Tag Archives: grace

Sports

In my house we watch a lot of sports. My wife and I both played sports growing up. The kids have played many sports, all of their lives. Sports, not much gets better.

To compete, to go after something, only to lose, or to win. It’s healthy. There’s nothing better for a person who competes, to learn both sides of that coin. Preparation, planning, and execution, all measured, all with feedback. What a way to learn.

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The twins snuggled on me for the second half and overtime of last night’s miraculous Super Bowl comeback win by the Patriots. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017.

Then, add humility and grace, hopefully gained along the way. Wow, nothing better than that. True champions, the best of competitors, understand how fine the line is between winning and losing. They humbly recognize how closely related, winning and losing can be. The true competitors learn to graciously accept the result, either way, after leaving it all on the field of battle. It’s beautiful.

These things said, I must admit that I, we, do get caught up in the thrill of competition here. Recently, the twins and I may have been late to school as we got up and watched the end of the Nadal vs. Dimitrov match in the Australian Open semi-final. Then, after last night, with the twins snuggled on me for the entire second half and my wife beside me, we were a little sluggish this morning.

I did watch the last two Patriots drives again this morning, this time without the symptoms of a sports heart attack. Miraculous.

A few days with Marjorie

Marjorie with family, July 2014

Marjorie with family, July 2014

I knew time was short, and I knew she was quite ill,
Though I didn’t expect it. I prayed she’d win the fight.
That dreaded phone call, the news shook me still.
The earth as I know it got a little bit darker tonight.
 
For those of you who knew her better
For those of you who knew her worse
For those who knew her different than I
My experiences led to this little verse
 
For me, most mornings started with a prayer at the kitchen table.
I felt she’d always be there, prepared, as long as she was able.
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Growing Pains

Perfect, I’m not, take the will from me Lord to cast a single stone
If it never hurts then how can I profess to have grown

Reduction by prayer

Listening to old hymns I pray to ease my troubled heart.

The enormity fades…my burden gladly bearing…how great thou art.

Newton – Love and Grace

This is my 500th post to this blog and it will be pretty quick yet I wanted to share. I have written about his most famous of hymns but never have I ever delved into his works, his life, his ministry, but I came across this John Newton story today, in the places I seem to find. The story had to do with Newton’s love of his life, his wife Mary, and his reaction to her death in 1790.

First, a line from a letter he had written to his wife, “I am always a little awkward without you, and every room where you are not present, looks unfurnished.” I love this line and to me it speaks volumes of love, closely followed by the necessary apprentice for true love, humility.

Second, I share a few more words penned by Newton after Mary died, showing his love for her, his dealings in grief, and ultimately his love and faith in our Lord and Savior. “The Bank of England is too poor to compensate for such a loss as mine.  But the Lord, the all-sufficient God, speaks, and it is done.  Let those who know Him, and trust Him, be of good courage.  He can give them strength according to their day.  He can increase their strength as their trials increase…and what He can do He has promised that He will do.” Amen.

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Thanks #2 (God)

This should have come first. I am thankful for God who sent his Son to save us from our sins. The daily reminders of His power, grace, love, and patience are evident all around me. Thank you Lord.

Sunday Series – Amazing Grace

Were it not for God’s Amazing Grace I would probably not be here to write this blog, or to do anything else for that matter. This is yet another heart wrenching, tear jerking hymn from my youth that hits me between the eyes to this day. There are so many versions of Amazing Grace on You Tube that I can sit and listen to the song for hours with many awesome variations. I have always loved percussion and have included one such version of Amazing Grace right here.

I didn’t write this post just to listen to different versions of the song, but to dig into its meaning, at least what it means to me. I look up the meaning of the words, amazing and grace. And even though the meanings say so much, the real life observance of Amazing Grace is where I really know the meaning. Let me combine two of my favorite meanings of these words for you. Amazing: so extraordinary or wonderful as to be barely believable. Grace: in Christianity, the infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill shown to humankind by God. So that would be: the infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill that He has shown me is extraordinary, wonderful, and is barely believable.

I have lived half of my life, maybe two-thirds of it, and I am sure this hymn, these words, will mean even more to me than they do now. I can tell you that this song and these words already mean a tremendous amount to me. I hear the words, or just hear the song played, and I think of the meaning to me. The simultaneous thought I have every time I hear Amazing Grace, is thankfulness. Which is closely followed by humility.

There have been too many times in my life where the tune and words of Amazing Grace have kept me from harm. Those are stories for another time perhaps. I will say that I have memories, as an adult, when all around me seemed dark and constricting, but Amazing Grace was there to light the tunnel and give me just enough wiggle room. I know God put that tune in my head or those words on my lips just when I needed them.

I am a fortunate man. I am a thankful man. I work on being a humble man. I am so glad God has shed his amazing grace on me. He continues to do so. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. So true, the sound of the words and their meanings, the sound of the song’s melody, the sound of life and all the moments in it. What a sound.

I once was lost, actually I have been spiritually lost more time than I would like to admit, but now I am found. I am glad there’s two parts to that line. This reminds me of another hymn, the being found part, Just As I Am. There have been times when I’ve lost my way and been so blind. Now I see. Sometimes the light flickers, but I can see. And really the Light never flickers, sometimes I just blink or rest my eyes and retreat to the dark imperfections of human nature. The Light is always shining.

The fear of God. Maybe we will cover this later. Let me just say that fear is not always a negative emotion.

Maybe my second favorite verse is the one referencing dangers, toils, and snares. This verse isn’t always sung, but it’s meaningful. I think of the places I have been, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally and His amazing grace is how I have come through them so far. Safe and sound. I know it’ll be His grace that leads me home. I am not going to get there on my own.

Life is good. Life is filled with moments that nobody would consider good, but the good is what is learned upon getting through those moments. It’s also good to look at life differently upon getting through those moments. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right? That’s good. Good doesn’t mean a joy walk through life. For what is beauty, ease of one’s steps, and enjoyment without perspective? It’s the opposite of fulfillment is what it is. Dissatisfaction is what it is. How many times have any of us seen people in positions we would die for and then upon further inspection, we notice these people don’t appreciate what they have or totally abuse it? I don’t want that. Appreciation is understanding the value of what it is you have because you have the perspective of knowing the difference of not having it. That’s obviously in my own words but it makes sense to me.

Eternity. That’s how long we have to sing God’s praise. I can’t wait to see a place that’s as bright shining as the sun. I love that line in the song.

A wretch like me. Wow, that sounds terrible. Some of may still think so, but I know I have been many of the definitions given the word wretch. I don’t want to be that person. Amazing grace has brought me here, saved from being a wretch, saved others from me being a wretch, I am happy to be found.

When you look at yourself in the mirror and think on the times in life you can’t imagine you got through, maybe it’s amazing grace that brought you there. When the memories hurt and through the tears and shame you reach for the reason you can’t explain as to how it is you made it here, maybe you weren’t the reason, maybe it was amazing grace. When you look straight into the eyes of right and wrong, and choose wrong because you think you can, if you live to tell about it, play some amazing grace. When your mind is bogged down and indecision runs you right past indifference towards carelessness, maybe its time to sing a couple verses of amazing grace. When the war you are waging inside seems as though its spilling into your daily life, find a copy of Amazing Grace and play it. When your character is battling your reality, and reality has reduced character to the word act, that’s it, it is an act, listen to some Amazing Grace and think on the words. Listen to the words, write them out. If you have ever been in a situation that would move you to pen such words yourself, then listen to it knowing that you are not alone and that maybe, just maybe, its amazing grace that brought you to this realization. When the battles have been fought and won and you feel like you can finally stand on your own two feet, listen to the words of this great hymn, because none of us get through the tough times on our own. If you don’t believe it, look up every meaning of wretch you can find, and then know how strong we are on our own. It’s alright. Our pride can take the beating, usually pride needs to be cut back like a rose bush anyways.

As I looked towards the open, starry skies, like I was in a tunnel pressing on me from every side, I lifted my head and listened to Amazing Grace in my mind. Then and there in my darkest hours I knew God was watching over me. The weight of my situation made it difficult to move, but like any journey, it started with one step. I know that God’s Amazing Grace has been here with me all along the way.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught…
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear…
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us 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.

(this verse is not part of John Newton’s original version)                                       When we’ve been here ten thousand years…                                                                bright shining as the sun.                                                                                                      We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise…                                                                          then when we’ve first begun.

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 call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.