John Newton-Amazing Grace
John Newton - (1725-1807), Evangelical Pastor and Hymn Writer
John Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman.
On March 21,1748, during his return voyage to England aboard the ship Greyhound, Newton had a spiritual conversion. He awoke to find the ship caught in a severe storm off the coast of Donegal, Ireland and about to sink. In response, Newton began praying for God's mercy, after which the storm began to die down. After four weeks at sea the Greyhound made it to port in Lough Swilly, Ireland. This experience marked the beginning of his conversion to Christianity.
He began to read the Bible and other religious literature. By the time he reached Britain, he had accepted the doctrines of Christianity. From that point on, he avoided profanity, gambling and drinking. Although he continued to work in the slave trade, he had gained sympathy for the slaves during his time in Africa. He later said that his true conversion did not happen until some time later: "I cannot consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterwards."
For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of March 21, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. "Thro' many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; 'tis grace has bro't me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." He continued in the slave trade for a time after his conversion; however, he saw to it that the slaves under his care were treated humanely.
In 1750 he married Mary Catlett, with whom he had been in love for many years. By 1755, after a serious illness, he had given up seafaring forever. During his days as a sailor he had begun to educate himself, teaching himself Latin, among other subjects. From 1755 to 1760 Newton was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, where he came to know George Whitefield, deacon in the Church of England, evangelistic preacher, and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. Newton became Whitefield's enthusiastic disciple. During this period Newton also met and came to admire John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Newton's self-education continued, and he learned Greek and Hebrew.
As his faith matured, Newton’s remorse over his involvement in the slave trade surfaced and galvanized him. In 1785 he met with William Wilberforce and counseled him to remain in politics rather than pursue a religious life. Newton would remain a spiritual mentor for the prominent abolitionist for the next 20 years. He renounced his former slaving profession by publishing a blazing pamphlet called “Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade.” The tract described the horrific conditions on the ships and Newton apologized for making a public statement so many years after participating in the trade: “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”
Cowper helped Newton with his religious services and on his tours to other places. They held a regular weekly church service and also a series of weekly prayer meetings, for which their goal was to write a new hymn for each one. They collaborated on several editions of Olney Hymns, which achieved lasting popularity. The first edition, published in 1779, contained 68 pieces by Cowper and 280 by Newton.
Among Newton's contributions which are still loved and sung today are "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" and "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken," as well as "Amazing Grace." Composed between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, "Amazing Grace" was possibly one of the hymns written for a weekly service. The origin of the melody is unknown. Most hymnals attribute it to an early American folk melody.
John Newton died in London England on December 21, 1807 at age 82. His wife Mary had died previously a few years earlier in 1790.
Can You Identify With John Newton?
Through the centuries there have been, and continue to be, many who can identify with Newton's testimony. Once a blasphemer, living in deep sin, trading humans in slavery, responsible for the suffering and death of many, but the grace and mercy of God seized him, and brought him to repentance, and salvation in Christ. The process of transformation as Newton said, was gradual, and ongoing through the years of his life. The choices he made, revealed the inner workings of God, bringing him into the path of truth and holiness, from a life of degradation, and sin.
A story of a transformed life. What Jesus did for John Newton, he did for me in 1978, and is still in the process of renewing my mind, and transforming my life.
What Jesus has done for us who have come out of deep sin-and the power of God to change us-can happen for you.
Newton cried out to God when he thought all was lost, and was answered. Call out to the Lord, He will hear you, just the same.
"I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior." - John Newton
This is not just a song.
It is the testimony and declaration of faith by every believer in Christ.
I am certain this song, with other songs of Praise, will be sung by us the saints in Heaven for ten thousands of years.
Amazing Grace: The Story Behind the Song
The Value of An Individual
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. Acts 8:26
Note then the value of a single soul. It must have seemed very strange and dark to Philip that he should be summoned from his Samaritan work. The tide was with him; enthusiasm was heightening vast crowds were moved by the preaching of Christ crucified. It would have been hard to leave all that through sickness; it was doubly hard to do it when well and strong. Could no one else be found for that desert work? Was it right to leave the thousands in Samaria for the single chariot of a southern courtier? I am sure that Philip had many a thought like that, for he was a man of like passions with ourselves. Then gradually it would grow very clear to him that a single soul must be very dear to God. He would remember how the shepherd had left the ninety and nine that the one sheep in the desert might be found. From that hour on to the day he died, Philip held fast in all his work for Christ to the infinite worth, in the eyes of Christ, of one. We must never forget that in a busy city. Where God is, we are not lost in any crowd. We are separately precious and separately sought. In the love of Jesus we all stand alone. One by one we are found and led and humbled till the day break and the shadows flee away.
Disappointed in Jerusalem, the Courtier Did Not Quit
Again observe that the earnest do not despair when disappointed. There is something very noble in this courtier. There is a touch of true greatness in the man. In a heathen court and with everything against him, his life had grown into a great cry for God. Somehow, he had got his hands on the Old Testament. Never a Jewish trader came to Meroe but the chancellor had earnest converse with him until at last nothing would ease his heart but the resolve to journey to Jerusalem. The Temple was there, and the priests and scribes were there—would he not learn all that he craved for there? And now he is returning homeward, a weary, baffled, disappointed man. He had craved for bread— they had given him a stone. He had cried, like Luther when he first saw Rome, "Hail, Holy City"; and the holy city had brought no solace to him. How many a man, in such a disappointment, would have cast his Scripture to the winds of heaven? But the eunuch was of another mould than that. His was too great a heart to nurse despair. He must still seek; he must still read; he must still study. He was deep in Isaiah on that desert road. And it was in that hour when his journey seemed so useless and his hope was quenched and his heart was sick and weary— it was then that he stepped into the light of Christ. We must remember there are disappointments in all seeking. There come times when we all seem baffled in our quest. We are tempted to ask, What is the use of it? Is it worth while? Had we not better give in? We are often brought to the point of losing heart. In such moods recall the Ethiopian. He would still hold to it in spite of all failure. And on the day when everything seemed vain, the footsteps of the dawn were on the hills.
God Ordained What He Thought a Chance Meeting
Then lastly, God is behind many a chance meeting. I think that the driver of this Nubian chariot was not a little startled to see Philip; it was an unlikely place to light on any traveler. And when he got home to the stables of his master and told the story by the fire at night, all would agree that this accidental meeting had been one of the strange chances of the road. But we know that the meeting was not that. The hand of God had ordered and prepared it. It had been arranged for in the plans of heaven, though it seemed an accident to the dusky charioteer. We must believe that it is often so. Our friendships and comradeship's do not begin haphazard. We seem to be thrown across each other's path, but the hand of God has been ordering the way. Two people meet— we call the meeting chance. But life will be different evermore for both. It were well to strike out chance from our vocabulary, and in its place to put the will of God. (Devotional Sermons)
Note: This devotion brings to remembrance the days of turmoil in my own life, when my husband had divorced me, and all seemed to be over between us-but God spoke to me to believe Him for a reconciliation, and not give up on this man. I was amazed, and could not believe it-and asked how this could ever happen, and told God I didn't know if I even wanted a reconciliation. In my spirit I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit-"Trust Me, and keep praying. And, I'll ask you, what is the value to you, of one soul? My value of one soul, is the price of My Son, who died for him."
I kept praying, even when it seemed impossible-two years went by, and we were remarried; and it was my husband who came to me, and made the decision on his own. It was the hand of God.
My God, answers prayer.
WINNING A TRAVELER
From the great city revival in Samaria Philip was led to the desert to minister to one seeking soul. It seems strange that God should be able to spare him from his busy and fruitful ministry in Samaria; but probably the comparative retirement was needed for soul and body after the strain of that successful campaign. How certain these Spirit-filled men were of the heavenly impulse! Every appearance suggested that this man of God was needed in the city, but the inner voice was the deciding factor, and his journey was so timed as to bring him in contact with a soul that was groping its way toward Christ.
The Bible is good as a traveling companion. Take it on your journeys. Read it as other men do their newspapers; not exclusively but boldly. There are many stories afloat of bullets being stopped by pocket Testaments; and it is certain that many a desperate thrust of the devil has been warded off by the Word of God being hidden in the heart and worn as a breastplate. Live in touch with God, and He will put you in touch with souls. This conversion of a son of Ham was a worthy fulfillment of Isa_56:3-8. F.B. Meyer
Conspiracy Against Nehemiah
Neh 6:1 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)
Neh 6:2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.
Neh 6:3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
Neh 6:4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
Neh 6:5 Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;
Neh 6:6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.
Neh 6:7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
Neh 6:8 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.
Neh 6:9 For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
Neh 6:10 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.
Neh 6:11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
Neh 6:12 And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
Neh 6:13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
Neh 6:14 My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.
The story of Nehemiah and the conflicts he had with Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem teaches us a lot about the critics of the world and how to deal with them. The verses above give a short overview, but I recommend reading the entire book of Nehemiah, it's rich with many life lessons.
An occupational hazard of being a leader is receiving criticism, and not always instructive. When this happens it's easy to want to throw in the towel, and call it quits. Many fade into obscurity, and aim for a life of a recluse, or hermit. I've been tempted many times.
Anybody who does anything that's out of the ordinary, goes off the main track that the majority is moving in, faces conflicts and no shortage of armchair critics.
Theodore Roosevelt met with many know it all critics, and I appreciate his response to them.
I've learned the truth of his words in my life, in several timespans, and in more than one endeavor. One of the most important, and lasting in my life, was purchasing my first Arabian horse, and embarking on a journey of learning how to train this beautiful, graceful animal with knowledge, and skill. It took many years, many mistakes along the way, but also victories, that grew into a business that lasted many years. Many hours were spent in learning how to understand the proper principles of training the horse, and develop a relationship with them, and bring them to a level of ability, that they would have the desire and heart to win, and many of them did. The things I learned in training them, and the years of giving lessons to other's, gained for me an understanding of what Theodore Roosevelt meant in his remarks. I use what I learned during those years, in my life to this day.
Open honesty in daily life, in the midst of criticism, and being able to sift fact and truth from condemnation and lies-there is a big difference. Horses are very intelligent animals, and you can't fool them. They know there's only one who's in charge, and they know all the time if it's you, or the horse.
Nehemiah had his share of critics. Reading his story is an eye opener on how to deal with the critics in your life. He kept his cool, and stayed focused on the job before him. He considered the source of the criticism, and refused to get discouraged. He also went to God in prayer. Most importantly, he kept building the wall.
If God's given you something to do, and it's not what the majority are doing-and you're getting a lot of criticism for it, use Nehemiah as a source of strategy in how to deal with it, and keep going. Dare to be different. Be willing to make mistakes, and even fail. If God is in it, success does not mean popularity, it means remaining steadfast, regardless of the attacks, and even if no one is following. Remember, just before Jesus went to the cross, everybody left him-only the Father remained. Following the will of God, may lead you in the same lonely path. Jesus is worth it. I follow winners-and Jesus won, He's risen from the grave. There is victory, in Jesus.
The Rich Inquirer
"Jesus beholding him loved him, and said: One thing thou lackest .. sell whatever thou hast, and give to the poor .... Come, take up thy cross, and follow Me. And he was sad, and went away grieved:
for he had great possessions." Mark 10: 21-22
HOW MANY there are who know in their hearts what their duty is, but fail to do it because they are hiding some forbidden thing; they refuse to launch on the current sweeping past them, because they are secretly anchored to a sandbank; they go from one teacher to another, with an appearance of earnest inquiry after eternal life, which never comes to anything, because they are unwilling to renounce their secret idol.
In the case of this young man, it was the love of money. "He had great possessions." There is no harm in money. It is one of God's gifts to men, but it is hard to own it without coming to look upon it as one's own, instead of realizing that we are stewards only. It was for this reason that our Lord proposed this supreme test. St. Francis of Assisi thought that these words applied universally, and founded the Order of the Franciscans, pledged to poverty. But it seems more in harmony with the spirit of the Gospel to believe that it was a special test put to this seeker after truth, to reveal him to himself.
The law of love is not negative only but positive. The most essential condition for each of us is to be willing, like another young man who was living at that time, "to count all things but loss, in order to win Christ and to be found in Him" (Php_3:8). If you would follow Christ and are prepared for Love's sake to surrender all, you will probably be entrusted with manifold more, because Christ knows that He can make you His almoner with no fear of gold dust adhering to your palm in its transmission.
Let us guard against the idol of money or possessions. Riches which open most doors, will not furnish a pass-key to Heaven. Let us see to it that we always act as stewards of God's property, but this is not possible unless we are living perpetually in fellowship with our Master, who though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich, and who says to us also, "Come, take up the cross, and follow Me." (Our Daily Bread)
Note: The sermon below by David Wilkerson describes today's Rich Inquirer's. If you doubt that most today would be considered rich-the youth today think nothing of paying hundreds of dollars for the latest big name sneakers, and video games. Yes, they are rich, by the world's standards, but destitute and blind of the knowledge of God, both in and out of the church.
Counterfeit Christianity - Full Sermon - David Wilkerson
In this page there will be devotions/poems
music and inspirational material
The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
But this is that which was spoken by the
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: