Our dear Georgette hanging out the laundry at Lilac Hill, Plein air oil painting by Lee Boynton
Amazing Grace, by John Newton
Amazing grace how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost by now I'm found,
Was blind but now I see...
God so LOVED the world He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17
What is eternal life?
Jesus answers that question for us. He prayed to His Father in heaven, "this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You sent."
Give your dirty laundry to God and He will make it white as snow. Isn't that awesome! Eternal life begins the moment we acknowledge our wayward thinking, repent, surrender our lives to God and accept His Son Jesus into our hearts as our Savior and Lord. That moment when we turn the reins over to Him, the old confused heart of stone goes and the new tender heart of flesh comes, the heart made alive through the Holy Spirit. We are able to know God.
John Newton (1725-1807)
Before his conversion, John Newton was involved in the slave trade as his profession -- first as crew on slave ships, and then as a captain. While serving as crew aboard the Greyhound, he gained notoriety for being one of the most profane men on board. He wrote lewd poems and songs openly mocking the captain, and encouraging his crew mates to join him in chanting or singing them. He called himself the Great Blasphemer, deriding and denouncing God as a myth, and ridiculing others who revealed the slightest glimmer of faith. He was a man without limits, indulging himself in every vice from drinking, to fighting to fornication.
In March 1748, while at sea in the North Atlantic, a violent storm came upon the Greyhound. One of his fellow crew members was swept overboard from the spot where he had been standing moments before. The hull was beginning to break apart and it looked like the ship was on its way down. In moments of extreme desperation, while lashed to the pump and bailing for all he was worth, Newton cried out to God for mercy.
In the harrowing hours to follow, he questioned why God would ever want to spare his life. He thought he had sinned too much to have any hope of God's forgiveness. This was the opening to his hardened, darkened heart through which God could shine his marvelous light, and for the rest of his life, he marked March 10 as the anniversary of his new birth.
His growth in his new life in Christ was slow at first. He experienced several more miraculous rescues from death by the storms of life, including illness, starvation, mutiny plots and slave uprisings, and came to see God's amazing grace for what it was. He finally abandoned the sea faring life and responded to a call to the ministry. He was ordained as a priest on June 17, 1764.
Newton wrote poems and hymns to accompany his sermons. He wrote the lyrics for Amazing Grace in late 1772, and it was first sung during a New year's Day service on January 1, 1773. Talk about transformation and giving glory to God! This hymn is estimated to be performed 10 million times annually around the globe, and has appeared on over 11,000 albums.