the greatness of Christ.

Our Confidence

Romans 3:23 clearly states that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Why is it that when we begin to gain victory over sin in our lives, which, by the way, only comes through Jesus, that we begin to get pride, a sin within itself?  Any accomplishments we make spiritually are only because of the grace of God poured out on us.  The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and helps us.

My confidence cannot be in my good works.  No matter how many good deeds I do, they will neither make atonement for my sin nor allow me entrance into heaven.  If that were the case, Jesus would not have come to be the sacrificial lamb for our sins.  The good I do should be a result of my love for Jesus, not a pathetic self-righteousness.

Confidence in Christ

I clearly believe that we can be confident in who we are in Christ, but we also must have a realization of who we are without Christ.  This will keep the balance.  We will have godly confidence without self-righteousness.  We can be confident of who we are in Christ, who we are because of his death and resurrection.  Our confidence should not be in our works which represent a false ability to save ourselves.No Confidence in the Flesh 2

Just as the religious leaders of Paul’s day thought that being circumcised along with following the letter of the law made them righteous, we often think that we are righteous because we do good deeds.   No, our confidence is not in our flesh, but in who Jesus is through us.  We should not be doing good works to be righteous.  We will do good works as a result of the change that has been made inside of us because of Jesus Christ.  Anything else is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

 

What about you?  Where is your confidence?  Place your confidence in Christ, rather than yourself.  The righteousness of Christ is one that does not fail.

Something for You

Overcomer is available in both the Kindle version and paperback.  The Kindle version is only $2.99.  The paperback is $11.99.  I am posting a link below for you to either download the Kindle book, or order a paperback.

In addition to the Amazon link, I am posting a link to my E-shop in which I have some freebies, and I am offering my course “History of Bible Translations” at a very low cost.  The PDF files are available for $7.00, and the videos are available for $7.00.  The total cost of the course was originally $20.00, so you would be getting the entire course for $14.00.  You can download the videos and PDF’s and complete the course at your own pace.

Other links are posted as well.

https://www.amazon.com/Allison-Mitchell/e/B07HLR234Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://341637.e-junkie.com/?_source=admin

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLpCzSoLEZeZPH3heypKIHA?view_as=subscriber

https://allisonambermitche.wixsite.com/allisonambermitchell

 

Mercy Seat

I don’t know about you, but I need God’s mercy every day.  For the past week, I have been reading in the book of Hebrews.  Throughout several chapters, the Old Testament priesthood is compared with the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  I will share with you some portions of what I read.

Behind the Veil

In the Old Testament, the mercy seat was located inside the most holy place of the temple behind a veil, or curtain.  No one could enter certain places of the temple except for the priests.  The priests, who were from the tribe of Levi, made sacrifices and atonement for the peoples’ sins.

Mercy Seat 1
Image via Pexels by Pixabay

The mercy seat was surrounded by cherubim.  In Hebrews 9:5, the writer speaks of the glory overshadowing the mercy seat.  The writer goes on to say that he could not speak in detail of the things concerning the mercy seat and the holy place.  I find that statement compelling.  Of course, he was most likely referring to the magnificence of the tabernacle, yet, we can take his words to heart because it is often difficult to express the details of our gratitude to Jesus for what He accomplished at the cross.

The Veil Torn

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil to the most holy place was torn, not by human hands, but by the power of God.  Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, the complete atonement for our sins.  The veil was torn because we were no longer restricted from an intimate relationship with God, the Father.  People no longer had to go to a human priest to be absolved of sin.  After the cross, people could go directly to the Father through Jesus Christ.

Mercy Seat 2
Image via Pexels by Flickr

 

Unfortunately, it seems a veil is still up for some people.  It is not because God does not love them.  It is because they have not accepted Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as the atoning sacrifice for their sins and the only way to God, the Father.  Once you accept Jesus for who He is and follow Him wholeheartedly, you have direct access to the mercy seat.

Receive His Mercy

God’s mercy is available to everyone, but it requires a personal choice.  He forces nothing on you.  Each person must choose Jesus.  Each person must come running to the mercy seat, so to speak.

I know and love Jesus, but I still must come running to the mercy seat.  I need His mercy daily.  No, I do not intentionally sin, but I will fall short of His glory.  You will too.  That’s where mercy comes in.  Am I suggesting that you can be careless and reckless in your sin without consequence?  Certainly not!  However, I am suggesting that when you do surrender to Jesus, you will be changed forever, not perfect, but changed.  Then, you will be humbled by His wonderful mercy, and you will not take it for granted.

What about you?  Have you accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ?  If not, you can do that now.

Overcomer: Pressing through Life’s Struggles

Overcomer, my recently published book, is now available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  During the past summer, I poured my prayers into this writing and tried to yield to the Holy Spirit as much as I knew how.  Overcomer Book Cover

This twenty-chapter book can serve as a devotional or Bible Study if you wish.  Each chapter speaks of various area of life in which Christians often struggle.  Overcomer gives scripture, prayers, and practical steps to yield to the Lord and walk away from sin and bondage as an overcomer.

You will find the links to purchase the book at the end of this post, but first I want to share a portion of chapter 7 from the book with you.

Overcomer, Chapter 7

Chapter 7:  Extreme Versus Balance

“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight,” Proverbs 11:1.  During ancient times, merchants used balancing-scales to weigh both items bought and sold.  If a dishonest merchant decided that he wanted to make more money than he should, he adjusted the scales in his favor so he could appear to have more or less of an item depending on whether he was buying or selling.

Although we might never consider cheating someone, we are living dishonestly, without realizing it, when our lives are out of balance in certain areas.  We can become extreme in any way and on any issue.  “Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes,” Ecclesiastes 7:18 (NIV).

Before I began writing this book, I was enjoying the summer off from school, and this particular summer, we had more time as we did not have to return to school until September.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a time of rest.  However, I am one who struggles with moderation in many areas.  I began noticing that I did not want to get out of bed, no matter how late I had slept or how early I had gone to bed.  When I did manage to get out of bed, I did not want to do anything but sit on the couch.  Brushing my teeth and showering seemed like major chores.  This not only went on for a week or two which might have been understandable.  My desire for no activity continued for a month.  I knew something had to change. I took this concern to the Lord, and He began directing me with small changes I could make that would eventually solve the problem.  I made myself a schedule.  It did not have to be followed to the letter, but I had resolved to follow it as much as possible without being legalistic. Keep moving! Don't give up!

Instead of lying in the bed when I woke up, I simply got up and spent time in prayer and Bible study.  I would allow the Holy Spirit to lead me concerning people who needed prayer.  Once I had prayed, I began completing other activities that I enjoyed and some that I did not enjoy.  Allowing time for activities I enjoy helped motivate me to get up earlier.  Eventually, I became more productive.

Am I saying that you need to make a schedule for your home?  Absolutely not!  This step was just what worked for me to get me out of the slump I had fallen into.  I could just as easily get out of balance the other way by insisting that I follow my schedule to the letter and refuse to make adjustments should someone need me, or some other unforeseen circumstance would arise.  However, when a person has been too far on one side of the spectrum for a while, something must bring balance.  It is a fine line that is easy to cross if we are not being led by the Holy Spirit.

Another way I tend to get out of balance is with my eating habits.  There are times when I only want to eat junk food and lots of it.  There are other times, when I am trying to lose weight, that I will be very rigid about every bite that goes in my mouth.  Does this sound familiar?  Take it to Jesus.  Trust me, He will get you back in balance.

If I only watch television all day and do nothing else, something needs to change. If I become a workaholic and never want to have recreation, something needs to change. As good as reading is for our minds, if I simply spend the whole day reading and never clean my house, do laundry, or spend time with my family, I am out of balance.

As a teacher, I know the importance of establishing structure at the beginning of a school-year.  If there is no structure, the students will not learn, and I would not be tending to my job.  However, there is a time when I need to allow my students some flexibility.  If I insist they work without any type of reprieve, I am causing them to despise education.

Church leadership can become unbalanced as well.  From my own experience as a leader and as a lay person, I can give several examples.  Not wanting to be a control freak, a pastor can go too far in the other direction and never hold the people accountable to God’s word.  The other extreme would be hammering the people constantly and not allowing room for the love of God to work.

Parents can become unbalanced and either allow children too much freedom, or they can become so strict that their children are not allowed out of the house for any reason causing nothing but pure misery.  As parents, my husband and I have struggled with extremes because we desperately wanted to be a good parents to our children. The painful reality is that I am unable to be a good parent or be good at any other role I have without Jesus.

Link to Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129669475?ean=2940161974551

Link to Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Allison-Mitchell/e/B07HLR234Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1538524579&sr=8-1

Link to E-Store:  https://341637.e-junkie.com/?_source=admin

 

His Grace Is Sufficient

Most Christians are familiar with the scripture that says God’s grace is sufficient for His people.  We have either quoted the scripture that is accompanied by the Apostle Paul speaking of Christ being strong in Paul’s weakness, or, we have heard other people teach on the subject.  All of this is well and good, but far too often, we become so familiar with a scripture that we overlook a fresh glimpse we could get from it.

Strength in Weakness

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul received the reply about God’s sufficient grace after asking God to remove his thorn in the flesh.  As a matter of fact, Paul approached God concerning this issue three times.  How many times have you asked God to remove your “thorn” or that which causes you pain, discomfort, grief, or irritation?Amazing Grace is More than Enough for me!

God’s answer was not what most of us would expect.  He told Paul that, not only was His grace all that was needed, but He also told Paul that His power was made perfect in weakness.  Despite the sting to his flesh, Paul chose to rejoice in his problems because he knew the power of Christ was resting on him.  What if God is telling you that His grace is all you need?  Does that bring a twinge of disappointment?  Although I completely understand feeling less than thrilled, I must tell you that God is right.  His grace is sufficient—it is all we need.

Grace gives us the power we need to overcome sin.  Grace brings us through the impossible.  The grace of God is what will bring us face to face with our God when this life is over.  When we finally discover the power of grace, we should rejoice when God reminds us that His grace is sufficient.

Can You Take Pleasure in Weakness?

I admit it sounds a bit strange to say that you can take pleasure in weakness, but that is exactly what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10.  Because grace is just what he needs, Paul can rejoice.  Not because he is weak, but because God is able to bring glory from Paul’s weaknesses.  That is why you should rejoice.  God can bring a message to others through your struggles.  He will give you all you need to get through the challenges and impossible situations you face.

Weakness Made PerfectOf course, that does not mean we are horrible human beings when we feel disappointed or grieved.  Those are natural human feelings.  What it does mean is that, although we might be grieved, we can place our hope and trust in God.  Joy and peace come soon after.

What Was Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh?

Although many have speculated over the source of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, we truly do not know.  Some have suggested that Paul was blind.  Others have suggested that he had epilepsy. Perhaps his thorn was not so much a physical issue as it was an emotional issue.  It could be any of the issues mentioned, yet, it could be none.  No matter the issue, God had what Paul needed.

Whatever your thorn is, God has what you need.  There is no sickness nor any other affliction greater than the God we serve.  He is able to bring you out on the other side as a victor!  Although it is not easy, cooperating with Him in the process is vital.

 

What about you?  What is afflicting or grieving you?  God has what you need.  He has an all-sufficient grace that never fails.

To purchase “Overcomer”: https://www.amazon.com/Allison-Mitchell/e/B07HLR234Q/ref=dbs_p_ebk_rwt_abau

For other products and resources: https://341637.e-junkie.com/?_source=admin

 

Encourage Yourself

Are you feeling discouraged lately?  Maybe you feel let down by people you are close with, or, perhaps your circumstances in life never seem to get better.  If anything, life seems to take a decline into the worst possible scenarios.  Truth is, I have faced those times, and, often, I still see those days.  Everyone gets discouraged.  The question is: what will you do about it?

 

David Encouraged Himself in the Lord

Encourage yourself!King David, the author of many of the Psalms in the Bible, had to encourage himself in the Lord. David was anointed by the prophet, Samuel, to be King over Israel, but he did not immediately step into that position.  Before becoming King, David went through many battles, many of them with Saul, who was King at the time David was anointed.

Saul was extremely jealous of David and attempted to kill him.  David remained on the run from Saul for a long period of time.  In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men came to Ziklag to discover the place had been burned, and all the people in Ziklag had been taken captive, including David’s wives.

The men with David were grieved.  In their grief, they lashed out at David.  They even threatened to stone him.  Needless to say, David felt extremely distressed.  However, he found something inside him that caused him to encourage himself in the Lord.  Victory came soon after.  The captives were rescued then, soon, David became King.

 

How You Can Encourage Yourself

Like David, you might be going through one battle after another.  It might seem that everyone is lashing out at you due to their own grief.  You might be waiting on some type of breakthrough or promise of God to come to pass just as David had to wait for a time before stepping into the position God promised him.

Throughout the Psalms written by David, he would express his true feelings to the Lord, but then he would praise God.  One way of lifting a heavy spirit is to praise God.  It is a challenge, at first.  Soon, you will feel better.  You can speak praise or sing praise. Praise defeats discouragement

Another way to encourage yourself is to reach out to someone else who is hurting.  Sometimes, forgetting about yourself for a while and focusing on others will put your problems into perspective.  Often, I have found that when I pray for someone else or reach out to another person, my situation will be resolved.

Finally, it is important to find scriptures of encouragement for your situation.  Reading the Psalms or other uplifting scriptures will breath life into your situation.  Speak those scriptures out loud, and you will notice what power the Word of God has.  After all, the Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12-13).

What about you?  If you are discouraged, what steps will you take to encourage yourself in the Lord?  You do not have to remain in a pit of discouragement!

 

Overcomer Now Available

Overcomer became available this morning on Amazon.  I can not begin to describe the excitement I feel when I pray for God to use this e-book to bless people.  It is my desire to see struggling Christians overcome the sins and other issues that keep them from living the abundant life that Jesus Christ called us to live.Overcomer Book Cover

The link to the purchase the book will be listed below.  Another link is also listed that will take you to a site in which you can download (at no charge) the PDF study to Life’s Curveballs, a study I wrote in 2014, as well as the audio sessions.  The downloads for Life’s Curveballs are completely free as my gift to you to express my appreciation for your support.

When you download the Life’s Curveballs products, you will be asked to enter your email address. Please understand that I will not sell your email address to anyone.  I am only asking for it so I will be able to send you updates which will include freebies.

God bless you, and I pray that you will be blessed by Overcomer and Life’s Curveballs.

Link to Overcomer:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=overcomer+allison+mitchell

Link to free resources:

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