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, April 23, 2017

WHY?


          Sometimes I think that the most frequently asked question by believers is "Why?".  Usually it is asked about things that happen to us or our friends?  Why do I or a family member have this physical problem?  Why did the Lord take my loved one home?  Why did I lose my job or not get promoted?  Why did my children rebel against both me and the Lord?  Why?  Why? Why?  And many times we will not find the answers to these questions while we are here on earth.  But when we consider our salvation and God's acts of grace and mercy, many "why" questions should also come to our minds.  Some questions like this were asked by John M. Moore in a hymn which he penned.  Why did they nail Him to Calvary's tree?  Why was He there? Why should He love me, a sinner undone?  Why should He care?  Why should I linger afar from His love?  Why should I fear?  These are good questions that we, too, should ponder.  Unfortunately it was very hard to find much about Moore or what led him to write this hymn.  And it was also difficult to find any videos of this hymn.  I did learn that He was born in Scotland and served as Assistant Superintendent at the Seamen's Chapel in Glasgow, Scotland.  He was also pastor and Superintendent at Tent Hall, an evangelistic center in Glasgow for nine years, pastor of the Inverness Baptist Church for five years, and pastor of the Willowdale Baptist Church, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada. He wrote over 150 hymns, some of which were translated into other languages.  I can only assume that He was overwhelmed when thinking about the sacrifice of Christ for Him.  Maybe He too, like me, marveled at the truth of Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  We are so unworthy of this, but Christ left all the glory and riches of heaven, to come to this earth to purchase our salvation at the cost of His life?  Why did He do it?  We may never fully comprehend the love and mercy that made this possible, but He did it ... for us.  May we be eternally thankful and may the words of Moore's hymn fill our hearts as we meditate upon them this week.

1. Why did they nail him to Calvary´s tree;
Why, tell me why was he there?
Jesus the helper, the healer, the friend,
Why, tell me why was he there?
CHORUS:
All my iniquities on him were laid;
He nailed them all to the tree.
Jesus, the debt of my sin fully paid,
He paid the ransom for me.

2. Why should he love me a sinner undone;
Why, tell me why should he care?
I do not merit the love he has shown.
Why, tell me why should he care?
All my iniquities on him were laid;
He nailed them all to the tree.
Jesus, the debt of my sin fully paid,
He paid the ransom for me.

3. Why should I linger afar from his love;
Why, tell me why should I fear?
Somehow I know I must venture and prove;
Why, tell me why should I fear?
All my iniquities on him were laid;
He nailed them all to the tree.
Jesus, the debt of my sin fully paid,
He paid the ransom for me.

Listen to the words here.  LISTEN1

I also found a second video featuring a family singing and playing this song. (I am especially partial to trombones so I just had to include this one.)    LISTEN2

Sunday, April 16, 2017

TWAS A GLAD DAY



        Most of us have significant events that have happened in our lifetime and we recall exactly where we were when they happened.  For me it is the assassination of President Kennedy, man's first step on the moon, and the events of 9-11.  But there are personal events which also are significant in our lives - our graduations, our wedding and the weddings of our children, the births of our children and grandchildren, and deaths of loved ones.  For me these events also include meeting President Reagan on the White House Lawn.  But for every believer the most important event was the time that we placed our personal faith in the work of Jesus Christ and we became transformed and forgiven, a new creation.  A new life began that day.  "You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:23).  We went from being under condemnation, to being delivered from condemnation. "There is … no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).   And this was recognized by pastor and hymn writer Albert Simpson Reitz (1879-1966) in 1918 when he penned the words of this gospel song.  It was one of over 100 Gospel songs that he wrote in his lifetime.  This song celebrates the changes that occurred on that glorious day and the joy that resulted from becoming a member of God's family.  It notes that He buried our sins in the deepest sea and He filled our soul with joy and victory.  And the song also includes celebrating the joy that we will experience that day when we meet in glory and through endless ages tell the story of our Savior's redeeming love.  What a great day that will be.  Hopefully, you, too, have experienced this transformation and the joy of that reality.  Hopefully, you, too, can testify that it was a glad day!  And, if you have experienced this, then you, too, can look forward to that grand day when we shall meet around His throne.  There you will join me in shouting a glad hosanna when we see Him upon His throne.

(1)     I was lost in sin when Jesus found me,
But He rescued me, all glory to His name!
And the cords of worldly pleasure bound me,
Till He saved me from sin and shame.
Refrain
'Twas a glad day when Jesus found me,
When His strong arms were thrown around me;
When my sins He buried in the deepest sea,
And my soul He filled with joy and victory.
'Twas a glad day, O hallelujah!
'Twas a glad day He claimed His own.
I will shout a glad hosanna in glory
When I see Him upon His throne.

(2)     O the bells of Heaven now are ringing,
For I hear their tones within my ransomed soul;
And my heart is filled with joyful singing
Since the Savior has made me whole.
'Twas a glad day when Jesus found me,
When His strong arms were thrown around me;
When my sins He buried in the deepest sea,
And my soul He filled with joy and victory.
'Twas a glad day, O hallelujah!
'Twas a glad day He claimed His own.
I will shout a glad hosanna in glory
When I see Him upon His throne.

(3)     O the joy when we shall meet in glory,
In the mansions of my Father's home above;
And through endless ages tell the story
Of the Savior's redeeming love.
'Twas a glad day when Jesus found me,
When His strong arms were thrown around me;
When my sins He buried in the deepest sea,
And my soul He filled with joy and victory.
'Twas a glad day, O hallelujah!
'Twas a glad day He claimed His own.
I will shout a glad hosanna in glory
When I see Him upon His throne.

I could not find a vocal video of this song, but here is a piano rendition for you to listen to.    LISTEN

Sunday, April 9, 2017

WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD


          On Monday, Jews around the world will begin their annual celebration of the Passover.   "It is the LORD'S Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt" (Exodus. 12:10-13).  When I consider various events recorded in the Bible I often wonder what it would have been like to be present and see them in real time.  But this is one event that I am glad that I did not witness personally.  It was the tenth and final plague and involved the death of the firstborn child as well as the animals in every household in Egypt.  I can't image the wailing and anguish that would have filled Egypt that morning. It must have been horrendous.  But, in His grace, the Lord provided a way to escape the plague. A lamb  "without blemish, a male of the first year," (Exodus 12:5) was to be chosen. At twilight, before the night of the coming judgment, the lamb was to be slain, and its blood applied to the doorposts and lintel of the home (Exodus. 12:6-7).  And those homes were spared the tragic death of the firstborn.  The same is true for us centuries later.  When we put our faith in Christ as Saviour, it is as though His blood is applied to us and, covered by the blood of the Lamb, we are safe from eternal judgment.  There is no other way to escape this judgment.  "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission [no forgiveness of sins]" (Hebrews 9:22).  And it was this event that led to the writing of this week's hymn choice.  There are many questions about the authorship of this hymn.  Some say it was written by John G. Foote.  Others say it was by Foote and E.A.H.  Many believe that E.A.H. was Elisha A. Hoffman (1839-1929) who is credited with writing over 2,000 gospel songs.  But  no matter who actually wrote it, the hymn shares that by His grace Jesus will save even the chiefest of sinners.  When judgment comes, He has promised through his great power, compassion and love to save those whose lives have been transformed by the power of His blood.  Yes, He will pass, He will pass over them.  And for all others, as in Egypt many years ago, they will face eternal punishment and separation from God. And that will be a far worse fate than was suffered by those in Egypt who did not have the blood on their doorpost.  So what will your fate be?  Today you can still choose.  Now I have found that there has been some recent editing of the original words of this hymn and while I personally prefer the original, I will try to share both versions below.  The original will be in bold face type.


(1)    1 Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due;
Sprinkle your soul with the blood of the Lamb,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due.
All who receive Him need never fear,
Yes, He will pass, will pass over you.)

(2)     Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save;
As He has promised, that He will do;
Wash in the fountain opened for sin,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save;
As He has promised, so He will do;
Oh, sinner, hear Him, trust in His Word,
Then He will pass, will pass over you.)

(3)     Judgment is coming, all will be there,
Each one receiving justly his due;
Hide in the saving sin-cleasing blood,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(Judgment is coming, all will be there.
Who have rejected, who have refused?
Oh, sinner, hasten, let Jesus in,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.)

(4)     O great compassion! O boundless love!
O loving kindness, faithful and true!
Find peace and shelter under the blood,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(O great compassion! O boundless love!
Jesus hath power, Jesus is true;
All who believe are safe from the storm,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.)

Listen to it sung here.    LISTEN

Sunday, April 2, 2017

CALVARY COVERS IT ALL (TH#4)


 TIMELESS HYMN #4 - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great timeless hymns of the faith.

          As we approach the Easter season I have decided to choose for this month's Timeless Hymn one of my favorite hymns, Calvary Covers It All.  This was first shared in this blog on April 5, 2009.  This hymn reminds me of what Christ has done for me at Calvary.  There He suffered for me, carrying upon Him all my past, all my sin and guilt and despair.  Calvary does cover it all.  And because of that great sacrifice, I am forgiven and one day I "shall be His in the glory on high; Where with gladness and song, I'll be one of the throng."  Now I could not find much about the author, Ethel Taylor, who passed away in 1950. This song was apparently written by her in 1934.  However, since my original blog in 2009, I have come across a story about how it was written.  Following are parts of that story from Al Smith's Hymn Histories (pages 125-127).
          "The song relates to a dancer named Walter "Happy Mac" MacDonald, whom comedian Eddie Cantor said had the fastest feet in the world. Mac was talented, but he was also in bondage to sin, and addicted to alcohol. One night in the early 1930's he stumbled into a meeting in the Pacific Garden Mission, in Chicago. When an invitation was given  ... Mac did not respond. But, as he returned, night after night, workers gradually came to know more about him.   Directing the mission in those days (1918-1936) were Walter Grand Taylor and his wife Ethel affectionately known as Pa and Ma Taylor. Ethel Taylor watched Mac, and her heart went out to him. She prayed, "Dear Lord, please help us say and do the right things, so that we may win Mac to Thee." Finally, MacDonald did seek counseling, and Ma Taylor listened as he struggled with his past. "You don't understand," he prayed. "You don't know how bad I am, Lord. Really I'm the worst man in the world. You can't save me; I'm too bad."   Mrs. Taylor recalled a message she had heard weeks before. Evangelist Percy Crawford had been a rebel in his youth ...  The theme of Crawford's testimony was, "Calvary covers it all," and Ethel Taylor shared those words with MacDonald.   He asked her to repeat them, and suddenly the light dawned. "Oh! Mrs. Taylor, I'm so glad it's true, and you told me. Calvary does cover it all! My whole past of sin and shame." The former entertainer trusted in the Saviour that night in 1934, and lived to become an outstanding servant of Christ.   A few days later, Ethel Taylor went into the mission chapel, sat down at the piano, and created the words and music of a gospel song."
 

          Truly, as many have found over the years, Calvary does cover all of our dark past and sinfulness.  Every stain is washed away.  Every mark of shame is erased through the blood of Jesus Christ. We are forgiven. Have you accepted this wonderful gift that Christ has provided for you?  There is nothing about your past that isn't covered by what Christ did for you at Calvary.  Don't put off this life-changing decision any longer.


(1)  Far dearer than all that the world can impart
Was the message that came to my heart.
How that Jesus alone for my sin did atone,
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

(2)  The stripes that He bore and the thorns that He wore
Told His mercy and love ever more
And my heart bowed in shame as I called on His name,
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

(3)  How matchless the grace, when I looked in the face
Of this Jesus, my crucified Lord;
My redemption complete I then found at His feet,
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

(4)  How blessed the thought, that my soul by Him bought,
Shall be His in the glory on high;
Where with gladness and song, I'll be one of the throng
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

Here are two choices to listen to this hymn.
LISTEN 1 - A male quartet
LISTEN 2 - Soloist Dave Boyer

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, The Gospel Four, from an area church.  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 because of his death on Calvary.  And as one yields to Him and accepts Him he 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 for and takes care of His children whom He loved enough to die for.  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 because of His death and resurrection that we receive eternal salvation when we acknowledge who He is, what He has done for us and our need for Him. 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 these challenges 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. He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. We are anchored in Him.  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.  Hopefully this has been your experience.  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)