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Devotionals 2009 - 2010

Reduce Stress
July 21, 2010By Ed Wrather

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. - Matthew 6:33 NKJV.

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. - Philippians 3:8 NKJV.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. - Mark 6:30-32 NKJV.

Strange as it may sound, tour groups in Hong Kong are being forced to shop! Now some of you might think that is a good thing; however, when you have shopped until you are ready to drop already, it can cause problems. A 65-year-old man has reportedly died from a heart attack that is thought to have been brought on from arguing with a tour guide about the forced shopping. The forced shopping is a frequent practice among the cut rate Chinese package tours as the tour operators receive a percentage of the profits from the shops the tours visit. Reportedly, there has been an investigation launched into these practices. A video showing a tour guide somehow abusing a group of tourists and forcing them into shopping brought the practice to the attention of authorities.

Shopping for things is not necessarily a bad thing, although being a man I prefer to go directly into the one store I have decided on in advance, grab what I want, pay for it, and leave. Voila! My shopping is finished! Even better, with the Internet I can just click on a few links and my purchase will arrive at my door without even leaving my home. However, many do enjoy the shopping experience, and it can even relieve stress, but it can be overdone and create stress. Especially, when you are being forced to do it by an abusive tour guide!

The point here is that even good things can be participated in excessively. Recreation is good, but too much can cause neglect of other things in your life…like work, and it can result in leaving everything spiritual on the sidelines. Work is a good thing, and it is necessary to support our families; but too much of it can result in neglect of our families, and neglect of the spiritual aspect of our lives. Even Jesus had to have some quiet time by Himself, and His disciples needed that quiet restful time too.

In Mark 6, you see Jesus and His disciples simply getting away for a rest. We need that as well. In addition, we need the rest we receive from spending time with our God. Jesus modeled that for His disciples and for us as we are told in Mark 1:35, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” Jesus had a quiet time, and we need to have one every day in our lives.

There is a balance in life that we need to strive to create and maintain. How do we do it? We do it by putting God first in our lives as Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33. As a devotional I once read said there is time to do everything this year and everything this day that God wants you to do. Put Jesus first and you will know what God wants you to do each day. That my friends; is how you have balance, and eliminate stress from your lives.

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