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Grace: God’s Empowerment
by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of May 11, 2014
"With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all." -Acts 4:33
The Holy Spirit once instructed me to go and teach at a nearby Christian university. I had long before learned that whenever He tells me to do anything, I should do it, even if I don’t have the full understanding. I have also learned to ask Him His purpose for sending me. He responded very promptly this time: Grace.
He knew I needed it.
I submitted my short stack of required documents to the university. And I was delighted that they accepted me as an adjunct instructor—a new mission into the unknown for me. I was very much aware of my dependence upon The Lord.
Instructor orientation came at an interesting time…in the midst of a beloved relative’s hospice stay and passing, which happened to be out of state. There was a lot going on simultaneously: driving to visit my dying relative then back home to orientation the next day then out of state again a few days later for a funeral.
Classes soon began, and I was as prepared as I could be, given my personal circumstances and my last-minute course assignment. Thankfully, the topic I was scheduled to teach was one I know fairly well—writing, including a Christian worldview.
God always knows what we can handle and what He needs to handle for us. If we will just do our part, He will apply His grace to our situation to enable us to complete His assignments for Him.
I had a small class of only seven students. God knows how much I enjoy intimate settings. And this one afforded them to have personal attention and afforded me the grace to get my feet wet.
The first day went as usual—a greeting, an introduction, an opening prayer and more introductions with everyone getting acquainted. I noticed that as the students interacted, a few didn’t seem too enthused to be there. This was an adult accelerated program.
From the students’ homework assignments, I could tell how much time they spent crafting their writing, and I was able to see where they needed improvement. I commented on their first drafts and prayed for all of them because I know what it feels like to attend college while working and doing life.
During our next class, something amazing happened: The Spirit of The Lord entered the room and filled the atmosphere. This presence seemed to come through the sidewall to my right as I stood at the front of the room. His presence was so distinctive that some of the students pushed away from their tables while others burst into tears. It happened instantly. One student, who sat beside a pastor-student, exclaimed: “Do you feel that?!”
The presence of God was undeniable. I didn’t know what was happening exactly, except that I knew God’s tangible presence had entered the room for a purpose. He was doing a work in those students and in me. And as I felt His presence come upon me, I could hear myself teaching the Word of God as He captivated my inner being. I could see hearts melt as tears poured down faces. And I could feel a surge of refreshing and a breath from within, a holy ease and a perfect peace as words flowed out of me.
I know now that this was God’s Matthew 6:10 grace—on earth as it is in heaven—His amazing grace that enabled all of us to receive whatever He willed each of us to receive in that moment.
We were changed by God’s touch, and after that class, the students were more receptive for the remainder of the entire course. We experienced God together, and it was awesome!
I still hear from the university assistant, who says students are still talking about that many semesters later.
I believe everyone had a unique encounter with God. But for me, I believe God desired to demonstrate His power (grace) to show me How He shows up in a teaching situation. I had been stepping up to His divine assignments for years, but it seemed as though His presence had increased in this one. I believe He was preparing me for future assignments and that He desired that I expect His increased grace going forward.
The Greek transliteration for “power” in Acts 4:33 is “dunamis,” which means “power to achieve by applying the Lord's inherent abilities.” This term is used 120 times in the New Testament.
God’s grace is always sufficient to help us in everyday life, according to His will. How have you seen God’s power show up on your behalf? How is God’s grace preparing you for your future?
This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, "Enduring Grace." All rights reserved. Copyright 2014.