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, December 27, 2009

WHO IS HE IN YONDER STALL

Now here's a question for you. What do the songs "Up On The Housetop" (click, click, click) and "Who Is He In Yonder Stall" have in common? ... Give Up? They both were written by the same person, Benjamin Russell Hanby. He is also the author of "Darling Nellie Gray", written in 1856, about some of the evils of slavery. "Up on the Housetop," was composed in 1864 while he was serving as minister of a church in Dayton, Ohio. The hymn "Who is He in Yonder Stall" was written in 1866. Born July 22, 1833 near Rushville, Ohio, he later moved to Westerville, Ohio to attend Otterbein College. He was a father, a minister, and an abolitionist. His home was a stop for the Underground Railroad and he helped free slaves. The "Hanby House" where he lived in Westerville is now owned by the Ohio Historical Society and is open as a museum. The Ohio Historical Marker next to his grave reads: "Song writer and minister of the United Brethren Church. Hanby was an Otterbein College graduate, class of 1858." The last song he wrote before he died, at the age of 33, was, "Who is He in Yonder Stall". This is one of the clearest expositions of the life and work of Christ. We used to teach this hymn to children when we did children's work because it so clearly outlines the key aspects of the life of Christ. All it is missing is a verse about Christ's promised return. It is usually sung as shown below, but often musical artists sing it as a series of questions with each question followed by the answer given in the refrain.
(1) Who is He in yonder stall
At Whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?
Refrain
'Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

(2) Who is He the people bless
For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to Whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?
Refrain
'Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

(3) Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?
Refrain
'Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

(4) Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?
Refrain
'Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

(5) Who is He that from the grave
Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne
Rules through all the world alone?
Refrain
'Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

You can listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, December 20, 2009

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

Yesterday and today I've spent considerable time trying to remove the snow from our sidewalks and driveway. I can't say that I enjoy doing that, but I have been struck by the fact that it is so still and quiet outside with the snow falling. Traffic is almost nonexistent. People are inside. And the snow falls so quietly. I guess we just aren't used to stillness and quietness anymore. But as I was working. the words of this week's hymn choice kept going through my mind, especially the first verse, "O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! … " It must have been a still, quiet night when Jesus was born. And the silence was broken by the angel choir. This thought was part of what led Philip Brooks to write this special carol. He was an Episcopal Priest, and he first thought about this song while he was on a journey to the Holy Land in 1865. On Christmas Eve, while he was heading to Jerusalem from Bethlehem, he stopped at an open field, to watch the dusk envelop the town. And after that, he attended a five hour church service at the Church of Nativity. And for three long years, he kept his memories to himself. Then he was motivated to share his memories with a church gathering. And what he did was write a five stanza poem, and give it to the church organist, Lewis Redner, who gave the poem its musical background. And this song was heard for the first time on December 27, 1868. Four of the more familiar verses are shared below.

(1) O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

(2) For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

(3) How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv'n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav'n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

(4) O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, December 13, 2009

HE BECAME POOR

Each year at Christmas, once this week's choice gets into my mind, I sing it over and over again. Its words continually minister to my heart. It is amazing to me that the God who has created and controls this vast universe would allow His Son to leave all the glory and riches of heaven to become poor and come to this earth, for me. We are living in very difficult times and while most of us are so blest, there are so many folks who are struggling because they have so little. Some have become poor because they've lost their jobs and their homes. It's not been their choice. There are homeless folks all around us. But none of us would ever willingly trade what we have for their situations. We would never choose to be poor. But that is exactly what Christ did for us. He came to be born in a lowly manger, then to be rebuked and finally crucified. When I chose this hymn for this week I became frustrated because I can only find the words of one verse. Damaris Carbaugh does a stirring arrangement of this, but she just sings one verse in English and one in Spanish. The song has a 1958 copyright by the Lillenas Publishing Company, so the rest of the words must exist somewhere. Maybe you can locate them for me. Both the words and the music were written by Byron Carmony, a pastor for 40 years. And that is about all that I can find. However, the words of this one verse are so powerful and stirring that I still had to post them. Meditate on them with hearts full of gratitude and amazement as you prepare for this Christmas season.

They borrowed a manger of hay for His bed; Jesus my Savior;
No soft, downy pillow, no warm cradle spread for Jesus, my Lord.

CHORUS:
His were the planets and stars in the sky;
His were the valleys and mountains so high;
His, all earth's riches from pole unto pole;
But He became poor to ransom my soul.

(Spanish verse)
En rudo y prestado pesebre nació, Cristo, mi Cristo;
Ni cama ni almohada su cuerpo gozó, Jesús, mi Señor.
Dueño era El de las pléyades mil,
Suyos los valles, y montes sin fin,
Ricos tesoros El puede contar,
Mas pobre vivió, mi ser por salvar.

© 1958 by Lillenas Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

HE BECAME POOR ... CONTINUED

Thanks to my cousin, Karen, we now have the other verses of the hymn "He Became Poor". Here they are.

They borrowed a colt--lowly beast for a King, Jesus, my Saviour
No court gave Him honor, no carillons ring for Jesus, my Lord.
His were the planets and stars in the sky;
His were the valleys and mountains so high;
His, all earth's riches from pole unto pole,
But He became poor to ransom my soul.

He borrowed a room for the Passover Feast, Jesus my Saviour;
Becoming both Servant and Heavenly Priest, this Jesus, my Lord.
His were the planets and stars in the sky;
His were the valleys and mountains so high;
His, all earth's riches from pole unto pole,
But He became poor to ransom my soul.

They borrowed a tomb for the Crucified One, Jesus, my Saviour
No monument royal for God's only Son for Jesus, my Lord.
His were the planets and stars in the sky;
His were the valleys and mountains so high;
His, all earth's riches from pole unto pole,
But He became poor to ransom my soul.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

WONDERFUL NAME HE BEARS

I've mentioned here before how much I love the beautiful music that is played overnight on Fridays and Saturdays by our local Christian radio station. Often I wake early in the morning and meditate on the words of this special music. But there is one problem. Early Saturday morning the music is interrupted by a 30 minute program that I really don't care for. Much of it is very dull preaching, often by a monotone speaker who is obviously reading his message. But before the speaker they often have a quartet sing an old hymn, usually one that I haven't heard in many years. Sometimes it is one that I used to sing, years ago, with The Gospel Four quartet. Yesterday that happened and they sang my choice for this week. I found myself singing along even though I haven't heard the words for years. I decided to get up and I went to my computer to find the words before I forgot them. After much searching, I was successful in finding the words. But I couldn't find anything about the background of the hymn, except for some information about the writer, Alfred H. Ackley, 1887-1960. He was born in Pennsylvania and showed great promise as a child. His musician-father personally tutored him before sending him to New York City to study music. From there, it was on to the Royal Academy of Music in London. Alfred then returned to the States to attend Westminster Seminary in Maryland, and he was ordained into the Presbyterian ministry in 1914. After pastoring a church in his home state of Pennsylvania, Alfred was called to a congregation in California where he wrote his most famous hymn, "He Lives". But all I could find about this particular hymn is that it was copyrighted in 1938 by The Rodehaver Company. And I also can't even find any sources where you can go to listen to it. (Come and see me and I'll try to sing it for you.) But, hopefully, the words will still minister to you. It shares important things about the life of Christ, and then, like most old hymns, it ends with a stirring verse about the future. And that is my favorite verse of this hymn.

Wonderful birth, to a manger he came,
Made in the likeness of man, to proclaim
God's boundless love for a world sick with sin,
Pleading for sinners to let him come in.
Wonderful name he bears,
Wonderful crown he wears,
Wonderful blessings his triumphs afford;
Wonderful Calvary,
Wonderful grace for me,
Wonderful love of my wonderful Lord.

Wonderful life, full of service so free,
Friend to the poor and the needy was he;
Unfailing goodness on all he bestowed,
Undying faith in the vilest he showed.
Wonderful name he bears,
Wonderful crown he wears,
Wonderful blessings his triumphs afford;
Wonderful Calvary,
Wonderful grace for me,
Wonderful love of my wonderful Lord.

Wonderful death, for it meant not defeat,
Calvary made his great mission complete,
Wrought our redemption, and when he arose,
Banished for ever the last of our foes.
Wonderful name he bears,
Wonderful crown he wears,
Wonderful blessings his triumphs afford;
Wonderful Calvary,
Wonderful grace for me,
Wonderful love of my wonderful Lord.

Wonderful hope, he is coming again,
Coming as king o'er the nations to reign;
Glorious promise, his word cannot fail,
His righteous kingdom at last must prevail!
Wonderful name he bears,
Wonderful crown he wears,
Wonderful blessings his triumphs afford;
Wonderful Calvary,
Wonderful grace for me,
Wonderful love of my wonderful Lord.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

THE FULL REWARD

Seven Mennonite revivalists, under pressure from their bishops to give up their style of evangelism, huddled at a farm house in Milford Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. It was Friday, September 24, 1858, just two weeks before the next high council. Should they acquiesce to restrictions upon the freedom of expression they enjoyed in their revival and prayer meetings? No, they would not. And so they established the Evangelische Mennoniten Gemeinschaft (Evangelical Mennonite Society). In their new fellowship which would remain Mennonite in doctrine, they would continue enthusiastic evangelism. This was the birth of what would become the Mennonite Brethren In Christ Church. In 1959 the denomination would change its name to Bible Fellowship Church. I was born while I lived in the parsonage of its church in Sunbury and later I became a charter member of the church in Lancaster. My great-great-grandfather, two of my grandfathers, and my uncle all served as pastors in this church, and in fact, my great-great-great-grandfather donated for land for the first church structure. Music has always been an important part of the worship in this denomination, even though during the early years most was sung acappella or accompanied by guitars. During the early years one song was used so often in services that it became the unofficial anthem of the denomination. I have searched, unsuccessfully, for information about who wrote the words or the music or some history behind its writing. It does have a tremendous theme - the rewards that await God's children in heaven. But the final verse is especially stirring with the thought of sitting with Jesus at His coronation and then casting our crowns at His feet in adoration. We should live each day in anticipation of that event. It is also stirring with a refrain that is usually sung with the male voices singing the back time. I was reminded again of this hymn when I sang it with a quartet this summer at Pinebrook. Then, a month ago, a Pastor's Quartet sang it at my uncle's funeral - a tradition when our pastors are called home to heaven. While you may not know the music, meditate upon the words and be reminded of the full reward that awaits God's faithful children.

(1) There's a full reward awaiting us in glory;
'Tis for service given unto God's dear Son;
It will make the joys of heaven all the brighter;
We'll receive it when the victory is won.
Refrain:
Crown of life and Crown of glory,
Crown of righteousness, and joy.
Crown unfading, full of splendor,
And to see Him by and by.

(2) There's a crown of life for humble service rendered;
There's a crown unfading given for our zeal;
Crowns of joy and glory for the hosts unnumbered,
And thro' faith we all may have them if we will.
Refrain:
Crown of life and Crown of glory,
Crown of righteousness, and joy.
Crown unfading, full of splendor,
And to see Him by and by.

(3) There's a crown of righteousness awaits our wearing;
It shines brighter than all others in His Word,
'Tis for all who wait and look for His appearing,
And have crowned Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Refrain:
Crown of life and Crown of glory,
Crown of righteousness, and joy.
Crown unfading, full of splendor,
And to see Him by and by.

(4) But to sit with Jesus in His coronation,
Will be better than to wear the crowns above,
So we'll cast them at His feet in adoration;
'Twill be heaven just to realize His love.
Refrain:
Crown of life and Crown of glory,
Crown of righteousness, and joy.
Crown unfading, full of splendor,
And to see Him by and by.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH

This morning, in our early worship service, my wife played a beautiful piano arrangement, written by Lenny Seidel, of "For The Beauty of the Earth" and "Glorify Thy Name". Not only was it played well but it drew our attention to the many blessings that God has given us. I love living in an area where we experience all four seasons and they are all beautiful in their own way. But I guess I especially like the Fall with the beautiful leaves, the harvested fields, the cool nights, and the pumpkins and apples. It is a special reminder of the Creator and His provisions for us. And I love the way that this particular hymn points out so many of the blessings which we often take for granted and then sums these up with the words "Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise". And this should be our hymn of thanks not only at Thanksgiving time, but 365 days of each year. Not much is known about Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1835 - 1917), the author of this hymn. He was born in the town of Bath, England. The inspiration for this hymn text is said to have come to the young author as he was strolling about his native town one day in the late spring, entranced by the beautiful countryside with the winding Avon River in the distance. Well spring is a beautiful time, too. So as you prepare your hearts for a great Thanksgiving week, meditate on these words and have a grateful heart to the one who has provided us with these special blessings.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the words and music, listen here. LISTEN
For beautiful pictures, look here. PICTURES
For a VeggieTale special, listen here. VEGGIE

Sunday, November 15, 2009

O FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES

Yesterday we left early in the morning to attend the Penn State football game at State College. As we traveled there, we had the radio turned on to a local Christian radio station and one of the programs included some old hymns. One of those was the one chosen this week which is one of over 6,000 written by Charles Wesley. I didn't think much more about it until the game began. The crowd was quiet as Penn State was playing poorly and fell behind. But then, late in the second quarter, things began to change. Penn State took control of the game and the crowd went wild. Then over 100,000 fans began the famous chant, "We are, Penn State" and the stadium shook. It was then that the words of this old hymn came back and I began to think of the effect of thousands using their tongue to sing the praises of a football team - yes, just a football team. It struck me how much more we have to stir us to sing, shout, and praise our great Creator. It is humbling to think how little we talk about Him and praise Him. In fact often, at best, we are too busy to do so. At worst, we are too embarrassed to do so. But He alone deserves our praise and adoration and we should use the one tongue that we have to do so - all the time. When Wesley originally wrote this in 1740, there were 18 verses. I am including just four of the more familiar ones for you to meditate upon today. He is said to have written this on the first anniversary of his conversion and it was his recommendation that everyone should sing it "on the anniversary of one's conversion."
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, November 8, 2009

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS

Joseph Medlicott Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1819. He fell for a lovely young woman, but on the eve of their wedding she accidentally drowned. Scriven never recovered from the shock. The Irishman began to wander, hoping to forget his sorrow. At age 25, he finally settled in Canada. His faith led him to do menial tasks for poor widows and the sick and He often worked for no wages. He later fell in love again and planned to marry a wonderful Canadian woman. But again, tragedy struck. His fiance died after contracting pneumonia. In 1855, a friend visited an ill Scriven and discovered a poem that he had written for his ailing mother in faraway Ireland. Scriven didn't have the money to visit her, but he sent her the poem as an encouragement. He called it "Pray Without Ceasing." Scriven never intended for the poem to be published, but it made its rounds, and was set to music in 1868 by musician Charles Converse, who titled it "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Scriven died in 1886, ironically, in an accidental drowning. In his memory, the town of Port Hope Ontario erected a monument with this inscription from Scriven's famous song: "In His arms He'll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there". Since its publication, this music has been a real inspiration and comfort to many. Possibly today you are facing a trial and need a friend. Jesus is there to bear that burden for you. Just take it to Him in prayer.

(1) What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our
sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to
God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what
needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to
God in prayer.

(2) Have we trials and temptations? Is
there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to
the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will
all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to
the Lord in prayer.

(3) Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to
the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take
it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield you; you
will find a solace there.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, November 1, 2009

LITTLE IS MUCH WHEN GOD IS IN IT

Yesterday we attended the annual meeting of the Bible Fellowship Church Historical Society where a paper was presented on the "Influence of the Kauffman Family in the Bible Fellowship Church." The meeting was held at an old church in Zionsville where our denomination began. The land for the church was given by my great great great grandfather. It was interesting to learn that his son, one of the early pastors, was willing to be a traveling pastor and ministered in well over a dozen locations. That must have been a real sacrifice in a time when travel was very difficult and money was scarce. It has been challenging to me to learn how many of my ancestors gave up conveniences and material possessions to serve the Lord. Today we complain about our economic status, and many are suffering. But few of us show the desire to dedicate all that we have - our money, our possessions, our time, our conveniences - to trust and serve the Lord. And yet the scriptures say "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." Do we believe that? Are we really trusting Jesus to provide all that we need. Is all that we have really belong to the Lord? This is the theme of this old hymn, written in 1924 by Katie L. Suffield. Meditate upon these words and ask yourself, "Is this my testimony?" Then examine your checkbook and calendar.

(1) In the harvest field now ripened
There's a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.
Refrain
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There's a crown — and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus' Name.

(2) In the mad rush of the broad way,
In the hurry and the strife,
Tell of Jesus' love and mercy,
Give to them the Word of Life.
Refrain - Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There's a crown — and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus' Name.

(3) Does the place you're called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He'll not forget His own.
Refrain - Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There's a crown — and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus' Name.

(4) Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.
Refrain - Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There's a crown — and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus' Name.

(5) When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
"Welcome home, My child — well done!"
Refrain - Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There's a crown — and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus' Name.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TRUST AND OBEY

Every Friday and Saturday night our local Christian radio station plays hymns throughout the night. I really enjoy this special time, especially when I am having trouble sleeping. Early this morning I heard them play this week's hymn and it immediately brought back to my mind many baptismal services which I've attended over the years. This used to be a traditional hymn sung as we watched new believer's publicly testify of their death to sin and their new life in Christ. And their key to living their new life was trusting and obeying their Lord. Those two words are so simple but often so hard to put into practice. So often we trust our own decisions and our own ways, especially when things are going well for us. And as humans we often resist obeying. We want our own ways. We want to decide how we use our time and money and possessions. And so we may miss the full joy that the Lord wants us to experience in our Christian walk. For there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. In 1886, Daniel Towner, was leading the music during one of Moody's preaching campaigns in Massachusetts. During the service a young man stood up to give a testimony. "I am not quite sure -- but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey." Towner jotted down the words and sent them to his friend, John Sammis, who was a Presbyterian pastor. Sammis using the words of this short testimony wrote the hymn we know as "Trust and Obey." As he wrote the hymn he considered the different areas of our life what we need to trust God about: Verse one - our daily walk in life; Verse two - during the difficult times in life; Verse three - our total submission; Verse four - following God's call for our life.

(1) When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

(2) Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Refrain
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

(3) Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
Refrain
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

(4) But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Refrain
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

(5) Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we'll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Refrain
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Listen to this hymn here.
LISTEN

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WONDERFUL PEACE

I received an e-mail today which said that "Stress is more than a five letter word". There is some truth in that humorous thought. We live in a time when everyone seems to be living in stress. Some of it is from the economic times that we live in. Some might be from the media which reminds us every day how bad things are. Some might be our unexpected material expectations - we need everything and we need it now. And some of it relates to real physical problems that we encounter. Right now we have two friends who are in the last days of their lives, a friend's granddaughter who has swine flu, several friends who are in the hospital, several friends and relatives who've had to relocate because of physical problems, and several who probably should relocate to receive adequate care. All around us folks are facing real problems. And yet, while we can't avoid these stressful situations, we can have a friend who can give us a lasting, perfect peace in such times. As we cast our cares on Jesus, He is faithful to give us peace and walk with us through these fiery trials. I hope that you can testify to such times in your life. I assume that Warren Cornell must have experienced that when in 1889 he penned the words to this week's hymn. The music was also written that year by W. George Cooper. Maybe times were stressful then, as well.

(1) Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O'er my soul like an infinite calm.
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

(2) What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

(3) I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus' control;
For I'm kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

(4) And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

(5) Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept of this peace so sublime!
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I HAVE A HOME

Usually the hymns that I feature are hymns that are favorites of mine. This week is an exception, because I've never heard this one before. Why would I then choose it? If you read my blog (Barry's Blog) for Friday, you will know that my week has revolved around settlement of the sale of my parents' home. Since they lived there for almost 60 years, this process has been one of very mixed feelings. But, as I noted in my blog, it is only a house. It was a temporary location used on our journey to our new home in heaven. So homes and heaven have been on my mind and I spent time searching for hymns that shared about our new home in heaven. In doing this search I came upon this hymn which was written in 1897 by Barney E. Warren. The more I read it, the more I thought it really represented my feelings and anticipation this week. Sometimes we get so involved in taking care of our earthly abodes that we forget about the perfect homes that are being prepared for God's family in heaven. And then our prayer should really be, Lord come quickly.

1. I have a home prepared for me,
A mansion bright across the sea;
And when I pass to yon bright shore,
I'll dwell with Christ forevermore.
• Refrain:
I'll live for Him till life shall end,
Then on my pinions I'll ascend
To that bright home, where all is fair,
And take my starry crown to wear.

2. I have a home in heav'n above,
Where all is pure and perfect love;
A home where sin can never be,
Where all is perfect purity.
• Refrain:
I'll live for Him till life shall end,
Then on my pinions I'll ascend
To that bright home, where all is fair,
And take my starry crown to wear.

3. I have a home, forever free
From toil, and care, and misery,
Where stormy seas can never roll,
Where bliss eternal crowns the soul.
• Refrain:
I'll live for Him till life shall end,
Then on my pinions I'll ascend
To that bright home, where all is fair,
And take my starry crown to wear.

4. I have a home — how sweet to know
'Tis well secured from every foe—
Where peace and joy do reign supreme,
Where love shall be my only theme
• Refrain:
I'll live for Him till life shall end,
Then on my pinions I'll ascend
To that bright home, where all is fair,
And take my starry crown to wear.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, October 4, 2009

THE SANDS OF TIME ARE SINKING

I love hymns that have beautiful harmony and I love hymns that have beautiful words. Some have both and this is one of them. This much-loved poem was composed by Mrs. Anne Ross Cousin, wife of a minister of the Free Church of Scotland. The poem is as remarkable as it is beautiful in that Mrs. Cousin extracted from the letters of Samuel Rutherford many of his most memorable sayings and wove them into a hymn of 19 stanzas, maintaining throughout high poetic excellence and great faithfulness to the language and spirit of the letters. Several of these stanzas remain as part of this wonderful hymn. This is the most famous of 107 hymn poems which she wrote. I love the pictures that are painted to help us visualize Emmanuel's Land - the dawn, the ocean's fullness, and the bride gazing at the Bridegroom. But I think my favorite line is "I stand upon His merit - I know no other stand!" How true - our future dwelling in Emmanuel's land is only possible because of what Christ has done for us. That is mercy and grace.

1. The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of heaven breaks;
The summer morn I've sighed for -
The fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark had been the midnight
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel's land.

2. O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I've tasted
More deep I'll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel's land.

3. The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom's face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Emmanuel's land.

4. O I am my Beloved's
And my Beloved is mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner
Into His house of wine
I stand upon His merit -
I know no other stand,
Not e'en where glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel's land.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, September 27, 2009

IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL

The Christian life should be one of joy and peace. And that is our Father's desire for us. However, as long as we are still on our journey through this foreign land of earth, we will continue to experience trials, heartaches, tears, separations, and disappointments. And at times these experiences will be so very hard to face and bear. And often we find ourselves complaining and asking "why?". I think that question is probably the one most often asked by believers. And yet we know that God is always with His children and He knows all of their cares. And we know that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. And sometimes it takes us time to recognize and apply these truths and experience the supernatural peace that only He can give. Then the sun shines through the clouds once again. As my grandfather used to often say, we just need to "keep looking up!", For there will be a time, hopefully very soon, when we shall understand fully and then we will testify, as Esther Kerr Rusthoi, the writer of this week's hymn, has, "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus". So believer, if you find yourself today in one of those impossible situations of life, look to Jesus, knowing that He is with you and in control and one day soon your trials will seem so small when you are finally with Him.

(1) Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God's eternal day.
Refrain
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

(2) Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We're tossed and driven on , no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav'n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem - just go to Him in pray'r.
Refrain
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

(3) Life's day will soon be o'er, all storms forever past,
We'll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last;
We'll share the joys of heav'n - a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we'll lay our burden down.
Refrain
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Listen to the words and music here. LISTEN