Amazing Grace

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The Star-Spangled Banner

Category: Amazing Grace

Submit yourself to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. Whether it be to the king, as supreme, or to governors, as unto them that are sent by him for punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (1 Peter  2:13,14) During the War of 1812, while on the deck of a truce ship, Francis Key paced nervously as a fierce battle raged nearby during the British attack on the harbor of Baltimore. As District Attorney of Georgetown and a spiritual lay leader of his church, Key had been sent by President James Madison to negotiate with the British for a physician who had been taken prisoner. All night Key and his party were detained as the heavy bombardment continued. When the firing suddenly stopped just before morning, Key was fearful of the outcome, but as he looked hesitantly across the water, he saw the American flag still triumphantly flying with assurance of our nation's freedom! With joyful relief, Key wrote his poem hastily on the back of an envelope and put finishing touches on it after being released later that evening. One month later the song was published, accompanied by an old hunting tune, Anacron in Heaven, attributed to John Stafford Smith of England. Although entusiastically received by the people, the song was not officially adopted by Congress as our national anthem until March 3, 1931. Write a letter of commendation to a public official for some worthy contribution he has made to the moral and spiritual betterment of our country.
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Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

Category: Amazing Grace

In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever. Psalm  44:8

Much of the origin of this noble expression of praise and worship is lost in obscurity. Through the centuries the "Te Deum: has been one of the supreme triumphal expressions of praise used by the Christian Church.

The original setting of "Te Deum Laudamus" was likely composed by Bishop Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Italy, in A.D. 387, and an important leader in the development of early church music. Paraphrases of this fourth century "Te Deum" have been written in many languages, including this text in German, from which it was later translated into English by an American Catholic priest, Clarence A. Walworth. The hymn is still an important part of the morning service liturgy in Anglican churches and it is sung frequently in all Protestant churches.

The fourth stanza is one of the strongest hymn affirmations of the doctrine of the Triune Godhead. The Trinity was an important controversy in the early church. Arius, C. A. D. 250-336, was a proponent of the doctrine of Arianism, which maintained that "if the Father was God, then the Son was a creature of the Father"-a middle Being between God and the world -a divine Being but not to be worshiped as God. At the Council of Alexandria (A.D. 321) and later at the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325), this teaching was thoroughly branded as heresy. However, this controversy on the person and deity of Christ has continued even to the present time in the teachings of various cults.

Holy God, we praise Thy name-Lord of all, we bow before Thee! All on earth Thy scepter claim; all in heav'n above adore Thee: Infinite thy vast domain, everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark, the loud celestial hymn angel choirs above are raising; cherubim and seraphim, in unceasing chorus praising, fill the heav'ns with sweet accord-Holy, holy, holy Lord!

Lo, the apostolic train joins Thy sacred name to hallow; prophets swell the glad refrain and the white-robed martyrs follow; and, from morn to set of sun, thru the Church the song goes on.

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, three we name Thee; while in essence only one, undivided God we claim Thee, and adoring bend the knee, while we sing our praise to Thee.

For Today: Deuteronomy  32:3; 1 Chronicles  29:11; Psalm  107:8; Isaiah  6:3; Revelation  15:3

Take time to worship and praise the triune Godhead.

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Grace Greater than Our Sin

Category: Amazing Grace

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans  5:20,21) God's grace is not merely a sufficient grace; it is an abounding grace that you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians  9:8). His grace provides our eternal salvation as well as the enablement to know life more abundantly. It is available for our every problem and need. Sometimes the argument is advanced that since God's grace covers all our sins, then we are free to live as we please. God's grace does provide for our freedom, but it is meant to free us from a slavery to our selfish, sinful nature in order that we might pursue every good work to become all that God intends us to be. Julia Johnston was for many years involved in the work of Sunday Schools at the First Presbyterian Church of Peoria, Illinois, and as a writer of lesson materials for primary-age children for the David C. Cook Publishing Company. She also wrote approximately 500 hymn texts. The composer of this hymn, Daniel B. Towner, was for many years the Director of the Music Department at Moody Bible Institute. Grace Greater than Our Sin first appeared in Towner's compilation, Hymns Tried and True, 1911. What does the term grace mean to your life? Try to define it in your own words. Discuss your insights with another.
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Ye Must Be Born Again

Category: Amazing Grace

In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again (born from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John  3:3) Jesus made it clear that to be a member of His heavenly kingdom, people must be twice-born - naturally and recipients of God's Spirit. Such a person then begins to live by a new dimension and a new direction. He has a new disposition, a new nature, a new commitment, and a new purpose for living. A so-called Christianity that does not involve a personal conversion and change is not an authentic Christianity in the New Testament sense. Eternal life is a quality of life that begins with the new birth experience and continues in daily fellowship with God and His people, both now and forever. But the new birth experience can never be adequately explained. It is more than knowledge and mental assent. To be understood, it must ultimately be experienced. The composer of this hymn, George C. Stebbins, tells in his Memoirs and Reminiscenes about the time he was assiting Dr. George F. Pentecost in an evangelistic crusade in Worcester, Massachusetts, when Dr. Pentecost one night preached on Christ's statement to Nicodemus in John  3:3 about the need of being born again. With the strong impresson of this sermon still in his mind, Stebbins contacted one of the pastors in the city, William Sleeper, and asked his assistance in writing verses for the musical ideas he had for this text. He acted at once upon my suggestion, said Stebbins, and soon after came to me with the hymn that bears his name. And another hymn was born that has since been used to confront individuals with the necessity of a new birth if they are ever to see the kingdom of God. Share this truth with another who needs to hear and respond to the urgency of this message.