Friday, November 6, 2015

4 Stories of Grace


Grace, Grace
God's Grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, Grace
God's Grace
Grace that is greater than all my sin
Julia H. Johnston, 1910, Public Domain

Grace. Almost indescribable.  God's grace began with eternal life, given to us with Jesus' resurrection, and He showers grace on us each day through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

In recent years, I experienced God's grace, even though I was filled with anger and frustration. When we moved from the Houston area to west Texas, I was so angry. I stubbornly refused to be happy. Instead of leaving me in my misery, the Lord used a fantastic retreat, Walk to Eamaus, to restore my joy and to show me the many grace gifts He'd given me in my new home.

God's grace is written all throughout Scripture. We can learn much through the lives of these four men:

  • Moses
  • Elijah
  • Peter
  • Paul


Moses   Moses' story is told in Exodus. He was the deliverer of God's people from slavery, the Lawgiver on Mount Sinai. God protected his life from the very beginning: As an infant, Moses was set adrift in a basket, rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, and raised to be next on the throne. Then hot-headed Moses killed an Egyptian guard and fled into the desert to live his life as a shepherd.

One day, while out on a mountainside with a herd of sheep, Moses saw a strange, burning bush.

God called Moses to deliver His people from Egypt but Moses didn't seem too eager to go:
Look at me! I can't go to Pharaoh!
What if the people ask me your name? What will I tell them?
What if they don't believe me?
But I've got a speech problem! Send someone else.

God could have left Moses with his sheep and found someone else more willing. But He chose to shower Moses with grace. He patiently answered Moses' questions and used him to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt.

Talk about stubborn! Sounds just like me. After I was laid off as an engineer at Johnson Space Center, God began to whisper to me about writing a Bible study. I had a list of excuses as long as my arm. When I did begin to write, I still resisted the idea. In His grace, God allowed my writing to win two key awards at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. My study, Storms of Life, is a testimony to God's grace.

Even in our stubbornness, God doesn't quit. We can't out-stubborn Him! He knew us before we were born and assigned the works we are to do in His name (Ephesians 2:10). He will deal with us in love and grace, waiting until we come to Him and surrender our lives to His purposes.

Grace that is greater than all our stubbornness!

Elijah   Even today, Elijah is one of Israel's most revered prophets. He was strong in his faith and stood up before the most evil Israeli kings, like Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. In 1Kings 18-19, the Lord used Elijah to embarrass 450 pagan priests and to prove that there was only one true Lord. As you can imagine, Ahab and Jezebel were furious and vowed to kill him.

Even after the Lord's show of power, Elijah was overcome with fear. He ran into the desert and begged God to kill him. He climbed Mount Horeb and hid in a cave.

God could have left Elijah to tremble in the cave. But He chose to shower him with grace. He revealed Himself to Elijah by passing in front of the cave and He restored Elijah's courage.

I have certainly cowered in fear. Many years ago, my family endured a horrible crisis. I prayed for deliverance continuously and I was terrified as things seemed to spiral downward. Even though God didn't choose to deliver us, He revealed Himself to us through His Word and through believers around us.

Fear, anger, or loneliness are crippling emotions. The enemy tries to defeat us and to cause us to cower in hiding. But God never leaves us there. As our loving Father, He comes to bring us back to our feet. We are never alone. We never have to fear. He assures us of His presence and His power.

Grace that is greater than all our fears!

Peter  Peter, the impetuous disciple, the one who often said or did something he shouldn't have. But he was the first to recognize that Jesus was the source of eternal life (John 6:68).

The night of Jesus' arrest, Peter followed the soldiers and hunkered down by a fire outside where they interrogated Jesus. A few of the people around the fire recognized him as one of the disciples but he denied that he knew Jesus - three times.

Jesus could have expelled him from His circle of disciples but, instead, He chose to shower Peter with grace.

After His resurrection, Jesus met Peter and some other disciples on the shore at the Sea of Tiberius. There He gave Peter three opportunities to declare his love for Him. All three times, Peter said, "You know that I love you." (John 21). Jesus cleared Peter's conscience and strengthened him. A few weeks later, Peter proclaimed the gospel with such power that 4000 people believed in Jesus.

That is always a result of disobedience: it denies Jesus. Sometimes, our actions deny our faith. Even though we might fail Him, He never turns away. He restores us and gives us opportunities to serve Him and to show our love for Him.

Grace that is greater than all our disobedience!

Paul   Paul was the Lord's missionary to the Gentiles - those who were not Jewish. He brought the gospel of Jesus to all of Asia and into Europe. Before this, though, he was a member of the Jewish elite, educated in Jewish beliefs by the best tutors in Jerusalem. He knew all of the prophesies about the Messiah, but He chose to rebel against the truth. He made it his mission to capture and imprison or execute as many Christians as possible. He rejected Jesus, even though he heard and saw the faith of the hundreds he persecuted.


God could have ensured that Paul was killed. He could have judged Paul and found him guilty. But He chose to shower Paul with grace.

On a trip to Damascus, Jesus met Paul on the road and transformed him from a murderer to a powerful witness for Christ (Acts 9).

Like Paul, we were in rebellion. Perhaps we'd heard of God's mercy and grace, but we refused to believe the truth. God pursued us and drew us into His love. Now we are His children, showered with His grace gifts.

Grace that is greater than all our rebellion!

Even as believers, we are in need of God's grace. We aren't always obedient but we are always loved. We aren't always strong but we are always filled with God's strength. We don't always listen but He never ceases to speak to us. We can never overwhelm God's Grace.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (Emphasis mine)


How has God shown His grace to you?


Photo credits:

20 comments:

  1. Loved your summary: "Even as believers, we are in need of God's grace. We aren't always obedient but we are always loved. We aren't always strong but we are always filled with God's strength. We don't always listen but He never ceases to speak to us. We can never overwhelm God's Grace." Great post, thank you!

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    1. I'm so glad that God's grace never runs out. I need all I can get. Thank you for dropping by Kathleen!

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  2. Yes, as one who tries but often fails to be like Christ, I'm thankful He can take my messes and use them for His glory!

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    1. We all try and fail, Vonda, but God never fails us! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Very well summarized Sherry. Each individual illustrating the character and nature of God Grace bestowed upon us. Thanks for sharing, many blessings to you always.

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    1. God's grace meets our every need. Thanks for dropping by!

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  4. [But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.] 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
    I am no exception. God has met me right where I am, time and time again when I fall into the same trap of being stuck in my sinful ways. So thankful that God has more patience than I. :)

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    1. I love that verse! No matter how weak we are, God's grace gives us His power. Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Always a good read Sherry. Really connected with the wonderful way you brought God's grace as witnessed in those four men. God's grace is a life-saver and always comes in His perfect timing and when we most need it. Thanks for your beautiful post. GBY

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    1. Isn't it amazing that God's grace meets each one of our unique needs? Thanks for dropping by, Walter!

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  6. Phenomenal message on grace, Sherry! Oh, how your words have blessed my heart, sweet friend! Thank you so much for sharing this, Love! May GOD bless you now and always! :-)

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    1. It blesses me that God ministered to your heart through this post, Tai. Thank you for commenting.

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  7. Sherry, I love how you write at such depths but my understanding isn't lost. I love your example of "He restores us and gives us opportunities to serve Him and to show our love for Him." I'm so thankful for that fact!

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    1. I'm thankful too, Gene! He is the God of multiple chances and opportunities. Thank you for commenting!

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  8. I shudder to think where I'd be if God had given me what I deserve, rather than showering me with Grace. Thanks for another great post.

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    1. God's love is beyond our grasp, isn't it, Deb! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Yes, indeed, God's grace is truly amazing. Thanks for the wonderful Bible examples of God extending His grace. Thank God, He's just as willing for us as well! I enjoyed reading your post, Sherry.

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    1. God's Word is a story of Grace from beginning to end. Thanks for stopping by, Connie

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