by Pastor Linda Skinner
Thirty years ago, this past January, I started serving as a full-time pastor at our church. Throughout those thirty years, the thing that continues to astound me is the power of God’s grace. I remember when I first started in the ministry, Pastor Tim shared with me that the one most important things we must always share with people, regardless of the situation, is the hope that we always have because of the persistent, loving grace of God.
Early on in my ministry, I had a beautiful young lady come to my office in tears because she felt that God could not love her because of all the things she had done wrong. She enumerated all her sins to me and then said, “God will never forgive me for all of that.” I pulled out my Bible and read to her the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8. When I read the words of our Lord, “Then neither do I condemn you,” her eyes teared up. That afternoon, she prayed with me to accept Jesus into her life.
A couple of weeks later she came back to me and said, “I don’t think it worked.” Not being sure of what she meant by that I asked, “What don’t’ you think worked?” She said, “Our prayer.” At that point I was a little perplexed, so I asked, “Why don’t you think it worked?” “Well,” she said, “I have always had a ‘potty’ mouth and I thought when I accepted Jesus, He would take that away. But he hasn’t. I still find myself using those words.” I think the Holy Spirit was helping me on this one because without hesitation I asked her, “Before you accepted Jesus and those words came out, how did it feel?” She responded, “It felt great!” So, I questioned her further, “Tell me, how do you feel now when those words come out.” Without hesitation she said, “I feel terrible.” I laughed as I proclaimed, “There you have it, it worked.”
That is what so amazing about God’s grace. He accepts us with all our bad history and short comings and then He never leaves us where He found us. He’s always there to guide us to where He wants us to be. All during our lives, His grace is at work guiding and molding us into the person He wants us to be. Our job is to be open to the work He is doing in us and listening to His guidance – however it might come.
This weekend Dr. Marty Folsom is going to be sharing with us a message of grace entitled “Reflected Grace” based on 2 Corinthians 3:6-18. Hope you can join us as learn about living “life transformed by God’s grace.”