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God's Amazing Grace

November 28, 2015

Have you ever stopped to consider the words to the hymn Amazing Grace?

Let’s look at the first two verses.


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.

 

As we know, John Newton wrote this song after an experience he had on a storm tossed sea. After seeing a shipmate washed overboard, he shouted “If this will not do, the Lord have mercy on us!" and then he wondered; could there be any mercy for one who profaned the Lord's name as effectively and deliberately as he did?

John searched the Bible for answers to his question. He was especially struck by the story of the prodigal son in Luke, chapter 15. He marveled at the father who raced to meet his wayward son and he felt hope for his own soul. When the badly damaged ship finally dropped anchor, a transformed John Newton went safely ashore.

How fitting are the words “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”

Do you remember when you first believed in God? How did it feel to receive God’s grace for the very first time? Many of us have been in the church for a long time. Do we still feel that first love for our God who gave everything for us?

We are told in Exodus 33:17 that: ...the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

And in that classic book called The Desire of Ages, we also read God “knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep. Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died” {Desire of Ages, Review Herald, 479.3 – 480.1}

In another book that is very precious to me, Miracles of Grace, published by the Review and Herald,  p185-186, the following story has always touched my heart. It illustrates to me God's love and grace.

 

"A mysterious phone call at midnight wakened Lillian, a literature Evangelist in Nairobi Kenya. A sweet, melodious voice said, “Please take a copy of the Triumph of God’s love to Mr. Kamau on the third floor of the Kencom building. Consider it urgent.” The voice was gone and the phone went dead.

The next day Lillian went to that huge building only to be told that there was no Mr. Kamau on that floor. When she inquired up and down the building, secretaries all over were asking about the mysterious Mr. Kamau. Finally one sent for Lillian and confided to her. “My bosses name is Kamau, but he operates under another name.” He was the deputy director of Government Corporations. Soon Lillian was ushered into his spacious office.

“Mr. Kamau…”But he stopped her short.

“My name is not Kamau!”

She continued “Last night I received a phone call asking me to visit your office.”

“No you couldn’t have received a phone call about me, for name is not Kamau. Nobody knows me by that name.”

Lillian opened her briefcase and took out the Triumph of God’s Love. Looking him in the eye, she said kindly, “God knows your name – it is Kamau. It may have been an angel from heaven who called me, but he knows your name.”

“There are not such things as angels.”

Lillian said, “Mr. Kamau, let me tell you an experience one of my friends had, and you will know there are angels. This friend does the same work I am doing, except she works in poor homes. One lady said ‘I like the book, but I only have half enough money.’ At that moment a stranger knocked on the door and was invited in. He spoke up, ‘Go ahead and write the receipt. I will pay the other half of the money.’

“As my friend started to go to another home, this stranger went along with her. She asked him, ‘Who are you? What’s your name?’ He replied ‘It’s not important is it?’

“In the next house, the same thing happened. The lady wanted the book but didn’t have enough money. Again the stranger volunteered, ‘I will pay the balance.’ And then at the third house, the same thing happened. As the two were leaving this house, my friend stopped and demanded, “Tell me, who are you?”

Lillian continued her story of the stranger who was willing to pay the balance every time customers didn’t have enough money. Mr. Kamau was very interested and he listened with full attention. He could see that Lillian was serious in what she was telling him and he liked it.

“Mr. Kamau when the stranger was asked for his name, asked for a piece of paper and wrote something on it. This is what he wrote:

“My Name – Daniel na Siku Zetu (Daniel and Our Day)

“My Address – Sabato ya Kweli (The True Sabbath)

“My villiage – Vita Kuu (The great Controversy) (These are the Swahili name of three of the books she was selling)

“When she looked up Mr. Kamau, he was gone. She believes, and I believe, that was an angel.”

Mr Kamau sat in rapt attention. She continued. “Let me tell you another experience. One of our representatives was demonstrating these good books to a friendly family who invited him to stay for dinner. They prepared two places for him. After they had washed their hands, they asked, ‘Where is your friend?’

“‘My friend? I’m all alone.’

“‘No, we saw someone with you.’

“‘You must have seen my angel’ he replied ‘he works with me.’

“Mr. Kamau, we believe that was an angel in the form of a man.”

The director quietly asked ‘What do I do now?’

“Buy this wonderful book and study it carefully. You are a special person in the eyes of God.” Mr. Kamau did.

In Isaiah 43:1 we read “I have summoned you by name; you are mine”

There was no doubt in Lillian’s mind that God must have a special interest in Mr. Kamau, and it was with confidence she sold him her books. He was touched by the fact that Lillian’s God knows his real name and revealed it to her. He willingly bought the books, ready to learn more about this God who is so personal.”

Just like John Newton, Mr. Kamau found grace in eyes of God. Our God is very personal. He knows us all by name, the very house in which we live! He has extended His grace towards us that we maybe saved.

In the words of that powerful hymn:

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.

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.

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