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“In times of suffering, the Church encourages us to fully experience our story… Deepening our understanding of our faith relinquishes our need to tell each other empty words like “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and “He/she is in a better place.” Instead, it allows us to offer prayer, presence and understanding that strengthen our relationship to God and each other. If we put aside the pressure to speak, we recognize silence is not awkward; it is prayerful stillness, and we find words that are honest, loving and compassionate. We can honor and express gratitude for the joys, sorrows, fears and tears experienced in vulnerability while embracing hope in the resurrection and a will that is greater than our own. We each have a story of joys and sorrows and it is a holy gift to share it with others.” (Danielle Xanthos (MDiv, MA))

“When we experience coercion or compulsion before a decision or action, we should regard it as a sign of the need for caution. Such promptings are not of the Holy Spirit. Feelings of duress and pressure are indeed signs of other spirits (1 Jn 4:1). We may experience the pressure of our passions (Ps 37:7); spiritual immaturity and confusion (Heb 5:11-14); or sin and darkening of our heart (Rom 1:21). To distinguish between our own feelings and thoughts and the guidance of the Spirit requires regular prayer, long practice in discernment, and the counsel of a spiritual advisor and wise pastor. The Scriptures help us to prepare our hearts to hear the Spirit. But we must remember that He cannot lead if we simply rush to the Bible, grasping for a verse, or thumb through the writings of the Fathers in search of a word we want to hear.” (Dynamis 6/30/2018)

“What should we do when our stress load has our brains in a vise? Give up?...We like to control the environment around us, secure in the belief that we can handle anything life throws at us. But is that kind of rugged individualism really proper for the Christian?...True, we can’t simply sit on the couch and trust that God will pay the electric bill or change the attitude of a rebellious teenager. The “giving up” comes not in the action we have to take but in the results we expect our actions to effect. Different situations call us to act, to be sure. But when we relinquish control to God, we leave the results in His hands because we acknowledge that we never had control over them to begin with. When the pressures of life threaten to crush you and you’re called to action, begin by simply willing your mind to be still and recognizing that God is in control.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“Even those who are especially close to God…have moments when they want to escape their problems and pressures…In a world of noise, confusion, and relentless pressures, people long for peace. Many give up the search, thinking it impossible to find, but true peace of heart and mind is available to us through faith in Jesus Christ...the power that brought the universe into being and that keeps it operating is the very power that cleanses our sins…The power we receive in union with Christ is sufficient to do His will and to face the challenges that arise from our commitment to doing it...As we contend for the faith, we will face troubles, pressures, and trials. As they come, ask Christ to strengthen you.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 55:6-8, 1 Corinthians 1:3, Philippians 4:13)

“Many times we want to escape from the pressure, when the pressure, if we yield to it, can shape Christ-likeness in us…When God wants to bring more power into our lives, He brings more pressure. He is generating spiritual force by friction.” (Beth Moore, A. B. Simpson)

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