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The amazing grace of Christmas morn
The Washington Times ^ | 12-23-05 | Wes Pruden

Posted on 12/23/2005 11:08:45 AM PST by JZelle

The malls and the Main Streets fall silent. The ringing cash registers and the happy cries of children are but ghostly echoes across silent streets. But the Christ born in a manger 2,000 years ago lives, liberating the hearts of sinners and transforming the lives of the wicked. The authentic story of the redeeming power of the Christmas message is nowhere more vividly illustrated than in the incredible life of an English slaver named John Newton. John Newton was born 300 years ago into a seafaring family in Liverpool. His mother was a godly woman whose faith gave her life meaning. She died when John was 7, and he recalled as the sweetest remembrance of childhood the soft and tender voice of his mother at prayer. His father married again, and John left school at 11 to go to sea with him. He adopted the vulgar life of rough seamen, though the memory of his mother's faith remained. "I saw the necessity of religion as a means of escaping hell," he recalled many years later, "but I loved sin." On shore leave, he was seized by a press gang and taken aboard another ship, HMS Harwich, and life grew coarser. He ran away, was captured, put in chains, stripped before the mast and flogged mercilessly. "The Lord had by all appearances given me up to judicial hardness. I was capable of anything. I had not the least fear of God, nor the least sensibility of conscience. I was firmly persuaded that after death, I should merely cease to be."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: amazinggrace; hymns; johnnewton; music; pruden; slavery

1 posted on 12/23/2005 11:08:46 AM PST by JZelle
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To: JZelle

That's a beautiful story. Thanks for posting it, and Merry Christmas!

2 posted on 12/23/2005 11:16:22 AM PST by basil (Exercise your Second Amendment--buy another gun today!)
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To: basil

My pleasure, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

3 posted on 12/23/2005 11:17:33 AM PST by JZelle
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To: JZelle

This is a neat story. Amazing Grace is full of such hope and is one of my all time favorite songs.

4 posted on 12/23/2005 11:23:15 AM PST by Sunshine Sister
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To: Jeff Head; Euro-American Scum; tet68; FBD; Squantos; ForGod'sSake; F16Fighter; Czar; Minuteman23; ..

I haven’t visited the forum for several weeks now, having been occupied with moving into our new home. Despite the fact that a mountain of boxes remains unpacked in the basement (and is destined to remain so for the foreseeable future :), we are now settled in.

We saw a herd of deer deep in the woods behind our house this afternoon (including an eight-point buck), and a grey fox and a red fox in our back yard earlier in the week. A couple of weeks ago, during one of our many migratory trips from old house to new, we had occasion to sit in our car, in awe, as a flock of twenty-three wild turkeys crossed the road in front of us, single file … in no particular hurry, and beautiful in their natural elegance. Rick would no sooner put the car in first gear than yet another one would pop its head above the berm at the side of road, following the long line that went before.

I do believe I’ve already died and gone to heaven. :)

In these troubling times, when an increasing number of our ‘leaders,’ and those who are simply pretenders to leadership, are redoubling their efforts to banish any references to, or images of, God and His Son from our national consciousness, it would do us well to periodically step back and reflect on the big picture.

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we take comfort in the knowledge that the hedonistic, secular, irreligious efforts of those who would declare Christmas an event to be exiled from the public square … and the Lord a meaningless caricature to be purged from the national consciousness … will eventually amount to nothing more than an irrelevant, indiscernible speck on the Lord’s eternal timeline.

Those who champion evil, and revile and seek to repeal His timeless teachings, may appear to be growing in power and stature. Those who remain faithful to Him will find themselves, and their beliefs, increasingly scorned and censured in this world. Both persecution, and reward for faithfulness in spite of it, are scriptural certainties. But there is a world beyond this one, and an eternity awaiting us all. Little do the enemies of the Lord realize that they are simply playing their part in carrying out Biblical prophesy.

Wise men still seek Him.

Best wishes to you all for a blessed Christmas, and a New Year filled with peace, joy and contentment!

~ joanie

5 posted on 12/23/2005 12:57:36 PM PST by joanie-f (If you believe God is your co-pilot, it might be time to switch seats ...)
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To: joanie-f; All
(What? No buffalo herd?? ;-) Loved you description of God's creatures...

You are simply one of the most articulate and gifted Freepers at Free Republic. I love your thoughts and writings -- thank you Joanie...

Blessings on your new home and a blessed Merry Christmas and New Year for the coming New Year to you and yours, and to all our Freeper friends and their loved ones.

6 posted on 12/23/2005 1:09:01 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: joanie-f

Merry Christmas Jf.
I will be sending you something as a house warming present but this month has been a real sqeeze on both my time and my
pocket book so was not able to get my act together in time
for Christmas.

So glad you are all moved and that your new place is the
place of dreams come true.

My Best to you and yours on this season of peace and good will to men.

Your FRiend T.

7 posted on 12/23/2005 2:11:27 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: joanie-f

Merry Christmas to you and Rick. Happy a Happy New New Year and stay close.

Luv ya,

8 posted on 12/23/2005 3:25:20 PM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: joanie-f

Good to 'see' you again.


p.s.....can I borrow some of your writing talent?????

9 posted on 12/23/2005 6:35:28 PM PST by redrock (They'll have to pry the words "MERRY CHRISTMAS"...from my cold dead lips.)
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To: joanie-f

Simply beautiful Joanie.

Best of luck to you and Rick and your new pup in the beautiful new house.

Don't be a stranger! :-)


10 posted on 12/23/2005 7:36:28 PM PST by Minuteman23
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To: joanie-f

Joanie, you are the absolute best!

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and Rick and your family!

11 posted on 12/24/2005 12:07:20 PM PST by SiliconValleyGuy
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To: joanie-f; JZelle
Well said joanie. Doesn't it just make you heartsick to see what's happening in our country? I also find it ironic the Bible tells us to stand firm as opposed to fighting back; that He will do our fighting for us. Unless of course, I missed a verse or two. In any case, I'd really like to press Him into service sooner rather than later; patience has never been a strong suit of mine. But I try ;^)

Merry Christmas to you and yours and I hope the new house becomes a home......sooner rather than later.


12 posted on 12/24/2005 4:15:19 PM PST by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: joanie-f

Your writing is inspiring Joanie. Thank you for the ping. What did Santa bring you? ;)

13 posted on 12/26/2005 12:09:44 PM PST by downwithsocialism
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To: joanie-f
Hi Joanie,
Thanks for the Christmas post! I just stopped in to check my messages for the first time in a while. Congrats on your new home, and best wishes for 2006!
14 posted on 12/28/2005 10:54:29 PM PST by FBD
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To: downwithsocialism; Minuteman23
What did Santa bring you?

It's always been something of a family tradition for us to have so large a tree that it dwarfs everything around it. Always too large for my particular taste, but our family operates as a (*cough*) democracy, and I am generally out-voted. :)

This year, because of the move, we had little time for holiday preparations, including finding a tree. One of my friends at the township offices got wind of that fact and got us a little artificial tree, did the trimming herself, and left it in my office for me to find a few days before Christmas.

We very carefully took it home in the back of the Highlander, and it sits in the corner of our new diningroom. Can you see it? (I’m afraid my magnifying glass is still packed away in one of many boxes in the basement, so I can’t help.) Seriously ... the gift was so very thoughtful, and the tree means more than any gargantuan one we would have chosen ourselves.

A belated 'Christmas card' of sorts:

Mandy on Christmas Day with her dog, Ernie, and our new dog, Bert. The two pups are happy, full of energy, and inseparable when Ernie visits ... but extraordinarily camera shy (I suspect they may have experienced some kind of trauma as puppies at the hand of the Paparazzi. :)

We adopted Bert (a little two-year-old flat-coated retriever) from a Maryland rescue society shortly after our dog of eighteen years had to be euthanized, and shortly after the resue society took her from the shelter where she was soon to be put down, having been there for many weeks.

Mandy now works under contract with the Army and will be traveling to Thailand for eight weeks in February, so we will be keeping Ernie with us then. Having the two dogs together for that long will surely keep us hopping. :)

I hope the new year brings you many unexpected blessings!

~ joanie

15 posted on 12/30/2005 1:39:07 PM PST by joanie-f (If you believe God is your co-pilot, it might be time to switch seats ...)
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To: joanie-f

That's a nice story about the tree Joanie.

Mandy is a beautiful gal, and the dogs are cute. :-)

Happy New Year to you and your whole family too!


16 posted on 12/30/2005 5:13:22 PM PST by Minuteman23
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To: joanie-f

My employees don't buy Christmas presents for me and I don't have a beautiful daughter and a neat dog. I need to make some New Year resolutions to accomplish the first one and the last one, it's too late for the middle one. ;)

Happy New Year, Joanie.

17 posted on 12/30/2005 10:13:36 PM PST by downwithsocialism
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