An article that I read recently, and stored away, came back to me today.
Although this article was not given from a biblical context, I thought that I would share some of the main points with you and connect the article to Biblical teaching.
There is obviously a great deal of self-focus in articles that are not coming exclusively from a biblical perspective, but a wise reader can see the biblical principles contained therein. Let me show you how this works with this sample article.
Let's not be afraid to acknowledge that the Bible is more up-to-date and applicable than tomorrow's newspaper. Timeless wisdom from the God who made us!
The quotes from the article are in quotation marks and Italics.
1. "Be Present Every Day"
"Being present is more than just a physical act. It also relates to your ability to be present mentally and emotionally. Psychologist, author, and breast cancer survivor Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., says that to be present, you need to make the distinction of whether your thoughts are in the past, present or future and bring them back into the moment. "The majority of negative thoughts are about the past and future, which can't be addressed," she says. "The point of power is the present, so try to address what is in front of you in the most adaptive, constructive way."
Jesus taught the following focus concerning the present moment and its need.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Read the whole passage (Matthew 6:25-34)
An Old Testament lesson on primarily caring for today's needs rather than fretting over what may, or may not be, on the morrow is found in the national life of Israel.
18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. 19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. 20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
Another OT lesson from the life of Elijah teaches us that God's care for us is day by day. Don't miss this.
1 Kings 17:4–6
4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 5 So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
1 Kings 17:14–16
14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.
One other item. She makes the following statement:
"The majority of negative thoughts are about the past and future, which can't be addressed,"
Although I agree with the first part of her statement, I disagree with the second part.
There are things in the past that you can deal with (like restitution when you have wronged someone). Also, there are things [and potential things] in the future that you can prepare for (like purchasing life insurance as a buffer against untimely death, saving for retirement, and repairing a broken hot tub quickly to avoid more expensive repairs later).
2. "Engage in Quiet Self-Care"
"Part of being present involves practicing quiet self-care daily. To do this, Dr. Sherman recommends finding ways to relax your autonomic nervous system, which regulates functions you do without consciously thinking about, such as breathing or regulating heart rate and blood pressure."
Here are a few verses concerning what the Bible says about quietness. You may want to read the context of some of these verses to get the whole picture.
29 When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?
And when he hideth his face, who then can behold him?
Whether it be done against a nation,
Or against a man only:
30 Then are they glad because they be quiet;
So he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely,
And shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith,
Than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
4 And say unto him,
Take heed, and be quiet;
Fear not, neither be fainthearted
For the two tails of these smoking firebrands,
For the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
15 For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel;
In returning and rest shall ye be saved;
In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:
And ye would not.
18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation,
And in sure dwellings,
And in quiet resting places;
26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:11
11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
2 Thessalonians 3:12
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
1 Timothy 2:1–2
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1 Peter 3:4
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Seek quietness. Find ways to practice quietness (For example, prayer, biblical meditation, Scripture reading - Do these things while taking a walk through the woods, sitting by a river, or just on the front porch).
3. "Access Spiritual Strength"
This section is typical when "professionals" discuss this topic. Almost never is this truth related to the God of the Bible. However, we must speak the truth here. When I am counseling people, I always seek to encourage them to listen to and connect/reconnect with the God of the Bible. After all, He alone is God!
"L.A. Barlow, Psy.D., a psychologist at Detroit Medical Center, says finding ways to connect or re-connect to your spiritual self can help train your brain to be more optimistic. And Dr. Sherman agrees: "Accessing divine power greater than yourself helps you tap into faith, hope and unconditional love."
"If that seems too "woo-woo" for you, try focusing on something bigger than yourself instead of any one particular god, religion or spiritual ideology. "Pray to whatever speaks to you, listen for guidance and replace worry with higher messages of love," Dr. Sherman says. It's more about getting outside of your own head and worries than following a specific religion."
Now, obviously, I would never phrase things the way this author did in the above statements but as you read them I want you to see how the Scriptures actually agree with what is being said, in principle. One only needs to go to that next step, and actually identify the value of biblical theology.
"Accessing divine power greater than yourself helps you tap into faith, hope, and unconditional love."
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (God produces within us inner strength, which manifests itself in love and
which gives us the ability to think more clearly and choose what is right and best for ourselves and others.
4. "Give Thanks"
"Gratitude is good for you! When you give thanks, these thoughts help improve immune function, reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, and enhance motivation and overall happiness.
"Start by writing down at least three things you're thankful for each day. Even in the face of life's toughest circumstances, it's always possible to recognize the little good things that surround you — if you make a point to do it. And who knows? This practice could evolve into a formal habit of acknowledging things you're grateful for and writing about them in a notebook that you carry with you. The more often you focus on gratitude, the more optimistic your brain will become."
Again, the Bible hits the nail on the head with this topic.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
And into his courts with praise:
Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Timothy 2:1
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
5. "Pay It Forward"
"Acts of kindness increase the production of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. Even something as simple as giving someone a smile or a compliment can leave you both feeling happier. Challenge yourself to do at least one kind thing for someone else each day, such as sending a thank-you email, buying a stranger's cup of coffee or donating to a cause that matters to you. You'll reap more benefits than just good karma.
"Now, although we do not believe in, nor use, the word "Karma" (it being a Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophy) consider what the Bible says about being kind and doing "good deeds."
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
1 Corinthians 13:1–4
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Another research article I read recently fits nicely here.
It was entitled, Healing through Helping: an experimental investigation of kindness, social activities, and reappraisal as well-being interventions
You may find the study at the following link.
6. "Laugh Out Loud"
"Laughter really is fantastic medicine. Belly laughs induce serotonin production, calming the amygdala, which is the brain's stress center. Put on one of your favorite comedies or even try laughter yoga. Yep, you read that right! Some yoga studios now offer your asanas with a side of giggles.
"And if you're struggling to find a reason to laugh out loud, it might be time to reach out to others for help (and a few laughs!). Dr. Barlow says having a positive network of friends, family, coworkers or even a formal support group can really help boost your mood during difficult times."
The Bible doesn't miss a beat here. Consider the following:
22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:
But a broken spirit drieth the bones.
13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance:
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
7. "Challenge Negative Thoughts"
"When you find yourself overwhelmed by scary thoughts about the future, Dr. Sherman says it's a good practice to challenge them. So for example, you may think, "I have cancer, so I'm doomed." Dr. Sherman says you can challenge this by saying, "Many people with cancer live long, wonderful lives." Just a slight shift in words can change how you feel and the outlook you have about a situation."
3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
2 Corinthians 10:5
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
8. "Find Time to Get Sweaty"
"Exercise elevates endorphins, serotonin and other pleasurable brain chemicals, which promotes a sense of well-being. It also discharges negative emotions and reduces cortisol levels. Dr. Sherman recommends finding a form of exercise that you enjoy doing. When you participate in a form of physical activity that brings you joy, your thinking clears, and you'll likely feel more positive afterward, she says. If it's hard to find time to get to the gym, there are many exercise videos you can follow online. There are even routines you can do while standing next to your desk. The main objective is to break a sweat and do it regularly.
"And if you're not constantly feeling as bright and cheery as Pollyanna? That's OK! Everyone has ups and downs, and it's perfectly normal not to feel happy all the time. In fact, that's not the goal; the goal is to not get overwhelmed by negativity and to keep doing things that are healthy for you — mentally and physically!"
The Bible teaches that exercise is profitable. Some people think the following verse teaches that exercise is not something we should be concerned about. This is not what the verse teaches. It teaches that in comparison to godliness, bodily exercise comes up lacking in consideration of importance. The key point in our discussion is that, even though that is true, bodily exercise does "profit."
1 Timothy 4:8
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Do you have any thoughts about these matters? Please share them!