"But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)" Ephesians 2:4-5 NLT
Thoughts for Today
As problem behaviors and dependencies progress in our life through the phases of experimentation and social use, we move into the third stage: daily preoccupation. Now we begin to lose control over the problem and violate our value system. We cannot block out the emotional pain, and our lifestyle is centered on this compulsive behavior. Unresolved problems produce more stress and pain. We break our self-imposed rules and our life deteriorates in all areas including our health and our relationships with God and others.
If you have reached this point with a life-controlling problem, you may feel as though you've messed up so badly that it's too late to turn back. But it's not. Today's scripture reminds us that God is rich in mercy and love. It's only by God's grace that any of us are saved. None of us deserves his love and forgiveness … but he offers it to all. Don't let this problem turn you away from his love—run to his open arms. He loves you no matter what and he wants to help you get back on track.
Father, thank you for your love and for reminding me that you are rich in mercy. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness for my failures, but because of Jesus I can come to you. I'm so sorry for this behavior that has taken control of my life. Please forgive me. Help me find my way out of this. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from…
Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. With its emphasis on developing Christian character it is a powerful group for those who want to be sure to prevent life-controlling problems from developing in their lives, as well as for those who need to overcome a current problem.
- It enhances people's understanding of themselves and others.
- It helps people bond together in meaningful relationships.
- It helps prepare people for more meaningful relationships in subsequent small groups like home groups and Sunday school classes.
- It surfaces people for help who may otherwise never seek help.
- It helps break down the segregation of people in churches, turning "those people" and "our kind of people" into just "us."
- It helps prepare people to minister to others.
- It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by ministering to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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