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 29, 2009

WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED

Maybe it is my age, but it seems that everywhere I look good people are going through tough times ... illness, cancer, death, accidents, family problems, financial problems, employment problems, loneliness ... and the list could go on and on.  For centuries people have asked why these problems and trials come to good people.  And while we may never know the answer here on earth, we do know that good people are not immune to trials.  But what we do know is that God does give us the strength that we need to face them.  he gives us rest, light  and grace as we encounter them.   And He provides us with this hymn in my dad's study.  The words used to hang in his parent's parsonage back in the 1920's.  So, apparently, even back then good folks faced a multitude of trials and they, too, found their strength in the Lord and His perfect ways.  So maybe the words of this hymn written by Annie Johnson Flint will encourage you today as you face your trials.   The author knew what trials were all about.  She not only lost her parents, but also her adopted parents.  She developed severe arthritis and had to live out her years in a sanitarium.  And in these times of great trial in her life she penned many poems including this hymn and also "He Giveth More Grace".

(1)  God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

Chorus:  But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

(2)   God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

Chorus:  But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

(3)   God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

Chorus:  But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

BE STILL MY SOUL

Have your days been stressful?  Do your days seem filled with pressures and obligations?  Mine have been.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the urgent issues of life that we get overwhelmed and fail to sense or acknowledge the presence of God's Spirit in our lives.  But He is always there to give us the guidance, strength, and peace that we need.  This hymn, one of my favorites, often reminds me that He is faithful and always there - I just need to be still and let Him handle the stress and pressures in my life. "Be Still My Soul" is a popular revival hymn written by Katharine von Schlegel (1697-c.1768) and translated into English by Jane L. Borthwick (1813-1897). The music was composed by Jean Sibelius, from his music 'Finlandia.'   It was a favorite of Eric Liddell, the athlete who became famous for refusing to run on the Sabbath.  He later became a missionary in China and was imprisoned during World War II.  He is said to have taught this hymn to others in prison camp where he eventually died of a brain tumor.  The scripture reference of this hymn is found in Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  So if you are stressed out, take time to sing this hymn and recognize that God is closer than you think and ready to handle your stress.  Just be still and let Him do so.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last.

Listen to it here.     LISTEN

Sunday, March 15, 2009

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS LIKE JESUS

All of us go through periods when we feel all alone and nobody seems to care.  The problems seem so heavy and we wish that we just had somebody who could help us through the fog that we face.  The difficult times that we are now living in have brought new, heavy tensions.  Unemployment, bills, mortgages, illnesses, family struggles, fears, terrorism, loss of freedoms, uncertainty - heavy burdens to bear.  Unfortunately, during the past year three acquaintances of mine have committed suicide to escape their troubles.  A hymn by John Peterson has often been a comfort to me when I have faced these seemingly "impossible" pressures.  Incidentally, back when I used to sing solos this was the first hymn that I sang with a taped background - in fact it was the first time any musician used a background tape in our church.  Mr. Peterson wrote this hymn in the early years of his ministry.  Here is his account of how it was written. "At one time I had a fairly responsible position with a well-known gospel ministry. One day a supervisory position opened up in my department. I was led to believe that I was to be promoted to this position. I was thrilled and challenged by the prospect of a new joy. But I was by-passed, and a man from the outside was brought in to fill the position.  There followed days of agonizing heart searching. It was all I could do to keep from becoming bitter. One night I had occasion to spend an evening with the man who was brought in for "my" position. For some reason or other, though otherwise a very pleasant fellow, that night he became quite caustic in some of his remarks to me; and I was deeply hurt.   Later that evening, after returning home, I was sitting in our living room thinking about the events of the past days and about the bitter experiences of that evening. I began to feel very alone and forsaken. Suddenly, I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation--in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as did He. Before long, the idea for the song came and I began to write."

No one understands like Jesus.
He's a friend beyond compare;
Meet Him at the throne of mercy;
He is waiting for you there.

No one understands like Jesus;
Ev'ry woe He sees and feels;
Tenderly He whispers comfort,
And the broken heart He heals.

No one understands like Jesus
When the foes of life assail;
You should never be discouraged;
Jesus cares and will not fail!

No one understands like Jesus
When you falter on the way;
Tho' you fail Him, sadly fail Him,
He will pardon you today.

CHORUS:
No one understands like Jesus
When the days are dark and grim;
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus--
Cast your ev'ry care on Him!

Listen to this beautiful hymn sung here.    LISTEN

Sunday, March 8, 2009

WONDERFUL MERCIFUL SAVIOR

If you are a regular to this hymn blog you probably think that I only appreciate the old hymns of the church ... you know, those hymns written several hundred years ago.  Now I admit that there are many of the old ones that still speak to my heart and I do miss hearing and singing them.  But there are some recently written ones that also have a great message.  This week's choice is one of those.  It was written in 2001 and it won a Dove Award in 2002.  It shares the many ways God is with His children and how he deals with them.  And as it says, He gives the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for.  You can listen to Selah sing it at this site.   LISTEN

Wonderful mericiful Savior,
Precious redeemer and friend.
Who would have thought that a lamb could
Rescue the souls of men, Oh You rescue the souls of men.
You are the One that we praise.
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace our
Hearts always hunger for, Oh our hearts always hunger for

Counselor, comforter, keeper.
Spirit we long to embrace.
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way, Oh we hopelessly lost the way.
You are the One that we praise.
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace our
Hearts always hunger for, Oh our hearts always hunger for.

Almighty infinite father,
Faithfully loving Your own.
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne, Oh we're falling before Your throne.
You are the One that we praise.
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace our
Hearts always hunger for, Oh our hearts always hunger for.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

O THAT WILL BE GLORY FOR ME

When my father recently passed away some of the grandchildren told us that Grandpa wanted to have this song sung at his funeral.  So we honored his request by having the family sing it at his Memorial Service.  We had never sung together before in public as a family and it went well considering that we didn't have time to practice as a group and many of the grandchildren and great grandchildren had never heard the song before.  The words certainly reflect dad's desire and hope and most likely his present experience.   The song itself has an interesting history.   When it first appeared in 1900, a musical expert predicted, "It will never go; it has too many quarter notes."  In other words, 'the rhythm is too monotonous." But in a few years, it was the most popular hymn Homer Rodeheaver led in the Billy Sunday campaigns.  It was affectionately called the "glory Song." It was inspired, not by an experience, but by a personality!  The author, C. H. Gabriel, was perhaps the best known and most prolific gospel song writer of the early twentieth century.  One of his good friends was Ed Card, superintendent of the Sunshine Rescue Mission of St. Louis, Missouri.  Ed was a radiant believer who always seemed to be "bubbling over" with Christian joy. During a sermon or a prayer he would often explode with "Glory" just like some people say "Amen!" or "Hallelujah!"  His beaming smile earned him the nickname "old glory face."  It was his custom to close his fervent prayers with a reference to heaven, usually ending with the phrase "and that will be glory for me"   What a fitting song for the believer who has the assurance that he will someday be reunited with loved ones, and with the Lord, in heaven.

When all my labors and trials are over,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
Refrain:
O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me,
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.

When, by the gift of His infinite grace,
I am accorded in heaven a place,
Just to be there and to look on His face,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
Refrain

Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
Joy like a river around me will flow;
Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
Refrain
Hear the music here.     LISTEN