Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

KNEEL AT THE CROSS


          During my college and graduate studies at Susquehanna University and Bucknell University, I enjoyed singing with a male quartet from an area church called The Gospel Four.  We did a live 15 minute radio program at 9 am every Sunday morning on WKOK AM in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.  We really weren't very good, but we had quite a following and the men faithfully sang each Sunday morning for several decades.  We sang a variety of gospel songs including some southern gospel music.  One of my favorite of these was Kneel At The Cross, written by Charles Ernest Moody (1891-1977) in 1948.  Moody was a Georgia composer and musician who played the fiddle, banjo and harmonica.  He played with a secular string band, the Georgia Yellowhammers, and wrote numerous secular songs and about a hundred gospel songs.  Many of his songs, such as Drifting Too Far from Shore, became standards of southern gospel music.  Now while I enjoyed singing this week's choice, I think Moody could have added more depth to his lyrics.  Some reviewers have been very hard on him for his "shallow theology" in this song.  But I do think there is enough truth included to share it in this blog.  It is true that Christ will meet the need of sinners at the cross where He died for each of us.  And as we yield to Him and accept Him we will be forgiven and receive a new life - we are a new creation.  Then we can leave our cares and sins with Him because He cares and takes care of His children.  We come to the Cross as hell-bound sinners who have offended a holy God. Then we "kneel" at the cross to confess our helplessness and seek cleansing and forgiveness from Him. That includes, but is much more than just "giving up our idols".  It is there we receive eternal salvation and there we bow to Christ and own Him as our Savior and Lord. And then we do "begin life anew".  I also wish that Moody had expanded on the lines "Harm can ne'er befall those who are anchored there." Christians are faced with harm through persecution and the cares of life on this earth.  But when we walk with the Lord, He provides the strength and wisdom and courage to face this in His power.  The scripture tells us that nothing can separate His children from our Father.  He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us and He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. We are anchored there.  So the premise of this song is good - because of the Cross of Calvary, we can come to Christ and experience salvation, a new life, and His presence. He does wait for us and will meet us there.  The message of truth is there.  If you haven't come to Calvary and confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, today is the day to do that. "Jesus will meet you there." Today is the day of salvation.  And if you've already done that, then join me this week in thanking the Lord for His grace, His mercy, His plan, His salvation and for meeting us when we "knelt" before Him at the Cross.

1      Kneel at the cross, 
Christ will meet you there,
Come while he waits for you;
List' to His voice,
Leave with Him your care,
And start your life anew.
Chorus:
Kneel at the cross,
Leave every care,
Kneel at the cross,
Jesus will meet you there.

2      Kneel at the cross,
There is room for all
Who would His glory share;
Bliss there awaits,
Harm can ne'er befall
Those who are anchored there.
Kneel at the cross,
Leave every care,
Kneel at the cross,
Jesus will meet you there.

3      Kneel at the cross,
Give your idols up,
Look unto realms above;
Turn not away
To life's sparkling cup,
Trust only in His love.
Kneel at the cross,
Leave every care,
Kneel at the cross,
Jesus will meet you there.

Here are some choices for you to listen to:
LISTEN 1    (Quartet)
LISTEN 2   (Trio)
LISTEN 3   (Country)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

JOY IN SERVING JESUS



        I recently read that 70% of workers don't like their jobs.  Another source said two out of three dislike what they are doing. One survey showed that only 13% actually enjoyed their work.  I guess I am surprised since I was blessed to enjoy my job for 39 years and I found it difficult when it was time to retire. However, I worked with many folks who did not enjoy their job and found no joy in what they were doing, except maybe for their paycheck.  I can't help but wonder what the percentages might be for Christian employees.  We are reminded in Colossians 3:23 that whatever we do should be done with our whole heart to please the Lord, not just others.   But there is another area of life that should bring joy for all believers and that is in our service for the Lord.  What a privilege we have to serve the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, our Savior.  He could have chosen other ways to share the amazing gospel - He could have written it in the clouds or had the wind ring out the good news or use another aspect of His creation - but He chose us, His children, to carry the message and minister for Him.  Now serving the Lord can carry challenges and is not always easy, but He is there to guide us and strengthen us and encourage us and walk with us.  He understands and has experienced challenges - "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross" (Hebrews. 12:2).  What a joy it should be to serve Him.  Preacher, author, and missionary statesman, Dr. Oswald J. Smith was for many years the pastor of the People's Church, in Toronto.  He is the one who penned the words of this week's hymn.  In a sense it began as the personal testimony of Dr. Smith. He says, "In this hymn I express the joy that I have experienced in serving the Lord Jesus Christ." But that is a joy that every servant of God can share. The Apostle Paul desired to "finish [his] race [his life and served for Christ] with joy" (Acts 20:24) In spite of burdens and heartaches, in spite of challenges and difficulties, it should be our great delight to serve the King of kings. We are to "serve the Lord with gladness [joy, pleasure]" (Ps. 100:2)."  And Dr. Smith did serve the Lord with joy until he was taken home at the age of 97.  During the period of 1930 to 1958, he collaborated with B. D. Ackley in the writing of nearly a hundred gospel songs. It was a happy and productive pairing. And the very first song they created together was this one, Joy in Serving Jesus. When it was published, in 1931, Mr. Ackley predicted, in a letter to Pastor Smith, "I know it is a winner. A writer usually has a hunch when he writes something that he knows positively will go over." He was right. The song was enthusiastically embraced by the Christian community.  Ackley himself composed more than 3000 tunes. As the one who penned these words, Dr. Smith, found the secret that finding what Jesus would have you do lifts your own burdens and brings great joy.  He writes about that secret in the fourth verse.  He knew, too, that the joy that Jesus gives never fades.  The last line of the chorus says, "There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart." Dr. Smith had a real experience.  He was not writing about doctrine he'd picked up somewhere.  "Joy that throbs within my heart" doesn't come from what he knew, it comes from what he lived.  Joy is not a product of looking at my circumstances. Joy is the product of my relationship with Jesus Christ. And that might be the reason for lack of joy today - focusing more time and energy upon our circumstances than upon our relationship. Are you experiencing joy in your relationship and walk with the Lord?  Do you rejoice in the fact that the Lord has chosen you to represent Him here on earth?  If that joy appears to be missing, meditate upon these words this week, and then pray,  "Lord, restore to me the joy of ministry; the joy of serving You. Restore to me the joy of sharing Your love and Your Word with others!"  And He will answer.

(1)     There is joy in serving Jesus
As I journey on my way
Joy that fills my heart with praises
Every hour and every day
Chorus:
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

(2)     There is joy in serving Jesus
Joy; that triumphs over pain
Fills my heart with heaven's music
Till I join the glad refrain
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

(3)     There is joy in serving Jesus
As I walk alone with God
'Tis the joy of Christ my Savior
Who the path of suffering trod
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

(4)     There is joy in serving Jesus
Joy amid the darkest night
For I've learned the wondrous secret
And I'm walking in the light
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, March 12, 2017

WHEREVER HE LEADS I'LL GO


          I often ask myself what I might have done if I had been involved in one of the stories shared in the Bible.  For example, what would I have done if one day I was about my job of fishing and Jesus would have appeared and said "follow me".  Would I have gladly given up my occupation and possessions to follow this teacher?  It really must have taken faith to quickly do this.  But if you are a believer who has spent years on this earth you have probably also often faced this challenge to follow His leading, not always knowing where it will go.  And sometimes He not only opens doors but closes them as well.  And have we always been willing to accept and follow His leading?  After graduating from college and beginning a job teaching, my wife and I considered going to the Philippines to serve as missionary teachers there.  We went through preliminary steps but then I was unexpectedly diagnosed with a physical problem and that door was suddenly closed.  But instead the Lord opened another unexpected door and opportunity which we recognized as His leading and quickly followed.  This choice led to several unusual ministry opportunities over many decades.  Rev. R. S. Jones had a similar experience in 1936.  He had recently returned from missionary service in Brazil and was the speaker at an Alabama Sunday School Convention.  There he met an old friend, Baylus Benjamin McKinney, a musician and hymn writer, who was leading the music at the convention. As the two men visited and caught up over dinner, Mr. Jones revealed that his doctors would not allow him to return to South America due to his recent ill health.  After a lifetime of serving God in Brazil, imagine how difficult this must have been for the missionary. "What will you do?" McKinney asked his friend.  Jones answered, "I don't know, but wherever He leads I'll go."   McKinney was unable to get his friend's words out of his mind.  Before the convention session that evening, he had expanded his friend's words to write both the lyrics and melody to the hymn, "Wherever He Leads I'll Go."  After Mr. McKinney shared the previous conversation with the congregation, he then premiered his new hymn as he began to sing, "Take up thy cross and follow me.  I heard my Master say."  Rev. Jones retired from a life of service in 1958, after serving as treasurer to the Foreign Mission Board for the last decade of his life.  Mr. McKinney also lived out a life that followed the words of his famous hymn.  When the Great Depression sent his seminary into a financial crisis, Mr. McKinney became the assistant pastor at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.  In 1952, he had just left a conference in NC and was headed for another engagement in TN. But on the way he was killed in a car accident.  He left behind a legacy that included 149 hymns and gospel songs. The opening words of this hymn contain one of Jesus' most penetrating challenges to His disciples - a challenge so significant that it is found in each of the four gospels.  Luke 9:23 states, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."  Have you willingly done this?  Are you willing to follow Him wherever He leads?  If you are, you will never be disappointed or alone.


1   "Take up thy cross and follow Me,"
I heard my Master say;
"I gave My life to ransom thee,
Surrender your all today."
Refrain:
Wherever He leads I'll go,
Wherever He leads I'll go;
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,
Wherever He leads I'll go.

2   He drew me closer to His side,
I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide,
Wherever He leads I'll go. 
Wherever He leads I'll go,
Wherever He leads I'll go;
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,
Wherever He leads I'll go.

3   It may be through the shadows dim,
Or o'er the stormy sea,
I take my cross and follow Him,
Wherever He leadeth me.
Wherever He leads I'll go,
Wherever He leads I'll go;
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,
Wherever He leads I'll go.

4   My heart, my life, my all I bring
To Christ who loves me so;
He is my Master, Lord, and King,
Wherever He leads I'll go. 
Wherever He leads I'll go,
Wherever He leads I'll go;
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,
Wherever He leads I'll go.

Listen to it being sung here.   LISTEN

Sunday, March 5, 2017

GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS (TH3)


 TIMELESS HYMN #3 - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS - October 19, 2008



        "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."  (Lamentations 3:22-23). This hymn is my favorite because I have found it so very true throughout my life.  God, my Father, has never failed me.  He has kept all of His promises.  He never changes even though things all around us change.  He has provided all that I need.  And there examples of His faithfulness all around us.  The four seasons, the universe and all of nature remind us of that.  But I love the truth of the blessings shared in the third verse - pardon for sin, a peace that endureth, His presence to cheer and to guide, strength for today and a blessed hope for tomorrow.  And there are so many other blessings beside.  We are so blest! The author of this great hymn, Thomas Chisholm, was born in 1866 in the state of Kentucky. While he wrote over 1200 hymns, the one we remember the most is this one.  Chisholm did not write it because something great and miraculous had taken place in his life. No, he wrote it because over his entire life he had learned to see the greatness of God.  At the age of 75, he wrote: "My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness."  The tune for this great hymn was composed by William M. Runyan (1870-1957). Popular gospel singer and songwriter Beverly Shea first introduced this hymn to audiences in Great Britain in the Billy Graham Crusades in 1954.  It has been a favorite of believers since then.  Hopefully if you are a believer this hymn is also your personal testimony.  Hopefully each day you experience His new mercies and His provision and you can proclaim - great is His faithfulness.  Thank you Lord!

(1) Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;  
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

(2)  Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. 
Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;  
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

(3) Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!     
Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;  
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

You can hear it here now.   LISTEN

Sunday, February 26, 2017

GIVE OF YOUR BEST TO THE MASTER


          My favorite verse during my working days was Colossians 3:23, "And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."  I believe that it should be the desire  of each believer to do everything for the Lord heartily, giving Him the best that we have.  Now let me clarify that.  In Isaiah 64:6 we are told that "all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags", so in our own strength we have nothing good to give Him.  It is only by His grace that we are saved, a gift of God. "Not of works lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8).  But in Ephesians 2:10 we are told, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."  And in Romans 12:1 we are told to "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."   So as those who were chosen and saved by grace, it is our duty and privilege to daily give of our best to the Master.  Now if you are like me, some days I come up short in doing this.  The cares and obligations of daily living often distract us.  I think we need to stop at times and examine our lives.  We might start by looking at our daily planners.  Do we take time to spend with the Lord?  Do our actions throughout all of our daily chores bring glory to Him?  How about our monthly calendars?  Are we faithful in taking time to worship and minister, or does He get our leftover minutes.  And if that isn't enough, maybe we should examine our budgets and checkbooks.  Does our spending and giving demonstrate that all that we have is His?  Giving of our best to the Master should be shown in all that we do and have. Pastor Howard Grose (1851-1939) apparently wrote these words as a result of an incident in his church.  According to his son, "My father was the organist and choir director of our church. One evening at choir practice a young man wandered in late, interrupting what was going on as he slid past other singers into his place. When my father asked why he was late, he simply shrugged and had no answer. At which my father stung him - and set the bar for all of us - by saying to the latecomer, "The Lord doesn't want your spare time." Pastor Grose actually wrote this hymn to be included in The Endeavor Hymnal, a compilation of songs used in meetings of the Christian Endeavor Society. Charlotte Barnard (1830-1869), who wrote the music, actually never heard this hymn. In fact, it was written more than 30 years after her death. She had written the tune for a secular song, "Take Back the Heart That Thou Gavest". When Howard's words were written, they fit the tune and timing of that old secular song and they found a new, better life by becoming a hymn published in 1902.  Now many of us no longer have "the strength of your youth" to give Him, but our desire should still be to give Him our all, moment by moment, serving Him heartily. When we consider all that Jesus has done for us and all that we can be for Him - His workmanship - we should be motivated to "Give Of Your Best To The Master." May this be our prayer and desire.



1.     Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Throw your soul's fresh, glowing ardor
Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example,
Dauntless was He, young and brave;
Give Him your loyal devotion;
Give Him the best that you have.
Refrain:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation's full armor,
Join in the battle for truth.

2.     Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.
Refrain:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation's full armor,
Join in the battle for truth.

3.     Give of your best to the Master;
Naught else is worthy His love;
He gave Himself for your ransom,
Gave up His glory above.
Laid down His life without murmur,
You from sin's ruin to save;
Give Him your heart's adoration;
Give Him the best that you have.
Refrain:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation's full armor,
Join in the battle for truth.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN1 (music)
                            LISTEN 2 (piano and words)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

SPECIAL NOTE

If you are interested in some background on the history and reach of this blog, check out my posting for February 18 on my other blog,  http://barrysbasicblog.blogspot.com/.

TEACH ME TO PRAY LORD


          I think one of the most misused phrases in the Christian vocabulary is "I'll pray for you".  We often tell folks who are in need that we will do this and we might a few times, but often our promise is soon forgotten.  Few of us have the discipline to be real prayer warriors.  I have been blest in my life to have several relatives who were real prayer warriors.  For 25 years our family had a ministry which often involved very early Sunday morning long trips to churches in various locations in several different states.  In all those years we only ever had one problem finding our way to the church.  It was the Sunday after my grandfather had passed away and I later realized that for the first time my faithful prayer warrior wasn't praying for us that morning.  What a lesson about the power of prayer that touched my life following that experience.  Now I must admit that I haven't always been a faithful prayer warrior.  There are many times that I have cried out to the Lord, as did the disciples in Luke 11:1, "Lord teach me to pray".   And he has been teaching me, even though at times I am a slow learner.  However, as a result of several recent surgeries he has provided me much more time to pray eliminating my excuse of the lack of time to do so.  Now I don't know much about Albert S. Reitz (1879-1966) and I know nothing about his prayer life.  However I recently came upon a song which he penned in 1925.  I can remember singing it in church services when I was a youngster but I haven't heard it for years.  Quite possibly you may never have heard it.  But in it Reitz shares several practical issues about prayer. Prayer is for the one who wants to please God, who says, "I long to know Thy will and Thy way" (Stanza 1). God's will and way is made clear in His Word, but we need wisdom in applying the principles of God's Word. God's promise is, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James1:5).  Prayer is for the one who sees and is touched by the great needs of humanity - "men lost and dying, souls in despair" (Stanza 2). A prayer for God's enablement, and for spiritual power, is called for, if we are to serve Him effectively.  Prayer is for the one who understands that our sin nature can still raise its ugly head, and we can still stumble into sin (Stanza 3). "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:11-12).   The words of this stanza are a powerful prayer for all of us, as are the words of the chorus.  Prayer is as important to our spiritual life as is breathing to our human life.  May this song be a reminder to us this week of our need to spend time alone with the Lord.   May we have the discipline and desire to be prayer warriors for our own spiritual growth and for the many needs of those all around us.  And may we never be guilty of saying "I'll pray for you" and then not faithfully doing it.  And as stanza 4 repeats, Lord, teach us to pray.

1.     Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free,
Power with men and power with Thee.

2.     Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer!
Here 'mid earth's sin and sorrow and care,
Men lost and dying, souls in despair;
O give me power, power in prayer!
Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free,
Power with men and power with Thee.

3.     My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew;
My sinful nature Thou canst subdue;
Fill me just now with power anew;
Power to pray and power to do!
Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free,
Power with men and power with Thee.

4.     Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
Thou art my pattern day unto day;
Thou art my surety, now and for aye;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free,
Power with men and power with Thee.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, February 12, 2017

I'LL NEVER BE LONELY AGAIN


          Two Christmas cards that we received this year brought us unexpected sad messages sharing with us the death of spouses.  One came from a new widow in Minnesota whose husband had a massive heart attack while shoveling snow and he couldn't be revived.  The other was from a friend in his nineties telling us that his wife had passed away a few months ago.  And in both messages you could sense the deep feelings of loneliness which they were now facing.  We have numerous friends who are going through the same battle.  The death of a spouse can be devastating.  And the lonely days and nights must be horrendous to endure.  But loneliness is not limited just to those who have lost spouses.  One can be lonely in a crowd.  It has been estimated that approximately 60 million people in the United States, or 20% of the total population, feel lonely. Another study found that 12% of Americans have no one with whom to spend free time or to discuss important matters.  Other research suggests that this rate has been increasing over time.  Loneliness is a serious, wide spread problem.  And maybe that is why Audrey Mieir (1916-1966) chose this theme to write today's song choice.  Mieir was born in Leechburg, Pennsylvania but moved to Los Angeles.  She had been a church pianist before leaving elementary school and later she began writing songs and conducting choirs. She formed the inspirational Harmony Chorus in the early 1950's and ministered with composer and evangelist Phil Kerr in the popular Southern California Monday Musicals. Mieir wrote more than 1,000 songs, most of them gospel music.  One of Audrey's compositions that has led many a congregation and radio-TV audience to the very throne of God is "His Name is Wonderful."  Along with her musical ministry, Audrey helped found two orphanages in Korea, bringing many Korean children to the United States for adoption. Two of these, Liane and Mark, were adopted by Audrey and her husband, Charles, as siblings for their son Mike.  Now her song that we feature this week is based upon the promise of Jesus that he will never leave us or forsake us.  He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  He tells us to cast all of our care upon Him for He cares for us.  I especially love the message of Isaiah 41:13, " I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you."   And there is also Isaiah 41:10 which says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God."  And He always keep His promises.  Now I must admit that I do have a slight problem with her words that  say I'll never be lonely again, never again.  And I don't think these fears are foolish.  I think there are times, especially after the loss of a loved one, that we will still battle with loneliness. Those who tell you otherwise have probably never themselves been there.   But the truth is that when we are a child of God, we do have His presence and comfort and promises to care and to be with us.  And we need to claim that truth and hope.   So if you are dealing with loneliness recognize that He is there and that He will never fail or leave you.  Let this song be a reminder of this when you are lonely and discouraged.  Claim His promises and rest in Him.  


1.     Lonely days and lonely nights,
Filled with despair,
Caused me to long for
Someone to care;
Then I heard Christ say to me;
"This promise I've made:
Lo! I am with you
Now and forever,
Be not afraid."

Chorus
I'll never be lonely again,
Never again,
For I have opened
My heart's door to Him.
So I'll brush away the tears
And forget my
Foolish fears
I'll never be lonely again,
Never again.

2.     If you're longing for a friend,
Loving and true,
Turn to the Savior
He waits for you;
He will do the same for you
As He did for me;
He'll never leave you,
Never forsake you,
Trust Him and see.

Chorus
I'll never be lonely again,
Never again,
For I have opened
My heart's door to Him.
So I'll brush away the tears
And forget my
Foolish fears
I'll never be lonely again,
Never again.

Listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, February 5, 2017

O LOVE THAT WILT NOT LET ME GO (TH2)


TIMELESS HYMNS #2 - A new special feature where every few weeks I choose a hymn that I have written about before, revise and update it, and share it once more because I think it has a powerful message that we need.  This one was shared previously on October 6, 2011.


As we come to February, thoughts often turn to Valentines Day and love. I searched for hymns which talk about God's love and I chose this one because of its powerful words and the interesting story behind its writing. It was written by George Matteson (1842-1906) on the evening of his sister's marriage. His whole family had gone to the wedding and had left him alone. Years before, he had been engaged until his fiancee learned that he was going blind, and there was nothing the doctors could do to prevent it. She told him that she could not go through life with a blind man and she left him. He did go blind when he was twenty and while studying for the ministry.  His sister had been the one who had taken care of him all of these twenty years.  But now she was married and gone. He had been a brilliant student.  Some say that if he hadn't gone blind he could have been the leader of the church of Scotland in his day. Before her marriage he turned to the pastoral ministry, and the Lord richly blessed him, finally bringing him to a church where he regularly preached to over 1500 people each week. But he had only been able to do this because of the care of his sister, and now she was married and gone. Who would care for him, a blind man? Not only that, but his sister's marriage brought a fresh reminder of his own heartbreak over his fiancee's refusal to "go through life with a blind man." It was in the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gave him this hymn – written he says in just five minutes! He was 40 when he penned these words. You can almost feel his pain at his human loss, but you can also sense his hope as he realizes that rest for his weary soul will only come from His Lord and that love will never let him go. Are you dealing with the loss a loved one?  Do you feel all alone and discouraged?  Has a friend or even a family member left you down?  Just remember that even when your closest friends disappoint you or even leave you, Jesus is always there.  He has promised never to leave or forsake His children.  And He never has, and He never will!  Meditate on the truth of this hymn this week.  Feel the pain but also the hope that Matteson expressed.  And be thankful for God's love that never lets us go.

1.  O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

    2.  O light that foll'west all my way,
I yield my flick'ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

    3.  O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

    4.  O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

You can listen to a beautiful and moving performance of this great hymn here. LISTEN