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Summary: Philippians is commonly called the "Book of Joy". But Paul presents several thieves that try to rob us of our joy. The fourth thief: "Stress."

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DO NOT ALLOW STRESS TO ROB YOUR JOY

A. Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go RIGHT?

ILLUSTRATION:

The ALARM CLOCK doesn’t go off leaving you only 15 minutes to get to WORK. After getting ready you RUSH to your CAR only to discover a FLAT TIRE. You hurriedly CHANGE the TIRE and SPEED OFF to work, and then you are PULLED over by the POLICE. After receiving your TICKET, you take off again only to have your HORN go off ACCIDENTALLY and remain STUCK as you FOLLOW a leather jacketed, tattooed, and bearded MOTOR CYCLE GANG down the street.

By the time you get to work you are an HOUR LATE and your BOSS chews you out. While at work you SPILL hot coffee in your LAP, your COMPUTER crashes, your SECRETARY quits, and your ACCOUNTANT comes by to INFORM you that instead of the $500.00 REFUND—you OWE

the IRS $136.84.

Finally you arrive home from WORK ready to UNWIND and RELAX, then your NEIGHBOR comes to the DOOR holding a SHREDDED NEWSPAPER that your DOG chewed up. Your CHILDREN come in SCREAMING, your SPOUSE comes in FUSSING. So you decide to RETIRE early and get a good night’s SLEEP -- the BED COLLAPSES.

COMMENT:

Days like this create so much TENSION. They become OPPRESSIVE, FRETFUL, INTENSE days of STRESS and ANXIETY.

B. What I shared with you is certainly an EXTREME, but we all have our SHARE of EXPERIENCES that can and does PRODUCE a lot of STRESS and ANXIETY that can IMPEDE your JOY.

1. Interestingly, STRESS is produced by not only NEGATIVE experiences, but also by POSITIVE ones.

ILLUSTRATION:

It was for this reason that Donna Parker HESITATED telling her husband about him WINNING the Reader’s Digest Association Sweepstakes. She was ECSTATIC when she got the CALL INFORMING her that a certified CHECK for $4,000,000.00 would be ARRIVING in a few DAYS.

All of their DREAMS would finally come TRUE. Mike, her husband, was RECOVERING from a MASSIVE HEART ATTACK, and the doctor said no EXCITEMENT about anything. Winning the MONEY was such GREAT NEWS, but Donna didn’t think that her husband’s HEART would take all of the STRESS. So she decided to call their PREACHER and ask his ADVICE because he had some EXPERIENCE in breaking STRESSFUL NEWS to FAMILIES.

She told the PREACHER about them WINNING the SWEEPSTAKES, and how she was AFRAID that if she told Mike he would get so EXCITED and have another HEART ATTACK and DROP DEAD. The PREACHER said that he thought he could HELP.

So in about an HOUR, the preacher ARRIVED and went into the DEN where Mike was watching television. They had a nice CHAT for a few minutes. Then the PREACHER leaned over and said, “Mike, I’ve got a PROBLEM and need your ADVICE.” “Sure, if I can HELP, I’ll be

glad to,” Mike said.

The preacher took a deep breath and went on, “It’s a THEORETICAL SITUATION regarding Christian STEWARDSHIP. What would a person--take YOU, for instance--do if all of a sudden you found out that you had won four million dollars? What would you do with all that MONEY.”

“That’s easy,” Mike replied. “I’d start by giving TWO MILLION DOLLARS of it to the CHURCH.” Whereupon, the PREACHER had HEART ATTACK and DROPPED DEAD.


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