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"This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and ask where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your soul."
Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

“There But for the Grace of God Go I”

 violin_400   Have you noticed all of the quips and sayings and proverbs we use in our daily communications, and so many of these we don’t even know who first said it or the circumstance under which they did say it. I have one such saying for you today.
    In 1548, a young man by the name of John Bradford was moved in his heart to follow
God into the ministry. It was a difficult time for believers in England, and in 1553, John Bradford was imprisoned for publicly speaking out his beliefs.
    For two years, he was held prisoner in the Tower of London. During that time he
made a statement, which has come to be a famous statement so often repeated by so many. It happened one day, as a group of prisoners were being led to their execution, John Bradford remarked, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” You see even on the very doorstep of death, John Bradford would not stop sharing his faith.
    So on January the 31st, 1555, John Bradford was himself taken to be burned at the
stake. As the crowd gathered to see his execution, they expected that Bradford would act like the others gone before - there would be wailing, crying, and begging not to be killed.
    But as they began stacking the wood and kindling at John Bradford's feet, something
amazing happened. He didn’t cry or beg or wail; he looked to those in the crowd and asked forgiveness from any of them he had wronged, and then he forgave those who were wrongfully killing him.
    John Bradford’s last words? He turned to the other man chained with him at the
stake and said, “Be of good comfort brother, for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night”. And the onlookers were amazed.
    How was John Bradford able to endure? What made the difference in John Bradford’s
life? He had been touched by the Grace of God.

              "Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
              Thought it scarcely worth his while
              To waste much time on the old violin,
              But held it up with a smile.
              “What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
              “Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
              “A dollar, a dollar, then, two! Only two?
              "Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice; 
     

                                going for three. 
              
              But no,from the room, far back,a gray-haired man
              Came forward and picked up the bow;
              Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
              And tightening the loose strings,
              He played a melody pure and sweet as a caroling

                                     angel sings.

              The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
              With a voice that was quiet and low,
              Said: “What am I bid for the old violin?”
              And he held it up with the bow.
    
              “A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?”
              “Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?”
              “Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice"
              "And going and gone,” Said he.

              The people cheered, but some of them cried,
              “We do not quite understand",
              "What changed its worth?” Swift came the reply:
              “The touch of the master’s hand.”

              And many a man with life out of tune,
              And battered and scarred with sin,
              Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
              Much like the old violin.
              A mess of potage, a glass of wine;
              A game - and he travels on.
              He is going once, and going twice,
              He’s going and almost gone.

              But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
              Never can quite understand
              The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
              By the touch of the Master’s Hand.

    What our nation, America, needs today is not more help from the government, not more clever economic plans from D.C., not more rules and legislation. No, what our nation needs, what we all need, is a touch of the Master's Hand.

     Please pray with me that God will truly touch us all.