" I really want to obey God, but I can't -it's just too hard."
 " I'm afraid to do what I know I need to do."
 " I know what God wants me to do, but honestly, I just don't have the desire to do it."
 " I feel overwhelmed by my guilt and failure before God."
 " I'll never be able to measure up to what I should be."
 " I've got work harder to get my act together so I can be more godly."
If you have had any of these thoughts-be encouraged! In this week's study, you will learn how God's grace can meet each of these needs and how you can experience more of His abundant grace in your life.
Read the following story about sin and grace, and answer the questions that follow.
On the surface, things looked good. We were active in our church. The oldest of our three children was a Christian with a deep desire to serve the Lord. I was a respected professor at a nearby state university. But beneath the surface things were not so calm. One child had become rebellious, and my love for my wife, Laurie, had grown cold. I hadn't worn my wedding ring for years.
When our church hosted a revival crusade, God dealt with my wife and me in very personal ways. We learned that we could not live the Christian life apart from Gods grace, and that the only way to experience that grace in our lives was to humble ourselves. This was no time to be half-hearted. God was extending an opportunity to "skimming"-invoicing a smaller sale than what I had actually charged the customer, then pocketing the difference. Also, I had cheated on a field exam while acquiring my Ph.D. through I had studied faithfully, I panicked the night before the exam. As a teaching assistant I had keys to where the exams were stored, so I copied the exam questions. Out of guilt, I had never been able to hang my diploma on my office wall.
I had thought may times about owning up to the stealing and the cheating. The worst that could happen was losing my degree and my job. These were no small consequences, but they paled in comparison to what I thought would happen if I admitted to Laurie yet one more hidden sin: I had been unfaithful to her serveral times.
As I confessed these things to Laurie, she was taken by complete surprise. She had known for a long time that our marriage wasn't in good shape, but we respected each other and both loved our kids. Now everything she had believed about me was shattered. But somehow, by the grace of God, and with the counsel and support of Christian friends, Laurie met my confessions with forgiveness. Furthermore, she committed to help me make the necessary restitution for the wrongs I had done, while working together to rebuild our marriage. Truly we were on a journey of grace.
We drove for ten hours across four states. I met first with my former boss, confessed the thefts, and asked for his forgiveness. He expressed considerable surprise that I had done such a thing, yet readily gave his forgiveness.
Next we met with my doctoral adviser. With many tears, I confessed the cheating and handed him my diploma. Again, God's grace had already been working, evidenced by his compassionate response. He explained that he saw no reason to revoke my diploma since seeing the exam questions only hours before taking the test could not have made any appreciable difference in my performance. I was humbled by his forgiveness. He informed us that he too was a Christian and encouraged me to continue to follow through with what God was doing in my life.
In just twenty-four hours God had worked miracle after miracle on our behalf. With each step of humility and obedience, God had begun to pour His incredible grace into our lives. Laurie and I had discovered a love for each other that neither of us had thought possible given our past - the kind of love that comes only from doing things God's way. Our hearts overflowed with joy as we talked about what God had done and what He was going to do.
2. What risks did this man face in confessing his sin to his wife, his former boss, and hisdoctoral supervisor?
3. What consequences did he risk if he chose to keep them things hidden?
4. What enabled him to come clean?
5. David was a man who was desperatley aware of his need for God's grace and wasn't afraid to ask for it! Underline each phrase in this passage that refers to asking God for help. Color in Red each phrase that indicates how God responds when His children call upon Him.
1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you-you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
4. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
7. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me (Psalm 86:1-7)
6. How does calling upon God express humility? What assureance does this psalm give you that God's grace is available to meet any needs you expressed in question 1?