I recently read the book Redeeming Love.... for the fourth time. Yes. You did read that correctly. Now to some, reading a book once is enough... if they REALLY like it, they may re-read it. I'll readily admit that 4 times is quite excessive, but I assure you that I walk away in tears and with a renewed appreciation of God's astounding Grace each time! It is a life-changing book. If you haven't read it - do! I happen to have several copies, if you need one! =)

The first time I read this book, it transformed the way I viewed myself. I had struggled with a time of rebellion in my early teen years, and by God's grace alone, escaped a lifestyle that was quickly spiralling out of control. I had re-commited my life to Christ and was set on serving Him, but still saw myself as "tainted". It's funny how the Enemy will encourage you to sin, while you're sinning, by telling you that what you're doing isn't so bad, and then when you decide to turn your life around, he'll change his tactics all together and try to make you feel like scum for the things you had done. This is where I was when I first read this book. Apart from the Bible itself, God hasn't used another piece of literature in such an astounding way to transform my thoughts. This book, apart from being a riveting story that you don't want to put down, pulls at your heart as you read the story of a girl, who was sold into prostitution at the age of 8 and grows up not knowing any other way of life. While most people can't relate to prostitution itself, many can relate to being caught in a sinful way of life, with no way out in sight. God used this to make me see myself in a whole different light. I knew my sins had been forgiven, but somehow I couldn't really see myself as completely forgiven and whole. How freeing that was in my life!

A friend recently told me that she had read this for the first time, and that it had been life-changing for her, too. This was a bit puzzling to me, at first, because she didn't have a "past". She went on to explain that it helped her see how she could practically live out and show God's grace and redemption to others, as the main character in the book had done. I decided to re-read it with this in mind. Who knew that after reading it 3 times before that God would show teach me new lessons this time? It was encouraging to see how living out God's grace can be life-changing to those around me, but it also reinforced the truth that God alone saves. There is nothing that I can do to save someone, but if I let Him, God can use me along the way.

Grace is often a misunderstood thing. Some use it as license to do what they will - after all, by God's grace, they'll be forgiven anyway. Others see their "upright" lifestyle and credit it to their strong morals and self control. I pray I'll never forget where God has brought me from and were it not for grace, where I'd be!

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