Friday, October 22, 2010


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: doubt

Do you think doubt is a good thing or a bad thing? Explain.

What's your "take" on the disciple Thomas's encounter with the risen Lord?
(John 20:24-29)

Let me know what you think!!

“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. You're messing with my head this morning, aren't you?

    I'm going to take some time over lunch and reread the encounter with Thomas. My first quick response is that his world was wrapped up in "sight". Doubters need human proof of spiritual truth.

    If I recall correctly, he had missed the first appearance of Jesus post resurrection, right? So initially, I see him as one who had his dreams shattered and had retreated to the pouting chair at first. Then, when coaxed out of it for a moment, he was still reluctant to believe (or maybe HOPE)without the tangible evidence.

    My instinct and God's word tell me that he lacked the faith necessary to please God. However displeased God was with him, though, He patiently provided that proof for him. He obviously knew that Thomas had a longing in his heart for "it" to be so.

    We serve such a patient God. I think the encounter with Thomas reminds us of that.

    But, one thing though. Jesus goes on to say "...blessed are they which have NOT seen and yet believe."

    I did an indepth of the concept of "blessed". The word is often defined as "happy". It is, but I learned that properly, it's the word "happier or happiest". In other words, in a comparison, it is better than happy.

    So I'm thinking this morning that though doubters might get their proof, they will never be as happy as those who do not need it.

    That's all I have for now.

    I can't WAIT to see what you have to say and what some of the great commenters on here say. I always, always come away smarter.

  2. And I felt the need to write a whole blog post because.....?

  3. Hi Sharon,

    I was like Thomas because my approach to faith was based on knowing; I believed that my faith needed to know what God would do. This approach led to much frustration and discouragement. Eventually it led me to anger towards God because He didn't respond as I wanted Him to.

    I've come to realize that my faith doesn't require knowledge, but genuine, sincere trust that God is sovereign. I trust that God can say, "YES", "NO", or "NOT NOW" in response to my prayers but no matter what, I will not give up on God. I now know that God has never given up on me, giving me more grace in my life to encourage me to trust Him.

    I'm encouraged by the attitude and example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who said to king Nebuchadnezzar, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18, New International Version).

    This is the example of faith I live by: no matter what happens in my life, God will never leave me or forsake me; His grace is sufficient for me.

    Blessings and peace.


  4. Blessings Sharon,

    Intriguing word! But for me DOUBT is OUT!
    FAITH is IN, with faith we win! Doubt is sin.

    Then you raise the question of "doubting Thomas", the doom and gloom pessimist. I cannot speak for Thomas' doubt, but his redeeming quality (though shadowed by his initial doubt and having to see to believe) was that he was very quick to repent and proclaim Jesus as "HIS LORD and SAVIOR".

    I guess I see a failed world that there is good doubt and bad doubt. Indicators of "good doubt" would be obedience, love and humility. Whereas bad doubt has the indicators of the opposite: disobedience, entitlement and cynicism.

    But doubt is generally seen as bad and all connotations associated with it are bad. I think
    it does depend on the spirit being positive or negative. When it's positive, it can be constructive skepticism that wonders about risks and pitfalls. We don't need a bunch of aimless people being "yes" men and women, telling us only what we want to hear. We need people that weigh the odds, test the waters, seek the truth.

    I read this about bad doubt.
    "Bad doubt is questioning that springs from a negative spirit - a destructive skepticism that dwells on issues and problems with the hope that the whole project will come tumbling down."
    With doubting Thomas, we see negative traits coming forth from his fear, and questioning of what had happened, so we see this as disloyal.
    We see doubt as heresy. We view Thomas as "how audacious" is he after following Jesus Christ for 3 yrs. and being part of His chosen group.
    I had to laugh, Dr. Ralph Wilson(who I do studies with at times)wrote that Thomas was one who saw "his glass half empty, instead of half full." Here's a good article on Thomas by him.

    Many good quotes about DOUBT! Here's a Spanish proverb (translated of course):
    "he who knows nothing, doubts nothing."

    Making me search and dig deeper... good way to involve us and truly help us reflect on what we take for granted. I almost just wrote my first part and tell you that I'd ponder this and let it go. But tomorrow I wrote a post on "Letting Go" so since I opened the door here, I needed to complete the thought... I appreciate how you "fan the flame". I pray for His all consuming fire to continue to cause us to seek Him, His truth... do you do a follow up on this or do we just gather from the comments? I remember that you are one of the bloggers that respond in comments, I hope I come back and read! Friday is normally my day of prayer, so I need to allow God to search me and see if there be any doubt in me... Thanks Sharon! You stir the flame...

  5. Hi Sharon... Here's some other good articles on "doubting Thomas" and what we can learn from him.
    Doubting Thomas

    McKenzie Study Center

  6. DOUBT is rooted in FEAR. Fear is the opposite of FAITH. When we doubt God or His son Jesus or the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives or another - we are actually saying that God is not who He says He is nor who others say He is - nor who I say He is. Doubt is of the enemy - to weaken our faith.. We are all given a measure of faith - it's up to us to "fan the flames" - as you say, of faith and grow in faith - larger faith - higher levels of faith.

    Doubt is of the flesh - the fallen world as a result of sin in the garden. We are all born with this flesh of DOUBT - but we are also born with a measure of faith.

    Deu 28:66 "Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. (see the correlation between doubt and fear?)

    Mat 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (doubt comes from lack of faith - or little faith)

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (doubt is walking according to the flesh)

    Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (each one has been dealt a measure of faith)

    Mat 21:21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. (if you have faith - and do not doubt - doubt cancels out faith - they each serve a different master)

    Rom 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (faith is of God - as stated in Rom 12:3 - God is not the author of doubt)

    Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

    Because of Christ - we are moved from doubt - the fallen-ness of man - to fear - from sin to salvation through faith in this Christ Jesus - doubt is a sap-sucker of faith and must not be tolerated in our flesh. It erodes our faith to nothingness.

    Gal 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

    Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

    DOUBT is a product of the mind...that isn't solidly surrendered through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. We therefore must take every thot captive to the obedience of Christ and put on the helmet of salvation to protect our MIND from the DOUBT and FEAR that are thrown at us from Satan... to weaken or rob us of FAITH

    2Cr 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ...

    Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

    1Th 5:8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

    Worthy of a whole study - I read many more verses that could have been applied - thanks for fanning the flame in me - if for no other reason - this was a good and worthy exercise in FAITH - for me. Thank you also, Sharon for visiting me on the bridge and joining me. I'm glad I hoped over here to see who you were.

    God bless you with favor
    patrina <")>><
    warrior bride in boots

  7. I think that there is a lot of Thomas in all of us. We want to see it for ourselves and not take the word of another sometimes. For instance, we have caller ID and if I'm by the phone and it rings, I see who it is and report it to my husband, but he feels the need to go and see it himself, like he doesn't take my word for it for whatever reason, perhaps doubts my word. So I think Thomas just wanted to see for himself and had his doubts. We don't know a lot of the dynamics about the disciples except what is recorded in the Bible. Was he one that they played jokes on? Did he always doubt everything without testing it out or seeing the proof himself? I think he is a good example for us to go and see it ourselves if we have any doubts about anything someone might say or preach about and go to the source itself (the Bible) for what the truth is. But when we know the truth and see the truth, then we have to stop doubting and start believing and trusting

    (thanks for your kind comment yesterday on my blog; made me blush :)

    enjoy the weekend!


  8. I don't think Thomas acted any differently than a lot of us who spent a lot of time appearing to walk with Christ only to find that, in a moment of crisis and heartbreak, the faith we thought we had was not rooted in Christ at all (at least not the Christ of Scripture). Without delving too much into the Greek, it seems the Bible does not come out and say he did, in fact, touch the wounds. But it does give us Thomas' response to the resurrected presence of Christ. ''My Lord and My God''. And isn't that just what happens in any salvation experience? We acknowledge our sin, we acknowledge Christ's death, we acknowledge His glorious resurrection, and declare Him to be ''MY Lord and MY God''. I've always thought that Thomas has gotten a bad rap over the centuries. Instead of calling him ''Doubting Thomas'' he should be called ''Everyman Thomas''. My two cents worth. :-)

  9. I think of the serenity prayer here - sometimes you have to have some doubt and sometimes you don't need doubt - what you need is the ability to know the difference. sandie

  10. Greetings -

    Doubt is to do without...
    GOD's best.

    Sidebar: Please forgive me Sharon for posting the wrong address for your blog on my blog.
    As soon as I read your comment, I made the correction.

  11. I think we can learn much from Thomas. As the Life Application Bible says..."When you experience doubt, take encouragement from Thomas, he didn't stay in his doubt, but allowed Jesus to bring him to belief....Silent doubts rarely find answers." I love your post and the comments here. Speaking of comments, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my post. I knew I liked you, I am a rock collector too. Especially geodes. (o:

  12. Wow! So much good stuff!! Thanks, everyone, for your thought-full comments! I'm going to re-read them in the morning - I've got to let them settle in a bit...

    And you each could make an awesome post on your own with your words - you do know that, right?

    It's late here in California - so I'm going to pick a sentence out of each of your comments to respond to - OK?!

    Debbie - "So I'm thinking this morning that though doubters might get their proof, they will never be as happy as those who do not need it."
    Really liked this - those of us who believe without seeing, are truly "blessed" - and by that I mean, better than happy!

    MTJ - "I've come to realize that my faith doesn't require knowledge, but genuine, sincere trust that God is sovereign." I believe this statement is at the CORE of faith - TRUST is the opposite of doubt. LOVE your Scripture reference - so good. I was reminded of what Job said: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."

    Peggy - To answer your question, I don't do a follow-up, other than what we gather from each other's comments (which is always SO enlightening to me!) However, this garnered such a response, I may have to do a blog post on it. Here's the line from your comment that I liked: "We need people that weigh the odds, test the waters, seek the truth." This is very true, I think. I think honest seeking and questioning can be a good thing - IF it leads us TOWARD God and the answers HE provides. (Thanks for the links to articles about Thomas - I'll check those out tomorrow!)

    Patrina - WELCOME! I am so glad that we're going to be joining each other on our journeys! Thank you for your wonderful comments. Here's the line I liked: "DOUBT is rooted in FEAR. Fear is the opposite of FAITH." I agree. Fear is the enemy of trust, and without trust, there can be no faith. Thanks so much for all the verses - they were wonderful!

    Betty - The comment about caller ID cracked me up!! We humans are so funny...but it was a great example of simple doubt. You brought up a very good point with this line: "...go to the source itself (the Bible) for what the truth is." This must ALWAYS be our primary source for truth, the weapon we use to fight off doubt. (Glad I made you blush! I DO xoxo you!)

    (Have to continue in another comment - TOO LONG!!)

  13. Melissa - It's so easy to point fingers at Thomas. However, I for one KNOW that I would have reacted the same way (I'm not proud of that, but I'm afraid it's the truth). I really liked your insightful thoughts! This was a good line: "But it does give us Thomas' response to the resurrected presence of Christ. My Lord and My God'." If there's such a thing as "good" doubt, it certainly should lead us to fall at the feet of Jesus! Everyman Thomas...I like that!!

    Sandie - Very clever! I think I can see the difference you're going for - we should doubt something that doesn't sound like truth, but embrace without doubting what IS truth.

    Sandra -
    "Doubt is to do without...
    GOD's best."
    How very true! God's BEST is that we lean on Him in perfect repose - full of rest and peace - total trust in His love and goodness!
    (Re: My blog address - No forgiveness necessary - an honest mistake - NO worries!!)

    Anita - Thanks for your comment. I LOVE my Life Application Bible. The notes add so much to my reading. This was a great thought: "Silent doubts rarely find answers." THAT is crucial, I think. Good or bad, doubts DO happen. But where do we take them? Do we let them fester, and draw us away into disbelief? Or do we voice them to God, and let His Spirit draw us toward greater faith? (Ooooo...geodes! You're speaking my language! If you're not busy, come back on Monday and Tuesday - I'll have posts with a "rock" theme!)

    Again, my friends, a GREAT discussion today. As always, your thoughts truly "fanned the flame" of my heart! My brain had a good workout too!

    I close with these verses: "Jesus said, 'Anything is possible if a person believes'...'I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!'" (Mark 9:23-24)

    GOD BLESS, friends!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)