Welcome to Toward The Mark
A Magazine for Young Christians of All Ages
Inside This Issue:  Milk |  Meat | Exercise |  Rest |  To My Son |  Amazing Grace | Search the Scriptures! | PDF Version


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Dear Reader
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Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?...

Milk: The New Man
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Man is so different from every other creature that God has made.

Meat: Talitha cumi, Ephatha, Abba and Eloi Eloi
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...occasions where the words of the Lord Jesus are preserved for us in the actual language that He spoke

The Path of Obedience!
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As a creature, man has been brought by God into the place of obedience...

Rest: Rest and Peace!
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To My Son!

Contributed by Kevin G.

Paul Gerhardt’s Will and Testament to His Son, Paul Friedrich:

After reaching my 70th year and truly having the joyful hope that my loving and gracious God will in a short time deliver me from this world and lead me into a much better life than I have had so far on this earth, I thank God for all His kindness and faithfulness which He has given me. Then...I will awaken to see my precious Lord Jesus Christ in whom I have believed. To my only son whom I am leaving behind, I will bestow on him very little worldly goods, but at the same time an honest name of which he will never need to be ashamed. My son knows that, from childhood, I gave him to the Lord that he might become a servant and preacher of God’s holy Word. He should stay with that and not be concerned if he has only a few good days. Because our loving God knows the solution and can change the outer distress to inward joy of the heart and happiness of the spirit.

In your life…follow the wishes and commands of your God:

  1. Never do anything bad in the hope that it will not be discovered, because nothing is ever woven so fine that it will not be found out.
  2. Do not let yourself be provoked to anger outside of your office and profession. If you notice your anger inflamed, keep a profound silence and do not say one word until you have prayerfully gone through the Ten Commandments.
  3. Be ashamed of the carnal sinful lusts and if you, someday, come to such years that you can get married, then marry with God’s wisdom and good advice from pious, faithful, and intelligent people.
  4. Do good to people, even if they do not reward you immediately, because what man does not reward has been rewarded long ago by the Creator of heaven and earth when He created you, when He gave His loving Son, and when He took you upon Himself as His child and heir at your conversion.
  5. Avoid covetousness like hell; be satisfied with what you have, with what you acquired with honor and a good conscience, even if it is not much. If our loving God should shower you with much more, then entreat Him that He may guard you against the loathsome misuses of temporal goods.

To sum it all up: Pray diligently, study what is honorable, live peacefully, serve honestly, and remain steadfast in your faith and confession. Someday you will also die and leave this world willingly, happily, and blessedly. Amen.

Amazing Grace!

Where in the world did we get this song? How does its story relate to you and me?

The story of John Newton’s life is the real story behind “Amazing Grace.” One would be hard pressed to imagine, let alone live, a blasphemous life equal to Newton’s early years. In his youth, he became the captain of a slave ship, landing at least one load of human cargo in Charleston, South Carolina. It is reported that at times he was so drunk and destitute that even his crew regarded him as little more than an animal. Once he fell overboard and his crew refused to drop a boat to him. Instead, they threw a harpoon at him, with which they dragged him back into the ship. He seemed oblivious to the plight of the poor Black souls chained in the hold of his ship.

His complete disregard for all that was right and holy led him into a life plagued with despair, dangers at sea, abuse, public floggings, destitution, and depression. During those years, Newton often entered into a state of spiritual awakening. Those times were short-lived, and he invariably lapsed into a more wicked direction. However, the Lord used one harrowing experience at sea to cause young Newton to consider seriously his standing before a holy God. After being at sea for several months with a load of lumber, livestock and beeswax, the ship ran into a violent storm. So severe was the gale that the vessel was in danger of sinking. After the livestock were washed overboard, the crew tied themselves to the ship to keep from being swept into the sea. For four weeks, because of damage to the ship, the sailors despaired of life, spending most of their waking hours at the pumps to remove water. Rations were so low the men feared starvation. When they finally reached a port in Ireland, Newton began a sincere effort to become right with God.

During that experience, Newton became acutely aware of four things taught in the Bible:

  1. I must realize that in my present condition I am a sinner before God. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
  2. I cannot save myself from eternal punishment in hell. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
  3. Jesus has paid for my sins and my punishment with His death on the cross. “But God commend his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
  4. I must accept His crucifixion as payment for my sins, personally. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Two years later John Newton married his teenage sweetheart. During the following fourteen years, he continued to study the Bible, to serve His Lord and Savior, and to witness to His grace. In 1779, Newton published a hymnal “The Olney Hymns” in which he placed 281 of his own works, including “Amazing Grace.” The next time you hear the hauntingly beautiful “Amazing Grace,” remember that you, too, can experience the same saving grace as John Newton. In fact, you can do that right now! Just read over the Scriptures listed above, bow your head wherever you are, and ask Christ to come into your heart and be your Savior.

Search the Scriptures
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  1. Who was the first daughter mentioned by name in the Bible?
  2. What is name of the prophet who saw a vision of a valley full of dry bones?
  3. Which Gospel mentions Susanna, who, among other women, was healed by the Lord Jesus?
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