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.
John Newton (1725-1807)
No one who knew John Newton as a young lad would ever have dreamed that this teenage rebel, profane sailor, naval deserter and slave-trader would one day write the lyrics to one of the best known hymns of all times. The story of how such a nortorious sinner was converted to Christ and went on to become an equally noteworthy pastor in the 18th century is astounding. His love and concern for his poor and illiterate congregation gave way to the simple yet profound lyrics for them to memorize and chant throughout their daily work.
One day Jesus had a gathering of tax collectors and sinners draw near to him to hear his teachings. But, at the same time the Pharisees and scribes complained that he was eating with them and keeping company with such people. (The Jews hated tax collectors not just because they worked for the Romans, but because they also extorted money in an effort to get rich.) So Jesus told 3 stories to make a single point. One was about a lost sheep, another about a lost coin and a third about a lost son. Each story showed an increase in value. Luke 15:1-7 the story of one lost sheep of 100 – Luke 15:8-10 the story of a lost coin – Luke 15:ll-32 the story of two sons one that was lost to his father but saw the errors of his ways and wanted to come home again and having his father accept his return with open arms.
Each story tells of loss, seeking, finding and rejoicing.
Lost is our condition without the Saviour. Lost things cannot serve their purpose and lack their ability to return where they belong. In Christianity God searches for the lost. The shepherd went searching for the lost sheep, the lady searched for her coin and when both were found they rejoiced. The man whose son was gone, was sad and wished for his return and when the son did return the father rejoiced. Same goes for God and sinners, he seeks after them and when even just one comes and repents, God rejoices. That’s how valuable each person is to God! That is his Grace.
You think that with all the wrong you’ve done and the life you’ve led up till now, you haven’t got a chance of being forgiven or redeemed or fulfilling your purpose. You say you don’t deserve it or you didn’t earn it. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t write yourself off.
There is no mistake too great that grace can’t save you from, if you just take to heart that God is a God of another chance. It’s a free gift. Everybody loves something that is free. Grace is free.
Remember Noah and the ark. Those days were filled with violence and wickedness, much like the times we live in today. When God made the earth and put man on it, he didn’t like what man had become and was sorry he made man. He didn’t make man to be wicked and evil. So he decided to destroy all the corruption. The one person God found who was just, was Noah. Noah walked with God. God’s grace sought Noah out of all the mess in the world to save him and his family. God gave Noah all the instructions how to build the ark and who and what to put in it. Noah heard and obeyed and was saved. Because God did what he said he would do and flooded the earth and destroyed everything, a new beginning was created, giving people another chance. This was grace.
Through all your distresses, frailty and personal failings, trusting in the Lord makes Him happy and through His strength he makes you stronger…that is His grace. He wants you to rely on Him when times get tough. Jesus spoke to Paul once in Corinthians12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Don’t think you don’t count in the scheme of things, God has a history of using the insignificant to accomplish the impossible. Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27. No one can enter heaven by virtue of his or her good works; that is as absurd as a camel, loaded down with goods, passing through the eye of a needle. But through His love and grace, God accomplishes what sinners can not do on their own. Salvation is all grace, all God.
Being at peace with yourself is a direct result of finding peace with God. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”. Philippians 4:7
Our world is full of violence, and our daily lives can be marred by conflict and turmoil. But God promises His people a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Peace is a gift of grace.
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labours increase
To added afflictions he addeth his mercy,
To multiplied trials he multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s fullgiving is only begun.
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of his infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)