Tuesday, September 29, 2015

His Word My Hope Secures

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are my praise.
—Jeremiah 17:14
Then on the Lord's Name I did call,
and I to him did say,
"Deliver now my soul, O Lord,
I earnestly do pray."
—Psalm 116:4
Suggested tune (St. Anne):
There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.
—Matthew 20:30-34
As a young man, John Newton (1725-1807) was pressed into service by the British Navy. After attempting to desert, he was flogged on board ship with 350 people looking on. After this, he was signed on as a crew member of a slave ship. So problematic was Newton that he was himself handed over to a slave dealer and traded to an African princess, who mistreated him as she did her other slaves. After being rescued from slavery, he experienced a spiritual conversion, and later became a minister of the Gospel who was influential not only in the conversion of many souls to Christianity, but also in abolishing slavery in the British Empire. In 1779, he published this famous hymn:
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
that sav'd 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 reliev'd;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believ'd!

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below,
will be forever mine.
O thou giving God, my heart is drawn out in thankfulness to thee, for thy amazing grace and condescension to me in influences and assistances of thy Spirit, for special help in prayer, for the sweetness of Christian service, for the thoughts of arriving in heaven, for always sending me needful supplies, for raising me to new life when I am line one dead. Give me special grace to fit me for special services, and keep me calm at all times, humble, solemn, and conformed to thy will. Amen.
—from a prayer entitled "Amazing Grace" in Valley of Vision

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