The following is a report on the practical applications of Liz Curtis Higgs' new book, Embrace Grace: Welcome to the Forgiven Life, (Waterbrook Press, 2006).


Do you long to experience God’s loving touch, yet don’t think He could ever love someone like you or forgive you for something you’ve done? Have you been trying to earn your way into God’s heart, only to be met with frustration?


Even if you feel like a failure, God looks at you with deep, unconditional love. And He stands with arms outstretched, ready to embrace you if you’ll accept His gift of grace.  Here’s how you can embrace God’s grace:


* Embrace doubt. Don’t worry about trying to hide your doubt; God knows about it, and He can handle it. Face your doubt and use it to seek God by asking tough questions. Call out to God even if you’re not sure He’s there, to see if He will respond. Remember that God will always give you a fresh chance at faith – no matter what has happened in your past. Ask God to give you the faith to overcome your fears.


* Embrace faith. Pray for the courage to take a step forward in faith by choosing to trust God – even when you don’t understand how He’s working in your life. Know that the burden of proof lies with God, and He won’t disappoint you. Believe that He will reveal Himself if you genuinely seek Him. As you come to know God more, take more steps of faith to move closer to Him.


* Embrace truth. Crack a Bible open and read it. Think about the words, meditate on them, pray about them, and study them. Invite God to speak to you as you read His Word. Allow His messages to sink deep into your soul and begin to transform you. Remember His promise in Scripture that nothing in all creation will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ. Rest assured that even if you’ve ignored, offended, or denied God, He still loves you and wants a relationship with you.


* Embrace sin. Don’t deny the reality of your own sin. Understand that any sin – no matter how small it seems – mars your soul and needs to be confessed. Don’t let fear, shame, or guilt about your sin cause you to run away from God. Instead, confess your sins to Him on a regular basis, knowing that when you do, He will lavish you with attention, heal your wounds, and remind you that Christ has already atoned for your sins through His death on the cross. Don’t pretend that you can avoid having to deal with your sin by following rules and trying to live a good life. Recognize that no one can ever be good enough to earn their way to heaven, that all people in our fallen world make mistakes, that you sin every day despite your best intentions, and that you need God’s grace when you sin. Be honest about your failures with some other Christians you trust, confessing your sins to each other, praying for each other, and encouraging each other as part of the healing process.