Living Above Worry and Stress

Overview

These topical guides will deal with issues that women wrestle with today: God's Will, Living in Christ, Prayer, and Worry.

Reaching an audience across race, socio-economic, denominational, and age boundaries, these guides will enhance the lives of women in America as they empower them in their weekly devotions. The study guides can be used for both individual and group settings.

Women are asking good questions about their faith. With our study ...

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Overview

These topical guides will deal with issues that women wrestle with today: God's Will, Living in Christ, Prayer, and Worry.

Reaching an audience across race, socio-economic, denominational, and age boundaries, these guides will enhance the lives of women in America as they empower them in their weekly devotions. The study guides can be used for both individual and group settings.

Women are asking good questions about their faith. With our study guides, we want to join them in their quest for knowledge and lead them in finding the answers they are seeking.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785249863
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/18/2003
  • Series: Women of Faith Study Guide Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 503,173
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Living Above Worry and Stress


By Thelma Wells

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2003 Thomas Nelson, Inc
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7852-4986-3


Chapter One

Scattered Lives

"A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the Lord. Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! Don't turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down your ear and answer me quickly when I call to you, for my days disappear like smoke." Psalm 102:1-3, NLT

Clearing the Cobwebs

When life gets busy, what's your favorite way to slow down-do the crossword puzzle in the paper, enjoy a long soak in the tub, stroll through the park, bum around the mall, page through a magazine, putter in the garden, go to bed early? How do you unwind and relax?

Sometimes we don't realize how busy we really are. Because we're right in the middle of living our lives, it feels quite normal. Sure, we don't get everything done that we wanted to, but then only Betty Crocker can do that! We'd like to slow down the hectic pace of our days a little, but there's just a lot going on right now.

Usually, my life doesn't feel too busy. However, nothing brings me up short like a visit back to my folks' home. They still live in the old brick farmhouse where I grew up. It's situated on tenacres, near a quaint little Scandinavian town. Whenever I go back for a visit, I'm amazed at how quietly they live.

They have to drive to the next town to do any real power shopping. The closest fast food restaurant is twenty minutes away. So is the nearest freeway. Usually, though, they just stay home. Dad keeps a vegetable garden, and Mom has a rose garden. They eat their own fruit and vegetables in season, and can the rest. Dad put up bluebird houses, and they watch the collections of birds that visit their feeders. One year, the biggest event during our visit came the night after a violent thunderstorm. Everyone piled into their car and drove around town, inspecting downed trees.

The pace of their life is steady. Their home is a quiet haven from a busy world. After I visit there, I return to my own home with the determination of creating my own haven. Although we don't all desire to live out in the country, we all want our homes to be a quiet place where people will want to linger.

1. What are your responsibilities around your home? You know, the things you absolutely have to do to stay afloat and can't delegate to anyone else in the family.

2. What are the occasional, maintenance-type tasks you have to make sure get done?

3. What activities do you attend on a regular basis, or act as chauffeur on your children's behalf?

4. What responsibilities do you hold in your church? How much preparation time do these responsibilities take?

I'll never forget the year I realized that I wasn't a kid anymore. I was twenty-four years old, but unfortunately it still came as a bit of a shock. Christmas had arrived, and my husband and I put up the tree and decorated our little apartment. The cookies were baked, the stockings were hung, and the Christmas cards had been mailed. This was going to be a special year, for it was the first holiday for our eight-month old daughter. Boxes started to arrive from back home, and anticipation began to build as we stacked them next to the tree. Part of our tradition was to not open the boxes as they arrived, even though we knew they were filled with smaller packages. The temptation to rattle the smaller boxes was too great. We always waited until Christmas morning. By the time Christmas Eve had arrived, we were giddy with anticipation, for the stack of out-of-town packages was as tall as I was. When the morning arrived, I bounced my husband out of bed, declaring with a twinkle in my eye that it was Christmas, and Santa had come. We tore into the boxes together, and lifted out the brightly-colored boxes with their ribbons and bows. Every gift in the first big box was for our daughter. Hmmmmm. On to the next box. Again, everything was for our little girl. How could this be? She wasn't even old enough to care yet. Suddenly it dawned on me. I wasn't the little girl anymore, she was. Christmas wasn't going to be for me anymore, it was for her. The next year I was ready for it. I bravely took up the mantle that had been my mother's before me. It was my turn to make the holidays happen for my family. Christmas traditions and memories were my responsibility now. I became the planner, the giver, the merry-maker.

5. Birthdays and holidays take a lot of planning. These annual events are traditions, and you are the keeper of the traditions. What seasonal celebrations do you make "happen" for your family?

6. On top of all of these things, many of us have also taken on a job. Some of us are self-employed while others are working outside the home. How many hours do you work each week? Also, is it a job that you can leave at work, or do you find that your responsibilities weigh on your mind even while at home?

7. In the midst of all this busyness and business, what would you say are the most important things in your life?

8. Look at these last few pages. Here are lists of all the people you are responsible for and all the jobs you must do. Do you feel overwhelmed by all these responsibilities? Do you have any fears or worries that crop up because of them?

9. Look at David's prayer in Psalm 102:1-3. How is he feeling?

10. We know from the Bible that "God is not the author of confusion" (1 Cor. 14:33, NKJV). Fear, worry, and stress are not a part of His plan for our lives. When He made you, what did He have in mind for His workmanship? Look in Ephesians 2:10.

Digging Deeper

Though our busyness overwhelms us at times, we are never admonished to embrace the other extreme. The Proverbs are filled with scathing criticisms of lazy people. Slothfulness is considered so awful, it is one of the infamous seven deadly sins! Somewhere, there's a balance between busyness and laziness. Let's explore a few Scriptures that encourage us to remain industrious women.

Proverbs 6:6-8 Proverbs 12:24 Proverbs 13:4

Proverbs 31:10-31 Colossians 3:23 2 Timothy 2:15

Ponder & Pray

Are you feeling busy? Is the busyness too much to handle? As you pray this week, follow David's example and cry out to the Lord. Pour out your heart before Him, and tell Him about the strain you are under. Ask God to help you see what is important to Him in your days. Then ask God to guide you in organizing your time. His leading and inspiration will turn you to the path He has prepared for you.

Trinkets to Treasure

At the close of every Women of Faith(r) conference, women are asked to play a little game of pretend. Each conference guest is asked to imagine that a gift has been placed in their hands-one from each of the speakers. These gifts serve as reminders of the different lessons shared by the Women of Faith. This study guide will carry on this tradition! At the close of each lesson, you will be presented with a small gift. Though imaginary, it will serve to remind you of the things you have learned. Think of it as a souvenir! Souvenirs are little trinkets we pick up on our journeys to remind us of where we have been. They keep us from forgetting the path we have traveled. Hide these little treasures in your heart, for as you ponder on them, they will draw you closer to God!

Trinkets to Treasure

When our lives get too hectic, we start to feel as scattered as the leaves we see in autumn. At first, they are lovely, but then they begin to fall. The leaves become a clutter on the lawn. Every gust of wind brings a new torrent of disarray, and no matter how furiously we rake, we can't bring those scattered leaves together again. Your trinket for the week is a leaf. Let it serve to remind you of how scattered your days can feel. Make it your prayer that your life will not remain a tumult of dried leaves, drifting around with every breath of wind. Ask instead that your life might be as fresh as a newly unfurled leaf, clinging to the strength and stability of the tree branch. This study guide may be your chance to "turn over a new leaf!"

* Notes & Prayer Requests * _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________

Chapter Two

Fear and Trembling

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3, NKJV

Clearing the Cobwebs

Did you ever have a special blanket you always carried with you, or a special stuffed animal you wouldn't go to bed without? What was your most precious stuffed animal's name?

When I was a child, I had my little fears. When day was done, I needed certain reassurances at bedtime. One was my teddy bear, ingeniously named Teddy. She was my constant companion. Then there was my nightlight. I could see its orange glow from my bed, and it comforted me when the nights seemed too dark.

Many of us now struggle with very grown-up fears. Are you afraid of rejection? Are you afraid your husband is being unfaithful? Are you afraid you might lose your job? Are you afraid your son is doing drugs? Are you afraid your daughter is getting in with the wrong crowd? Are you afraid the diagnosis will be cancer? Are you afraid your parents will never become Christians? Are you afraid of divorce? Are you afraid of bad men-thieves, kidnappers, murderers, rapists, and terrorists? Are you afraid of loneliness? Are you afraid of growing old? Are you afraid of saying the wrong thing? Are you afraid God doesn't really love you anymore? Are you still afraid of the dark?

Did you know the children of Israel had night-lights? The entire nation was afraid of the dark. In ancient times, the oil lamps that lit homes were kept burning all night long. It was so important to keep that lamp burning that poor people would spend their money on oil first, even if there wasn't enough left to buy food! God knew His people needed certain reassurances. So when they were uprooted from their homes and forced to pitch their tents in barren landscapes each night, they were comforted by the presence of a pillar of fire. The glow it cast over the sleeping camp reminded the children of Israel their Constant Companion was near.

1. Were you ever afraid of the dark? Did you have bad dreams when you were little? Look up Psalm 91:5 and Proverbs 3:24 for verses of comfort at bedtime.

2. These days, just watching the evening news can leave us a bit uneasy. Planes crash, diseases spread, buildings burn, corporations crumble, and wars rage. When all the news seems to be bad news, what comfort can we find? Look at Psalm 112:7.

3. God thinks of everything, and His promises can comfort our hearts. Gossip and rumors are vicious, and misunderstandings can injure a relationship. Some of us are afraid of what people might say about us, but what does Isaiah 51:7 promise?

4. Some of us are afraid of pain and death. Though we do not suffer from religious persecution as some of our sisters around the world do, we tremble at the prospect of another terrorist attack. What does Jesus tell His believers in Luke 12:4?

We tend to think of the men and women we find in the Bible as brave. Their reputations are filled with honor, courage, and faithfulness. However, if we take a quick look through the Scriptures, it isn't hard to discover people's fears. Eve was afraid she was missing out on something (Gen. 3:5). Jacob was afraid his brother would take revenge upon him (Gen. 27:41-43). Moses was afraid to speak in public (Ex. 4:10). Aaron was afraid to take a stand and say no (Ex. 32:4). David was afraid his sin would be discovered (2 Sam. 11:15). Solomon was afraid he would make a bad leader (1 Kin. 3:9). Jonah was afraid to face the enemy of his people (Jon. 1:3). Esther was afraid of admitting her family background (Esth. 2:10). Hezekiah was afraid of dying (2 Kin. 20:1-3). Joseph was afraid of what people would say (Matt. 1:19). The disciples were afraid of asking dumb questions (Mark 9:32). Jairus was afraid his child would die (Luke 8:41-42). Martha was afraid of disappointing her guests (Luke 10:40). Paul was afraid people wouldn't believe him (Acts 9:26). Felix was afraid to face the truth of the gospel (Acts 24:25). Peter was afraid of breaking traditions (Gal. 2:14). God often calls us to take courage, even in the face of plaguing fears, and do what we know we should. The ultimate honor is given to the man or woman who fears God above all else.

5. In the face of little qualms, emotional mayhem, and our worst fears, Jesus has one thing to say to us. Turn to Mark 5:36. What does our Lord urge us to do?

6. So, we are not supposed to be afraid. Why? Matthew 10:31 offers a very good reason. What is it?

7. We are not supposed to be afraid. Let's consider Isaiah 12:2. What declarations and promises in the verse would dispel your fears?

8. Marilyn Meberg says, "For me to fear the unseen and worry about its potential to do harm throttles my joy." Still, the fact remains that we do have fearful moments. What do we need to remind ourselves whenever fears creep in? Psalm 56:3 holds the formula.

9. One last word of encouragement for the faint of heart. Trust God and His plans. No matter what might happen on this earth, what does God have in store for you in the end?

Digging Deeper

So many passages in the Bible are an encouragement to those whose hearts tremble. Let's explore some of the passages that encourage us to leave our fears behind.

Genesis 15:1 Deuteronomy 31:8 Psalm 27:1

Isaiah 41:10 John 14:27

Ponder & Pray

When we find ourselves hindered by our fears, we are in good company. Many of the men and women in the Bible had to be calmed by the words "Fear not." Lay out your secret dread before your loving Lord. He already knows what you hide in your heart, and He longs to take away your fears. Pray this week that God will give you the grace to trust Him, no matter what turns your life may take.

Trinkets to Treasure

When night begins to fall, our fears seem to gain strength, and so your little gift this week is a nightlight. A nightlight is a promise of sweet sleep! It will remind you that you don't need to be afraid of the dark-or anything. If a troubled heart wakens you in the night, turn your eyes towards the light and whisper the words of the Psalmist, "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You." You are precious to God, and He will take care of you. Trust Him to do just that.

* Notes & Prayer Requests * _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________

Chapter Three

Worry Warts

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you." 1 Peter 5:7, NKJV

Clearing the Cobwebs

Have you ever forgotten somebody's birthday, or maybe an important anniversary? When did you realize the slip, and what happened next?

Once upon a time, when we lived in the country, my husband bought himself a dog. She was a mild-mannered creature-smart and generally obedient. Her mother had been a black lab, and her father had been a St. Bernard-she had silky black hair and really big feet. Though she had inherited her mother's good looks and her father's calm temperament, I dubbed the puppy "Calamity".

One day, this Calamity of a dog was taking her beauty rest in her crate-an indoor doggie kennel of sorts. My husband had crafted a lovely top for the crate, which we then placed close to the front door. It was handy for the dog and also made a great place to set car keys, mail, and the like. On this particular day, our family was going out, and since the weather was mild, we left our jackets behind. Unfortunately, my daughter tossed hers rather haphazardly onto the top of Calamity's crate. While we were away, that dog wiggled and pawed and licked at that coat until she managed to catch the corner. That was all she needed.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Living Above Worry and Stress by Thelma Wells Copyright © 2003 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword....................iv
Introduction....................vii
Theme Verse....................viii
Chapter 1 Scattered Lives....................1
Chapter 2 Fear and Trembling....................9
Chapter 3 Worry Warts....................15
Chapter 4 Stressed Out!....................21
Chapter 5 Blessing in Disguise....................29
Chapter 6 Good Ventilation....................35
Chapter 7 I Know Whom I Have Believed....................41
Chapter 8 A Promise Is a Promise....................49
Chapter 9 Two Little Letters....................57
Chapter 10 Setting the Pace....................65
Chapter 11 Steady As She Goes!....................73
Chapter 12 Perfect Peace....................81
Shall We Review?....................86
Leader's Guide....................89
What Shall We Study Next?....................108
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