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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Time has Flown

I looked around the room and wondered where the time had gone. I remember being a child with all  these people and now most of us are grandparents or great grandparents. Our outer shell has changed, but the same people are still inside.

My sisters and I were at a family reunion. My father was one of eleven children. Two of my dad’s youngest brothers were there to celebrate the day with us.  

It was a day of remembering, of catching up, of meeting new people, of laughing at old jokes and some new ones. We sang old and new songs. My cousin Cindy’s husband, Les Mau, gave a short message, since it was Sunday. As we sat and listened we heard him say.

“Don’t miss heaven.” If there is anything our grandparents or parents would say to us it is “Don’t miss heaven.” I can’t get it out of my mind.

We are so busy living our lives, finding our place, accumulating things that we forget to tell those we love…”Don’t miss heaven.” Nothing else matters. Nothing.

And so dear reader, if you have followed me for any length of time, I want to tell you. “Don’t miss heaven.” This life isn’t all there is. We were made for eternity. Don’t get distracted by the here and now and forget about what comes next.

I have been reading through some of my Dad’s old notes. There is a theme. There was an urgency to his life. Our time is short. With eternity in view 80 years is nothing. Here is what my Dad laid out again and again.

We should run to Christ. – “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

If we run to Christ He will accept us. – “and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37b

All should repent. – “…not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

We have strong encouragement – “…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, “ Hebrews 6:18b – 19a

Gospel in a nutshell –  “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation…for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” Romans 10:9, 10, 13

The message is simple. There is nothing I can do to earn it.

No one is beyond His reach.

None of us know how long we have.

I am looking forward to someday leaving this earth and going to heaven. I hope to see you there.

“Don’t miss heaven.”

If you have any questions please contact me through my blog.

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded sick and sore.

Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity love and pow’r.

I will arise and go to Jesus, He will embrace me in His arms.

In the arms of my dear Savior, O, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome. God’s free bounty glorify;

True belief and true repentance, every grace that brings you nigh.

Let not conscience make you linger, Nor of fitness fondly dream.

All the fitness He requireth is to find your need of Him.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Lost and ruined by the fall.

If you tarry till you’re better; You will never come at all.

(by Joseph Hart 1759)

I should have included this song in my last post.  When my voice returns I will try and record an audio version to be added here.  There is a modern/new tune, but I prefer the old one.

 

If the Cure Won’t Kill You…

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks. It started as a cold that wouldn’t go away and when the coughing overstayed its welcome I took myself to the doctor. Bronchitis was diagnosed and antibiotics were prescribed. I thought that was that and dutifully took my medicine and proceeded on my way.  A couple weeks later my cough was sneaking back and there was no more medicine to take. I called the doctor’s office and they prescribed something stronger.  It remains to be seen if this medicine will be effective, but I got a bit of a shock when I read through the three pages of warnings and possible side effects. I suddenly was afraid I would die in my sleep,  if I could get to sleep.

But my biggest problem isn’t bronchitis. My biggest problem is sin. Like the paralytic in Mark 2 whose friends bring him to Jesus, tearing up the roof to get him there, Jesus first words to him were…”Your sins are forgiven”. It wasn’t that Jesus was overlooking the obvious (his physical condition). It was that Jesus saw his most pressing need as the need of his soul, the need to have his sins forgiven. The man didn’t get his life cleaned up before he came. He came sick and helpless. Jesus knew his most pressing need was his soul and almost as an afterthought he heals his body as well.

And so as I wait for the bronchitis cure to take effect I have to think of a more effective cure that has already been applied, one of eternal value. I can’t earn or work for it. I don’t deserve this cure and yet it is freely offered to me and to anyone who will apply the finished work of Christ to his life. Jesus did what I couldn’t. He died so I wouldn’t have to. He gave up His inheritance so I could inherit. How could I help but love such a God.