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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
John Newton (1725-1807)
John Newton

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"Amazing Grace"

"Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD" (Isaiah 26:10).

John Newton's great hymn "Amazing Grace" is a song that I am sure practically all who read this message have been blessed by many times. Most of us would list it among our favorite songs.

Chris Tomlin recently added a refrain that we feature as a video link at the end of the message today:

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace.

As John Newton aged his memory began to fail him. This is demonstrated in a poignant scene from the recent movie "Amazing Grace" when Newton is shown in his aged condition declaring, "Although my memory is fading I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior."  His sight is also fading. He quotes a line from his own hymn, "I once was blind but now I see" and asks, "Did I write that?" He was assured that he had written those very words.  Then Newton said, "Now at last it's true." 

Our daily verse presents an interesting and often overlooked Biblical truth. "Grace is shown to the wicked."  The grace of the almighty God of the universe is abundantly demonstrated in His loving care to our world.  A portion of an old hymn states "In all the world around me, I see His loving care."  Theologically speaking this is referred to as "common grace."

This demonstration of common grace goes on moment by moment in a multitude of ways to all, even the vilest offender; the air we breathe, the livable climatic conditions, the food and water. 

Of course there is the special demonstration of grace extended to us through Jesus for our eternal salvation. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). This grace is available exclusively for those who earnestly believe in Him and accept His gift of salvation.  This gift comes with the highest price tag and far exceeds the worth of all other gifts given to us by God!

Unbelief and ingratitude have blinded many to this marvelous grace so the vast majority of the world's peoples "do not learn righteousness" which is a result of walking in His grace.  In our New Testament understanding they do not accept God's grace through Jesus Christ. "They go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD."  Is this not a glimpse of our world today? 

How do we, God's chosen people, regard the grace of God today?
  • Let us thank God for His amazing grace and never cease to be amazed by it.
  • Let us "learn righteousness" and live our life in a manner that pleases Him. 
  • Let us regard the majesty of the Lord and reverently declare His praises daily. 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, Your abundant grace is poured out on humankind like showers of blessings, both for believer and unbeliever alike.  Yet it is only as we appropriate Your saving grace that we turn away from evil and walk in the ways of righteousness. Many leaders and rulers have come and gone, but You, Father, are the eternal One whose kingdom knows no end.  We humble ourselves in the light of Your majesty as we bring honor to Your holy name.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note: In my personal devotions before I read over the message today I, too, read about John Newton.  You may find his self-written epitaph (which follows) to be a blessing and perhaps it will prompt you to consider what you would like your personal epitaph to say.  Maybe this would be a good spiritual exercise that you could write while you have the presence of mind.  A great place to write out your epitaph would be the inside cover of your most commonly used Bible.  It may very well be the most treasured "possession" you will ever leave for your loved ones.

John Newton, clerk,
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ
Preserved, restored, pardoned
And appointed to preach the faith he
Had long labored to destroy.

(It sounds similar to the apostle Paul's personal story doesn't it!)

"Amazing Grace" with the verse quoted in today's message. (video featuring Chris Tomlin) Apart from the beautiful music this video features a very interesting piano!

Here's aother song that comes to mind titled "Your Grace Still Amazes Me" (video)

(I was unable to find audio-only resources for the above)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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