Sunday, January 31, 2016

Amazing Grace

Hello friends! 
I hope you all had a godly Lord's day.  A reader asked if I could write about the author of the hymn "Amazing Grace", ( thank you for suggesting it!) which is another one of my favorite songs, and I'm very happy to do so. 

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!


Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
'Tis grace hath bro't me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.


The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secure;
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.


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 first begun.  


John Newton, who was born in the summer of 1725 in London, England, is the author of this well-known hymn. As a young boy, John's mother taught him to pray and she filled his mind with the Scriptures.  John's father, an often-absent sea captain, captured John's imagination, though. He dreamed of sailing ships and the wide, wild seas, of adventures and mysterious destinations. 

Just before John Newton's 7th birthday, his mother died due to an illness. His distant relatives took him in and he was mocked for his belief in God, discouraged from praying, and ridiculed for his childish faith. At the age of 11, unhappy and lonely, John ran off and became an apprentice on his father's ship. 
Sadly, his father rejected him too, just like his relatives had. For many years, John sailed the Mediterranean on sailing ships. He was frequently fired for insubordination, but just as frequently hired, for many ship masters were eager to hire young seamen and not to particular about their character.  

He found new adventures after he deserted and ran away to Africa to seek his fortune in the African slave trade. He signed on with an unscrupulous slave dealer, and was harshly dealt with by the man's vindictive wife. John escaped into the West African forests and eventually made his way to the Atlantic Coast. He was finally spotted, after lighting a signal fire, by a passing ship's captain, who sent a small boat to pick him up. 

The captain had hoped the lone man had gold or ivory to offer, and was disappointed to receive a penniless runaway. John was put to work as a mate, which was an unwise decision as the captain later found out.  During a particularly long watch, John became bored and broke into the ship's supply of rum and shared it with the crew. He downed a goodly amount of liquor, and fell overboard after becoming totally disoriented. One of the ship's officers, either out of pity or spite, saved John from drowning by spearing him in the thigh with a harpoon and reeling him back aboard like a flailing fish! 

Painfully wounded and severely disciplined, Newton was relegated below decks. It was a miserable journey from Africa to England in the stinking, stifling hold, and John had endless days and nights to ponder his empty life and unfulfilled dreams. Somehow, a copy of Thomas a Kempis' book Imitation of Christ fell into his hands. As he read the book, John awakened his conscience to the things of God, and he began to recall some of the early lessons his mother taught him. 

As the slave ship neared Scotland, severe winds and rains battered her and she began to take on water. Desperate measures were take to keep the ship from sinking and for four days, every able-bodies man bailed water from the founder ship. Exhausted, frightened, and facing certain death, John Newton had a life-transforming experience with God. The assurance of God's love flooded his soul and mind. He would later describe it as a miracle, an amazing manifestation of God's grace. 

Although that voyage was not his last, John Newton's heart was drawn in other directions. Two years after his miraculous conversion, he married Mary Catlett, a devout Christian. Soon after that, John left the sea and became a minister. Even though he loved to preach and tended to his flock of believers with zealous care, his great joy was writing hymns to be sung at the weekly prayer meetings. He composed over 280 hymns, but the one for which he is most remembered came from his shipboard conversion and carries the message of his personal experience, "Amazing Grace." 

After reading about John Newton and writing this post, I am reminded of this verse. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:" Isaiah 59:1 It just goes to show you that the Lord desires to save everyone, even the lowest, poorest, worst sinner. As the song says "amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me..." The salvation Christ offers is free to all. Just "...believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." ~Acts 16:31

Hope you all enjoyed this post, and have a good and godly week. Remember to walk with the King, and be a blessing! 
Sincerely yours and eternally His, in the unbreakable and glorious bonds of Calvary,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Prayer Request Page

Good morning sweet friends!
I wanted to let you all know that I added a new page...a prayer request page where I'll be sharing prayer requests. If you have any requests you would like me to add to the list, and that you would like me to pray for, leave a comment or use the contact form. When you visit the page, and if you think of it throughout the days and weeks, please pray for the names listed. You can click here or up above on the tab to visit the page. 

Have a joy filled day in the Lord! 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice evermore: Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Onward Christian Soldiers

Onward Christian Soldiers

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before!
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; 
Forward into battle, see his banner go!


 Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.


At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee; 
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! 
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise!


Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod;
We are not divided; all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.


Onward, then ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song;
Glory, laud, and honor, unto Christ the King;
This thro' countless ages men and angels sing.


Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.  


 Sabine Baring-Gould is the author of this well-known hymn. He was an Anglican curate in the parish at Horbury Bridge in Yorkshire, England, in 1864. Time had come for the annual Whitmonday procession of Sunday school children from one village to the next, and he despaired of keeping the little children in line as they tramped over the countryside. (Whitmonday is the Monday following Pentecost.) It occurred to him that a marching tune would help keep the children in step and headed in the same direction, both physically and spiritually. Sabine reviewed his hymn texts, but couldn't find anything he felt appropriate. 

Undaunted, he composed the verses of "Onward Christian Soldiers". In his own account of the writing this hymn, Baring has said: "It was written in a very simple fashion, without thought of publication. It was written in great haste, and I am afraid that some of the rhymes are faulty. I am certain that nothing has surprised me more than its popularity."

Although this song is the one piece of writing for which Sabine Baring-Gould is more remembered for, it's interesting to note that he was one of the most gifted men-of-letters of the Victorian Era. He wrote eighty five books on religion, travel, folklore, mythology, history, fiction, biography, and theology during his lifetime.

One of his best known publications is his fifteen-volume Lives of the Saints. In the British Museum's literary catalogue there are more titles by Baring-Gould than by any other writer of his time. When "Onward Christian Soldiers" was first performed by the children of his Sunday school, it was sung to a melody by Haydn. The hymn didn't gain great popularity, however, until a second melody was composed for it by Arthur Seymour Sullivan, a man well-known for the operettas he wrote.

When Sabine Baring-Gould died at 92 years of age, he left the literary world greatly enriched by his numerous contributions and Christian music. He has given believers a cadence for commitment and a challenge to march on as soldiers for Christ. 


When I think of "Onward Christian Soldiers" I think of Philippians 3:14, which says "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

I want to thank the reader that commented asking if I would write about this song. I learned some interesting facts about the author I didn't know before.
Hope you all have a blessed Lord's day.

In the unbreakable and glorious bonds of Calvary,

Sunday, January 17, 2016

More Love to Thee

More Love to Thee

More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee! 
Hear thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
 This is my earnest plea: 
More love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee, more love to thee!


Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now thee alone I seek, give what is best;
This all my prayer shall be: 
More love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee, more love to thee! 


Then shall my latest breath whisper thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee, more love to thee! 


 Elizabeth Prentiss wrote this hymn after two of her children died from an epidemic that swept New York. She found comfort in the hymn by Sarah Adams, "Nearer, My God, to Thee" and she used an almost identical meter to pen "More Love to Thee." She didn't intend for it to be more than a communication between herself and her Saviour, but after she showed it to her husband 13 years later, he encouraged her to publish it. 
The philosophy that is expressed in the hymn's verses reflects that of its author. Despite her pain and discouragement, Elizabeth found she could still experience great joy in expressing her love to God.
Among her writings is this reflection: 

"To love Christ more is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul...out in the woods, an on my bed, and out driving, when I am happy and busy, and when I am sad and idle, the whisper keeps going up for more love, more love, more love!"

Elizabeth also wrote the book Stepping Heavenward and though it is written for young people, I highly recommend and encourage all of you read it. It outlines the techniques of living the Christian life and describes the Biblical view of the life hereafter. I find it greatly enthralling and am currently reading it a second time.    

Ephesians 3:19
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

It is my prayer that each of you will love Christ more and more each day and grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. I hope you all have a blessed week filled with the grace and mercy of Christ. 
Your sister in the Lord,

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Don't let bitterness ruin you. Forgive because Christ forgave you.

Hello dear friends.

Last night our pastor preached a really good message and I wanted to share it with all of you. Here are the notes from his sermon. (I added my thoughts at the end. :)

Hebrews 12:14-15
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
The writer was thinking, perhaps, of the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 29:18 "...lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;" Gall was a bitter plant and used as opium and worm wood was a poisonous plant. If there's even been a root that is both poisonous and dangerous at the same time, it's the root of bitterness.
You can either follow peace with all men, as vs. 14 says, or you can follow bitterness with all men.
Bitterness is a condition of the heart. It's an emotion that is a very common theme in the Word of God. Everyone is human and everyone has a human heart. The heart is pictured as the soil so anything can grow out of it.

Roots can grow anywhere. Every single person has the potential of letting bitterness take root in your heart. It's possible for a child of God to run his race well with a good spirit until the last lap. And then, because of what someone did or said, they finish their race with bitterness and trouble. Look diligently, friends, because roots can grow anywhere.

Roots grow underground, under the surface. Bitterness is the root-not a branch, or trunk, or fruit that people see. It infests itself deep and if we let the root grow, it will do much damage.  Usually, it is the result of a little small offence that takes root and destroys through bitterness. It's not the magnitude of the offence that makes us bitter. It's the closeness to us, and that speaks of pride. Pride is the mother of bitterness. Bitterness doesn't take root in us if someone else is hurt by a huge thing. Bitterness takes root in us if we are hurt by a little thing. It's subtle, and it's pride, so don't let it grow.

Bitterness affects everything. It brings in all kind of pain and problems. Bitterness is the poison that you drink hoping the other person will die.
Romans 3:13-14 says "Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:"
Someone said "the fruit of bitterness is like acid that destroys its container." It leaks out and defiles other people.

How do you get rid of bitterness, you may ask?
Let God reveal it.
Let grace remove it.
Let good replace it.

Verse 15... Looking diligently....let God reveal it.
Verse 15... lest any man fail of the grace of God...let grace remove it.
Verse 14...follow peace with all men...let good replace it.

There are basically 2 ways the world says how to handle bitterness.
1. Keep it in. Learn to own it and channel it.
2. Let it out. Go to that person that offended you and spue it all out.
God's way is to get it out when it's a root and give it to God.

The single largest offence ever committed was the cross. And the One who was the closest to the biggest offence ever committed, answered it with the words Father forgive them. Wow!
Only the grace and power of God can change a person on the inside, and remove the root of bitterness. If you're thinking, "you don't know what this person said to me or did to me." I know what they did and said to Jesus, but He still forgave them. Christ was never bitter and He is our great example.
The bitter heart eats its owner, so don't let bitterness take root in your heart.

1 Corinthians 13 is all about what true love, God's love, really is. Love suffers long, is not puffed up, is not easily provoked, doesn't think any evil, doesn't rejoice in iniquity, it endures all things. And love covers a multitude of sins, so if you are bitter against someone, you really don't have God's love in your heart. Jesus forgave and loved the cruel people who put him on the cross, and He forgives and loves you, even though we've all sinned and aren't deserving of His forgiveness and love. We offended Christ with our sin much more than anyone will ever offend you, and He forgave, so why can't you have the love of Christ in your heart and forgive? Get rid of the bitterness in your heart and replace it with kindness, goodness, and love.

Hope you all liked this post, and I hope each one of you has a joy filled week in Christ.
Your sister in the Lord,

Friday, January 1, 2016

1st Scripture Swap // Happy New Year

Happy New Year, friends!!!! I hope this coming year is filled with God's goodness and amazing love. Did any of you stay up till 2016?! Do you have any New Year's resolutions?
Now, I have a little surprise to announce..........
I'm having a Scripture Swap and am so thrilled about it!!! 
Please read the entire post for details.
In September I participated in Stephanie's tea cup and mug exchange, and after that, I really wanted to host an exchange on my blog. I thought and prayed about what kind of swap I could host that isn't very common in the blogging community. Then a Scripture swap came to my mind. I LOVE things that have Bible verses on them and I know other people do as well.

 I would absolutely L.O.V.E. it if you participated in this exchange.  All you have to do is buy or make something that is related to Scripture, or has a Scripture verse(s) on it. Here are some examples: Bible, journal, bag, note cards, mug, candle, stickers, stationary, drawing, towel, tea, devotional book, apron, key chain, etc...Be creative!!!!

It would be just lovely if you could add at least one other gift and a letter, (because who doesn't like getting an extra little surprise; you may add as many as you'd like) but it isn't necessary. If you're wondering, the extra gift does not have to have a Bible verse on it, but it would be nice if you could include something that is Scripture related.

Here's how it works. You send a Scripture parcel to one lady, and receive one from a different lady. You'll be blessed with two new friends in the end!  :) You do not have to have a blog to participate.

This exchange is open to all U.S. residents. If you are from a different country and would like to participate, feel free to sign up and I'll see if there is anyone that could exchange with you.  :) 

The sign up starts today, January 1st, and ends on January 11th, so you will have 11 days to sign up and spread the word!! I will email each of you on Tuesday, the 12th, with the information you need to send your someone special their Scripture package.  We have until January 20th  to get our packages together and shipped out. Please don't send your package any later then Jan. 20th.

I will be giving your email address to the lady who's sending to you, (just in case there's any issues with shipping; it's not necessary though) but if you would not like me to, please let me know.

To enter, simply fill out the form below and click Submit! If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to email me using the contact form on the right, or leave a comment.
Please put your first and last name when you sign up.


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Here's a button I made for the swap. Feel free to grab it and share it on your blog or anywhere you like. (It's also on the right hand side of my blog.) Please spread the word about the Scripture Swap!!! :)  Now you can start signing up. :D 
Don't forget to leave a comment and tell me if you stayed up till midnight, and what your 
resolutions are.  :)  Happy New Year friends, and thank you so much for being a part of 
my blog. I really appreciate all of you.
Blessings and love in Christ,
2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind,
live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.