The Stress Cure Discussion Questions

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Discussion Questions for The Stress Cure

by Linda Evans Shepherd

Introduction

  1. Which are your top three stressors as mentioned in Psychology Today?
  2. What were the first words of Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection?
  3. How do these words apply to you and your stress?

 

Chapter 1

  1. Linda tells the story of how she came to faith when she was a child. Why do you think that the moment she made her decision of faith public, she felt God’s presence touch her soul?
  2. Read Ephesians 2:20–22. Explain what it means to be “the holy temple of the Lord.”
  3. Why did Jesus die for our sins? Why wasn’t it enough to offer animals as a sacrifice to God?
  4. Explain how Max Lucado’s description of how our response to God’s Holy Spirit should be to “raise the sails” versus “row the boat.” How does this apply to your own life?
  5. What does it mean to be baptized by the Holy Spirit?
  6. In your own words, retell the story of what the disciples were empowered to do when they received the Holy Spirit.
  7. Read Galatians 5:25. Is it possible to live by God’s Holy Spirit? If so, how should God’s Holy Spirit change our lives?
  8. Re-pray the yielding prayer as a responsive reading.

 

Chapter 2

  1. Discuss Linda’s conclusion that life is about figuring out which things should be discarded and which things should be kept and put in their rightful place. How does this apply to your life?
  2. Which definition of “overwhelmed” best applies to you?
  3. What are the three key things you are going to have to do in order to yield to the peace of the Holy Spirit?
  4. Clean ___________
  5. Let go of ___________
  6. Learn how to ________________
  7. Linda compares Jesus, in a sense, to the professional cleaners on A&E’s Hoarders. In what ways could this be so?
  8. What are you hoping Jesus will help you sort through and make right in your own life?
  9. If you had more control in your life, how would that help you trust God more? Or would it? Why?
  10. How is trying to be independent of God’s help like a small child trying to pour a gallon of milk into a small glass by herself?
  11. Do you trust that God can really turn our messes into miracles? Why or why not?
  12. Psalm 142:5–7 is a lament written by David when he was hiding in a cave from Saul. What breakthrough did David have at the end of his lament? What miracle soon followed David’s breakthrough?
  13. Share what Psalm 31:24 means to you.

 

Chapter 3

  1. How is a “cast down” sheep or “cast down” man or woman alike? Read aloud what Keller says about cast down men and women.
  2. What are the three things you can do to help you find God’sfreedom?
  3. According to Jesus, in Matthew 13:19–23, not everyone who hears the word can ________ it; ________ onto it, or ____________________ in it. What are the three problems that can prevent a person from doing these things?
  4. How would you describe the quality of the soil in your heart? What is the best way to till it?
  5. Please explain why peace is either passive or powerful. What trick does the enemy use to hide the truth; not only from believers but the whole world? What kinds of things does the enemy try to hide from us? What effect does the light of God’s truth have in these same areas?
  6. What is the quickest way to turn on the light in our lives? Please give an example.
  7. In the story of Jesus calming the storm, what is the main insight you came away with?
  8. Read Philippians 4:6–7 again and then explain how this Scripture applies to you.

 

Chapter 4

  1. What are the three things Linda says you can do to help you find contentment in your circumstances?

a.         ______________God your frustrations.

b.         ______________God in your frustrations.

c.         Develop a _________ _________.

  1. Reread the Max Lucado quote about Jesus understanding our lives. Do you think it’s true that God knows and cares how you feel?
  2. As a responsive reading, pray the prayer about God’s hands undergirding your own. What does this prayer mean to you?
  3. Do you think it’s true that, as Billy Graham said, “God never changes or goes back on his word?” Why or why not?
  4. How is trusting God a choice? As a responsive reading, re-pray Linda’s prayer of declaring your trust in God.
  5. Linda says that the best way to develop a grateful heart is to learn how to _______ in _______ with God.
  6. How does Stormie Omartian explain this process?
  7. How does the biblical story of Sarah’s hard-won lesson apply to you?
  8. How was God bigger than Linda’s circumstances in the situation regarding her daughter?
  9. Reread Colossians 1:11–12 and explain what this means to you?

 

Chapter 5

  1. Do you relate to Linda’s story of feeling burdened and unloved? How?
  2. If you are straining under a heavy burden, you may want to know how to:

a.         Find _______________, his help and direction.

b.         Find _______________ from your heavy burdens.

  1. Read Psalm 46:1 and explain how this verse applies to you. Tell how it applied to Linda when she was lost.
  2. Reread Romans 8:26–28 and explain why understanding this Scripture can apply to you and change your perception of your difficulties.
  3. What are your top three burdens? What did Jesus say in Matthew 11:25 about these burdens? What exactly is Jesus offering?
  4. According to Linda, what should you do while you are waiting on God for a miracle?
  5. Reread the prayer about accepting the yoke of Jesus as a responsive reading.
  6. How was it that Caleb was only one of two people who entered God’s Promised Land?
  7. Linda lists seven promises of God; seven of a few thousand found in the Word. Which of God’s promises is your favorite and why?
  8. How will believing this promise change your life?

 

Chapter 6

  1. What lesson could Max the miniature labradoodle teach you about a hopeless situation you might be facing?
  2. When you apply God’s resurrection power to your life, you’ll realize that

a.         Your ______ is not hopeless.

b.         When you seek God, he will _______ a ________.

c.         With God, your _______ is amazing.

  1. Julie’s life seemed pointless after the loss of her daughter. How did this feeling prove to be untrue? What is Julie’s greatest purpose? How does her purpose compare to your purpose?
  2. Read Linda’s prayer about how God restores the hopeless as a responsive reading. How does this prayer change the way you view your future?
  3. Reread the Charles Stanley quote about prayer and make a plan on how to apply this quote as a life-plan. Share your plan.
  4. How was Jonah’s hopelessness transformed to hope?
  5. What is the last thing you feel God told you to do? Have you done it? If not, share the next step you will take to start the process.
  6. Read the Max Lucado quote near the end of this chapter and explain how this applies to you.
  7. Read 1 Peter 1:3–5 together. Share your thoughts on how this Scripture applies to you.

 

Chapter 7

  1. Read Naomi Rhode’s words as she described her chosen response to Dale’s parodies of her. Explain how you can apply Naomi’s words to your offenses.
  2. Is it possible that you’ve picked up offenses in situations that were not meant to offend you? If so, what should you do about it?
  3. What does Linda mean when she talks about “silver-candlestick living”? How does this fit into Proverbs 19:11?
  4. What kinds of opportunities could lurk at the door of an offense? Can you share a time you found such an opportunity?
  5. Read the Pam Farrel quote, then discuss what to do when an offense is too dangerous to remove or deny.
  6. Read the prayer on giving a difficult offense to God as a responsive reading.
  7. Read the prayer on asking God to help you reconcile with someone as a responsive reading.
  8. What are three tips that will help you work through offense?

a.         Live in supernatural ____________.

b.         Learn how to _______ _________.

c.         Draw closer to __________.

  1. What miracles happened because _______ obeyed God and prayed for Saul? Is there anyone God is placing on your heart to pray for? Can you pray for them right now?
  2. Read Luke 6:27–31 as a responsive reading, then share what it means to you.

 

Chapter 8

  1. What line from the movie Indiana Jones does Linda like to tell God whenever she faces a fearful situation? Why is this “prayer” a good or bad idea?
  2. How does the statement “yes there may be snakes” and Luke 10:19 go together?
  3. If you want to trade your anxiety for God’s bliss, you need to learn how to:

a.         Break through the stronghold of _______.

b.         Break through the stronghold of _______.

  1. What is the key to banishing fear? Read John 4:18 then discuss how to live into God’s perfect love.
  2. As a responsive reading, read the prayer about trusting God no matter what is going on in your life. What does this prayer mean to you?
  3. Read the prayer about racking up worries as a responsive reading. Then discuss what it means to you. Why did Moses make a bronze snake on a pole?
  4. How is looking to Jesus to care for our worries and fears like the lifting up of Jesus on the cross?
  5. Read John 14:27 as a responsive reading. How does this Scripture apply to you?
  6. How is it that God can allow the very things you worry about to become seeds of miracles?

 

Chapter 9

  1. Why was it that Linda could experience God’s peace despite the fact that her keys were missing? How was her attitude both a calling and a choice?
  2. What is your opinion of Abraham Lincoln’s quote about a person’s face? How does that comment correspond with Proverbs 15:13?
  3. You can replace a negative attitude with a good mood if you:

a.         Learn to be ______.

b.         Keep your heart open to the _____ of _______.

c.         Take better _____ of yourself.

  1. What lesson did author Lindsey O’Connor learn about contentment?
  2. Pray the “will check” prayer as a responsive reading then discuss what it means.
  3. How did author/producer Bill Myers learn to follow God’s will?
  4. What are love blocks? How does 1 Corinthians 13:2 apply to love blocks? Read Jeremiah 31:2 and discuss how God’s love can make a difference regarding your love blocks.
  5. Pray the prayer about love blocks as a responsive reading. Discuss what it means to you.
  6. Take a look at Linda’s threesuggestions to take better care of yourself and discuss ways in which you could do a better job.
  7. How did both Nabal and David display their bad attitudes? How was Abigail able to intervene?
  8. Read Philippians 2:14–15 as a responsive reading, then share your thoughts on how this verse applies to you.

 

Chapter 10

  1. Describe how the New York pickpocket’s strategy is much like the strategy Satan uses on us.
  2. What are the three ways you can counteract distractions?

a.         Remember God can use ____________ for __________.

b.         _________ ___________ your distractions.

c.         Focus on __________.

  1. How was it that Joseph was able to thrive in adversity? How can you do the same?
  2. If God can turn evil into good, should we never seek God to deliver us from evil? Why or why not?
  3. Pray the “deliver me from evilprayer” as a responsive reading. Share what this prayer means to you.
  4. How are the three steps God asks us to take in 2 Chronicles 7:14 demonstrated in the prayer to help you mesh your past with your distractions? Pray this prayer together as a group.
  5. Read Proverbs 3:5–6, then discuss why Jesus did not make Peter’s call to come to him easy? How do you think this applies to our own problems?
  6. If the word meek, as Max Lucado says, means “focused” or “power under control,” then how does this concept apply to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they faced off against king Nebuchadnezzar? How can you tap in to this definition when you face trials of your own?
  7. Read Hebrews 12:1–4 and share what this Scripture means to you.

 

Chapter 11

  1. What are some of the ways Linda’s daughter inspires her to pursue joy?
  2. Read Max Lucado’s quote about God’s joy, then list the three best ways to steep yourself in joy.

a.         Keep God _______ in your life.

b.         Choose ________.

c.         Develop an ______ of _________.

  1. Read the prayer about stepping out of depression then share what this prayer means to you.
  2. Read A. W. Tozer’s quote about God. How can pursuing God as our treasure make a difference in our lives? How does this attitude compare with Matthew 6:33?
  3. Read the Helen Keller quote and discuss how both Laura and Helen overcame their circumstances to experience joy? Do you think that joy is something that you too can experience?
  4. How is your life like Linda’s experience of sitting in a waiting room? What can you do as you wait?
  5. Read James 1:2–4 then read the invitation to God’s prayer as a responsive reading. Explain how the verse and the prayer go together.
  6. Read Corinthians 4:2 and share three things that you have to be thankful for.
  7. How can giving your problems to God’s love make a difference?
  8. Pray the Philippians 2:5 prayer together as a responsive reading. Share the problems you are bringing to God as an act of trust.
  9. How did Paul and Silas’s worship of God change not only their situation but the situation of others?
  10. Read Psalm 89:15–18 and describe what this means to you.

 

Chapter 12

  1. What is peace really about?
  2. What are the four things that Linda says a lifestyle of peace includes?
  3. Please explain who is this Jesus we serve. You may share Max Lucado’s words—but also share from your own heart.
  4. Pray the “declaration of who God is” prayer together as a responsive reading. What does this mean to you?
  5. According to Debbie Alsdorf, what can the harsh times of our lives become? How is this true in your life?
  6. Think about Bethany Hamilton’s misadventure with the shark. Then read Jeremiah 29:11. Explain how this verse applies to Bethany. Then, explain how it applies to you.
  7. List reasons why you should live a yielded life.
  8. Read John 18:36 and Corinthians 7:31 and discuss why and how we should live with an eternal mind-set, instead of a mind-set to live from freak-out to freak-out.
  9. Pray the prayer with Billy Graham’s advice as a responsive reading then discuss what it means to you.
  10. How does resting our hearts in God’s peace help us be ready for the battles we must face?
  11. Talk about little Jimmy’s request that Linda drag him through the mall. How is this sometimes like our relationship with God? Pray the “arm lifted” prayer together.
  12. Read Isaiah 26:3–4, then share what it means to you.