Ephesians 2: 3 – 5 ESV
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
The Thorn In Our Sides
It is funny how feelings or actions that you thought you have overcome in your life come back occasionally and remind you, like a thorn, that they are still there. For example, I have struggled most of my life with perfectionism always trying to be better, striving to fulfill my self-imposed goal. Fortunately now I do not hear that relentless voice pushing me to do more, to be more, but instead am aware of when I am getting close to overdoing it, which I call ‘going over my redline’.
Acts 9: 20 – 22 ESV
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
Can the Lord use a prodigal today just as he did Paul? Whenever I read the account of Paul’s conversion from Saul to Paul I am reminded that the Lord changed me from Saula to Paula. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1bzTDak.
Change | Faith Family Reunion
Come and Hang out with a bunch of Hypocrites:
Confirm what you already thought about people in church, that they all are a bunch of hypocrites. Learn that this is “why” they are in church in the first place because we all are hypocrites (those who attend church and those who do not).
Realize that “perfect” people do not attend church, why would they need it? Instead hypocrites attend church because they realize their imperfection and their need of a loving God.
It is easy to judge people from the outside looking in, but when you are in the fellowship of other hypocrites and actually talk to them, you will find that they are a lot like you.
Love this Psalm! Taken from the ESV…enjoy!
Psalm 32 ESV Blessed Are the Forgiven
A Maskil[a] of David.
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up[b] as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
From the Heart
How do you show your love? This can be a heartbreaking question for the prodigal’s parent. As I write this, tears come to my eyes as I think of the love my parents showed me when I ran away from the faith. Their love remained strong despite the times when I pushed away the foundational truths they taught me growing up. They continued to love me as I walked in darkness, their steadfast love shining like a beacon of light.
Read more from our weekly newsletter here: http://bit.ly/1fjSZBY
When I was lost and following the ways of the world, I was motivated by perfection. In order to achieve this state I focused primarily on myself. I compared myself to other people, how they looked, acted and how they lived. During this stage in my life though I thought I was still a caring and compassionate person. In reality, I was motivated only by self with life focused on me.
When the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures restored me to faith in Jesus Christ, my whole world turned upside down. Things in life that used to be important to me became unimportant. I saw the world through a different set of eyes. The world, that I used to think I needed to fit into through being perfect, faded from prominence in my life. I lost the hopelessness that I felt for so many years and now felt an overwhelming love that filled me. I heard the Lord telling me through His word that he loved me for me. The peace that I experienced (and still do to this day) changed my motivation from self to living by faith in Jesus Christ. Now my eyes were turned to him. More: http://bit.ly/1jKHlB3
Get a free Gift
Discover the implication (significance) of Jesus dying on the cross for you. Jesus died for us all. His death is a free gift, whether we believe it or not. When we believe this, we experience freedom, peace and rest. What a great alternative to a hectic and stressed out life on our own.
Find out that Jesus’ death on the cross for you (for your sins) is a free gift, not something you have to earn. No payment is required; there is no catch. Good works or deeds are not needed to pay for the forgiveness of your sins. This free gift is not given just to certain good people but to all.
Through the Scripture the Lord offers this gift to everyone. When we read his Word, we receive this free gift spoken of in Scripture. When we participate in communion, we receive confirmation of this wonderful gift that the Lord has given to us through body and blood offered under bread and wine. 10 more reasons: http://bit.ly/1c6FViX.
I remember as a child I would watch my parents. I often observed them speaking a certain way or reacting to situations in a particular manner. I was very drawn to them. I found myself reacting to situations or speaking the same way they did. My parents were such a great example for me. Because of the love I had for them, I found myself wanting to be like them, their child. More http://bit.ly/1aGmYCy
Faith Family Reunion | Identity