2021 Weekdays' Topical Devotion

2021 Weekdays' Topical Devotion

New Topic Every Monday!


Topics:
Introduction, Workaholism, Anger, Self-Esteem, Worry


2021 Devotion

Worry

This week, we are going to learn what practical actions to take to alleviate our worries and the biblical insight of worry.
Worry Day 1
25/01/2021: Day 1 of 5: Recognise It
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There are many factors in causing worry. It seems uncontrollable as it has no “switch-off” button! Many people are worried about events that may or may not actually happen to them! The following are some general examples of different kinds of worry:

Scenario 1: As a student, there are many projects and homework that Ming has to handle. She worries as she has so much to do and may not be able to finish the school work on time.

Scenario 2: John discovers a lump on his right foot that stops him from running properly; he starts to think if his leg has a structural problem or worse, if it could be something even more serious, like cancer!

Scenario 3: Amy agreed to Brian’s proposal, and now they are planning to get married. However, Brian starts to wonder - how will he be able to support Amy when he can barely live alone on what he makes?

Scenario 4: Gary is two hours late getting home from being out with his classmates. His parents are angry with him for not calling. Furthermore, they also started to worry - thinking he might have encountered trouble with his car, or worse, had an accident.

Scenario 5: Frank joined his department of 5 employees two years ago. Now they are down to three and rumour has it that soon they will be down to two, or his department may even be closed down.

Scenario 6: Christine is pregnant again. After losing her last baby during her second trimester, she can’t help but wonder if this little one will ever have a chance to see the world.

Sometimes worry is the result of one’s own sin or guilt. A thief or a murderer will properly worry about being caught!

During this COVID-19 pandemic, many of us worry that we or our loved ones may be infected and the possibilities of suffering physically. When the pandemic impacted our economy, job security and financial stability are the main worries for many. Now that the vaccines are made available, many worry about their reliability and effectiveness. And the list goes on…

Do all these sound familiar to you? In fact, each of you may have your own set of worries! So what exactly are your worries? There is nothing wrong with realistically acknowledging and trying to deal with these problems of life.

This week, we are going to learn what practical actions to take to alleviate our worries and the biblical insight of worry. [LLCG]

Worry Day 2
26/01/2021: Day 2 of 5: Realise What It Is
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Worry is like a rocking chair; it'll give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere.
-- Unknown

Worry is defined by Webster as ‘Metal distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated.’ In other words, worry is about things that have not happened yet. Worry is not an emotion: it is a mental exercise.

The unpredictability and toughness of life spawns much worry. You might have a problem for which no solution has been found yet. This causes us to worry—replaying possible outcomes over and over again in our mind. We continue to worry—refusing to be satisfied until the solution becomes a reality.

Being genuinely concerned about potential problems and taking action is natural—such as seeing a doctor when ill or consulting technicians when our office equipment emits strange sound. But worry is rarely tied to constructive action. It is unproductive most of the time.

The “amber light” or even “red light” flashes when worry rises to an unhealthy level, e.g., (1) You are not sleeping well, (2) You are not productive in spite of much exertions of energy / attention, (3) You are worried about two or more topics on more days than not, (4) You are focusing on situation of worry more than on the other activities of life. (5) You tend to be reacting to situations rather than managing life events well. Your life feels out of control.

Worrying about many things at once bring stress to an unhealthy level. You want to overcome the issue, but the problem doesn’t disappear. Worry is simply a smaller level of fear and fear is the opposite of faith. When we operate in fear or worry, then we do not have the faith or trust that God has a plan and is in control.

What is the difference between worry and anxiety? Although many use the words worry and anxiety interchangeably; the two are very different psychological states. According to Psychology Today, “Worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, while anxiety is more visceral (in nervous system) in that we feel it throughout our bodies.” When we worry, our thoughts are often caused by realistic or specific concerns we can resolve by problem solving.

The effect on us is temporary and mild compare to anxiety. When we are experiencing anxiety, our thoughts can be irrational or vague. Someone with anxiety may experience symptoms such as tightness in the chest, an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, headaches, trembling, gastrointestinal problems or trouble sleeping.

The symptoms of anxiety can serve as warning signs of serious health conditions such as anxiety disorder, panic attack or depression. You should speak with a doctor if symptoms are persistent and interfere with daily activities. [LLCG]

Worry Day 3
27/01/2021: Day 3 of 5: Reflecting Questions & Redirecting
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If indeed worrying is like sitting on a rocking chair going nowhere, how then can we help ourselves or others to stop or to reduce the frequency of worrying? It might be helpful to help the person see things differently through reflection questions. In dealing with worry & anxiety, this might be an appropriate time for such a strategy.

The person may be instructed to just think of his or her answers and not necessarily speak them out loud:

(1) What has worried you the most in the past that your no longer worry about?

(2) Did these previous situations work out the way you thought they would or did they work out differently than expected?

(3) Did the pain of these previous situations help you grow? If so, how?

(4) What do you currently worry about the most?

(5) Do you think that these problem are too big for God?

(6) Do you believe that your are important to God?

(7) Will God take care of you in this current situation?

(8) There is only one person who can circumvent God’s plan for your life. Do you know who that is ? (You.)

(9) Do you have control over whether you worry or not?

(10) The bible says we are not to worry. How can you follow that instruction?

(11) What is the worst thing that can happen in this current situation?

(12) How has worrying helped you in the past?

(13) Do you think that worrying will help you now?

(14) What difference will worrying about the situation make one hundred years from now?

The worrier needs to understand that he or she really does not control over whether he or she worries or not. Some people are more inclined to worry than others. That is not a character’s flaw. It is just a built-in reminder to pray and give it to the Lord.

“ I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” Psalm 34:4

[LLCG]

Worry Day 4
28/01/2021: Day 4 of 5: RenderTimely Help
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“Don’t worry!” is easy to say but difficult to change. One approach is to set limits so that the worry doesn’t continue to rage out of control. It is probably nearly impossible to eliminate worry totally, but to manage it well and mitigate its destructive effects.

The following plan might assist to help change thought patterns for life’s worrying issues:

(1) Start each day with God: Begin each day with time alone with God. Tell him the concerns of the day (this is your time to pray about your worries – see step 2). Anticipate your day. Pray about what’s ahead. Ask God to give you peace.

(2) Pray about your worries: Set up a specific time period in which you can pray out a plan for your worries. Limit worrying to a ‘worrying list’, and take that list to the Lord in your daily Bible and prayer time. During the course of the day, when a worry strikes you, repeat the following sentence: ‘I will take care of that with God at my prayer time tomorrow morning’. During prayer time, bring the worrisome situation to God. Ask for guidance and direction.

(3) Keep a Journal: Write down the prayer requests and the worries that you are bringing to God. Write down the answers God gives. Go back and read these answers as constant encouragement that any new requests you bring to God will indeed be answered. As you talk to God, write down anything you feel He is telling you about your course of action. Keep in mind that the course of action may be purposefully to do nothing until God gives you further direction.

(4) Set Boundaries: Get facts and expert advice to prevent worrying unrealistically about a situation. Set deadline to make decision, rather than chew over it forever. Realise that your will not please everyone all the time. Learn to say no.

(5) Thinking Differently: Delegate chores and other responsibilities. Give yourself permission to relax and to make mistakes. Eat, sleep and exercise properly. To keep a sense of perspective, try to see the humour in a situation. Declutter and organise, using calendars and to-do lists. Mentally put your worries in a box with a lid and put them on the top shelf of your closet. Don't look at it for the time being.

(6) Seek Balance: The goal is to walk in peace, in calm, in trust, and in assurance. This is done by finding the balance between prayer and action and, ultimately, this produces freedom from worrying. See you for Day 5 as we look into what the Bible says about this. For now, consider the following:

‘To say that we are waiting on the Lord, and then to go around with a sense of worrying, misery and dread, is to contradict the truth” -- Professional counsellor, Rosemarie Scotti Hughes

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bone” -- Proverb 3:5-8

[LLCG, 28/01/2021]

29/01/2021: Day 5 of 5

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2021 Devotion

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem are the feelings or evaluations that we form after "looking at ourselves in the mirror"

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Scenarios check: Feels that marriage no hope? No purpose in life? Feels that he/she is nothing? Overwhelming sense of trying to please others? Discouraged? Low energy at work? Views himself/herself as ugly and stupid? Fear close and intimate relationships? Pressured to give in to the demands (unreasonable or immoral ones) of others due to fear of rejection?

Inner sense of worthiness that responds well to attacks and criticisms from others (valid or otherwise). Self-esteem are the feelings or evaluations that we form after "looking at ourselves in the mirror". Paul reminded readers not to be proud (Romans 12:3), but evaluate honestly and accurately. Low self-esteem is displayed in many ways. Use God's perspective to evaluate self rather than be conned by others. Negative feedbacks in the past do shape our self-esteem. But these need to be revisited and dealt with. We are valuable because God created us with noble purposes, and He paid the price to redeem us.

REFLECTING: Many feel bad about themselves without identifying the cause. Feeling like a failure or strong sense of inadequacy might cause extended depression and all sorts of anxieties. Going through these 20+ questions help you reconnect with your past and increase self-awareness of why we are who we are today. REDIRECTING: Helping a person with low self-esteem does not meaning telling him/her "therapeutic lies" so that he/she feels better. It does, however, mean that he/she needs to develop a realistic set of assessment of both strengths and weaknesses. Wanting to be healed of low self-esteem is a good start (many prefer to remain in self-pity and blame everyone else for decades at a time). Challenge your friend/yourselves to deal with it now in our CG setting.

Render Timely Help: (1) Recognise our high worth, (2) Stop recycling harmful thoughts, (3) Start healthy thought patterns, (4) Allow more time for transition, (5) Read God's Word.

Elaborations on Exodus 3:11, Psalm 8:4-5, Isaiah 43:1, Matthew 10:29-30, 1John 3:1. Prayer: Thank God for looking upon us as precious, of great value, given gifts and the special package of background, interests, abilities, ideas that make each one of us God's special creation.

18/01/2021: Day 1 of 5: Recognise It (Low self esteem)
19/01/2021: Day 2 of 5: Realise What It Is
20/01/2021: Day 3 of 5: Reflecting & Redirecting
21/01/2021: Day 4 of 5: Render Timely Help
22/01/2021: Day 5 of 5: Renew Mind

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2021 Devotion

Anger

Episode 1: Doing anger the right ways!
Episode 2: Managing other's anger towards you
Episode 3: Managing your anger towards others

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2021 Devotion

Workaholism

04/01/2021: Workaholism: Day 1: Recognise It
05/01/2021: Workaholism Day 2: Realise What It Is
06/01/2021: Workaholism Day 3: Reflecting & Redirecting
07/01/2021: Workaholism: Day 4: Reach Out (With Timely Help)
08/01/2021: Workaholism Day 5: Renew Mind

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2021 Devotion

Intro video on Weekdays' topics / Devotion

Start the year by looking at the big forests, and ask God for His will on what is the outcome for 2021 and beyond in your participation at S-Word EFC. Don't lose your bearing when you get pulled in many directions this year by various people and programs. Spend some moments in silence to pray to God and seek His will for 2021. ... Align our lives, resources, time, relationship etc to the agreed desire outcomes, so that our united journey together can be enjoyable, meaningful and God-pleasing, for 2021 and beyond!
Challenge: In 2021, reduce chaos (避免步步惊心) by committing to the church that God has called you to belong and building that church up in the short time of span we have on earth. We probably do not have sufficient time to change church often to search for, settle down and build the desired outcome of intimacy. The factors for consideration can be:
(1) Where The Word is preached properly (Bible)
(2) Where the Sacraments are administered correctly (Holy Communion & Baptism)
(3) Where there is Evangelism / Disciple-making to end of the earth (World Mission)
(4) Where it is a place you not only GET or RECEIVE but also could GIVE (Contribution)
(5) Where you Know Others and many others Know You (Community & Belonging)

QT: 01/01/2021: Desired Outcomes and Products
QT: 02/01/2021: Desired Outcomes Expanded and Explained
QT: 03/01/2021: "I want to change church!" (Intro 3 of 3)

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F3 Devotion