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Your mess, guilt or shame aren't too big for God


Acts 7:57b-59 The whole crowd rushed at Stephen, converged on him, dragged him out of the city, and stoned him. They laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul, while they were pelting Stephen with rocks. Stephen (as rocks fell upon him): Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
God uses some of the unlikeliest people for His purposes and glory. It’s hard to believe that the Apostle Paul (originally a devout Jew named Saul) was responsible for persecuting so many pioneers of the Christian faith. The revered man who wrote key books of the New Testament was a vicious murderer!
Saul (Paul) wasn't satisfied with a little blood, he wanted lots of blood:
Acts 8 1-2 Some devout men buried Stephen and mourned his passing with loud cries of grief. But Saul, this young man who seemed to be supervising the whole violent event, was pleased by Stephen’s death. That very day, the whole church in Jerusalem began experiencing severe persecution. All of the followers of Jesus—except for the emissaries[a] themselves—fled to the countryside of Judea and Samaria. 3 Young Saul went on a rampage—hunting the church, house after house, dragging both men and women to prison.
Whatever you've done, whatever you've been, whatever you didn't do – God is ready and waiting for you. He transformed the murderous, hateful and vengeful Paul into the person who pretty much single-handedly influenced the church we know today.
God can do the same for you.
He made you in His image (Gen 1:26), which is a good reason to respect yourself, give up your sin-filled life and ask Him to give you the ultimate makeover.
He can do it, but you just have to ask.

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Scriptures for life

Compiled December 2011
These are a few of my favorite Scriptures. I cannot live my life without God and his word. I keep a 3x5 wire bound note diary of verses that pop off the pages of my Bibles. This helps me in case I need to comfort someone with a specific verse. Start your own collection!


Comfort

Psalm 119:76 Comfort me with your love, as you promised me, your servant.
Job 4:4 Your words have comforted those who fell, and you have strengthened those who could not stand.
Strength

Psalm 18:1 I love you, LORD. You give me strength.
Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalm 118:14 The Lord gives me strength and a song. He has saved me.
Isaiah 40:29 The LORD gives strength to those who are weary.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your shelter, and his everlasting arms support you.
1 Corinthians 15:58 … don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, all who wait with hope for the LORD, and let your heart be courag…

Sin on the journey

Before I know it, sin drips from my mouth and floods my mind. Oh the struggle.
Romans 7:22-23 I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free. 
My current struggle is in not easily recognizing the extent of my sinfulness. I can easily preach it, but continuous righteous living eludes me.
Ouch. It hurts. I reveal this because I love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul, but the sinner in me wins. It's the same struggle the A…