Women of Faith points you to the bedrock of joy: grace. Grace describes things beyond your ability to earn or attain, gifts you can only gratefully receive from a God who lavishes them on you freely. With the same wit and insight that have characterized their previous devotionals such as Joy Breaks and Overjoyed! Patsy Clairmont, Barbara Johnson, Marilyn Meberg, Luci Swindoll, Sheila Walsh, and Thelma Wells shine a spotlight for you on grace. Grace that cleanses your sin. Grace that guides your life. Grace that weathers life's fiercest storms and stamps every cloud with the rainbow of God's promise. Grace to grieve and laugh, give and gain, love and live. Extravagant Grace. Here is a devotional filled with laughter as rich as the insights are deep. Extravagant Grace celebrates God's liberating power at work in your circumstances, your relationships, your inner being, your marriage, your vocation, in all the things that matter most to you . . . And even in things that seem to be of little consequence. Extravagant Grace will encourage you to look for grace in all of life's seasons, come rain or shine and to give it away as freely and joyously as you receive it.
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About the Author
Luci Swindoll is author of Celebrating Life and a co-author of various Women of Faith devotionals. She has served as a business executive of Mobil Oil Corporation and as vice president with Insight for Living. She lives in Frisco, Texas.
Luci Swindoll es conferenciante internacional y autora de numerosos libros. Su participacion es destacada dentro del movimiento Women of Faith [Mujeres de Fe] donde desarrolla un ministerio activo. Anteriormente fue ejecutiva de Mobil Oil Corporation y vicepresidente de relaciones publicas de Insight for Living [Vision para Vivir]. Desde l992 reside en Frisco, Texas.
Sheila Walsh is the creator of Children of Faith and the Gnoo Zoo, a ministry to children that communicates God's love for them. She is the author or co-author of several books including 'Honestly', 'Gifts for Your Soul', 'Living Fearlessly', and 'The Best Devotions of Sheila Walsh'. As an accomplished musician, Sheila has recently released the CD 'Love Falls Down'. Sheila, her husband, and their son, live in Texas.
Thelma Wells is a popular author, speaker and businesswoman. As an African-American woman, Thelma was instrumental in bringing racial diversity to the Women of Faith conferences. Thelma has had her own television show, been an assistant vice president of a bank, and an inspirational public speaker/business consultant.
Thelma Wells es una conferencista popular de Women of Faith (Mujeres de fe) y presidenta de A Women of God Minsitries(Ministerios de una mujer de Dios) de Dallas, Texas. Ha recibido mas de doscientos galardones por participacion civica en la comunidad, en la iglesia y en la nacion. Obtuvo el titulo de magisterio en el ministerio pastoral, y es autora de varios libros de exito de venta. Thelma describe a su esposo, George, como su animador, sostenedor y mejor amigo. Tienen tres hijos y casado, diez nietos, y un bisnieto.
Read an Excerpt
What picture comes to mind when you hear the word grace? I think of a woman named -- what else -- Grace who lived near our family's home when I was growing up. She and her husband were friends of my parents and, believe me, that's where the friendship ended. Grace had no, uh, grace for children. She and her husband didn't have little ones of their own so perhaps that's why Grace had no space in her heart for me.
Of course, I was a precocious pip-squeak, quite full of myself. I was a second child, the first girl, who arrived in our family after a nine-year interval. That gave me some distinct advantages, of which I took full advantage. Grace evidently struggled with my indulged ways. I, too, struggled . . . with Grace.
Years later, in desperate hours of my life, I experienced another grace: God's grace. The Lord gave me a place to stand in his presence -- me, the precocious kid, now a confused adult. I couldn't believe he had space in his heart for me. This undeserved reception and inclusion stunned me. And, honestly, I struggled . . . with grace.
Two distinct pictures of "grace." One portrays not even a smidgen of favor or friendly regard; the other speaks of lavish acceptance. I had trouble with both.
I couldn't bear the feelings I had when I was in Grace's home. I felt physically rigid and certain that if I bumped anything or dropped something my life expectancy would be reduced drastically. Yet what troubled me most wasn't just the sense that I might do something wrong but the feeling I was something wrong.
God's grace, which gave me the freedom to be myself without condemnation, was not only foreign but also a little frightening. I was used to trying to win approval and not receiving it until I had performed some necessary stunts, like making my bed, saying my prayers, and attending church thirty-three times a week. Unmerited favor is hard to swallow, and yet, when received, it sweetly quenches my deep thirst for unconditional love.
A third picture of grace comes to my mind -- the grace depicted in a painting of an iris. Actually two paintings: one portrays beds of this lovely, elegant flower; the other a single iris. When you view these famous works of art, you see only the flowers; you have no sense of their location. Are they in a city park, a flowered field, or perhaps on a rambling farm?
There's a reason for the mystery. Not only does the artist's selective focus keep us from being distracted by peripheral objects, we also aren't alerted to the artist's real world. The painter, Vincent van Gogh, created his masterpieces in an asylum.
In some of the darkest hours of his life, van Gogh found a single, graceful flower, and he made that his focus. His outside world at the asylum was grim at best, and everything around him was a reminder of his internal sadness. Yet somehow van Gogh, when he saw the irises, was able to connect himself to the only lovely thing in his surroundings. Captured by the flowers' gracefulness, he painted them several times. Yet it is believed he never found the inner grace or peace he was searching for. He never saw beyond the purple iris to its providential Designer. He struggled . . . with grace.
I, too, have seen grace in God's creations -- a swan gliding across a still pond, a gazelle leaping across an African plain, an eagle soaring above a craggy cliff. As effortless as those movements are, so is the ease with which God bestows his extravagant gift of grace into our lives.
Grace is stunning. It is breathtaking. It is more beautiful than van Gogh's Irises. Grace finds us in our poverty and presents us with the gift of an inheritance we didn't deserve . . . the gift of grace.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon 1: 3
Table of ContentsContents
Introduction: Knots or Bows? by Patsy Clairmont
Pictures of Grace by Patsy Clairmont
All Messed Up by Thelma Wells
Have I Got News for You! by Sheila Walsh
One-Way Street by Luci Swindoll
Grace Period by Thelma Wells
Princess Fur-Face by Marilyn Meberg
"I Took Your Place" by Sheila Walsh
No More Performances by Marilyn Meberg
Lost and Found by Thelma Wells
-Unwrapping the Gift-
Invisible Riches by Luci Swindoll
Sloppy Living by Marilyn Meberg
4x4...and I'm Not Talking My Hip Size by Patsy Clairmont
Been There, Done That by Barbara Johnson
Fresh Out of Grace? by Barbara Johnson
Stormy Weather by Thelma Wells
Box Seats Grace by Marilyn Meberg
Three Ducks, a Shark, and a Seven-Legged Spider by Sheila Walsh
Granny's Grace by Thelma Wells
Eyes to See by Sheila Walsh
Present-Moment Grace by Barbara Johnson
-Appreciating the Gift-
Anyone Seen Betty by Marilyn Meberg
Tongue-Tied by Luci Swindoll
I Blew It by Thelma Wells
Momo's Magic by Luci Swindoll
On the Road Again by Sheila Walsh
No Guts, No Glory by Patsy Clairmont
Who's in Charge? by Thelma Wells
Snaggletooth by Luci Swindoll
Power in the Blood by Marilyn Meberg
Say Thank You by Sheila Walsh
-Enjoying the Gift-
Hound Haven B&B by Patsy Clairmont
Be Yourself by Thelma Wells
God's E-mail by Barbara Johnson
A Little Whine with Your Cheese? by Patsy Clairmont
My Backyard Sanctuary by Luci Swindoll
Quackers by Marilyn Meberg
Haulin' Freedom by Luci Swindoll
Sundays with Edna by Luci Swindoll
-Sharing the Gift-
Filled to Overflowing by Barbara Johnson
Purple Grace by Sheila Walsh
Gracious Lips by Barbara Johnson
Words of Grace by Sheila Walsh
Cataplexy by Marilyn Meberg
Dressed to Kill by Patsy Clairmont
Grace at Home by Thelma Wells
We're All Toads by Barbara Johnson
Open Arms by Sheila Walsh
Oh, Poor Baby by Patsy Clairmont
Smoke Travels by Marilyn Meberg
Shine, Shine, Shine! by Patsy Clairmont
-Celebrating the Gift-
Guatemala Gals by Luci Swindoll
Rejoice by Sheila Walsh
Grace-full in His Sight by Barbara Johnson
Gone Fishing by Luci Swindoll
Contagious Grace by Marilyn Meberg
Peanut Butter 'n Grace by Barbara Johnson
Surprise! by Patsy Clairmont
Flowers for Erin by Thelma Wells
Singing in the Rain by Barbara Johnson
Day by Day by Patsy Clairmont
Conclusion: Indiglo by Luci Swindoll