But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

The women’s morning Bible study here at South studied Corinthians beginning in January. It was a great study and I was encouraged by the take-aways God gave me. Then a month later, ouch, God gave me opportunity to apply them! Does he ever do that to you? Events in the Apostle Paul’s life hit me in a new way. He kept on giving love and grace in spite of the grief and trials he experienced. He kept on giving his best and doing what most benefited those in the church following Christ. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you, 2 Corinthians 6:11. Paul entered the mess with grace and truth. That is what I am having to do. In what ways might God be opening your heart with grace?

Sam Allberry, a speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries wrote in an article titled, Only messy people allowed: today’s culture of Grace: “No one is too low, too far gone, too needy—too anything—to worry about not fitting in around here. Our testimony is not “I was a mess, then Jesus showed up, and now I’ve got everything together,” but “I was a mess—and I still am—but I’m a mess who belongs to Jesus, a mess he is committed to sorting out. He came to me, has stuck with me, and continues to be my all in all.”

We are all recipients of this kind of grace from Jesus and we all need to give Jesus’ grace to each other to keep growing and changing. Jesus’ grace has saved us not just from sin but from death. He gives us a new life, a new plan for living. We can say with John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world—but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” Listen to the heart message and amazing grace in this song, My Story by Big Daddy Weave.

By Donna Burns

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