"O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I'm in trouble, and you will answer me." - Psalm 86:5-7 NLT
Thoughts for Today
Preoccupation and rigidity left unchecked eventually lead to a time when control passes from ourselves to a life-controlling problem. One evidence of loss of control is when a person's lifestyle is determined by use or practice. In the rituals and rigidity phase, use or practice was planned around daily routines and obligations, but this is different. Now use or practice is anytime, and the other areas of our lives must fit in around it. Now harmful consequences become more evident. They may relate to relationships, jobs, finances, health, school or something else. Here are some of the road signs:
- All areas of the lifestyle are structured to serve and support the life-controlling problem.
- The use or practice is no longer limited to set times of the day.
- There are repeated harmful consequences resulting from the life-controlling problem, but, even so, the person can't stop the use or behavior.
Consider this …
Has your life changed to serve a life-controlling problem? Do you want a way out? With God, all things are possible! God loved you and is forgiving. He promises to help us when we are in trouble and call to Him. Don't wait. Talk to Him right now. Ask Him to forgive you and to lead you to a counselor or pastor or friend who can help you along the path God has for you.
Father, I am in trouble … and I need your help. Thank you that you have promised to forgive and to help. Forgive me for my sin. Help me to know the next step I should take. I am ready to do things your way. 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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