Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Amazing Grace

John Newton, and a famous quote of his

John Newton was the son of an English sea captain. When John was only 10, his mother died, and he went to sea with his father. The boy learned the ups and downs of the sea backward and forward. At 17 however, he rebelled against his father, left the ship and began living a wild life. Eventually John took a job on a cargo ship, that carried slaves from Africa to America across the Atlantic Ocean. He was promoted rapidly and soon became the captain of the ship. Newton never worried about whether slave trade was right or wrong - he just did it, and gave him an opportunity to make money. But then something happened that changed his life.
One night a violent storm blew up at sea. The raging waves picked up Newton’s ship and threw it around like a toy, and everyone on board was filled with panic. Then John did something he hadn’t done since leaving his father’s ship. He prayed. Shouting at the top of his voice, he said, “God, if you will only save us, I promise to be your slave forever.” God heard his prayers and the ship survived. When Newton reached land, he kept his promise and quit the slave trade. Later he studied for the ministry and was ordained a pastor of a small church in Olney, England. There he won fame as a preacher and as a composer of hymns.
One of the most moving hymns Newton wrote is one that praises God for his conversion. The words read: “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....Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far, and Grace will lead me home.”
In our lives we experience many spiritual storms that shake up our lives. If we know the source of help and where we can rely for support, everything will turn just fine, as it did for John Newton, in spite of his much serious predicament. But if we try to handle the storms of our lives by ourselves, pretty soon we’re gonna drown or self-destruct. Let us therefore remember the words and circumstance in which “Amazing Grace” was written, and turn to God, not only in bad times, but also in happy times, at least to thank Him for blessings received.

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