Keys to Stress Control

It is a simple and obvious fact that the matter of stress control is dependent not merely on the amount of stress, but on the amount of the power to deal with it. A little stress can be fatal if there is nothing with which to deal with it. While a large amount of stress can be met if there is sufficient strength to deal with it.

God is developing a group of people who will go through the greatest period of stress that the world has ever seen. Daniel 12:1, last part, foretells it: “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation … and at that time Your people shall be delivered, everyone who is written in the book.” The great purpose of the threefold message of Revelation 14 is to develop a people who can deal with unprecedented stress. Verse 12 describes these people: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” They are patient, they endure, they do not wilt, they do not faint, they do not fail. They have the faith of Jesus.

God has a program to get His people ready. Ephesians 4:8–14 outlines this program: “… ‘When He [Jesus] ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ … He Himself gave some to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the equipping [perfecting] of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”

God’s program is meant to get His people ready so they will not be carried about with every wind of doctrine, cunning, or deceitfulness. This program is designed to resist stress and to equip God’s people with the gifts He has for them. Ephesians 4:7 says, “But to each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” That is immeasurable.

God gives us a revelation of His will in the Bible, which if studied and accepted, believed and received, will keep us from all the stresses around us. But to be of any value to us, that book must be of unquestioned authority. It is all or nothing, genuine or counterfeit, true or false. This is the way with every message claiming to come from God. It can either be depended upon fully and completely, or it must be rejected as a base counterfeit.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he said that he had met God there. When Daniel wrote his book, he said he saw visions of God, the angels of God, the Son of God and what he wrote down was what he was told to write. When John wrote the book of Revelation, we find him telling again and again of his interviews with Jesus and Gabriel.

The men who wrote the Bible are either telling the truth or they are not. There can be no neutral ground. It is these gifts that God has put in His church to make us able to meet stresses. When we read the promises of God, whether we read them in Genesis or in the Psalms, in Daniel or Zechariah, Matthew, or scriptures written by Peter or Paul, if God is speaking, we are reading the word of the living God and that has power in it to meet any stress.

Think of promises like: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. But if that is only Isaiah’s view of God, it is an awful offer to make to a poor, sinking soul. If what Isaiah wrote is the true word of the living God, then it is hope and it is quick, powerful, living, and full of help for every struggling soul. The power to meet stress all hinges upon whether or not we find the Bible to be what it claims to be—the word of the living God. And the greater the crisis, the greater must be the power to deal with that stress. God has promised to give us all the power of the living word of God to help in the ever increasing crisis into which we are now entering.

Let us look at the gifts God has given. He gave some to be apostles—Peter, James, John, Matthew; others to be prophets—Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, John. The apostle Peter tells us that all wrote by inspiration in 2 Peter 1:21: “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” This statement is either true or false, friends. We may not be prophets, but we can all read the words of the prophets, and share the words of the prophets. When we share the words of the prophets, we are sharing the words written by the men who were moved to do so by the Holy Spirit. If we believe all of this is true, we can meet today’s stresses and those that are coming. If we do not believe, we will be confused and terror stricken as we view the conditions in the world today.

Jesus foretold our time saying, “ ‘… men’s hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ ” Luke 21:26. But God’s people need not be terror stricken. When these things happen, Jesus says, “ ‘… look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.’ ” Luke 21:28. The very things that are filling the hearts of men with fear are the tokens of our deliverance, omens of the coming King. Why? Because we believe the Bible. It is that simple.

All of us, in the various experiences of life—physicians and nurses in the medical profession, parents in the home, teachers at school, missionaries in the field—will deal with many stressful situations that affect our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. But God intends that every one of His people will be able to meet these stresses because he or she is solid in the word of God, knows and believes His promises, and finds them to be true in his or her individual experience. God is developing a group of people who can meet unmoved the coming hurricane-force winds of strife, because they are anchored fast in the word of God.

Here is a very beautiful and practical point. The Bible, which was written by men filled with the Holy Spirit, tells us that in the last days God will have a church particularly designated as the remnant who will not only keep the commandments of God, but also will have this gift of prophecy.

Revelation 12:17 says, “And the dragon [Satan] was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Satan was and is enraged. Sometimes he roars and is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and he always is seeking to devour the flock, to destroy the church.

What is the testimony of Jesus Christ? Revelation 19:10, last part, tells us, “… For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” It is this Spirit that spoke through the prophets such as Isaiah, Daniel, and John. The whole Bible is the testimony of Jesus. In these last days, the testimony of Jesus will speak again because of the remnant of her seed. Is there anything left after the remnant? No, the remnant is the end, the last of something. We find in Joel 2 and Acts 2 that God speaks of the restoration and manifestation of the prophetic gift in the last days. This gift is to keep the people of God from being tossed about and driven by every wind of doctrine. It keeps them because they believe it 100 percent.

The manifestation of the gift of prophecy in this movement is the testimony of Jesus, but how shall we know? Because Matthew 7:15 says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” The first word in this verse is beware which means to look out, take care, watch. Don’t swallow everything, don’t accept everything. Verse 16 adds, “You will know them by their fruits.” We know if a prophet is true or false by considering their fruit. The fruit is displayed in the lives of those who accept that prophet’s writings. Do people bear good fruit if they accept the Bible as the word of God and follow it? What about the people who accept the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy? Have you accepted them in your life? What kind of fruit do you bear? Does seeing the fruit borne out in the lives of those who wrote and accepted the Bible and the gift of prophecy build confidence in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and loyalty to the law of God?

What about the great health program that God has given His people through His gift of prophecy? Is that good fruit or bad fruit? Has it done anything for us? Can we testify that we have found in the writings of Ellen White a healthful way of life that we know has done great things for us physically? But far more important than any physical health, far more important than any successful way of life, is what this gift has done to lead people to Jesus. It has given them a deep, sweet, settled peace.

One might say, “I know someone who reads the Testimonies all the time, but that has not made them happy.” There are many people like that. And some people read the Bible, and it does not make them happy. But should we toss away our Bibles and the Testimonies because not everyone finds happiness in them? There are people who have gotten sick eating food, but does that make us quit eating food? When someone gets sick from eating food, it likely is because they need help in proper selection or for some other reason. The answer is not to quit eating food, rather it is to offer help in knowing how, what, and when to eat. It is the same with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

Testimonies, vol. 5, 675, 676 tells us: “Satan has ability to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends, and many think it a virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving and to question and quibble. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room.” If I want to doubt, will God let me? God left us free to choose belief or doubt. That freedom of the will relates not merely to our actions, but to our beliefs. God will not force our muscles, neither will He compel our minds. “God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence. God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith.” Ibid.

Do you understand everything in the Bible? Do you believe it totally, or do you just believe the parts you can understand? O friend, believe the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We need it all. “… ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4. We should be thankful for the living word. As you keep studying it, it will become sweeter, better, richer to your soul. And we can look forward to continuing our studies with the writers of each book for the endless ages of eternity.

Do you ever find any problems in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy? They are there. But, friends, the same problems that are in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy are in the Bible. Show me one problem, one question, one quibble about the writings of Ellen White and I will produce a similar one in the Bible. That does not mean that we question the validity of either one, rather it means that we believe both because we hear Jesus speaking. Somebody says, “Hasn’t there been evidence that some things are copied?” Did you know that there are some things in the Bible that were copied? If you compare all four books of Kings and Chronicles you will find that one copied from the other. If you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you will find verse after verse in many of the chapters that are either exactly the same or almost the same. Does the Holy Spirit confine Himself? No. The Holy Spirit is perfectly willing for the prophet to use truth wherever found. The important thing is not that the prophet who wrote it down originated it, but whether it is truth that originated with Jesus.

W.C. White, speaking of his mother, wrote the following in 1933: “In her early experience, when she was sorely distressed over the difficulty of putting into human language the revelations of truth that had been imparted to her, she was reminded of the fact that all wisdom and knowledge comes from God. And she was assured that God would bestow grace and guidance. She was told that in the reading of religious books and journals she would find precious gems of truth expressed in acceptable language and that she would be given help from heaven to recognize these and to separate them from the rubbish of error with which they were sometimes associated.” Praise the Lord for the gift of inspiration. Inspiration is not a matter of God dictating by the Holy Spirit the words as an executive dictates to a secretary. In the Bible we see the prophets being given visions and then left to themselves, aided by the Holy Spirit, to pick out the words they would use to describe the things they saw. God has used many different agencies, including the Holy Spirit and angels, to communicate His word. The important thing is that the final production is the testimony of Jesus.

Bringing all of this back to how it relates to stress, we see that it should make all the difference to us whether we are listening to the testimony of Jesus or whether we are merely reading the ideas of some human being. Test and prove for yourself that the Bible is the voice of Jesus to your soul, and therefore, you will find peace and help, comfort and assurance in the promises contained therein, as well as the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, for both are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Someone may be thinking, isn’t the Bible enough? Yes, the Bible is enough. In fact, the Bible itself teaches that the ten commandments are enough. Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Genesis to Revelation is an expansion of the law and in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy we have the divine magnifying glass upon the whole Bible. Thank God for all the help He has given us. He tells us that He will, by His mercy, bring us back onto the path if we will follow Him, and this should cause us to rejoice. What leads to the Bible leads to Christ and obedience to the law. The fruit of it is a people made ready for the coming of the Lord.

Every promise in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy is a beautiful, personal promise from Jesus with your name on it. Will you take the promises of God found in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and claim them and prove them as your own? Will you thank God for them? Jesus says, “And try Me now in this … if I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10, last part. We must not ask only for what we need or want; we must ask for what He promises, believing that God will do all that He has promised to do and thank Him for His wonderful love.

When we need help in knowing that the Bible is God’s word, in knowing that the Spirit of Prophecy is the testimony of Jesus, or in knowing how to claim these promises for ourselves, God will help us. With His help we will meet all the stresses of daily life, the increasing stresses of tomorrow, next week, next month, and we will be made ready to meet the great stresses of the closing conflict and to stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, triumphant over all that the enemy has brought against us.

Elder W. D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he or she can fill. His life followed this principle and encouraged others to do the same.