Tuesday, January 14, 2014

God Can Use ME?

This morning, we had the amazing opportunity to hear from Lesley Swanson of Healing Hearts Ministry International.  She shared her personal story of bad choices and decisions and how that could possibly be used by God.  Have you made a horrible choice?  Are you wracked with guilt?  Do you wonder how YOU could be any good?  At ANYTHING?  What do you possibly have to offer?  After hearing Lesley's story, I hope that you know that God can use YOU!  He can use you AND your poor choice(s).  He loves to use people because we are imperfect.  God knows that He can show through the mess of our lives.  It is those messes that He uses to change & strengthen us.  We go through things that can be used to help and serve others and only WE can help & serve BECAUSE we went through it.

As a biblical counselor, Lesley takes God's Word and applies it to those she counsels.  In her reading in preparation for this talk, she describes four diagnosis typical in our society.  The information is from Dr. Higbee of Harvest Bible Church.

Disruptive - Affects our behavior - Anger - Fighting God
Impulsive - Affects our behavior - Foolishness
Anxious - Affects our mood - Fear - Fleeing from God
Depressive - Affects our mood - Despair - Forgetting God
As we look into these four diagnosis most often used, we see that God's Word addresses each.  All in all, it is a heart issue.  We need to check our hearts when feeling or acting in these categories.

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

Know that whatever you are going through, God is with you.  He has a plan for you.  He can use even your bad choice for His glory.  Continue to seek what He may want to do with you.  Let His Word comfort you.  Trust that you are not alone.  When you are in doubt, read this to yourself, filling in the blanks with YOUR name.  YOU matter to God!  These are His words to YOU!

Ephesians 1:2-2:10

To the saints who are in ________, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you, ________, and peace from God, your Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of your Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed you, ________, in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose you, ________, in Him before the foundation of the world, that you, ________,should be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined you, ________, for adoption as daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which he has freely given you, ________, in the One he loves.  In him you, ________, have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of your sins, ________, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on you, ________. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to you, ________, the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him you, ________, were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that you, ________, who were the first to put your hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you, ________, also were included in Christ when you, ________, heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, ________. When you believed, you, ________, were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance, ________, until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith, ________, in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, ________, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you, ________, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better, ________.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, ________, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for you, ________, who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

As for you, ________, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you, ________, followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for you, ________, God, who is rich in mercy, made you, ________, alive with Christ even when you, ________, were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you, ________, have been saved. And God raised you up with Christ and seated you, ________, with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to you, ________, in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you, ________, have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourself, ________, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For you, ________, are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you, ________, to do.