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Overcoming Discouragement and Depression: Bible Study Notes

October 28, 2009

faith road signI love teaching the Tuesday Night Women’s Bible study at the Los Angeles Dream Center.  Here are my notes from last night’s Bible study.  I made the notes as detailed as I could, but I tend to share a lot more in person.  I always get so excited about the promises of God, a passion builds up inside of me and before I know it I’m not even looking at my notes.   If you are in the Los Angeles area, join us next Tuesday, 7 pm at the Dream Center on the eighth floor. 

Overcoming Discouragement and Depression

1.) God is always there for you

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)  The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 Psalm 145:18 (NIV)  The LORD is near to all who call on him…

  • God Himself makes a way for us and promises to always be with us and never leave us.  The Holy Spirit of God is not only with us but also within us. In my own life the Holy Spirit has become my true companion.  He walks with me and talks with me.  I was pondering this the other day and a thought came to me.  Right now, while the Holy Spirit is with me, leading me, comforting me through whatever I am facing in life – at the very same moment he is also somewhere else; holding a mother who just lost her child or a woman battling for her life in a hospital bed.  I was so humbled to think of God’s unconditional love for me.  He doesn’t compare my life’s situations to someone else’s.  He doesn’t prioritize and decide who needs Him more.  He is unconditionally with all who call on Him; because he loves us all and because He keeps his promises.  This reality of God’s nature is meant to be encouraging to us.  
  • The word discouraged means to weaken stamina and zeal; to prevent, restrain, depress 
  • Depression is a growing problem worldwide.  In America alone an estimated 17 million people are diagnosed every year.  That is only the number of those who were willing and able to go to the doctor. We all have temporary feelings of discouragement.  If we try to simply ignore the feelings, discouraging thoughts have the tendency to build up over time. God is there to help us battle the discouraging thoughts before they reach the depths of depression.  
  • Basically God is saying to us, “Because I go before you, because I am always with you, do not let anything steal away your zeal and stamina for life and your life’s purpose.  Do not let anything restrain or depress you. I am with you and I will never leave you.”  

2.) Don’t Listen to Negative People, Trust God

 Jeremiah 20:10-11 (NLT)   I have heard the many rumors about me. They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.”
They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.”  Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip. “He will trap himself,” they say, “and then we will get our revenge on him.”  But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.  Before him my persecutors will stumble.  They cannot defeat me.  They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.  Their dishonor will never be forgotten.

  •  I think we can all relate to this scripture at some point.  Jeremiah was faced with rumors and negativity and even his old friends had it out for him.  We can learn from Jeremiah’s example in these verses.  Instead of allowing the negativity of others to discourage him, he says something that changes the entire attitude of this verse; “But the Lord…”  
  • Just like Jeremiah, we have a choice to make.  Who will we listen to?  Will we listen to the discouraging negativity of others or will we choose to believe in the promises of God.  The choice we make will often determine the attitude of our mind.  

3.) Find Friends that Encourage you with Faith

1 Thessalonians 3:7 (NIV)  Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 

  • When we are feeling down and discouraged, we need to surround ourselves with positive people of faith.  Seek out friendships that have the depth of faith.  Read encouraging books; listen to encouraging messages. 
  • Sometimes we need to change our environment; the places we go, the groups we are involved in.  Whatever changes are necessary; we should make them. A very important part overcoming discouragement is recognizing the things we need to change.  Unhealthy thought patterns is only a part of it.  What does the atmosphere of your life look like?   Having positive, uplifting people of faith around us definitely helps our own attitude. 

4.)        Let God Heal the Broken areas of our Lives

Jeremiah 33: 6  Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.

  • Sometimes the root of our discouragement and depression is because we feel broken and hurt from our past .  No matter how long you have lived with the pain; God desires to “bring health and healing to it” and  “let you enjoy abundant peace and security.” God is ready and able to restore us.  We just have to be willing to let him into the painful areas of our heart and He will heal us.  It might be a scary thought at the beginning to let God into every area of your heart, it’s hard to be vulnerable with the most tender and painful parts of our lives… but FREEDOM is worth it.
One Comment leave one →
  1. A Ramsey permalink
    December 16, 2010 1:55 am

    I appreciate your notes, thank you for publishing them online. At 3 am in GA there are not a lot of places to get help. But getting to this page has really helped me to battle discouragement. Thanks again and may God bless you.

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