January 28, 2020 5 min read

Homework Trouble

Do you ever worry you might not measure up?

Sam was a 4th grader with a big problem: he left his homework at school, and he was so worried he’d be in trouble with the teacher, he could hardly stand to go to school the next day.

In the car on the way to school, Sam’s mom explained the concept of grace, asking, “Sam, do you know about the idea of grace? Grace means even if we aren’t perfect, the people who care about us can choose to forgive us. I think your teacher will understand about your homework.”

Ephesians 2 verses 8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The concerns on your mind today are probably bigger than a missed homework assignment. Maybe you’re struggling in your marriage, or experiencing financial distress. Maybe things aren’t going well at work, or you are battling addiction, or wrestling with sin.

When you begin to worry you are falling short, give it to the Lord. God sent Jesus as a living sacrifice for me and for you, so we could all experience His grace. Grace isn’t something we can earn, it’s a gift God gifts to us, simply because He loves us. And that’s truly amazing!

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Grace Under Fire

Keanon Lowe was walking to a classroom to meet with a student. Not an unusual task for the security guard & football coach at an Oregon high school.

As he made his way down the hallway, Mr. Lowe spotted a student standing alone and realized something was amiss; the young man was armed with a shotgun, hand on the trigger.

What would you do, in a fight-or-flight moment like that?

Lowe made a split second decision that changed this young man’s life. He lunged for the gun, grabbed it with both hands, and quickly moved it out of reach.

In the midst of the fear and shock of this adrenaline-packed moment, what Keanon Lowe did next may surprise you. He reached for the student and embraced him, holding the crying boy who only moments before was willing to shoot him.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so

that no one can boast.”

The most valiant heroes don’t always move mountains...sometimes they simply choose to offer grace under fire.

Let’s pray.

Lord, give us the courage to offer the gift of grace to those around us. Even when it’s tough, help us to remember your amazing grace for us, and to pass it on.

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I Once Was Lost

"Amazing Grace" is one of the most recognizable hymns in the English-speaking world.

Written almost two and a half centuries ago in 1772, the words for "Amazing Grace" were borne from the heart, mind and experiences of the Englishman John Newton.

As a member of the Royal Navy, Newton faced many perils on the open sea. In the midst of a terrifying storm that almost sank the vessel he was on, he cried out to God.

The vessel was spared, but Newton’s change of heart was short lived. He went on to become a slave ship master, bringing many enslaved Africans to Europe for several years, and often treating them terribly.

I once was lost,

but now am found,

Was blind

but now I see.

In 1754, John Newton left the slave trade and seafaring altogether. He was ordained as an Anglican priest, and later fought to abolish the slave trade, publishing a pamphlet uncovering the horrors of slavery.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so

that no one can boast.”

God’s grace isn’t a one time offer! When we turn to God in faith, His amazing grace is waiting for us — time and time again.

Let’s pray.

Lord, let your grace be a song of praise on our lips and in our hearts. Remind us to follow your ways, and to seek forgiveness when we go astray. Amen

Sensory Superpowers

By some estimates, the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” is performed over 10 million times a year around the world. Imagine not being able to hear this sweet song!

Losing the ability to hear, or being born deaf, is unimaginable for many of us who have never experienced hearing loss, but there are some surprising upsides to being differently-abled in this way.

Deaf people develop keener senses of observation, touch, taste and smell to compensate for their loss of hearing. What the hearing world may view as a loss, can lead to Sensory Superpowers for members of the deaf community.

ASL, or American Sign Language, is an incredibly rich language, and it’s the 6th most common language in the United States

Statistics show deaf people are safer drivers due to their ability to focus on the visual aspects of driving, and actually live longer than hearing people.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Sometimes when we lose out on something, God’s grace sweeps in to fill up that space with other beautiful blessings in amazing ways.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, sometimes we see differences as stumbling blocks, but your grace tells us otherwise. Help us to be noticers of where your grace shines a light in the lives of those around us, and to embrace the differences we encounter. Amen

Grace at a Garage Sale

Jane was the last child to receive a handmade blanket from her great grandmother. Pink and blue, festooned with angels and sprinkled with stars that sparkled in the light, the much-loved blanket was the little girl’s constant companion.

This childhood treasure became even more important when Gramma Ann passed away — a reminder of her love for her family, and her faith in God.

Jane’s blanket kept her warm in sickness and in health, but the washing machine proved its eventual undoing. One day, the last remaining fragment of Gramma Ann’s very last blanket was lost.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

A few years after the remaining bit of Jane’s ‘Gramma Ann Blankie’ was lost to time (but not to memory), her mom stumbled across the best yard sale find of all time: the very same blanket, likely created from a quilting kit, in brand new condition. Jane and her mother cried together right there in a stranger’s driveway, certain that Gramma was smiling down on them from Heaven in that moment of discovery. It was the best two dollars the pair ever spent.

Grace can show up when we least expect it — even in the form of a long-lost family heirloom returned to us in the unlikeliest of ways.

Let’s pray.

Lord, your grace is a constant delight. You are faithful to us when we seek Your face, and your gift of grace shows up in incredible ways. Thank you, and amen.