GOD’S PRESCRIPTION FOR STRESS

23RD PSALM

“GOD’S PRESCRIPTION FOR DAMAGED EMOTIONS”

Psalm 23:3

 

New American Standard Version:

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul.

 

He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.

 

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

When our daughter Gillian was a little girl, Dawn and I would read a book to her that was one of her favorites.  It was called, “Mr. Fix-it’s Fix it-Shop”.  Mr. Fix-It advertised on his store window, “I can fix anything, except broken hearts” and he had a logo of a broken heart on the window. 

 

One day, a distraught little girl came to Mr. Fix-It’s Fix-It Shop.  Her dog had chewed up her favorite doll.  It was missing an eye, legs, arms and hair.  The little girl was heart-broken.  She wanted to know if Mr. Fix-It could fix her doll.

 

It was getting late in the evening and Mr. Fix-It was getting ready to go home for the night.  He told the little girl to leave her doll and he would see what he could do.

 

The next day, Mr. Fix-It went right to work and performed restorative surgery on the doll, replacing all the doll’s missing pieces and parts.  When the little girl came back that afternoon to pick up her doll, she was overjoyed at how Mr. Fix-It had fixed her doll.

 

After that, Mr. Fix-It had to fix the sign on his store window.  It now read, “I can fix everything, EVEN BROKEN HEARTS” and a bandage was placed over his broken heart logo.

 

All of us have had a broken heart at one time or another.  Life is tough. 

Damaged emotions result in emotional stress.  If you have a broken-heart, I know someone who can fix anything, even broken hearts.  His name is Jesus.  He is the Lord our Shepherd. 

 

Turn with me to Psalm 23:3.  Here is what David wrote that the Lord our Shepherd can do for us.  READ- “HE RESTORES MY SOUL.”

 

God not only wants to save your soul, He wants to restore it.  He wants to perform restorative surgery on your damaged emotions.  He wants to heal our hurts.

 

Today we are going to look at 2 sources of emotional pain and stress.  There is guilt- the hurt that comes from what I have done to myself.  There is grief- the hurt that comes from what life was done to me.

 

Guilt and grief are 2 things that will keep us in a state of emotional instability if we don’t allow God to deal with them.  God can restore our souls and bring us emotional healing.  First….

 

  1. LET GOD REMOVE MY GUILT

 

Initially, guilt is a good thing.  We experience guilt when we do something wrong. 

 

God has given us our conscience to act as our internal moral compass to help guide us in the right direction.  So, when we do wrong, our conscience produces guilt in us.  God designed it that way so that, when we do wrong, we would be motivated to change and do better.

 

But, guilt that is not dealt with in a positive, godly manner, will be devastating.  Nothing destroys a soul faster than guilt.  King David wrote:

 

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear…I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.” –Psalm 38:4 & 6

 

We all have plenty of reasons to feel guilty.  We have all made mistakes.  We have all sinned.

 

But the question is, how do we get rid of our guilt?  What can we do to deal with the guilt in our lives?  There are a lot of ways people try to push aside their guilt.

 

Some people try to deny their sin.  They pretend it doesn’t exist.  They try to bury the past, but it resurrects itself in our souls in the form of guilt.  Denying guilt doesn’t relieve guilt.

 

Some people try to minimize their sin and push aside their guilt.  They say, “It was no big deal, it wasn’t that big of a sin.”  Then why is it that you still remember it?  Why can’t you forget it if it was no big deal?

 

It’s because it is a big deal.  That’s because, in God’s eyes, a sin is a sin is a sin.  One is no different from the other.  We are told in the Book of James that if we break one of God’s commandments, we stand guilty of breaking them all!  Thus, minimizing our sin doesn’t minimize our guilt.

 

Some try to deal with their guilt by compromising their standards.  If they begin to feel guilty about something, they just say, “I don’t believe it’s wrong anymore.”

 

Now, there is a sense, in which, the more we commit a sin, the less sensitive we become to it.  An old Chinese proverb says- “commit a sin twice and it won’t seem like a sin anymore.  The more we commit a sin, the less sensitive we can become to it.  But that still doesn’t relieve our guilt.

 

Some people try to rationalize their sin by saying- “Everybody does it.”  Well, everybody isn’t doing it.  That’s a deception of the devil.  But, even if everybody was doing it doesn’t make it right.

 

But people try to rationalize their sins.  The word rationalize means rational lies.  When I rationalize my sin, I am lying to myself.  I’m trying to convince myself of something that I know deep down is wrong.  It does not deal with my guilt.

 

But what many of us do is we internalize our guilt.  We beat ourselves up for our sins.  We administer self-punishment by internalizing our guilt.

 

Can guilt make you sick?  You bet it can!  Can guilt cause depression?  Absolutely. 

 

None of these approaches to our guilt work.  There is only one solution to our guilt.  We have to let God remove the guilt from our souls.  How can we allow God to do that?

 

First, we have to give our guilt to God.  This begins by admitting our sin and admitting our guilt.  Staying silent about our sin destroys our spiritual health.  Listen to what David wrote about how he felt when he kept quiet about his sin:

 

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” –Psalm 32:3-4

 

David says that when he remained silent about his sin, that the guilt ate away at him.  Guilt became a heavy burden on him.  Guilt will do the same to us if we don’t’ admit our sin.  Until we are honest with God and confess our sins, guilt becomes a heavy ball and chain that drags us down emotionally.

 

Dealing with guilt requires us to admit our sins to God and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness.  Listen to what David wrote after he confessed his sin to God:

 

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ and you forgave the GUILT of my sin.”-Psalm 32:5

 

Confessing our sin brings about forgiveness from God.  Then, and only then, can we be released from our guilt. 

 

After we confess our sins, we need to simply trust God’s grace.  Romans 3:23-24 says:

 

“All of us have sinned…yet God declares us not guilty if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in mercy freely takes away our sins.” – Romans 3:23-24

 

The most basic truth of Christianity is this:  Jesus Christ has already paid for all of your sins.  Everything you have ever done wrong; everything you’re ever going to do wrong.  It’s been paid for by His death on the cross.  Once you ask God to forgive you, you just need to accept what Jesus did for you on the cross.  He has paid for all your sins.

 

I don’t know what you have done.  But your forgiveness is not based upon how bad you’ve been.  It’s based upon how good God is.  What matters, is not what you’ve done, but what Jesus has already done for you when he died for you.

 

Just accept what Jesus has done for you when He died for your sins.  Trust in His death.  That’s how you get forgiveness.  You don’t have to beg God to forgive you.  You don’t have to bargain with God in order to get forgiveness.  You just simply have to confess your sin and trust that His grace has covered your sin.

 

God forgives us immediately, freely, completely and unconditionally.  God’s forgiveness wipes out the guilt the first time you ask Him to forgive you.

 

So, if you keep asking God to forgive you for a sin that you have already confessed, you’re not trusting that God forgave you the first time.  If you still feel guilty about a sin you’ve already confessed to God, that guilt is not coming from God.  It’s coming from the devil. 

 

Before you commit a sin, Satan minimizes the sin.  He whispers to us, “It’s no big deal.”  But, after you commit the sin, Satan maximizes the sin.  He shouts at us, “This sin is so big, God could never forgave you!”

 

Instead of listening to the devil’s lies, listen to how God forgives our sins:

 

“…He forgave all our sins.  He canceled the record that contained the charges against us.  He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.” – Colossians 2:13-14

 

Notice that the Scripture says that God forgave ALL our sins.  Even the ones you think He can’t or won’t.  Not only does God forgive our sins, He has wiped out the evidence concerning our sins.  When God forgives our sins, He forgets all about them.  He has no record or recollection about them.  Here is God’s promise of forgiveness under His covenant of grace:

 

“I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” – Hebrews 10:17

 

God intentionally chooses to forget sin that He has forgiven.  He wipes it out for all time.  God will never bring it up again.

 

Therefore, when we confess our sins, we need to quit dwelling on them, wondering if God has forgiven us.  We need to simply trust His grace.

 

When you pay off a bill,  do you still worry about it?  Of course not!  The moment the bill has been paid in full, you stop sweating over it.  That’s exactly how we should be regarding our sins that God has forgiven.  Our sin debt has been paid in full.  It’s like the hymn says, “Jesus Paid It All.”  The punishment for our sins has been paid in full.  The debt of sin has been canceled.

 

If you have trusted Jesus for your salvation and you have confessed your sins to God, you are forgiven.  God has forgiven you.  Forgive yourself.  God has chosen to forget about your sin.  Don’t you dwell on it.  Jesus was nailed to the cross.  Stop nailing yourself to the cross.  Let God remove your guilt.  Confess your sin and then trust His grace.

 

He restores my soul from guilt.  Here is a 2nd damaged emotion that we need God’s healing touch for:

 

  1. LET GOD RELIEVE MY GRIEF

 

David wrote the 23rd Psalm.  David was very familiar with grief.  He understood how much it damages our souls.  He wrote:

 

“Lord, have mercy, because I am in misery.  My eyes are weak from so much crying, and my whole being is tired from grief.” –Psalm 31:9

 

Have you ever felt like that?  Is that where you are at right now in your life?  Are you overwhelmed with grief?

 

At some point we all experience the emotion of grief.  We grieve when we suffer a loss in our lives.  Usually we think of grief in terms of losing a loved one.  That is the deepest grief we will ever experience.

 

But there are other losses in our lives that we will grieve over.  For example, for whatever reason, sometimes, friends stop being friends.  You lose a friendship and you grieve that loss.  People can grieve the loss of a job that they loved.  People can also grieve the loss of their health.

 

How can we receive comfort when we grieve? I’ll talk with you about that in a moment, but first let’s address 2 things regarding grief.

 

First, grief takes time.  Grief is a process.  It is not an event.  Perhaps you are familiar with The Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler: denial….anger….bargaining…..depression…..and finally acceptance.

Perhaps you are familiar with those 5 stages because you have gone through them, or you are going through them.

 

Grief is a process that you have to go through.  You don’t just “get over it.”  And even though we eventually have to move forward in our lives, there is no set timetable for grief.  There will be periods of ebbs and flows to our grief.  For example, after my Dad had been dead for about a year, out of the clear blue, I remembered something he would often say, and I broke down and cried.  I spent a little more time grieving the passing of my father.

 

A second thing about grief is there is no one size fits all.  People grieve in different ways at different times.  But here is God’s promise for us when we grieve:

 

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” -Matthew 5:4

 

God will comfort us because God understands our grief.  Isaiah 53:3 describes Jesus in this way:

 

“A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” -Isaiah 53:3

Jesus stood outside the tomb of his friend Lazarus.  And the Bible simply says that “Jesus wept.” The one who is familiar with grief understands what you are going through when you grieve.  Therefore, he will comfort you in your grief. 

How?

 

God comforts us with his presence.  The presence of death and difficulties in our lives does not mean the absence of God.  Listen to this declaration:

 

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18

 

God may feel like he is a million miles away when you are grieving, but he is not.  Jesus stood with Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, outside the tomb of his friend.  And the Lord will be with you and walk with you as you go through the valley of grief.

 

So, we just need to go to God when you are grieving.  And when you do, you will experience his presence.  James 4:8 says:

 

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” -James 4:8

 

There are a couple of ways to enter into God’s presence.  One is prayer.  We can pray to God and unload our grief on to God.

 

Another way we can enter into God’s presence is through worship.  David suffered a great loss in his life.  He had an infant son who died shortly after death.  David grieved the death of his son.  But then he did this as we read:

 

“Then David got up from the ground.  After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped…” -2 Samuel 12:20

 

David went to the temple.  He worshipped God.  When we worship God it gives us a new perspective.  It reminds us that God is here for us and will help us in our time of grief.

 

God is with us as we grieve.  Realizing God’s presence will fill us with God’s peace.  We just need to accept Jesus’ invitation and go to him when we grieve.  Jesus invites us into his presence:

 

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29

 

A yoke is a harness for two farm animals.  The harness would be placed upon 2 oxen so they could pull the plow together.  Jesus is saying that you don’t have to bear the burden of your grief all by yourself.  You can take his yoke upon you.  He will help you bear the burden of grief because he is with you in your time of grief.

 

Another way that God can comfort us in our grief is through the promises of his Word.  Romans 15:4 says:

 

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” -Romans 15:4

 

God’s Word can provide us with comfort.  That is another word for encouragement.  And God’s Word can inspire hope in us.  So as we go through the grieving process, it is good to go to the Bible.  In his Word, God will remind us of just how much he loves us and cares for us. In his Word, you will read God’s promises that he will strengthen you and sustain you.  His Word will minister to you in your times of grief.

 

Another way that God can comfort us when we grieve is through the fellowship of our church family.  In Romans 12:15 we are told that we are to….

 

“….mourn with those who mourn.” -Romans 12:15

 

It is always a great comfort to know that someone else cares about us when we are hurting and grieving.  So that is another reason why we need to come to worship whenever we are grieving.  Let us grieve alongside you.  Let us love on you.

 

The final and ultimate way that God brings us comfort in our grief is with the hope of heaven. Paul wrote this to Christians who were grieving the loss of loved ones:

 

“Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died.  We don’t want you to grieve like other people who have no hope.”

-1 Thessalonians 4:13

 

Now Paull wasn’t saying that we aren’t supposed to grieve when loved ones die.  Grief is the natural, God-given response to death.  What Paul is saying is that we don’t grieve in the same way like people who don’t know the Lord. I have officiated at the funerals of non-believers where the families don’t know the Lord.  There is a sense of despair, finality, and hopelessness.  I can see that in their eyes.

 

But as Christians when we grieve the passing of a loved one, we have hope in the midst of our grief.  We know that we have heaven to look forward to.  We know that one day in heaven we will no longer suffer loss like we do here on earth.  One day in heaven we know that we will be reunited with our loved ones who have gone on before us.  And that hope brings us a great measure of comfort in the midst of our grief.

 

 We read in Isaiah 61 what God will give to those who mourn:

 

“…to comfort all who mourn and to provide for those who grieve…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…”

– Isaiah 61:2-3

 

God wants to restore your soul.  He will restore joy where there was once grief.

 

“HE RESTORES MY SOUL.”  Let the Lord your shepherd restore your soul.  God can remove your guilt & relieve your grief if you let Him. 

 

Perhaps you need your soul restored for the first time by allowing The Shepherd to be your Savior.  You need to let Jesus remove the guilt from your soul.  You need the forgiveness of sin that only Jesus can provide through His death on the

cross.  Your soul can be restored today by placing your faith in Christ and being baptized so that your sins can be washed away.

 

 

 

Contact Us

Lebanon Christian Church

409 Yorktown Road

 

Newport News (Lee Hall), VA 23603

 

Phone: 757 887-5536

 

  

CCS #8003



 

Graded Classes
Nursery - High School
Sunday 9:30 AM
Adult Bible Fellowships Sunday 9:30 AM
Morning Worship Service Sunday 10:45 AM

Children’s and teen Bible School will resume in September.

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