a study on grace

Key Text: Romans 5:8


1. Know: That Christ’s sacrifice ensures us eternal life if we accept Him.

2. Feel: Secure of your future with Him as your personal Savior.

3. Do: Respond to God’s grace by following Him.

Lesson Outline:

I. Understanding Grace (Isaiah 53)

A. Jesus is a central point of the entire Old Testament. What does this say about the importance of grace and salvation in God’s message to us?

B. “He bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors” (v 12). It is through His suffering, on our behalf, that we can claim eternal life. Does this seem just to you? Why or Why not?

II. Accepting Grace (Ephesians 2:8)

A. The greatest thing about grace is that it is free. This is a hard concept for many to comprehend. God recognized this and used many different illustrations to help us better understand grace. How do you best relate to grace?

B. How does the idea of grace make you feel? Do you feel guilty accepting such an undeserved gift? Do you feel a security in the promise of eternal life? Are you thankful for God’s love? Explain.

III. Changed by Grace (1 Corinthians 15:10)

A. As grace changed Paul, it can change you. We are not required to do anything but believe and accept His gift. How has grace changed you?


Christ died so we can have eternal life. Without Him, we are lost.

Personal Ramblings

the best kind of rainbow

Who doesn’t love a rainbow! I remember the first time I saw my first complete, Roygbiv-perfect double rainbow. It has been my favorite rainbow ever since.

The kids and I were tagging along on another one of Roy’s business road trips. This time it was Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Roy was done with his appointments earlier than expected, so we wandered southward, following the bay, from Crisfield towards Virginia. As as we drove into Bloxom, the earthy call of homesteading and simplicity was magnetic. Before we knew it, we were looking at real estate books and making plans to move to the country and homeschool the kids. We even found the perfect home –Every bedroom had a fireplace and a balcony that overlooked the bay; a separate wing that begged to be converted into a school-house; and two guard geese in the front yard that had a reputation for hissing and biting intruders. It was simply perfect. As we pulled out of the driveway and headed down the sandy road back towards the highway, we saw our perfect rainbow.

It’s a sign, we decided. We were going to sell our home and move to the country. And get walking sticks and overalls for ourselves. And rockers and wind chimes for our new, wrap-around front porch. But when we got back to our city life, objectivity and obligations set in and we scratched our plans. It was no big deal; just one of those c’est la vie moments with nothing lost nor gained.

Then yesterday I saw a different kind of rainbow. It was a tiny fistful of bright cheer tenaciously pushing itself through the dark, puffy folds of an angry thunderstorm. The little thing just wouldn’t give up. Every time a furious wind whipped the grey clouds into a darker shade of rage, the rainbow just shoved its cheery head in between and out for any one to see. Fascinated, I pulled over and watched. As I watched the determined rainbow, I changed my mind. This rainbow is now my favorite. It reminds of everything I’ve lost and everything I’ve gained. And like my tenacious burst of rainbow, Goodness and Grace have abounded even in the darkest times.

This is not my rainbow, but it looks very much like mine.

Photo credit:

Spiritual Musings

grace is the horse before the cart

I am God, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery. Exodus 20:1, 2

When we come to the first chapter of Exodus, several hundred years and a few generations had passed since their bondage had begun. That’s a long time to be in a foreign land with strange customs and stranger gods. I imagine after the first couple of decades, the lines had begun to blur–traditions forgotten, promises broken and fuzzy compromises made. After all, they were only human, without a leader, probably feeling very detached from a once-tangible God.

So when God and Moses paired up to lead the people of Israel out of bondage and into the Promised, I imagine they needed some intensive orientation about who they were, where they were going and what they were called to be. When you look at it that way, you can sort of understand the need for 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

But what impresses me the most about the deliverance and the exodus is God’s planning and pouring of grace. It is only in the 20th chapter that God finally spells the terms of the contract between His people and Him.

He could have easily handed out copies of the commandments the same night the families gathered around tables over unleavened bread, inside the blood-stained foyers where packed bags stood ready for the journey. To me, that would have been the optimal time to hand out the policies and procedures, the do’s and don’ts. Then there would have been no room for misunderstandings and whining.

Yet the fact that God waited till chapter 20 says so much to me about how infinitely more caring and loving God is than me. Before He gave them the Law on Sinai, God rescued them from slavery. Before God expected obedience, God poured out his saving grace. In God’s order of things, His grace is the horse that comes before the cart. His grace is the force that pulls us into salvation.



Grace of God, by Andy Stanley

I’ll be honest. I really didn’t want to read this book. First of all, I have a quirky aversion to people with, what sounds like, two first names. And then there’s the fact that I’m partial to Lucado, Swindoll, Yancey and Barclay when it comes to the topic of grace. But in spite of these reasons, I agreed to review the book for Thomas Nelson simply because I can’t turn down a free book.

End result–1) I can get used to two first names; 2) I can appreciate new authors; 3) I can admit when I’m wrong.

In this book, Stanley courageously exposes the thunderous, jealous, scary God of the Old Testament to reveal the same forgiving Father of the New Testament. He dares the reader, like he did his wife years ago, to really get to know God and unravel him through the graphic prose of the Old Testament writers and discover the timeless, forever attributes of God that transcend culture, time and perceptions.

The book was so good that I could not let it sit on my shelf. I read it and passed it on to my father. Get a copy today, discover the God of Grace and share Him with someone else.

(I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Captured by Grace, by Dr. David Jeremiah

The book Captured by Grace is held together by Apostle Paul and John Newton: Two sinners, centuries apart, whose lives tell the same story of God’s amazing grace.  Through their lives and through the insight of many who have examined their lives, Jeremiah invites the reader to join the ranks of the Paul and Newton and partake of God’s amazing grace.

There are few books that I keep after reading; this one will stay on my shelf for sure. The stories, texts and trivia are crucial elements of Jeremiah’s exposition of grace. But what struck me most is his ability to make me, the reader, want to revel in God’s grace–not just because of my sinfulness but because of my gratefulness of the Cross and my renewed commitment to live for my Savior.

For those unfamiliar with the doctrine of grace, this is the perfect book for you; through it’s simple explanations and practical illustrations, you will understand the significance of grace in Christianity. For those who fully comprehend the grace of God, this book is like falling in love all over again; in the stories of changed hearts, you will find your love of Jesus rekindled with passion.

I found every page engaging; well, maybe not every page–I did not care for Jeremiah’s prelude. Perhaps that’s because of my personal dislike for historical fiction. I felt that his imaginative narrative of Paul persecuting Christians took away from the book. But I’m glad I moved on to the rest of the book; I was blessed by every page.

(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

Personal Ramblings

the once-over

I gave her the quick once-over. Starting with her candy-apple red toenails in a pair of open-toed white alligators, my eyes travelled upwards past a designer linen suit and a green silk blouse to deep red lips that matched her toes. Pale green polish complemented the blouse. The blonde hair and brown eyelashes were definitely the highest quality of fake.

I was giving her an A+ for absolutely stunning–just as the introduction registered in the rightest part of my Adventist cerebrum.  “This is Pastor Soandso’s wife.” Like Striples curling to crispy charcoal on an overheated griddle,  I quickly retracted my grade. I now gave her a big fat F for pastoral modesty.

There’s nothing in the Bible or in the church manual that says a pastor’s wife should be dumpy, pale and enrobed in Walmart. So why was I judging her? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a result of generations of faulty Adventist wiring. Or maybe it’s because sticking people in pre-determined molds makes it easier to tell black from white, right from wrong. Or maybe it’s simply because I don’t see people through the lens of God’s grace and acceptance.

Eager to learn from my errors, I was full of gracious sincerity when I met her again the next day. She was wearing a short skirt whose main feature was a zipper on the backside that ran all the way from the hem to the very top.

But then, perhaps me describing her skirt reveals that my grace isn’t so sincere after all.

Personal Ramblings

painted veil

Last night was one of those I-don’t-want-to-do-anything-but-vegetate evenings. So I watched The Painted Veil. I watch movies for therapeutic needs–to laugh and relax. This one didn’t do either but I loved it.
The wow moment in the movie for me was Sister St. Joseph’s soliloquy: Duty is only washing your hands when they are dirty. I fell in love when I was 17—with God. A foolish girl with romantic notions about the life of a religious. But my love was passionate.  Over the years my feelings have changed. He has disappointed me, ignored me. We’ve settled into a relationship of peaceful indifference–the old husband and wife who sit side by side on the sofa but rarely speak. He knows that I will never leave him; this is my duty. But when love and duty are one, then grace is within you.
Spiritual Musings

God’s back up plans

Genesis 17: 20 And Ishmael? Yes, I heard your prayer for him. I’ll also bless him; Ill make sure he has plenty of children–a huge family.

God had THE master plan for man and then He had many back up plans for when we messed up.
Ishmael was not part of God’s plan; he was Abraham’s impatient interpretation of God’s plan. Yet when doling out blessings, God blessed Ishmael too. God did this because 1) He loved Abraham and heard his prayers; and 2) His grace covers all–absolutely all–of our shortcomings