Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The story behind Amazing Grace

Hope all of you are encouraged by my articles. I'm very sorry that I have not given enough time to writing the past couple of weeks.. I hope to make up for the lost time by sharing with you all a story behind the most popular hymn of the church.

You most probably are familiar with the recent movie "Amazing Grace". The movie traces the history of the antislavery movement led the William Wilberforce. This movement was the first of it's kind. It began in 1787 in London with a meeting of 12 deeply religious men. It took them 20 years for these men to finally end the slave trade.

What was amazing was that these men, Wilberforce in particular, was driven not by secular but by resolute Christian morality. Wilberforce's friend was John Newton, a former slave trader, who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace. John Newton, following his conversion to Christianity, repented and devoted the rest of his life serving others in an attempt to atone for his contribution to the slave trade. John Newton was no doubt an inspiration for Wilberforce.

Thus secularists and atheists would do well to note that slavery was halted not by anything other than pure Christian values. Jesus Christ himself said that "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve".

However the tragedy of slavery still continues today in the form of human trafficking. In the African continent children are the biggest victims. They are forced into slavery, recruited as child soldiers or sold into prostitution. The prophecies of trading in the souls of men are clearly given in Revelation 18:12.

Clearly the world is long overdue for another William Wilberforce. We, the church, can set up an example to the secular world and to remind them with Wilberforce's story that nothing can be accomplished without the Amazing Grace that Christ posseses.

Monday, July 16, 2007


1The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. (John 20:1-7)

The burial napkin was not thrown aside, but it was neatly folded and left where His head had been.
When someone died in those days, it became the duty of the son or a friend to close the eyes of the dead, then kiss the cheeks. When Jesus died, this was the duty of Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus. They took Jesus' body from the cross, washed the blood and dirt from the body of the One they loved so much and laid it in a new tomb.
They wrapped the body in clean white linen. They placed a linen napkin around His head, took one long look at Jesus, then walked out of the tomb.
At sunrise, Mary Magdalene came running to Peter and John and told them that somebody had taken the Lord away. They ran to the empty tomb. John looked inside and saw the linen clothes lying there. The napkin which was placed around the head was neatly folded.
Back in those days there was a Hebrew custom that was used among the Jews. The servant had to make sure that everything was perfect when his master dined. There was a verbal silence that was strictly maintained. But there was a way to communicate.
When the master had finished his meal he usually left the napkin aside by the plate and went away. This was a sign to the servant that he start taking away all the plates. But when the master left the napkin "neatly folded" it meant something else. It meant "I'm not finished yet. I'm coming back".
When John saw the napkin folded neatly, he knew what it meant, for God spoke to his heart,"I'm not finished. I'm coming back".
Peter went in next and saw the napkin as well. Jesus was not finished. He came back to His disciples and lived with them for forty days more.
He still isn't isn't finished. He is still saving souls. He is not finished saving sinners or sanctifying saints or sending out servants. The napkin is still folded. "If I go...I will come again."

(Thanks to Dr. Clyde Box for writing "The folded napkin".)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:28
What does the above passage mean? Does it mean that we are to thank God for everything that happens to us?
A man parks his car under the coconut tree. A coconut falls from the tree right onto the windshield and breaks the glass. The man comes up and says “Thank you Lord for breaking my windshield.”
Now surely we are not supposed to react like that!
Wait a minute and look closely. The saying “All things work together for good to them that love God.” All things work together for the children of God. For those who have been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. For those who have risen in the name of our Lord. Let me give you a vivid example of what really makes Romans 8:28 one of the most impressive and truest verses in the Bible. It is the true story of a missionary who injures his leg badly in an accident. That missionary is rushed to the hospital immediately after the accident. He was in great pain and his condition was severe. The doctors examined him and saw how severe his injury was. Nevertheless that missionary came out through all that anguish and years later he was on a ship sailing towards China. A great storm came across and no sooner they were stuck on an island inhabited by cannibalistic people. The entire crews of the ship, including the missionary, were surrounded by hordes of cannibals. The leader of the cannibals came forward and said to the missionary, “I want all of you to know that you will be killed and eaten.”
The missionary said, “If that is the case then I’ll gladly give you a sample of how we taste.” He cut off a piece of his right leg and give it to the chief. The chief tasted the piece and no sooner spat it out. “You’re free to go”, he said and left them alone.
The crew repaired the ship and set sail. As they were sailing the puzzled captain came to the missionary. “Pardon me preacher but I still don’t get it! How are we still alive?” The missionary told him about the accident that he suffered a few years back.
The doctors told him that his right leg had to be amputated. At that time the missionary fell in grief. “What could you possibly gain from all of this?” the missionary cried to God for an answer. They cut off his leg and replaced it with a cork leg. He gave that cannibal a bit of cork!
“All things work towards good to those that love Good.” Read about Joseph and see Romans 8:28 in full blaze. He was beaten and sold off as a slave. In Egypt he rose from being a slave to a noble and royal man. Because of him the Hebrews found refuge in Egypt from a famine. Read about the apostle Paul. He was beaten, stoned, whipped, and shipwrecked. Yet because of his unwavering will the Gospel spread throughout the Mediterranean region and made thousands of disciples.
The most vivid example is none other than that of the crucifixion of Jesus. Even his disciples didn’t know what He would gain from the brutal death of crucifixion. Yet He was resurrected and His death made way for the salvation of many. By His blood we are cleansed from our sins. We gain salvation by His blood. Christ showed that His love for us knew no boundaries…not even death.