HOW TO HANDLE STRESS
The sheep begin to graze in the Middle East at about four in the morning. At about ten in the morning the shepherd will find some green shaded place with water to feed and drink and rest. It is important for the sheep to have a quite time so that they can grow.
How do you handle stress! Are you all stressed up with nowhere to go? We are stressed because we are like sheep. Sheep are a description rather than a compliment!
A sheep is overloaded with dumbness. When God was handing out brains the sheep must have last! When stress comes the brain can go out of gear and we start to panic.
A sheep is so defenseless. A horse can run, a snake can strike but a sheep needs someone to defend them.
A sheep does not have a good sense of direction - it is easily lost. A horse, cow or cat will come home. A sheep will get lost! We have a tendency to get away from God.
A sheep is so dependant. It can sometimes fall over on its back and not be able to get up. It will be easily eaten by predators or die. The shepherd need to help the sheep get back on its feet. This is what Jesus does for us. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
1. The security we have in our shepherd
"He maketh me", "He leadeth me". The shepherd has compassion. Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw the people as sheep without a shepherd. See Matthew 9:35-38.
2. The caring shepherd
He carries us in his bosom. He gives us what we need and not what we deserve. He is a compassionate and caring shepherd.
3. The courageous shepherd (John 10:11)
There are many thieves and predators after the sheep. A hireling will run away but the good shepherd will not flinch. Jesus did not flinch even though he knew what suffering awaited him. The shepherd is the door - He lies at the entrance to the gate to the sheep. He protects his sheep.
4. The sufficient shepherd
We get stressed because we think our needs are not going to be met. Don't worry about food, clothes, fame, etc. These are important but our priority is to seek first the kingdom of God. The green grass is the Word of God and the stream is the spirit of God. See Matthew 5:6. We need to hunger and thirst after righteousness. How many people do you know like this today? Not many! How many happy people do you know? God gives us tribulation in our life to let us know that we need him. Too often people get rid of the thistles but not at the root of the problem. The deepest needs of your heart are met only in Jesus Christ.
5. The serene shepherd
A distressed sheep is a sheep that is not growing and producing wool. When the sheep is lying down it is chewing the cud. It is during this quite time when the sheep grows the most. It brings the grass back up to digest it again. How often do we meditate on what we have learned? A quite time is essential if we are to grow. It is important to keep a journal of what you have learnt. See Psalm 19:14. God has to make us to lie down.