FREE MOVIE GIVEAWAY (You Bring the Popcorn and the Milk Duds!)

Easter vacation is just days away and if your teen is like mine, he or she gets bored about day three of any school vacation.  With today’s Friday Five, I’m sharing five great movies with faith-based themes that you might not know about.  I’ve seen them all and own three of them.  These are not only good movies because their message is Christian, they are some of my favorite “four-star” family movies of all time.

I decided to go ahead and post these today so that you can have a week or so to locate and rent them.  Although two of these are over thirty years old, the movies are still in print and can all be rented from Netflix or Blockbuster.  If you find that you’d like to own them, most of them can be purchased at Amazon.

To be eligible for the movie giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment at www.lbtk.wordpress.com after this post.  I will collect comments today, Saturday (March 31), and Sunday (April 1).   Everyone who leaves a comment will be assigned a number and then I’ll let www.random.org choose the winner.   I will let the winner choose which of the movies he/she would like to receive.  So make sure you get your comments in by Sunday at 11:59pm!

HERE ARE FIVE OF MY FAVORITE FAITH-BASED MOVIES OF ALL TIME:

1.  THE FIFTH QUARTER (2010 -starring Ryan Merriman, Aidan Quinn, & Andie MacDowell)

The 5th Quarter

Synopsis:  After a car crash takes the life of his fifteen-year-old brother, Luke returns to Wake Forest University with a renewed purpose in his life.  He then leads the university’s struggling football team to its most successful season ever.

Rating:  PG

My recommendation:  Older children, teens, and adults will enjoy this movie.  It is based on a true story and I love it because it takes place in my home state — North Carolina.  I do not own this movie…yet.

2. AGAINST A CROOKED SKY (1975 – starring Richard Boone, Stewart Peterson, Jewel Blanch, & Clint Ritchie)

Against a Crooked Sky

Synopsis:  Sam Sutter is young man who still acts like a small boy.  When a group of Indians attack his homestead and kidnap his sister, he is determined to prove that he is a man.  With the help of an old trapper, he finds his sister in a faraway land.  To his horror, she is married to an Indian brave and has been framed for the killing of the tribe’s chief.  Sam must run an ancient tribal race in order to save her.  In doing so, he learns the true meaning of love and sacrifice.

Rating: Not Rated

My recommendation:  Although this movie is not rated, I would rate it PG because there is a small bit of violence with the death of the chief.  It is appropriate for older children, teens, and adults.  It’s loosely based on another western entitled, “The Searchers.”  I own this movie in VHS and hope to find it in DVD soon.

3.  WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS (1974 – starring James Whitmore, Stewart Peterson, & Beverly Garland)

Where the Red Fern Grows

Synopsis: Billy, a young boy who lives in the Ozark mountains, saves his money to buy two hound dogs and trains them to hunt raccoons.  (Or as we say in the South, “coons.”)  Along the way, he learns the true meaning of love, loyalty, and friendship.

Rating:  G

My Recommendation:  This movie will be enjoyed by older children, teens, and adults – especially dog-lovers.  I do want to warn parents that this movie depicts the death of a teenage boy.  During a scene in the last third of the movie, one of the characters who has been a thorn in Billy’s side throughout the story falls on an ax while hunting and dies.  The newer version is rated PG for this very reason.  The 2003 version is good, but the original just has a special place in my heart.  It is based on the award-winning children’s book by Wilson Rawls.  When I taught school, we would read the book and watch the movie to compare/contrast the stories.  The book is spectacular and the 1974 movie keeps very close to the book’s storyline.  I own this movie in VHS and hope to purchase it in DVD soon.

4.  THE SECOND CHANCE (2006 – starring Christian contemporary artist Michael W. Smith,  Jeff Obafemi Carr, & J. Don Ferguson)

The Second Chance

Synopsis:  Two young pastors from different walks of life are forced to work together in a small inner-city church.  The Rock, a colossal church who owns the building where the small church meets, wants to tear it down so that a parking lot can be built.  The two young pastors realize that despite the fact that they have virtually nothing in common, they share a strong faith in God and His awesome power.

Rating:  PG-13

My recommendation:  This will be enjoyed by teens and adults.  It is an original screenplay and features the music of Michael W. Smith.  I don’t own it, but I have it permanently saved to my DVR.

5.  THE ULTIMATE GIFT (2006 – starring James Garner, Drew Fuller, Abigail Breslin, & Lee Meriweather)

The Ultimate Gift

Synopsis:  When Jake’s wealthy grandfather dies, he assumes that he will inherit it all.  Instead of getting the mega-bucks up front, there are strings attached.  Jake will inherit the money when he completes a series of tasks.  Along the way, Jake learns that the journey he’s on is the true wealth he’ll receive — his ultimate gift.

Rating:  PG

My Recommendation:  This will be enjoyed by older children, teens, and adults.  I first watched it with the kids at church right around Christmastime.  I have to tell you, I cried.  I loved it so much, I bought it for our family DVD library.

shr

Movie photo credits:  www.netflix.com

The Ten Commandments: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.  Exodus 20:17 (The Message)

Today ends our Bible study of the ten commandments.  Number ten is probably the one that I deal with the most on a regular basis.  Everywhere I look, I see something I’d like to have but don’t need or have the money to buy.  To covet is “to desire wrongfully or without due regard for the rights of others.”  (See www.dictionary.com) It’s more than just wanting something.  It’s concentrating all your desire and energy in the pursuit of acquiring something or someone without stopping to consider how obtaining the object of your desire is going to affect the people around you or God’s kingdom.  It is a blinding desire that makes you insensitive to how you treat others.

There are a lot of covetous activities that are obvious:  when a spouse cheats,  when people in a corporation steal from loyal customers, when an employee steals from his employer, not being honest when you file your taxes, when one person uses dishonesty to deceive another in order to gain monetarily, socially, or emotionally, and any illegal or immoral gains that we obtain by not being forthright.

When I was in high school, I had a lot of friends and a great many of those friends are still close to me today.  One of my friends was the type of person who didn’t want me to have any other friend but her. She even resorted to lying about another girl I was close to in order to drive a wedge into our friendship.  What I was told about this young woman was something I considered totally against her character — and it was.  It was a lie that I passed along because I believed it at the time.  It damaged what once had been a very strong, close friendship.  Even though the truth eventually came to light and my apology was accepted, things never really were the same.   In my opinion, the perpetrated lie and subsequent gossip caused irreparable harm and was covetous in nature.

Given the above definition, I’ve been thinking of other covetous acts that are given different names:

WHEN ANYONE FORCES ANYONE ELSE TO HAVE SEX AGAINST THEIR WILL

WHEN A PERSON IS ADDICTED TO DRUGS & ALCOHOL

SITUATIONS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE INNOCENT

KEEPING ALL OF YOUR BLESSINGS FROM GOD FOR YOURSELF

FAILING TO LOVE EVERY SINGLE PERSON WITH THE LOVE OF GOD — NO EXCEPTIONS

NOT HAVING ENOUGH TIME TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

The reason God despised covetous behavior enough to write a commandment forbidding us to act this way is simple — when we covet, we no longer rely on God for our needs.  We begin putting faith in ourselves to acquire the things we want.  Sometimes those desires take over our lives.  That’s when we covet.  Coveting is a by-product of the immediate gratification society in which we live.  It is pervasive.

The fact that the ten commandments were relevant to the Israelites thousands of years ago and remain equally as relevant to the word in 2012 speaks to the authenticity of God’s word.  so, we might not always get what we want, but if we stick with God, He will give us what we truly need.

Can you think of any other covetous acts?  If so, please leave a comment and explain.

shr

Image Credits:  www.devotoons.kevinspear.com, www.myredalert.blogspot.com, www.connect.in.com, www.tamaraaragon.comwww.mylimitlesssuccess.com, & www.slaveofjesus.blogspot.com

Related Articles:  “To Worship Idols is to Worship Yourself” http://pewtopractice.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/to-worship-idols-is-to-worship-yourself/

“120319 George Hach’s Journal – Monday”  http://georgehachmyblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/120319george-hachs-journalmonday/

“Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Good” http://bustedhalo.com/blogs/coveting-thy-neighbors-good

“Why Do We All Have to Look This Way?” http://whatwecovet.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-do-we-all-have-to-look-this-way.html

How Can I Keep from Singing: Beautiful

If you read LBTK regularly, you may have noticed that this post is a little late, with good reason.  Sunday afternoon, I completely lost my voice and the sore throat I already had, became more uncomfortable and painful.  By yesterday morning, I had also added a low-grade fever and a general “yucky” feeling all over.  So I went to the doctor…and tested positive for strep throat!  I can’t remember the last time I had strep throat!

As I got ready for my appointment, I looked into my bathroom mirror and took a quick assessment of what I saw.  The very first thought that ran through my mind was “I am fat and ugly.”  Then I listed everything I saw that supported my assessment:  dark circles under the eyes, puffy checks, double chin, thinning hair (wild from tossing back and forth as I slept), crooked nose.  The only saving graces I saw were that I love my blue eyes and I have very few wrinkles.  These two characteristics made me smile — until I realized that it’s possibly the fat in my face that is filling out the wrinkles!  Blue eyes, schmoo eyes — they were bloodshot and matted with eye boogars!  Again, I was thoroughly disgusted.

So, off I went to the doctor and frankly, I sulked the entire way.  I was pulling into the parking lot of the doctor’s office when “Beautiful” by MercyMe started playing on one of my favorite radio stations, WCLN 107.3.  I sat and listened to the entire song before going in.  I was thinking about Claire. “Beautiful” is my prayer-song for Claire.  She is so impressionable at this point in her life.  I often pray the lyrics of the chorus for her:

You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful.

You are made for so much more than all of this.

You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful.

You are treasured.  You are sacred.  You are His.

You’re beautiful.

I entered the reception area with this song on my mind.  When the nurse called me back, the song stopped playing and I started to focus on the part of the doctor’s exam I consider a form of torture — the weigh-in.  I have often thought I’d rather take a bullet than have to weigh-in at the doctor’s office.

I shared in February that I have decided to make a lifestyle change — adopting health-eating habits and adding more physical exercise to my routine — so that I can avoid some health problems to which I may be genetically predisposed:  high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.  And to be perfectly honest, to lose weight so that I’ll look better in a dress when that whole renewing-of-the-vow thing rolls around in October.

My mom, dad, Kelly, and I are weighing-in every Monday morning and reporting to each other about our progress.  Having to “check in” with other people has really motivated me to stick with my plan and have the courage of my convictions.  I have been losing weight slowly and steadily.  But yesterday morning when I was feeling so rotten, I forgot to weigh at home.  Looking at the doctor’s scale, I started to panic just a little.  Okay, maybe I panicked a lot considering that my heart rate was up and my blood pressure registered higher than normal.

When I stepped on the scale, I closed my eyes and held my breath.  (Hey, who knows how much an intake of new breath weighs?  I take no chances!)  While the nurse fiddled with the knobs, “Beautiful” started playing in my mind again, only this time, the prompting of the Holy Spirit encouraged me to claim its message for myself.  I suddenly felt every muscle in my body relax.  I was concentrating so much on how beautiful I am to God, the nurse had to ask me to step off the scale twice.  And I had to ask her what I weighed.

Now, I am going to do something that is brave or stupid — you can be the judge.  I’m going to share my starting weight and my current weight with you.  If I can be accountable to God and three other people on a weekly basis, I can be accountable to all of you once a month.  This is an exercise in faith — faith in God that He will help me meet my goal weight of 155 pounds and faith in you, that you will support me with your prayers Ready?

On February 27, 2012, my starting weight was 204 pounds.  My current weight, as of March 26, 2012, is 196.6 pounds.  That’s a loss of 7.4 pounds in a month.  I’m giving all the glory and praise to my Father in heaven because He is the one I turn to at ten o’clock at night when I want to plow through my fridge or cupboard and devour a thousand calories because I’m having a craving.  It’s His messages from the Bible that comes to mind when I don’t want to exercise.  It’s His strength that is the greatest when I am at my weakest.  For I can do everything through Christ, Who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

Since I am asking for your prayers, I want to tell you that you can send me your prayer requests as well.  You can leave your request as a comment or send it to me privately at lbtk1@aol.com  I already have a prayer notebook designated just for you!

I want to know what losing 49 pounds looks like, so I had Kelly take a “before” picture of me. Although I am a little scared,  I feel led to share this picture with you for two reasons:  so that those of you who don’t know me outside the blogging world will know that I am who I say I am and so that if you’re like me and need to know that you’re not alone in this, you will have a touchstone.  Here I am:

 

I chose this video of “Beautiful” because it shares the words on the screen to accompany the music.  When you listen, pray the words of this song for yourself.  Above all, remember that Jesus is totally in love with you, just as you are.  You are treasured.  You are sacred.  You are His.  You’re beautiful.

shr

P.S.  I want to thank my fellow WordPress blogger, Fiona, for nominating this blog for the “Beautiful Blogger Award,” as seen below.  You can read her amazing blog at http://oilofjoyandgarmentsofpraise.wordpress.com/  I humbly accept the nomination.  (And if anyone has an idea of how I can put this award in a sidebar on my page, please get in touch with me, as I am completely lost on how to proceed with this!)  Since it’s my job to nominate other bloggers for this award, I will list them below the picture of the award and give you links so that you can check out all the wonderful things these people are posting.

If you read anything in LBTK that has any meaning, please know it’s God working through me.  I am nothing on my own. “Humanly speaking, it is impossible; But with God, everything is possible.  Matthew 19:26 (NLT)  Again, I give Him all the praise and glory.  I am His servant.

Jodie Bailey:  Faith and Fiction with a Touch of Southern Grace www.jodiebailey.com

Thoughts from the Porch http://aprilhawk.wordpress.com/

Momentum of Joy http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com

Lori Schulz http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/

Anna’s One Life http://annasonelife.wordpress.com/

At Least We Made it This Far… http://trishadm.wordpress.com/

Brave Fish http://identitylovefaith.wordpress.com/

Dear “Beautiful Blogger” Award Winners:  You inspire me.  Your words are beautiful, thus the reason you’re receiving this award.  It is now your job to pass this award on to seven (or less) other bloggers along with links to their blogs.  Post the award and provide a link back to the person who nominated you. Thank you for making a difference in my life.  Keep writing! 

“Beautiful” (MercyMe) “http://www.youtube.com/embed/8WnAq0o2Xl8?rel=0

Image Credits:  www.equicknews.com, www.studiobotanica.com, www.uglypets.blogspot.com, www.spinachandskittles.com, & www.flickr.com

Related Articles:  “How Can I Keep from Singing:  His Strength is Perfect”  http://wp.me/p22liv-7b

“I Love Myself…And That’s a Bad Thing”  http://pewtopractice.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/i-love-myself-and-thats-a-bad-thing/

“A Quick Thought for the Day — I AM NOT HAVING AN IDENTITY CRISIS!”  http://nightshade130.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/a-quick-thought-for-the-day-i-am-not-having-an-identity-crisis/

“The Cactus” http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-cactus/

“Silvi’s ‘Jesus Book'” http://christianinamerica.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/jesus-book/

“Day 84:  Do You Know What You Eat?”  http://busymomof03.org/2012/03/26/day-84-know-what-you-eat/

Isn’t She Lovely?

Claire, Spring 2012

That’s my girl!  I cannot tell you how much I love my daughter and how proud I am that she belongs to me.

After we adopted Martin and Steven, we had to wait seven long years to adopt Claire.  When I first saw her, her absolute beauty took my breath away.  Her big brown eyes melted my heart.  From the beginning, she has been the daughter I’ve always wanted.  In fact, I didn’t realize how much need I had for a daughter until the very first time I ever held her.

She’s a freshman in high school who is coming into her own.  For the first part of her childhood, she was very timid and almost refused to make a decision by herself — even if it was what she was ordering at a restaurant.  Her group of friends was a small, but loyal.

Let me introduce you to her!  Claire is a talented artist and has a killer wit.   Her crystal-clear voice is sweet and will make you cry with joy when she sings. She is an honor roll student who is working on having a straight-A semester for the second half of this year.  She’s setting her sites on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  Best of all, she loves Jesus and is involved in our church, singing in the choir and being one of my assistants with the children’s choir.

I’ve watched her grow into this gorgeous young woman who does not see just how beautiful she is.  It is comforting to know that her beauty radiates from the inside.   However beautiful she is on the outside, she is one thousand times more beautiful in her heart.

This is one of the verses that I pray over her:

Teach me your ways, O LORD,  that I may live according to your truth!  Grant me purity of heart,  so that I may honor you.  Psalm 86:11 (NLT)

Is our relationship all rainbows and roses?  Nope.  It can’t be — she’s a teenager and it’s her job to push the boundaries.  Her favorite question to ask me is, “Are you my friend today?”  I always tell her that I love it when we can do “friendly” activities together, but that I am her mother first and her friend second.  My decisions for her don’t always make her happy.  Sometimes she’s a little snappy with her comments when she’s angry.  When she gets out of line, I always make her look at me and tell her, “I don’t like the way you just talked to me.  I won’t tolerate it and you owe me an apology.”  Sometimes, she immediately sees the error of her ways.  Sometimes, it takes an hour or two in her room.  But I always get an apology and we always end our discussions with a hug and “I love you.”

She is reaping the benefits of the growing pains I experienced with her older brothers.  I can’t tell you how many times I ended up in a screaming match with one or both of my boys.  The beginning of their teenage years just so happened at a point in my life when I didn’t love myself very much and I was angry with God about my chronic pain. Kelly very lovingly said to me one day, “If you don’t find a way to make peace with God, this is going to cost you a relationship with the boys — especially [my youngest son] Steven.”   It was at this point that I had to re-evaluate my relationships with everybody — first and foremost, my Savior.

I am approaching Claire’s teenage years with a much more level head and a heart that completely belongs to God.  I put my relationship with God first and everything else just seems to fall into place.  (see Matthew 6:33)

Claire has come into her own in high school.  She is confident and assertive.  She is very decisive and knows exactly what she wants — well, as much as a fourteen year old can.  She has many friends, including my “other adopted daughter,” Kaitlyn, whom she calls her “sister.”  They’ve been best friends for the past six years.  It’s really wonderful when you have a best friend (Kaitlyn’s mother, Marla) who has a daughter who becomes best friends with your daughter.

Claire ran Cross Country Track in the fall and is now running Spring Track.  She is a leader and has earned the respect of her teammates and coaches.  At the fall sports banquet, she received the “Coach’s Award” for being such a strong and inspirational team member. (When a grown man stands up to address the rest of the team and parents and gets so choked up that he cries, you know your kid is something special.)  Claire was so humble that she didn’t even realize Coach Hanes was talking about her until he called her name.

As a parent, you’d like to believe that you have something to do with the successes your children enjoy and the kind of persons they turn out to be.  There are times when I know I’m following God’s directions and then, there are times when Satan whispers doubts in my ear so that I wonder if my children have heard anything I’ve said, watched anything I’ve done, or if I’ve made any difference in their lives at all.

About two weeks ago, Claire was excited after visiting the home of one of her teammates and brand-new best friend, Aubray.  We sat in our living room while she told me all about it.

“Oh, Mom,” she enthusiastically said.  “You and Aubray’s mom are going to get along great!  She’s almost as big a Jesus-freak as you are.”

I asked her if me being a “Jesus-freak” embarrassed her.  She emphatically said, “No!  I think it’s great.  It’s what you believe.  Why should that embarrass me?   Besides, I believe in Jesus, too.  I’m proud of the kind of woman you are.”

Sometimes, you ask God if you’re making a difference.  Sometimes, He shows you the answer so clear it’s undeniable.

Kaitlyn & Claire

Photo Credits:  Claire Rosser

The Ten Commandments: Can I Get a Witness?

“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16 (NLT)

I am a cop show/courtroom drama junkie.  It might be related to the fact that I have been a law enforcement officer’s wife for nearly twenty-five years.  I simply find the process fascinating.  In fact, when “Law and Order” was cancelled, I felt like a member of the family had died!  One of my favorite channels is the Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel.  Kelly laughs when I watch  “48 Hours:  Hard Evidence,” “Love Kills:  Scorned”  or “Deadly Women.”  He laughs and says he’s concerned that I’m getting ideas.  Truthfully, I love to watch the detectives figure out the clues.  It’s always great to see a saavy prosecutor at work.  And I love the thought of justice being served, even if it happens ten years after the fact.  I’m proud that Kelly is a police officer and I’m proud to be married to a man that has worked hard at making the pursuit of justice more than just a job.

In doing research on the ninth commandment, I found some interesting facts.  This commandment was originally meant to address behavior in a court of law and its meaning was broadened in another chapter in Exodus:

“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.  You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice.  And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.”  Exodus 23:1-2 (NLT)

There are other scriptures in Exodus 23 that tell us not to deny justice to the poor, not to take a bribe, and never to sentence an innocent person to death.   Clearly the law of the Hebrews has affected the judicial proceedings of today’s society.

Hebrew law further stated that a single person’s testimony could not be accepted to convict someone of a crime.  In fact, the law stated that the testimony of two or three corroborating witnesses would be accepted.  There were so many rules and laws against lying in court that if a witness were to be caught in a lie, he would receive that punishment that was intended for the accused.

Jesus addressed not giving false testimony about your neighbor when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:29b (NLT)  (And if you remember the story of the “Good Samaritan,” you know that your neighbor is everyone.)   Surely, when you love your neighbor like you love yourself, you would never think about telling a lie about him/her.  I think a good rule of thumb that will never be cliche is to ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?  What would He say about my neighbor?”

Jesus knew the law.  He knew what was required to testify in a court of law.  After researching the Jewish laws concerning lying in court, it brought another verse to mind:

“For where two or three gather together as my followers,  I am there among them.”  Matthew 18:20 (NLT)

I don’t think it’s coincidence that the wording of Jesus’s promise found some of its meaning from the laws about telling the truth in court.  Jesus is the Truth.  The Truth is present where two or three of His believers are gathered.  Therefore, they can go out and be true witnesses!

We are coming upon the time of the Holy Week, when we remember some sacred times in the life of our Lord.  When you remember this commandment, remember that Jesus suffered at the hands of false witnesses before the court of the Sanhedrin, when the priests were simply trying to find a way to justify putting Him to death.  Remember that because of these false witnesses, He was beaten and tortured and crucified on a cross for our sake.

Because of His sacrifice; because of His great love for us, we must always bear true witness for Jesus.  Today, we are witnesses to a world that has hundred of thousands of distractions and distortions of what the Truth really is.  The devil loves it when we’re distracted.  He loves it even more when we believe the distortion we’re fed by the world.  Jesus needs us in the court of “public opinion.”  He needs us to stand up and be counted for Him.

Will you join me and bear true witness for our Savior?

shr

Image Credits:  www.fotosearch.com, www.faithclipart.com, www.freejesuschristwallpapers.com, & www.wallpapers4god.com

Related Articles:  “Jesus, I Have a Question about the Law”  http://dianneguthmuller.com/2012/03/18/jesus-i-have-a-question-about-the-law/

“Christians, Why Should the World See Us As Strange?”  http://pewtopractice.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/christians-why-should-the-world-see-us-as-strange/

“Justice Conference:  My Neighbor”  http://thevisiblekingdom.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/my-neighbor/

How Can I Keep from Singing: Amazing Grace

An open right-hand side page of a book showing four stanzas of Hymn XL, then at page bottom "I. Chronicles. Hymn XLI. Faith's review and expectation. Chap. xvii. 16, 17.", followed by a stanza "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."

John Newton wrote “Amazing Grace,” which was printed in the Olney hymnal (pictured above) in 1779.  It speaks of the hope that sinners, regardless of their sins, can be delivered to Eternal Life through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Newton, himself, grew up with no religious training.  He entered into the Royal Navy and by all accounts was in constant trouble for insubordination.  He left the navy and became a slave trader, an unhappy and lonely individual.  During a horrible storm one night, Newton became so frightened that he called out to God for help.  That was the point of his conversion.  Eventually, he left the sailor’s life behind and began to study theology.  He became a poet and an ordained minister.

Newton wrote “Amazing Grace” from his own, intensely personal experience.  Considering that it’s estimated to be performed some ten million times a year, I think John Newton’s words speak to many Christians who know the depths of their own sin.  It was the first hymn I ever learned to play on the piano and it’s the first hymn to which I memorized all the words.  I especially love the last verse:

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.

Oh, to sing God’s praises eternally.  I cannot wait until that’s all I have to do.

I married into Scottish heritage and I love to hear “Amazing Grace” played on the bagpipes.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

shr

“Amazing Grace” (Royal Scots Dragoon Guards)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euWfTiYwRB0&feature=colike

Photo Credit:  www.wikipedia.org

He Calls My Name

HE CALLS MY NAME

He calls my name.  His gentle voice soothes all my fear.

As He draws close, He turns my storm to calm.

My trembling soul grows quiet when my Lord is near,

And I find rest in the safety of His palm.

He calls my name — Emmanuel, God is with me;

Wonderful Counselor, He’s forever just the same.

Glory to the Most High God, the holy Prince of Peace.

I know I’m His.  He calls my name.

He’s my Provider.  He portions everything I need.

He’s my Creator and still turns the night to day.

He’s my Salvation, whose Son exchanged His life for mine.

I call His name and He’s only a prayer away.

He calls my name — merciful Savior of my soul.

He’s my Deliverer, who took my every blame.

Redeemer, Lord of Life, Alpha and Omega —

I know I’m His.  He calls my name.

The day will come when I shall draw my final breath

And I’ll cross over into my heavenly home.

There all my family will meet me on the river’s shore,

And then, together, we will gather near God’s throne.

He’ll call my name and I will see Him face-to-face;

The Reason I’ll sing and forevermore proclaim

That He’s King of Heaven, God of Glory, Giver of Eternal Life.

Forever we’ll reign, when He calls my name.

Do you know my Jesus?  He’s calling your name.

(c) Sandra Hall Rosser 2012

Image Credits:  www.latitude821.comwww.elementfreelance.comwww.jeevagarajan.wordpress.com, www.onchristianradio.com, www.davemathews.hubpages.com, www.antiochbcpavo.com, & www.my.opera.com

Related Articles:  “Precious…Oh Precious”  http://jeevagarajan.com/?s=God+is+near&submit=Search

“Challenging Times and Great Blessings”  http://oilofjoyandgarmentsofpraise.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/challenging-times-and-great-blessings/

“Why We Should Finish Where We Started:  The One Question We Need to Answer Every Day”  http://chiefofleast.com/2012/01/15/why-we-should-finish-where-we-started-the-one-question-we-need-to-answer-everyday/

“God is Big”  http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/god-is-big/

“You Are Already Famous to ME”  http://ascendinworship.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/you-are-already-famous-to-me/

“What If…”  http://michelecline.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/what-if/#comment-27