For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
A few weeks ago, I was going to meet one of my daughters and granddaughters for a fun outing before she went back to school. I was a mile from my house when flashing lights suddenly appeared behind me. I quickly pulled over and an officer approached my car. He informed me that he clocked me going 15 miles over the speed limit. YIKES!!
The officer returned to his unmarked patrol car and I waited in my car considering all the dismal consequences - an expensive ticket; increase in insurance rates; a 4-hour online traffic class; berating myself for not being more careful; being late to meet my granddaughter and of course having to explain to my husband!
When the officer returned and handed me my paperwork, he said, “I am not giving you a ticket today, but please be more careful!” (Translation: Go and speed no more!) At that point, I thanked him profusely and drove away in tears. The officer had the authority to issue a hefty ticket and yet he chose to withhold the penalty of my actions. He extended grace!
I suddenly felt unworthy to receive grace. I would have felt better about getting caught if I had received a ticket and had to pay it because I deserved to be punished and receive all the negative consequences. That sounds pretty foolish - but don’t we think that way sometimes? We did something wrong, so now we must deserve everything bad that happens to us and are unworthy of forgiveness or love. That is rejecting the grace that is offered to us.
Grace can be considered as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Isaiah 53:5 explains Christ’s expense, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Jesus was pierced and crushed for our transgressions and iniquities and the punishment and wounds that He took for us, brought us peace and healing. Grace is most needed in the midst of sin, suffering, and brokenness. Grace is a gift from God (Eph. 2:28) and in essence, it is getting what we don’t deserve.
God’s grace is woven throughout Scripture. David committed adultery and murder but when Nathan the prophet confronted him and David repented, he was told, “The Lord has taken away your sin.…” (2 Sam. 12:13) Grace!
When the people brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus and wanted her stoned, Jesus said that if anyone was without sin, they should be the first to throw a stone at her. Because everyone had sinned, they all walked away. When Jesus asked her if anyone condemned her and she said no, He declared, “Then neither do I condemn you….Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1-11) Grace!
When Saul was killing and persecuting followers of Christ and was searching to find more people to kill and imprison, Jesus met him on the road and struck him with blindness. The Lord said that Saul was His “chosen instrument.” Later, He healed Saul of his blindness, changed his name to Paul and used him powerfully for His kingdom. (Acts 9:15) Grace!
Grace is a gift - we cannot earn it, cannot buy and are not entitled to it. The only way we receive grace is with humility. Poured out and broken, realizing that no matter what we have done, our Heavenly Father allowed His Son to suffer and die for us so that we can know His amazing grace. Through repentance, we have our sins taken away, we can live in victory and not condemnation and we are His chosen instrument. When we humbly walk in His grace, God Almighty receives all the glory!
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.