For many of us, life is one stress after another. Personal and professional challenges drain us and strain us. But there are biblical keys to help us endure and overcome!
Your church is watering down Christ's message. Your money is losing its value. Your job is driving you crazy. Everywhere you look, the values you grew up with are being thrown away like trash. Yet there is hope. God's word offers vital keys to help us endure, and even overcome, our greatest obstacles!
We live in a fast-paced technological world. It seems the speed of life and intensity of activities has accelerated. It is no wonder that many experience extreme worry, anxiety and apprehension. Just the stress of everyday life can kill us. We commute in congested traffic, we interact with carnal, argumentative people; we face financial, social, personal and job-related problems. Add to those stresses the issues of crime and violence plaguing our cities and nations!
How are you and your family coping with the pressures, challenges and stresses of daily life? According to the National Institute for Mental Health, "Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18 percent) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty…. A large, national survey of adolescent mental health reported that about 8 percent of teens ages 13–18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms commonly emerging around age 6" ("Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents Fact Sheet").
Among the most common anxiety disorders, according to the NIMH, are generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social phobia. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., costing more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country's $148 billion total mental health bill" ("Facts and Statistics," www.adaa.org).
In recent years, the global recession has affected millions if not billions of people. Most of us have had to face tough times in our lives. Can you survive in troubled times? Your Bible gives us hundreds of promises from God Almighty that will give you courage, faith, and incredible blessings.
How can we cope with our stresses? How can we persevere under our daily pressures? At Tomorrow's World, we look to the Bible for the awesome solutions to our problems. In this article, we will consider five major strategies that can help you survive in tough times.
The Apostle Peter wrote: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:2–4).
The Apostle Peter does not simply reveal common promises, but notice that these are "exceedingly great and precious promises"! When we were children, sometimes our parents made us promises. We looked forward to the fulfillment of those promises. But in this case, we have to search the Bible for these precious promises. We have a heavenly Father who knows our needs and promises to fulfill them. But Jesus instructs us to get our priorities straight. He told us: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:33–34). Is that your priority? We must seek the greatest goal of all, the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we do that, then we can claim God's awesome promises He has for us.
How can you face your troubles? Are you worried? Are you anxious? God has made amazing promises to give us peace of mind. Consider: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
That is a priceless blessing! And there are many more. Open your Bible. Read God's promises for peace of mind and for dozens of other benefits and blessings. Claim God's promises! Remind God that He has given you promises such as these:
Study these promises in your Bible. Remind God that He has given you these promises. Ask God in faith to fulfill these promises in your life, and you will begin to have greater peace of mind!
A March 2014 survey released by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found American interest in religion is eroding, but daily prayer is stable. "Fully 57 percent of respondents said they pray at least once a day, little difference from 54 percent in 1983, when the question was first asked on the survey. Three quarters said they pray at least once a week, while 1 in 4 pray less often or never" (Charlotte Observer, March 8, 2015, p. 14A).
We need to seek the true God of the Bible, and reap the benefits of a close relationship with our Father in heaven. Jesus' disciples once asked Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1). Jesus proceeded to give them the outline prayer, or the model prayer. Notice that one request we should make in our prayer is, "Give us day by day our daily bread" (Luke 11:3). We need to pray every day. The Apostle Paul exhorted us, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Yes, we can survive in tough times if we cry out to God for help! Pray in Jesus' name, and God the Father in heaven will respond. Jesus further emphasized this authority to ask in His name. "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14).
And we need to draw close to God through prayer every day. Get down on your knees, if you are physically able, and let your requests be known to God. God is a loving Father, and He wants to give you good things. But we must humble ourselves and cry out to Him. God encourages us to come boldly before His throne in heaven through prayer. We can do that, because our Savior and high priest, Jesus Christ, is at God's right hand to intercede for us. "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14–16).
Notice that ancient King David—a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22)—often prayed three times a day. "As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice" (Psalm 55:16–17).
Another servant of God consistently prayed every day. The great prophet Daniel's custom was to pray upon his knees three times a day, as it tells us in Daniel 6:10.
The key is consistency, and praying from the heart. We need to consistently exercise faith—day after day, week after week. The Apostle Paul gives us this encouraging perspective: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).
Along with consistent daily prayer, we need to persevere in maintaining a positive attitude. Remember that our inward man is being renewed day by day. Look to the big picture, knowing God is on His throne looking after you, when you ask Him to. We previously read, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). We overcome anxieties by sharing our innermost thoughts and concerns with God in prayer. We exercise a positive attitude in our prayers by thanking God. Count your blessings! As Paul instructs us, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
All the money in the world will not buy the peace of God. That comes only by claiming God's promises. The Apostle Paul exhorts us to use mental discipline, and to think positively. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things" (Philippians 4:8)
Many around us are struggling to remain stable mentally. Consider this report: "In 2010, 21 percent of women ages 20 and older were using an antidepressant. From 2001 to 2010 the number of women on an antidepressant grew 29 percent. The most significant increases (40 percent) were among women 65 and older. Men's use of antidepressants is almost half that of women, but has also been on the rise with a 28 percent increase over the past decade" ("America's State of Mind Report," Medco Health Solutions, 2011).
Are you maintaining a positive attitude? We all face trials, troubles, and problems. How do we cope with them? The Apostle Paul experienced severe trials, even nearly being stoned to death on one occasion. You can read about that in Acts 14:19. Paul was imprisoned and had chains laid on him. And yet while in prison he could write the epistle to the Philippians and exhort them to "Rejoice in the Lord" (Philippians 4:4).
The Apostle James encourages us to have a positive attitude in our trials. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2–4).
Always keep the big picture in mind. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, as we read in Matthew 6:33. Count your trials as joy, when you realize that they produce godly patience and character.
God reveals the truth in His holy word, the Bible. When we read the Bible, we can know the thoughts of God. His recorded miracles working with the ancient nations of Israel and Judah, often called "Salvation History," give us great encouragement. We remember God bringing the ancient Israelites through the Red Sea and freeing them from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. We remember the power God gave the young shepherd David to slay Goliath the giant. God delivered Daniel from the lions' den. He delivered the three young Jewish men from the fiery furnace in Babylon. Christ healed multitudes of people from all kinds of disease and affliction, and God resurrected the dead Jesus after He spent three days and three nights in the tomb. When we read the miracles of God and His many promises, we can grow in faith. As Paul explains, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
As you study the word of God, the Bible, God will give you more faith to face life's challenges. Bible prophecy also helps us to know the future. Beyond the trials and tribulations of today's chaotic world, God promises us that a new world is coming, and a new world government that will establish world peace on planet Earth. It is called the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace. Read in your own Bible this wonderful prophecy: "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6–7).
Yes, your Bible reveals the good news of the coming Kingdom of God on planet Earth, when all nations will live in peace. Your Bible gives us the "sure word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19, KJV) or, as in the NKJV, we "have the prophetic word confirmed." God reveals the wonderful future and our incredible human potential.
The second great commandment is "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). When you focus on the needs of others, your personal stress reduces. Why? Because you are practicing a great spiritual commandment! There are many ways we can love others. We can communicate our love, concern and compassion for those who are sick, even visit them in the hospital. We can give to the poor and help provide the needs of others. We can pray for others who are in trouble with persecution, finances, illness, and social conflicts. God loves every human being on earth and He instructs us to pray for others. He tells us to "pray for one another, that you may be healed" (James 5:16). The Apostle Paul exhorts us to pray for government leaders and others: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
When we care for others, when we consider their needs, challenges and problems, God will bless us for giving to them in whatever way we can. Remember the supreme way of life Jesus taught: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Jesus Christ set us the example of a serving attitude. "But Jesus called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many'" (Matthew 20:25–28)
We all need to follow Christ's example of serving, helping and caring for others.
As Christians, we look to the Savior of the world to save us personally through tough times. We claim God's promises and we live each day by faith. The Apostle Paul was in chains in prison. He shared with the Philippian brethren his positive attitude and faith in Christ. He also was striving to go beyond survival. "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:12).
Be sure to look forward to the Kingdom of God. Stay close to God, and trust Christ to bring you through tough times into His kingdom.