DAY 13 – AMAZING GRACE
I find it ironic that almost everyone sings a version of Amazing Grace. Just perusing music sites, it seems every star has released a version of this song at one time or another, even though most of those people have never experienced God’s saving grace.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear.
To fear God is the beginning of wisdom. Fear of His just punishment for sin. When I reflected on John 3:17-18, it made John 3:16 come alive. I was already condemned and facing eternal punishment.
And grace my fears relieved.
God’s grace, given to me when I turned my life over to His Son’s Lordship, granted to me eternal life. There is now no condemnation for I am safely in the family of God. So precious, that grace given the hour, the very second I first believed.
Upon hearing the call of God, our Shepherd, here in this world, we will experience His reality face to face in the next. His word, His promises, secures our hope for an eternity with Him in heaven.
Unless a person has experienced God’s saving grace, they really have no idea what this song is about. Far from just being a good hymn, it hammers home to us that our only hope is to be found in Christ alone.
Lord, Your grace is totally amazing. That You could extend grace and mercy to us just completely overwhelms me. You, the perfect, holy Creator of the Universe, extending grace to one such as myself, selfish, arrogant, sinful is simply … amazing.
Thank you for saving me by Your grace and extending to me the faith necessary to believe.
AMAZING GRACE by John Newton
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
Yea when this flesh and heart shall fail
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace
The world shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun refuse to shine
But God who called me here below
Shall be forever mine
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun
One of my favorite Bible verses comes from James, where the apostle tells us that if we lack wisdom, to go to God and ask Him because He gives it generously. The next part of that verse adds, “without finding fault.” This is so important. When we go to God admitting that we need His advice and direction, He doesn’t make fun of us, laugh at us or grudgingly grant our request. God delights in us having enough sense to ask Him – in being obedient in asking Him.
We don’t have to come afraid of being ridiculed. We don’t have to listen to a lecture of how we should have already known better. He gives without finding fault. Can we go to God today, seeking His counsel, without fear? I can, how about you?
17 years of meetings. Another conference in another city. Different topic, different speakers but overall the same. A few notes written, a few ideas stolen and then life returns to normal. Except this week. I wasn’t expecting much out of the conference. In fact, I didn’t even remember what the theme of this conference was. I just thought it would be a nice retreat with my family since this was one of the few all of us could attend. Little did I know I would be ambushed by something profound and meaningful.
It turns out that the theme for this conference was “Sifted”. It was a marriage retreat in disguise. From speakers to counselors and testimonies of peer couples, we were exposed to a time whose goal was to strengthen marriages. Even worse, the conference had built in accountability. We were given homework to do both individually and as a couple, and then in the next session we discussed our answers.
I then understood why they had counselors. We each had to (after a seminar on the 5 greatest needs in a man’s and a woman’s life) grade ourselves on how well we thought we were doing in each area. Then we graded our spouse on how well they were doing meeting our needs. Then the twist – we had to get alone with our spouse and reveal the answers to each other – needless to say they did not always agree! On the upside, I believe each of us left the conference having been open and honest, as well as beginning to work on issues that needed addressing.
If I had known in advance what the conference was really going to be about, I would not have gone. Too much pride, too much fear of vulnerability, too much worry about peer approval. Now I am glad I did go. My family will be better for it because I learned what I needed to change.
Now if only all conferences could be so meaningful…