Dealing with Anxiety – Study 11 – Thomas

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Anxiety that lasts too long can lead to depression. Having dealt with depression in my 30s it is something I fight against when the first signs appear. Sometimes no matter how hard we fight we can’t overcome it. Just such a case is found in John 20:24-31.

His name was Thomas. We know from John 11:16 that he was already discouraged. He was willing to follow Jesus to Jerusalem and to death. (Remember the Lazarus episode?)

Now things were truly hopeless. His worst fears were realized.

His leader was dead. The disciples were all in hiding. They feared for their lives. They seem to have forgotten all Jesus had tried to tell them while He was still with them.

It is one thing to die with your leader in a glorious battle. It is another thing to be left alone and expected to carry on when your Captain is dead.

Read John 20:24-31. Here is the template anxiety template

Thomas was absent when Jesus first appeared to His disciples. (vs. 19-21) What was Thomas’ reaction when they tried to tell him they had seen the Lord?

What did he demand in order to believe?

Since Thomas was in such distress why do you think Jesus waited another 8 days before He appeared to him?

What is the first thing Jesus said? Why did he say it?

What did he say to Thomas? What was His tone?

Remember Jesus had told them these things again and again. I find his gentle patience amazing.

What was His final word to Thomas (and to us) in verse 29?

Do I ask God to prove Himself? Do I demand answers when God expects me to trust Him?

Why was the book of John written? (vs. 31)

What are we asked to believe and what is the result of that belief?

Our faith isn’t dependent on our circumstances. Thomas and the disciples were done in. They were completely discouraged, but they had forgotten that their real life was in heaven. They were here for a purpose, and it wasn’t to have a soft, easy life.

They were to engage in the battle that was raging. Jesus death was not without meaning. It sealed their redemption. It brought them life. They were just beginning to understand.

…and so, like Jesus, I say to you “…be not unbelieving, but believing.”

If you have any questions please comment below or e-mail me.

For further study:

I Peter 1:3-9, 18-19

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Dealing with Anxiety – Study 10 – Mary Magdalene

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“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Proverbs 13:12

We have all had situations that didn’t turn out as we expected. A job offer that fell through, a betrayal by a friend, a baby that didn’t arrive, a lost love.

We all make plans in our head and when life turns out differently we grieve what might have been.

Today we are looking at Mary Magdalene. Her story is found in John 20:1-18. Here is the template. anxiety template

We don’t know very much about her, but Luke 8:1-3 gives us a little information. We know she was one of the women who followed Jesus from city to city. This group of women helped support Jesus and his disciples financially. It also mentions that 7 demons had been cast out of her. To say that her life was changed by her encounter with Jesus is an understatement.

She was all in. Her life was completely focused on following Jesus. Imagine her brokenness when He is crucified. This is where we pick up the story.

Notice what she does, where she is, who she tells.

We know from Mark 16:9 that she was the first one to see Jesus alive. Why do you think that was?

How am I like Mary Magdalene? How am I like all the other followers who were in hiding?

 

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 9 – Mary & Martha

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Our time line is different than God’s. We have all been in our houses longer than we want. We continue to pray and wait for God to act in supernatural ways. I fluctuate between contentment and restlessness. How can I learn to wait better?

Today we are looking at two sisters who asked in faith, but Jesus didn’t follow their timeline. Their names are Mary and Martha and their story is found in John 11:1-53.

Here is the template. anxiety template

What were the disciples struggling with. (vs. 8, 16) For a background on why they felt so strongly look at John 8:58-59 and John 10:24-31.

Notice the two different responses of the Jews in verses 45-46. Which group am I in?

How did the chief priests and Pharisees respond when they got the report. (vs. 47-48) What were they worried about? What was their ultimate goal? (vs. 53, 57)

Our hope is plainly laid out in verses 25-26. Take note of what it is. What have I been focused on these past weeks? What is my ultimate goal?

There are so many layers here. Take your time.

 

 

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 7 – Abigail

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This park is just a few miles from our house. When I stand and look at Lake Michigan it reminds me how small I am.

We can feel overwhelmed by all that is going on, but the lake reminds me that God is bigger than all of this.

Here are a couple of verses that put it in perspective.

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales?” – Isaiah 40:12

“Or who enclosed the sea with doors, When bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band, And I placed boundaries on it, And I set a bolt and doors, And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’?” Job 38:8-11

Job was struggling with many calamities. God doesn’t answer his questions, but instead explains who He is. (See Job chapters 38-41)

Here is Job’s response to God.

“I know that Thou canst do all things, And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted…I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2, 5-6

We don’t know how all of this will play out, but we know we serve a good God. He has a purpose and plan that is far beyond our imagination. No matter how difficult the circumstances; remember He has promised to be with us.

Believe it!

Today we are looking at someone who my friend, Kathy, suggested. Her name is Abigail and her story can be found in I Samuel 25:2-42.

Here is the template. anxiety template

Here are a few other questions.

What advice did Abigail give David? vs. 24-31 (It’s complicated, take your time.)

What happened to Nabal?

What was David’s response in verse 39?

Starting on Friday I’ll be shifting to the New Testament.

 

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 3 – Rahab

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“Have no anxiety about anything…” (Philippians 4:6) You know the rest of the verse.

We are all struggling with anxiety these days. We want to do something…anything. We hate the feeling of being helpless. But the reality is we have always been helpless. At times like this we realize how small we are.

God knows our fears. He knows how prone we are to worry. He doesn’t scold us, but says again and again. “I will be with you.” “Be not afraid.” He is asking us to trust Him. He is asking us to “be still” (Psalm 46:10)

One of the ways we can be still is to be in His Word. Scripture is living and active and powerful. It gives us peace while the world around us is going mad.

Today we are looking at someone who faced certain destruction. Her name is Rahab. Her story can be found in Joshua 2:1-24; 6:20-25.

Here is the template for studying. anxiety template

When you are done reading and studying I would encourage you to come back and comment on what you have learned. It is valuable for us to share with each other.

My favorite thing about being in a Bible study, (which I have had to put aside for now.) is to hear every person’s perspective on the same passage. While there is only one interpretation, there are many applications. It would be an encouragement to me if you shared what you have learned.

Thank you. Stay safe and well.

Karen

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 2 – Hebrew midwives

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 2 – Hebrew midwives

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Social distancing is the new normal. Anywhere from 3 to 6 feet is now the respectful distance to stand from someone. Groups are to be held at less than 10. If you might be sick you should self-quarantine yourself. I am doing my best to comply with this new way of living.
I’m thankful for a God who doesn’t practice social distancing. A God who comes near…who is with us…who even goes so far as to seek us out. A God who promises to one day wipe away every tear from our eyes.
So as we wait for these social distancing days to be over remember that He is very near. That He loves us with an everlasting love. That in these uncertain times we can be certain of our God pulling us close. Use these days to be in His word. To be in His presence.
Monday we learned about Hagar who encountered the God who sees. Here is the second passage in this series of anxious people. Use the template below to work through the text.

 

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Exodus 1:8-21 – There are a lot of people mentioned in this passage. I would suggest you focus on the Hebrew midwives.  Study this with someone you know over the phone or by skype. Tell me what you learn in the comments. Tell me how I can pray for you.

Dealing with Anxiety – Study 1 – Hagar

These are anxious times. The unknown is always more unsettling than the known.

In an effort to be of help I have created a template for studying about other people who were in anxious situations. Scripture is full of stories that God graciously wrote down for us. Our hope lies firmly with Him, not our circumstances.

You can download a copy here.

Here is the first passage for you to look at and discover how God was at work. It is about Hagar, an Egyptian maid. She finds herself homeless, and later homeless and without food and water. Genesis 16, Genesis 21:1-21.

I will be posting a new passage at least twice a week. Take time to read it through. Our God is not far off. He is right here with us in the midst of the uncertainties. Day by day He will be faithful. Believe it.

As always I would love to hear from you. Also if you have prayer requests please let me know.

Karen Pickering