July 21, 2017 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

Have you ever experienced stress in your life? Of course, you have. There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t.

There have been times in our family business that I have been on the phone when multiple customers will walk in. I ask the individual on the phone if they will “hold” for a moment so I can politely say to the people in the store, “Welcome to our store, I will be with you shortly.” Next, at the backdoor, a delivery man might arrive, knock loudly, and want me to help him unload a pallet of shutters. Even though I may not have finished my first phone call, line two starts ringing just as the mail carrier arrives asking if I have any outgoing mail. One of the customers now has chosen to leave because I’m taking too long to serve them. Sometimes a day will go just like that. It can be momentarily stressful.

But, those times surely are not near as stressful as when a person has serious health problems, financial worries, or marital difficulties, to name a few of the many possibilities. There are varying levels of stress we experience in life.

A well-known doctor in the twentieth century (Hans Selye, endocrinologist), stated, “Most people who want to accomplish something, who are ambitious, live on stress. They need it.” Some types of stress will produce positive results, such as reacting quickly to danger, preventing physical harm. But other forms of stress can become almost debilitating, if it continues.

In 2001, USA Today published a survey which asked 1,220 adults how they felt about stress at their jobs. “Are Americans Working Too Hard?” Here are the results.

Percentage of Americans who say they:

  • Need more fun: 68%
  • Need a long vacation: 67%
  • Often feel stressed: 66%
  • Feel time is crunched: 60%
  • Want less work, more play: 51%
  • Feel pressured to succeed: 49%
  • Feel overwhelmed: 48%

Obviously, a high percentage of Americans experience stress! So, what is the answer? Sadly, many people will try find answers in the wrong places. They’ll abuse alcohol, they’ll overeat, or they will take opioid medications to provide relief. There are many physical things people will do to combat stress. However, God’s people have access to something that isn’t physical at all. We have access to the Holy Spirit of God. Never should we be trying to alleviate stress by purely physical means. God is ALL powerful! We can achieve anything (good), through Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). We’re not left defenseless.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5).

But when the Comforter is come, whom [which] I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father… (John 15:26).

God did not call us to fail! With even the greatest stresses we experience, God is much more powerful than all of them! Pray, study, meditate and fast! Remain close to God. Remember, neither God the Father nor Jesus Christ will ever leave us or forsake us! “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5).

Here’s one final scripture from the Book of Philippians:

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).

Please have a wonderful Sabbath, everyone!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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