A LEFTOVER FROM THE MAIN COURSE….
My pastor’s sermon message yesterday was the final part of an ongoing sermon series based on the book Life’s Healing Choices, by John Baker of Saddleback Church. This is my synopsis of the final lesson in this sermon series, followed by some “refrigerator worthy” quotes and some supporting scriptures.
“You don’t help people with your strength, but with your weaknesses.”
“How do you know when you are over your past hurts? You start helping others.”
“We only change when we feel the heat.”
“God never wastes a hurt.”
“God only uses broken people because that’s all he has to work with.”
“We often don’t know that God is all we need, until He is all we have.”
“Your greatest ministry will grow out of your pain.”
The following favorite scripture was one used to illustrate how we must be honest about our own frustrations when we are sharing our stories with others. I love The Message translation of Romans 7:18 because it illustrates so clearly Paul’s frustrations with his own sinful nature:
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. Romans 7:18 The Message
2 Corinthians 12:20 (MSG)
2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NLT)
Psalm 119:71 NIV
Ecclesiates 4:9-10 NLT
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
AND FOR DESSERT…
I am attending a Bible Study that is based on Max Lucado‘s book, Fearless. Last night our Women’s Ministry Leader read an excerpt of Psalm 139 from The Message. I wanted to share the whole of this Psalm with you from The Message because it is quite beautiful. It is a perfect place to go in times when you might be feeling alone, in a bad place in your journey, want to praise him but can’t find the words. There are many reasons to turn to this beautiful Psalm. Remember that God made you so that he could connect with you. He always knows what’s going on in your life. You can’t fool God. He knows everything there is to know about you and he still loves you. What a steadfast and true friend he is. He never leaves us, it is always we who walk away and close the door.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!
7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!
23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
 John Baker developed the Christ centered recovery program called Celebrate Recovery and his book, Life’s Healing Choices is based on that program.
 Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson