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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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My Gift of Grace

by Sarah Nutter

What do you do when you get a second chance? I definitely didnít blow mine!

    Mrs. Hopkins, my speech teacher, had a unique system of deciding the order in which we would present our speeches when they were due. There were too many students in the class for us all to give our speeches on the same day. Actually, we usually only got through about five or six speeches per class period.

    To be as fair as possible, Mrs. Hopkins wrote the numbers one through 20 on the board. As soon as we got to class, we signed our names on an open spot. Then Mrs. Hopkins would call for our speeches in that order. The motive behind this method was to get us to come to class as early as possible, so we could put our name down on, say, number 18 if we wanted, and not have to give our speech that day.
    My first two speeches of the year went perfectly. Both days I was totally prepared to give my speech on the day they were due. But just to be safe, I got to class early both times and signed up for a late spot. I never gave a speech on the day it was due, which gave me an extra day to go over it and perfect it.
    By the time my third speech was due, I figured I had nothing to worry about. I planned to speak on violence in the media, but I’d had an extremely busy week and didn’t even get my speech written. Feeling so tired the night before my speech was due, I decided to just make sure I was early to class so I could put my name as low on the list as possible and not have to give my speech.
    As you can imagine, everything went wrong that day. During my 10-minute break between classes, a teacher pulled me aside to talk. Then, I ran into a friend who was having a crisis—and the list goes on.
    I bolted to my speech class as soon as I could. My heart sank when the only open spots were numbers one through seven. I just knew I’d have to give my speech that day—my nonexistent, unwritten speech.
    My heart pounded. I wrote my name beside number seven and prayed that by some miracle God would give me grace, even though I’d messed up big-time.
    Four people came in and signed up ahead of me. Then two more guys came in. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, thinking, Mrs. Hopkins will never get to me today. But those guys took one look at the board and then added the numbers 21 and 22 at the bottom of the list, so they could be last.
    I looked at Mrs. Hopkins, who was grading papers. She didn’t so much as blink at the fact that those guys had cheated like that.
    Back to heart-pounding terror. I began  scanning my mind for any information I could think of on violence in the media, but I had nothing. No outline, no sources—nothing.
    The first speech took about 20 minutes. Afterward Mrs. Hopkins asked some questions, which took longer than usual. But I wasn’t off the hook yet.
    The second speech took another 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. When the third speech took 20 minutes as well, I knew God had given me a huge gift! I started breathing normally again. I definitely wouldn’t be giving my speech that day.
    I walked out of class as if floating on a cloud. I didn’t deserve what had just happened. I’d been an irresponsible student. There was an assignment, and I hadn’t completed it. I deserved to fail. But I got off scot-free.
    It taught me something beautiful about the nature of grace. We deserve a “zero” in life. We deserve death, because we are so sinful. But God lets us get off scot-free through the blood of Christ.
    Now, do you think that when I got home that night I watched TV instead of working on my speech and decided to wing it the next day? No way. I worked for hours on my speech. I made it the best it could be.
    Then I guess it makes sense for us, when we accept God’s grace, not to just “wing it” and waste our time on something that doesn’t mean anything, like TV. Instead, it  ought to inspire us to go all out in service for and dedication to Christ.
    I encourage you to treat your second chance at life like I treated my second chance at the speech—make it the best it can be!
Sarah Nutter is a senior writing major in college who works with some outstanding high school girls at her church. She particularly loves Kit Kat candy bars.

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