How To Deal With Stress: 1 Kings 19

Our society and culture is full of examples of unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Just take a look around the office, home, Facebook or Twitter, the news… you’ll see symptoms of this issue. So how do we deal with stress healthily?
I believe the Bible shows us 3 areas to address when we are dealing with stress. We see these played out in the life of Elijah in 1 Kings 19.
Elijah is a great man of God. He is stressed out. Why is this? Check out 1 Kings 17 and 1 Kings 18 to catch a glimpse of his life. By the time we find him in 1 Kings 19, Elijah is lonely, depressed and suicidal. He is stressed out. God helps him to deal with his stress and He can help you deal with yours!

To deal with stress, you need to take care of your:

1. Physical Needs

God wants Elijah to take care of his physical needs. He helps him to do just that in 1 Kings 19:5-9. He helps him to get much needed rest, food, and exercise. God helps Elijah to take care of his physical needs.

God wants you to take care of your physical needs as well. When we are dealing with stress in our lives these areas can be ones we neglect. Get proper rest, eat good, nutritious food (not comfort foods), and get some exercise to help you deal with the stress you are facing.

2. Spiritual Needs

God wanted to meet the spiritual need that Elijah had. He had some major doubts and major fears. So God meets his spiritual needs as we read in the interaction He has with Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10-18. Elijah needed to get silent to hear from God and to meet his spiritual needs. Likewise, we need to address 3 areas to meet our spiritual needs.

1. To meet my spiritual needs I need to be converted to Jesus. This is the BIGGEST spiritual need that EVERYONE has! We need to admit we are sinners, repent from sin, call on Jesus to save us and commit to following Him.

2. To meet my spiritual needs I need to connect with God. We do this by reading the Bible and through prayer daily. I challenge you to read 1 chapter a day (it will take you about 5 minutes)! Start in Matthew 1 and read it today. Matthew 2 tomorrow- and so on, so forth. Read the Bible. Also take 5 minutes and pray. If you are like me and can’t set still- walk and pray (obviously don’t close your eyes and pray while walking)- just take some time and connect with God on a DAILY basis through the Bible and through prayer.

3. To meet you spiritual needs I need to complete the work God has given me. This means I need to be engaged in a local church body that teaches and preaches the Bible. This means attending church on a regular basis and serving in the local church. God has gifted EVERY follower of Jesus with at least 1 Spiritual gift- Congrats, you’re gifted! So USE your gifts and abilities to serve others in the local church!

3. Social Needs

Elijah is lonely and depressed. He feels like he is alone against an entire Kingdom who has turned their back on God. God meets his social needs as we see in 1 Kings 19:19-21. God encourages him that he is not alone and tells him to anoint Elisha to be his fellow worker and prophet in Israel.

God meets Elijah’s social needs. When we are stressed out, we need to meet our social needs. We need other people who will encourage us when we are down and support us in our times of stress- we need to meet our social needs. We can do that in the church where there are other followers of Jesus who can help us and walk through those times of great stress with us.

Car Q’s

– What are some things that are major stressors in your life?

– Think of one time that you felt the most stressed out. What was going on? What did you do to deal with that stress?

– What are some ways that you’ve found to help you with stress? In your opinion, are they healthy ways of dealing with stress or are they unhealthy?

– Of the 3 action steps we looked at, which do you feel you neglect the most? What is one way that you can fix this?

– Take some time today and develop an action plan to combat stress. Don’t wait until you are stressed out to do it! Take some time and plan ahead to address all areas of need: Physical, Spiritual, and Social.

1-Samuel

1 Samuel- Session 3

Sometimes we struggle with understanding God. We may read the Bible and look at different stories of people who hear God’s voice and understand where He is leading them… but we may ask “does He still speak to His people today?”. Maybe you’ve asked that question. Well… I believe that the Bible has the answer for you and any who would ask that question.

YES! God does still speak today!

The next question that we need to ask is ‘How can I hear God speak?’

Well, there are some things that we need to say. Nope, I’m not talking about magic words or anything like that… but I am talking about attitudes of our hearts.

To Hear God speak, I need to say:

1. Here am I

1 Samuel 3:1-8 shows us the story of Samuel. At this time he is a young boy, Bible scholars think he might have been around 12 years old. His attitude is one of availability. He is available to Eli, the head priest, when he thinks that Eli is calling for him. This type of attitude is one that God loves.

You see, a lie that we sometimes buy into and that I’ve heard over the years from young and old alike is this: ‘I’ll get more serious about my faith when ________________ happens’. For some that means growing up, getting a better job, getting married, having kids, when that certain sports season is over or when God does something for them. This is the WRONG attitude to have. It says to God “I’m not available to you”.

How available are you to God?

What does your priorities say about your availability to God? 

What might you do to make yourself more available to the things that God might have you do?

2. Speak, for your servant is listening

1 Samuel 3:9-14 tells us how Eli instructs Samuel to respond to God after he kind of figures out that if it wasn’t him speaking to the boy, it was God. “Speak, for your servant is listening” is an attitude of the heart that acknowledges God’s authority in our lives. A servant is one that has a master. A master is in direct control of, and has authority of, their servants. Basically this attitude says to God- “I’m ready to hear and do what you say“.

If you are a follower of Jesus- this is the attitude we NEED to have.

This begs the question: How do we hear from God?

We hear from God through:

A. His Word. This is the primary source of hearing from God. 2 Timothy 3:15 tells us that:

‘All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be equipped for every God work.’

This means that the Bible is God’s words to us about who He is, what He has done for us, what it means to follow Him and our mission and purpose on this earth. It is HIS WORDS to us.

B. His Spirit. As a believer in Jesus you have the Holy Spirit living in you (Ephesians 1:13-14)! The Holy Spirit’s job is to teach us, lead us and guide us into all truth (John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:13). The Holy Spirit also helps us to understand God’s word and convicts us of sin. So… God speaks through His Holy Spirit. God can also, through the Holy Spirit, speak to us through Other Believers. That is a part of the reason why being connected to a local church body is VITAL to a Christian’s life and faith.

C. Our Circumstances. God can use our circumstances to speak to us as well. Don’t believe me? Think about Jonah. He heard God’s command but chose to disobey. He went the complete opposite way that He should have went. God used a violent storm to convict Jonah of his sin and to bring him to repentance. God used the circumstances of many throughout the Bible to speak to them. God can use your circumstances too.

3. Your Will be done

In 1 Samuel 3:17-21 God speaks to Samuel and gives him his first task. God is not pleased with the house of Eli and there is judgement for Eli’s house. Samuel has been living with Eli for most of his life. Eli is like his father. This must have been tough! But Samuel is obedient to God. He tells Eli all that God said to him and Eli, instead of arguing or being angry at Samuel or God for this proclamation, teaches us a very important attitude of the heart. Obedience.

Jesus said in John 14:15:

“If you love me you will obey all that I have commanded.”

This isn’t very popular. We want our way. There is a movement in our culture and society to ‘pick and chose’ what we want to listen to and obey from God’s Word. The rest is just fluff. Either the Bible is inspired or it is not. There is not middle road. I for one believe that it is inspired and that it has authority in the life of the believer.

Obedience says to God, “not my way, but Your way.”

How obedient are you as a follower of Jesus?

What is 1 thing God might be calling you to obedience in? What is holding you back?

1-Samuel

1 Samuel- Session 2

This week we checked out probably one of the most well known stories from the Bible- David and Goliath- which is found in 1 Samuel 17. This story has application and encouragement for us because we all go through times in life where we face issues and struggles- giants- and we need to know how to beat these giants we face.

We saw that in order to beat the giants we face in life we need a few things…

1. Tests

1 Samuel 17:34-37 gives us an account of the tests that David had endured before coming to the battle lines and seeing Goliath. These tests were necessary for David to prepare him for this very moment. He believes this! Likewise, the tests and situations we face in life can and will prepare us for future situations and future ministry.

Look at what James 1:2 say

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (perseverance). And let steadfastness (perseverance) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

– Think about the tests that you face. Pray that God will give you the eyes to see what He is preparing you for!

2. Trust

David trusts in God- this is pretty evident from what he says in 1 Samuel 17:45-47. I mean, this teenager is staring down a man who is over 9 feet tall, his total armament is estimated to have weighed over 270 pounds! This man was like The Hulk! David wasn’t afraid. He knew His God was bigger!

– What is your attitude when it comes to the giants you face? Are you afraid? Are you trusting in God? Do you believe God is bigger than your problems and giants you face?

Take a minute and read Philippians 4:6-7.

3. Tools

1 Samuel 17:48-50 shows us the tools that David used to defeat his giant.

It never fails that Batman (probably my favorite superhero) has the right tools at all times. I mean no matter what he comes against, he is ready… he is always prepared.

We need the right tools to face our giants too. But what tools work for all of our giants?

     A. The Bible

We need to take time to read God’s word. We receive encouragement and hope from God’s word- Romans 15:4- as well as guidance in how we should live to please and honor God.

* If you don’t read God’s word systematically every day, I want to encourage you to do it! Read a chapter a day (it will probably take you like 5 minutes) and start in Matthew. Read to Revelation and then go to the beginning of the Bible (Genesis) and read from cover to cover- a chapter a day, systematically. 

– Study God’s word too! Practice the 3 R’s of reading/studying God’s word! Grab a small notebook and pen for this.

Read- Read a chapter

Record- Record a verse or verse that stands out to you or speaks to your situation

Request- Turn that verse into a prayer!

     B. Prayer

Prayer is the biggest tool we have on our tool belt as Christians! It is the primary tool. The Bible encourages us to pray about everything (Phil. 4:6), pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17), and to pray and never give up praying (Luke 18).

You don’t have to pray for an hour… you don’t have to pray for 10 minutes. Take time and pray. Prayer is the language of relationship with God. Make it a point to build up this aspect of your relationship with God.

– What are some giants you face?

– When it comes to the 3 things above, which do you feel is your strongest? What about your weakest?

– Think about James 1:2-4. What might your struggles be teaching you?

– Let’s think about the tools we need to beat our giants. Which is easier for you? Why?

– Would you add anything else to the 2 tools listed above? Why? 

– Which tool do you feel is lacking in your life? What can you do this week to make sure that tool is in your tool belt?

1-Samuel

1 Samuel: Session 1

This week we talked about Characteristics of a Godly Friend as seen in the friendship of David and Jonathan (Saul’s son). I challenge anyone to think about their friendships and to ask if there is evidence of these characteristics. Evaluate yourself as a friend as well. Do you show these characteristics in your friendships?

Characteristic #1: Sacrifice

1 Samuel 18:1-4 gives us a great look at this characteristic. Jonathan sacrifices for his friend David. He gives him his prized possessions.
True friends, Godly friends, will sacrifice for each other. 

Characteristic #2: Speech

1 Samuel 19:4-5 helps us to see this characteristic. Saul wants David dead. We go from him being the best thing since sliced bread to Saul to the dude who needs to be neutralized. Pretty big swing in events!

Jonathan speaks well of David… basically speaking, he gave him mad props! He could have talked negative about him to his dad… I mean, blood is thicker than water, right? But he doesn’t… he speaks well of David to his dad (who wants to kill David… just wanted to keep that in the front of your mind) AND changes his mind!

People who talk great about you to your face, but stab you in the back the moment you aren’t there- they are a dime a dozen! Real friends who will stick up for you and speak well of you when you aren’t around… those are the types of friends you WANT and that you NEED TO BE! We’ve all felt the sting of betrayal from a friend who has stabbed us in the back by speaking careless, thoughtless, hurtful things when we weren’t around to other people.

Don’t add to the junk that other people practice! Practice being a friend who speaks well of others.

Characteristic #3: Sincerity

1 Samuel 20:41 shows us the sincere side of their friendship. They don’t put up walls or mask their true feelings or emotions. They are real with each other. They are sincere. We all need friends that we can be sincere with.

In your friendships, can you be sincere? 

If you are a follower of Jesus, do you know that you can be sincere with Jesus? You don’t have to fake. You don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to wear masks so that everything looks great on the outside… nope. Jesus knows you… He knows your heart. He knows the true you. 1 Peter 5:7 says to ‘cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.’ You can be sincere with Jesus.

Characteristic #4: Strength in God

1 Samuel 23:25-26 helps us to see that Jonathan strengthened David in the Lord during a dark and trying time in his life. Jonathan is aiding the ‘enemy’- that is His father wants David dead- and Jonathan, at great personal risk, is going to David in friendship and encouraging him! Hard to even imagine what those dinner conversations might have been like between father  (King Saul) and son (Prince Jonathan)! Awkward.

A characteristic of a Godly friend is that they will encourage you and build you up… in the Lord. That is key. We can give false hope and security in our friendships… but the mark of a Godly friend is one who can encourage us in our walk with God. It is in this that we will find the most meaning, fulfillment and hope in our lives. Not in our talents, skills and abilities… or lack there of.

– Think about your friendships. Are you a godly friend to your friends? Are they to you?

– Which of these characteristics means the most to you? Why?

– Would you add any characteristics of a godly friend? Where in the Bible would you go to help illustrate this?

– Which characteristic would you say is your weakest? Why?

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Courage: Session 3 and 4

We wrapped up our video series, Courage, this last week. The series was by pastor and author Francis Chan. Here is a quick overview of the last two sessions:

Session 3: Stand Out

This session dealt with having courage to stand out. It centered on the idea that Jesus doesn’t call us to live comfortable lives- blending in with everyone else around us and never feeling out of place. We should stand out and we need courage to do that… we also need the work of the Holy Spirit to help us say no to sin and yes to God.

We really dug into the theological concept of Sanctification- a fancy word meaning being made holy. The process of Sanctification involves the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering the believer to live a holy, Godly life. The role of the believer in Jesus is to daily surrender their lives and desire to live for God. This idea (straight from the Bible- I might add) is foreign to Americanized Christianity- which makes room for God and the things of God when it is convenient for me and when it doesn’t interfere with the life I want to live.

Americanized Christianity is empty religion. It is powerless and it is a dangerous lie.

Check out a few of these verses: 1 Peter 1:14-15, Romans 8:13, Romans 12:1, 2 Timothy 1:7

Session 4: Stand Tall  

The main idea of this session was not being ashamed and living an ‘all-in’ lifestyle for God. Take a look at this quote from the video:

“You see the secret to living a holy life ins’t just constantly running away from sin. That’s what so many young people do; I used to do this. You just thought the whole Christian life is about ‘I’d better not do this.’… But that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches, ‘Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh. They’re opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do.’

So the whole idea is… ‘Look, if you walk by the Spirit you won’t fall into sin.’ It’s not, ‘ Hey, keep running from all these sins. Don’t sin; don’t sin.’ [Instead] pursue what God’s calling you to do. Pursue what the Spirit is calling you to do. Pursue these good works because as you’re doing them that’s what keeps you from falling into sin… the Christian life is saying, ‘Holy Spirit what do you want me to do? Who can I love today? What can I do for you?’ Because as you are doing those things, you’re not going to be thinking about sinning.”

– How might this be an encouragement to you in your Spiritual walk?

– What are some ways that you can live for God this week and show others your faith?

– How might living this type of life- where your life and faith are so intricately woven together- help others see Christ in you?

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Courage: Session 2

Stand Firm

This session was all about standing firm in our faith. The discussion ranged from dealing with temptation to overcome expectations and struggles for God’s glory. Students were challenged with looking at 5 different Scriptures as they pertained to the discussion during our small groups. They were challenged to come up with 3 things that God might be saying to them from these passages.

These Scripture verses were:

Revelation 3:1-6

Psalms 139:1-10

1 Corinthians 10:12-14

1 John 2:3-6

Hebrews 4:14-16

We then took a few minutes to develop a battle plan for temptation.

We did the 5 w’s exercise… asking these questions:

What- What is the sin or temptation they struggle with the most?

Who- Who are they with when this temptation strikes? They might be with certain people… they might be alone.

Where- Where are they when this temptation strikes?

When- When does the temptation happen? Is there something that triggers it?

Why- Why do they act in this way? What do they get from it?

They results were confidential… but they were given some action steps to take:

  1. Change your routine. If possible, avoid the times, places, and events that trigger your temptation.
  2. Find new friends. If certain people make temptation worse, you don’t need them in your life. If they really were your true friend, they would not try to get you to do things that they know you don’t want to do.
  3. Talk through the underlying issue. Dig into the why question. Talk with a friend, youth leader or even a counselor. Pray and ask God to help you understand what is going on under the surface. Ask Him to give you the strength and the desire to do what is good and pleasing to Him.
  4. Prepare with prayer. There will be some people and situations you can not avoid, but you can prepare yourself in advance with prayer.
  5. Memorize Scripture. Jesus fought temptation with Scripture… if this is what Jesus did, how much more should we be doing it!? Maybe start with a few of the Scripture on your sheets.
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Courage: Session 1

The first session we looked at talked about how we need courage to stand for our faith… because at times we will be standing alone- or so it may seem.

Look at Daniel 1:1-19.

The Israelite men took a courageous stand… they stood alone even. They were commanded to eat the food from the King, yet they didn’t want to break the dietary laws of the Old Testament, so they stood alone. They ate only vegetables, not the food from the King, and were found to be even more fit and nourished than those who ate the King’s food. They took a stand for their faith… they even stood alone in doing so.

It might not seem like such a big deal. But think about the situation. They are in a foreign land, they are with other Israelites who decided not to do what they did… it must have been a little tough to be the only one’s standing for their faith. This is something we all face in some way, shape or form. But the awesome thing is that it wasn’t just Daniel doing this… he had others willing to take the stand too… they were alone, yet they had each other.

– In what ways do you feel that you stand alone for your faith? Why do you feel that way?

– How might having others around you (like Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) help you to press on?

A defense mechanism that we see in nature is groupings of animals (herds, flocks, schools, etc.)… there is ‘strength in numbers’. A lion isn’t going to attack a herd of alert gazelle. The lion will wait until a gazelle leaves the safety of the group to attack. The Bible tells us that Satan roams around like a lion looking for his prey…

– Who do you think is the easiest to pick off?

A) A group of Christians who meet to study God’s word, pray for each other and encourage each other on a regular basis

B) A Christian who is alone and unconnected to other believers

—> If you answered ‘B’, you’d be correct. 

Sometimes we stand alone physically… we might be the only Christian in our household, sports team, work place. At times we might be the only believer in a room full of people… but we never are truly alone… we have the Holy Spirit of God living within us as believers. We are never alone. BUT we need other Christians around us to help keep us strong, to hold us accountable, to encourage us to keep going. There is NO SUCH thing as a ‘Lone Ranger Christian’.

– How committed are you to your faith when you are around those that don’t believe the same things you do?

– Do you ever feel that you compromise your beliefs a lot around your unbelieving friends?

– Do you feel encouraged to grow in your faith when you around other believers?

Check out a few of these verses- Ask yourself a few questions for each:
1. Are there key words I need to define?
2. What is this passage basically saying?
3. How will this help me as I try to take a stand for Jesus in today’s world?
1 Peter 1:13-16
Psalms 119:18-20
James 1:14-15
Hebrews 10:23-25
Galatians 4:4-7