John Newton had a hard life—born in 1725, his mother died when he was 6, a sailor at age 11, press-ganged into the British Navy at 18, and flogged with 96 lashes when he was caught trying to desert.
He sailed on a slave ship, and then became a captain who led three voyages that brought kidnapped Africans to the New World for sale. Even after he quit sailing he continued to invest in slave enterprises. His slowly growing Christian... Read More
One of life’s bitterest ironies from God’s point of view is that the lowlifes of Jewish society, the tax collectors and prostitutes and “sinners,” were more likely to listen to Jesus and welcome his message of grace and forgiveness. The church people, the Pharisees and teachers, didn’t need him and didn’t want him.
It’s because they weren’t aware of their many sins and because they rated themselves proficient and advanced in personal holiness by comparison with the lowlifes that they... Read More
Could there be a better example of God’s transforming grace than Rahab of Jericho? She is usually identified as “Rahab the harlot,” for at one time she apparently plied the ancient trade of prostitution. But our God uses all kinds of people to advance his plan of salvation. She listened to reports about the advancing Israelite nation and rightly concluded that Jericho was doomed because Israel’s Lord was the true God of all.
She sheltered the scouts that Joshua had... Read More
Most people know the experience of being chewed out by a boss or put down by fellow workers. Abuse from people around us starts early. Every schoolkid knows what it is like to be picked on; gossiped about; or mocked because of his or her clothes, shoes, grades, hair, or speech.
Where do children go when they’ve been made to feel worthless, stupid, and ugly? You know the answer: they go to Mom. Mothers have great restorative power in their... Read More
I don’t play golf competitively or for money, and that’s a good thing. I’m just not that good. The duffers I play with will, after smirks and some appropriate remarks, occasionally give me a mulligan after a particularly horrible swing.
Jesus Christ has paid for the ultimate do-over. Even though we will be sinners till the day we die, his grace means that he has chosen to love us unconditionally. It means that every day we can start fresh, for... Read More