From Disgrace to Amazing Grace

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The hymn “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. Written by John Newton as a personal poem of conversion, it is sung annually at an estimated 10 million times. It reminds each and every one, that each and every day that God has given us Grace through His Son Jesus that we might turn from our disgrace and embrace the grace which lies in Christ. Enjoy the rest of the reading of the autobiography of John Newton.

According to the Dictionary of American Hymnology, “Amazing Grace” is John Newton’s spiritual autobiography in verse. In 1725, Newton was born in Wapping, a district in London near the Thames. His father was a shipping merchant who was brought up as a Catholic but had Protestant sympathies, and his mother was a devout Independent unaffiliated with the Anglican Church. She had intended Newton to become a clergyman, but she died of tuberculosis when he was six years old. For the next few years, Newton was raised by his emotionally distant stepmother while his father was at sea, and spent some time at a boarding school where he was mistreated. At the age of eleven, he joined his father on a ship as an apprentice; his seagoing career would be marked by headstrong disobedience.

As a youth, Newton began a pattern of coming very close to death, examining his relationship with God, then relapsing into bad habits. As a sailor, he denounced his faith after being influenced by a shipmate who discussed Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, a book by the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, with him. In a series of letters he later wrote, “Like an unwary sailor who quits his port just before a rising storm, I renounced the hopes and comforts of the Gospel at the very time when every other comfort was about to fail me.” His disobedience caused him to be pressed into the Royal Navy, and he took advantage of opportunities to overstay his leave and finally deserted to visit Mary “Polly” Catlett, a family friend with whom he had fallen in love. After enduring humiliation for deserting, he managed to get himself traded to a slave ship where he began a career in slave trading.

Newton often openly mocked the captain by creating obscene poems and songs about him that became so popular the crew began to join in. He entered into disagreements with several colleagues that resulted in his being starved almost to death, imprisoned while at sea and chained like the slaves they carried, then outright enslaved and forced to work on a plantation in Sierra Leone near the Sherbro River. After several months he came to think of Sierra Leone as his home, but his father intervened after Newton sent him a letter describing his circumstances, and a ship found him by coincidence. Newton claimed the only reason he left was because of Polly.

While aboard the ship Greyhound, Newton gained notoriety for being one of the most profane men the captain had ever met. In a culture where sailors commonly used oaths and swore, Newton was admonished several times for not only using the worst words the captain had ever heard, but creating new ones to exceed the limits of verbal debauchery. In March 1748, while the Greyhound was in the North Atlantic, a violent storm came upon the ship that was so rough it swept overboard a crew member who was standing where Newton had been moments before. After hours of the crew emptying water from the ship and expecting to be capsized, Newton and another mate tied themselves to the ship’s pump to keep from being washed overboard, working for several hours. After proposing the measure to the captain, Newton had turned and said, “If this will not do, then Lord have mercy upon us!” Newton rested briefly before returning to the deck to steer for the next eleven hours. During his time at the wheel he pondered his divine challenge.

About two weeks later, the battered ship and starving crew landed in Lough Swilly, Ireland. For several weeks before the storm, Newton had been reading The Christian’s Pattern, a summary of the 15th-century The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. The memory of the uttered phrase in a moment of desperation did not leave him; he began to ask if he was worthy of God’s mercy or in any way redeemable as he had not only neglected his faith but directly opposed it, mocking others who showed theirs, deriding and denouncing God as a myth. He came to believe that God had sent him a profound message and had begun to work through him.

Newton’s conversion was not immediate, but he contacted Polly’s family and announced his intentions to marry her. Her parents were hesitant as he was known to be unreliable and impetuous. They knew he was profane, but they allowed him to write to Polly, and he set to begin to submit to authority for her sake. He sought a place on a slave ship bound for Africa, and Newton and his crewmates participated in most of the same activities he had written about before; the only action he was able to free himself from was profanity. After a severe illness his resolve was renewed yet he retained the same attitude about slavery as his contemporaries. Newton continued in the slave trade through several voyages where he sailed up rivers in Africa — now as a captain — procured slaves being offered for sale in larger ports, and subsequently transported slaves to North America. In between voyages, he married Polly in 1750 and he found it more difficult to leave her at the beginning of each trip. After three shipping experiences in the slave trade, Newton was promised a position as a captain on a ship with cargo unrelated to slavery, when at thirty years old, he collapsed and never sailed again. – exerted from autobiographies of John Newton @ wikipedia.com

Turn it All Around

At this moment, dear reader, whatever thy sinfulness, Christ has power to pardon, power to pardon thee, and millions such as thou art. A word will speak it. He has nothing more to do to win thy pardon; all the atoning work is done. He can, in answer to thy tears, forgive thy sins today, and make thee know it. He can breathe into thy soul at this very moment a peace with God. which passeth all understanding, which shall spring from perfect remission of thy manifold iniquities. Dost thou believe that? I trust thou believest it. Mayst thou experience now the power of Jesus to forgive sin! – Charles Spurgeon

Colossians 1:13-14

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

“He will make everything beautiful just in time, don’t give up, He will see you through.”

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Unfailing Favor

” Seeing that we have such a God to trust to, let us rest upon Him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief, and endeavor to get rid of doubts and fears, which so much mar our comfort; since there is no excuse for fear where God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly father, who has never failed us, and who never will! We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed.” – Charles Spurgeon

” Lean not on your own understanding…” – Proverbs 3:5,6

~ We will never figure God out to the tee, He is a mystery, an all wonderous being, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame (confound) the wise; God chose what is
weak in the world to shame the strong.” – 1 Cor. 1:27 (ESV)

As I continue In my ministry, I have ton’s of questions like, “Why did you take me out of Aquinas”, “Why is my ministry on the web?”, & How on earth could I afford to have bought a house, and have gotten my dream car (Chrysler 300C) after buying a brand new car last year and not being upside down? Because of His unfailing favor, that is what you call that. Let’s face it, we all have questions, but He will reassure you that He will never leave you. Just REST IN HIM. Favor follows obedience, obedience follows blessings, that will bless your socks off!

Favor follows us, so undeserving we are, God chooses to bless those that are His. He chose us, so why do we decide not to choose Him as our foundation of trust when our lives become ship wrecked? The only One who can fix us?

Live for Today, Not Yesterday’s

God would not stop speaking this to me, and it goes for all my listeners as well. So I had to post this ASAP

“STOP remembering of what you killed yesterday, live for today”

 You’ve killed it! You laid it on the sacrifice, so don’t go back to it, like a dog returning to its own vomit. Meaning this. You’ve sinned! Ok, ask for forgiveness, and don’t do it again, but what if i do? I can’t get free from this thing, it’s become part of my life; are the thoughts that the enemy throws in our face. For 1. He should be under your foot, not in your face, speaking lies, rebuke that in Jesus name. 2. We look so much on our past that it defines our future (if we don’t let God handle it) ” Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” – Philippians 3:13

Which brings me to my next conclusion. We can’t beat this battle ourself, Mike Matheny the manager of the St.Louis Cardinals made a great quote a few days ago after the St. Louis Cardinals won the game, don’t ask who they were playing, I’m not a sports kinda guy. But Mike said this ” You can’t beat someone who won’t quit”. Did you get that? Spiritually speaking: Stop relying on self and trust in Him! “If you, O’Lord, should mark iniquities, O’Lord, wo could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” – Psalm 130:3,4

condemning your sin, feeling bad for yourself will not help out the situation. We must forgive others and also our self which is the hardest person to forgive. ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” – Proverbs 3:5

We have been stealing bases, trying everything in this spiritual warfare to outwit the enemy, friend, stop it. Remember IT IS FINISHED, repent, don’t quit, you are on the winning side.

Hiding Place

COME OUT FROM WHERE YOU ARE HIDING

If i were to ask you where your hiding place would be, what would you say? When I was a child, my secret hiding place when I was hiding from my mom, or my sister would be behind the couch, I was so skinny I just slid right behind it, I would probably still fit if i tried that today! Hide and go seek was a favorite game of mine, it was easy, you just hid and hope that they would not find you. For me i would always win, being smashed up against the wall, besides my heavy breathing of near suffocation, I would come out a winner! With getting older and having the wisdom of God in my life, I’ve out grown that phase of my life, but at times I find my self, spiritually speaking, hiding from Him. Without noticing it my fleshly man gets in the way and starts to head behind the couch. Admitting your faults is the first step at an AA clinic will teach you, with a year and a half ministering to the clients of Aquanis, I have come to the reality that the 12 steps are man-made. We get the idea of “I got this” ” I can do this”, when really we should have the mentality of “I can’t do this” “I need help”. We carry a burden most times that don’t need to be carried, the whole time He is speaking to us, lay it down, but we get overwhelmed of how BIG it is. Your outlook will be outcome, we can’t hide from it, give it to Jesus. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

YOU CAN’T BE A WINNER FROM HIDING

Certainty of Israel’s desolation

Amos 9:1-10

 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said:
“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
and shatter them on the heads of all the people;
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
not one of them shall flee away;
not one of them shall escape.
“If they dig into Sheol,
from there shall my hand take them;
if they climb up to heaven,
from there I will bring them down.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
from there I will search them out and take them;
and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And if they go into captivity before their enemies,
there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them
for evil and not for good.”
The Lord GOD of hosts,
he who touches the earth and it melts,
and all who dwell in it mourn,
and all of it rises like the Nile,
and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;
who builds his upper chambers in the heavens
and founds his vault upon the earth;
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—
the LORD is his name.
“Are you not like the Cushites to me,
O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.
“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,
and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?
Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom,
and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”
declares the LORD.
“For behold, I will command,
and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
but no pebble shall fall to the earth.
All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’

COME OUT

– It is impossible to hide from God, the flood that had drowned the Earth, people were climbing to the highest peak on mountains, but still were not high enough to escape the judgment of God. Noah, who preached everyday to the surrounding people telling of the coming judgment, turned an ear and kept on with their content life of pride and selfishness that said there will never be judgment, for i am good. Those who run from God, a fugitive in His eyes of the grace in which Christ offers; will not give in for the cost of their life being served to the King and for the Kingdom. Would rather wait to chance their life with momentary pleasures on the World. When we have spent our life fulfilling the temptations of the flesh, where does that take us? No where, a lost and dying soul that needs to be re-kindled by the purifying fire of God’s spirit. Have we lost sight of the prize? Of what Truth is? We put Him in a box while we search for momentary pleasures only to find nothing. Instead of breaking our alabaster box, we pour ourselves into worthless activities, and complacency which fades out the heart beat of God. Restless, that is what we become when we choose to not wait upon the Lord, for His strength to carry you away into the place where He wants you. In His time He will appoint you to where you need to be in Him. Your spread out, ready to fly, but you choose to go ahead and make the move, your spent from all the energy that it took for you to do it on your own. Wait for His gust, He will come.

– Wherever sinners flee from God’s justice, it will overtake them. Those whom God brings to Heaven by His grace, shall never be cast down; but those who seek to climb thither by vain confidence in themselves, will be cast down and filled with shame. That which makes escape impossible and ruin sure, is that God will set His eyes upon them for evil, not for good. Wretched must those be on whom the Lord looks for evil, and not for good. – Matthew Henry’s commentary