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Archive for April, 2021

So many have expressed the AMAZING GRACE better than I can! For example, my vintage hymnbook. There is a tender story that goes with my hymnbook, which was a “giveaway”, when a church we attended in Northern Wisconsin purchased new hymnals.

For years my husband, Joe, enjoyed listening when I played the old Gospel hymns on my piano. One day Joe said, “I wish I had a matching hymnbook so I could sing along!”

Well, I went immediately online to Amazon, and found the exact same hymnbook. As I recall, it was all of something like $3.84–and within a few days INSPIRING HYMNS, published by Singspiration, was in Joe’s hands.

Joe put markers on all of his favorites–and we always finished a song session with the classic AMAZING GRACE. Just the name of the hymn gives me goosebumps, and so does the account of its composer, John Newton.

John Newton, 1725-1807, was an Englishman raised by a devout, Bible-believing mother who died of tuberculosis when John was 7 years old. After many rebellious years and harsh circumstances at sea, Newton began a new life as a Christian believer. For a time, he served as a mate and then captain of a slave ship–hoping that as a Christian he could bring something positive to that egregious trade.

Finally John Newton fully realized the abject evil of the slave trade, quit that career, became an abolitionist—and finally an Anglican cleric. He will be remembered forever, as the composer of what is undoubtedly the most beloved Christian hymn of all time.

My husband always insisted on singing all 4 verses of AMAZING GRACE. He especially loved the 4th verse, and Joe was often disgruntled because it is seldom sung. Even in the second-to-none rendition performed by THE IRISH TENORS, whom we loved to stream through our speakers, verse number 4 is missing.

Now my husband Joe is almost 9 months into his 10,000 years—which is not even a dent in our endless ETERNITY with the Lord.

Although many of us do not have the dramatic history of a John Newton, It is absolutely true that “. . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who knew no sin, God in the flesh, willingly gave up His life on a cruel Roman cross to completely absolve us from the sin-debt we could never ourselves pay–thus freeing us from the tyranny of sin and, as we trust and obey, restoring us to endless fellowship with our Holy God.

HE IS RISEN! HE IS ALIVE! HE IS COMING BACK TO REIGN AS KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!

Whomever looks to the Risen Messiah Jesus Christ, and trusts in Christ’s finished work at Calvary, is a beneficiary of that AMAZING GRACE. For 10,000 years and forever!

Margaret L. Been — April 3rd, 2021

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These days there are times when I feel like screaming, ‘LIGHTEN UP!!!” Where are the laughs? Where are the funny people? Now you may be saying, “What is wrong with this woman? Was she born yesterday, under a rock? Doesn’t she understand that there is simply nothing to laugh about? Nothing funny?

Yes, I get it. There is nothing funny. Our southern border is more than a crisis; it is a full blown, tragic disaster! The closed pipeline is an economic disaster. The renewed relationship with Iran is a global disaster. The legislation of immorality is egregious. The murder of unborn children deserves the utter wrath of God.

Today’s gender confusion is so off the wall and over the top, that I now fully understand what is meant in the book of Romans about God giving sinners up to “a reprobate mind”. We have a culture replete with national leadership consisting of reprobate minds. And the rise of anti-Semitism—discrimination against God’s CHOSEN PEOPLE—is the proverbial “last straw”. There is nothing to laugh about. And that, dear reader, is precisely why we have to find some reason to laugh.

No, I was not born yesterday. I was born in the Milwaukee Hospital, not under a rock. I was probably born before most, if not all, of my readers. And like today, there was “nothing to laugh about” during the first 12 years of my life. THE GREAT DEPRESSION was not funny. Nor was WORLD WAR II.

Those are a couple of reasons why then, like today, we had to find something to laugh about. But unlike today, in the 1930s and 40s we had help with our laughing. We had brilliant philanthropists who endowed us with God’s gift of laughter, which can actually be a survival tool—benefactors such as THE MARX BROTHERS, THE THREE STOOGES, LAUREL AND HARDY, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO, BOB HOPE, JACK BENNY, LUCILLE BALL, RED SKELTON. With that cast of characters, we couldn’t NOT LAUGH!

Where have all the comics gone, the true comedians whose wit encompassed an entire nation—not just a biased few? Several decades later, we had one more classic: CAROL BURNETT. And then there were none, at least none compared to “back then”.

In the 1970s, Stephen Sondheim composed a poignantly lovely ballad with an unforgettable title: SEND IN THE CLOWNS. Yes, SEND IN THE CLOWNS. We need them!

Now, here is a confession: I am so starved for laughter, that the report of one of President Biden’s German Shepherds doing a number on the WHITE HOUSE floor sent me into hysterics. Even funnier (to my odd sense of humor) were 2 comments after the report: 1) Whichever dog did it, was just asserting his 1st Amendment Right, and 2) They probably blamed Trump.

Please, will somebody come and laugh with me?

Margaret L. Been — April 1st, 2021, NO FOOLING!

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