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 27, 2011

PEACE, PEACE, WONDERFUL PEACE

A few weeks ago my wife chose this hymn to play for the offertory in our early service. As usual, I prepared a Power Point presentation so that the congregation could see the words as she played. I was surprised to find out that the projectionist, who grew up in church, had never heard it. Later we found that it was new to most others as well. The words were written by Warren D. Cornell in 1889 and the music was added by W. George Cooper. I don't know much about why they wrote this but it was first introduced at a Methodist camp meeting near West Bend, Wisconsin. And while it is seldom sung today, its message of peace is one that we so desperately need today. As we see what is happening in the world around us and in the lives of those around us, people need the peace that only our Redeemer offers. As the chorus says "Peace, peace, wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above. Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray, in fathomless billows of love."
 We live in a world that is cursed by sin and therefore all people have various trials and tribulations in life with which they must deal. It might be sickness, the loss of loved ones, financial difficulties, family problems, accidents, job insecurity, approaching death, and, for those who are still outside of Christ's family, the guilt of sin. Christians suffer many of these same heartaches and sorrows because the Lord has never promised to take all our problems away. However, all, both saint and sinner alike, need to know that if we will submit ourselves to the Lord, we can find in Him "Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace." "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace…" (John 16.33)
(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 this hymn here. LISTEN

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SHELTERED IN THE ARMS OF GOD

We have been experiencing some terrible worldwide tragedies from the deaths of seven children in a fire in Pennsylvania to a horrendous earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident in Japan. We have seen terrible tornados, storms, and floods which have taken lives. We see wars and revolutions which take the lives of participants and even innocent bystanders. We hear of violent terrorists attacks and threats. We read of terrible bus accidents and of shootings in large and small cities around the country. We see massive deficits which threaten our economy and our country. And we hear of friends who are going through difficult physical challenges. One can't help but wonder what tomorrow may bring. And at times you almost feel like staying in bed and not watching or reading the news. Is nobody safe? Is there no hope? I think the Psalmist had the right answer when he wrote in Psalm 61: 3 - 4, "For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings." There was a time, when we were children, that our parents could hold us and hug us and assure us that all would be well. Sometimes we long for those times. But for most of us that is no longer possible. But there is one who can do that for us and that is what Dottie Rambo knew when she wrote this week's choice. Not only will the Lord Jesus shelter us now, but He is preparing a place where someday He will shelter us permanently in a home without the terrible events with which we live here on earth. So as you view what is happening, reflect this week upon the truth of the words. "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10). And rejoice that this might be the day that the Lord returns.

I feel the touch of hands so kind and tender.
They're leading me in the paths that I must trod.
I'll have no fear for Jesus walks beside me
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.

So let the storm clouds rage high,
The dark clouds rise,
They don't bother me;
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.
He walks with me,
And naught of earth shall harm me,
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.

Soon I shall hear the call from heaven's portals
Come home my child,
It's the last mile you must trod
I'll fall asleep
And wake in God's sweet heaven
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.

So let the storm clouds rage high,
The dark clouds rise,
They don't bother me;
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.
He walks with me,
And naught of earth shall harm me,
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.

Listen to it here. LISTEN
Here is another version in which Dottie Rambo shares the events that caused her to write this song. RAMBO

Sunday, March 13, 2011

WORK FOR THE NIGHT IS COMING

Did you move your clocks ahead an hour this morning? If not, you were probably an hour late for church this morning. Spring ahead, fall behind. A few years ago they moved up the date to begin Daylight Savings Time. This means darker in the morning for awhile, but more light in the evenings. But longer days are just the opposite of what is really happening to each of us. Because daylight is fleeing and the night is approaching rapidly in terms of the time that we have left to share the Gospel with others. Times are changing and I believe that if the Lord tarries, we will experience increased persecution and limits on our religious freedoms in the years ahead. In 1854, an 18 year old young lady realized that even for her the daylight was fading and she reminded us to work for the night is coming when we won't be able to work for the Lord anymore. Based on the passage in John 9:4, "I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work", Anna L. Coghill penned the words of this old hymn. And over the years the hymn has reminded us that our days upon this earth are numbered because of death or because Jesus could come again at any moment. And so we should be challenged to be about the work of the Lord while we have the health and the freedom to do so. For the time to do this is getting shorter for each of us. And unlike what we do with our clocks in the fall, we can't turn back time. The minutes gone are gone forever and during those minutes more and more of the world's lost move into an endless eternity without Christ. Lord help us to be mindful of the minutes that you will give us today to share the good news of the Gospel with others. May we be faithful, for the night is coming.

(1) Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling,
Work 'mid springing flowers;
Work when the day grows brighter,
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man's work is done.

(2) Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the sunny noon;
Fill brightest hours with labor,
Rest comes sure and soon.
Give every flying minute,
Something to keep in store;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man works no more.

(3) Work, for the night is coming,
Under the sunset skies;
While their bright tints are glowing,
Work, for daylight flies.
Work till the last beam fadeth,
Fadeth to shine no more;
Work, while the night is darkening,
When man's work is o'er.

Listen to the words here. WORDS
Listen to a piano rendition here. PIANO

Sunday, March 6, 2011

WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED

Hanging next to my bed are the words of a poem written by Annie Johnson Flint in 1919. This wall hanging came from my grandparents and it was hung in their parsonages as early as the 1920's. I am challenged daily by the words of this poem. Annie Johnson Flint knew the toil and difficult burdens of this life. Both her parents and her adoptive parents died when she was young. Shortly before her adoptive parents' deaths, Annie started having trouble with arthritis and became unable to play the piano. So she was left with one mode of expression, writing poetry, as a replacement for her musical ambitions. In addition, Annie's sister was not well and could not help take care of her. At the age of 23, Annie was unable to continue working as a teacher. In less than five years she could not even walk. Left without financial support and personal care, she would push a pen through her bent fingers or use her knuckles to strike typewriter keys, though often in great pain, to produce poems for use on greeting cards, on wall hangings, and in magazines. One of her best-known poems was set to music and is this week's featured hymn. The experience that caused her to write it was the visit of a little, tired, discouraged deaconess. She told her troubles to Annie, and when she left and went back to the west, she wrote saying how blue and how down hearted she felt. She didn't see why God allowed such hard things to come into her life. Annie put her answer in this poem. Probably nothing sweeter ever came from her pen. No one but God and she knew what suffering she endured as the disease became worse with the passing of the years. New complications developed. But through it all her faith in the goodness and mercy of God never wavered. The words of this hymn need no explanation. They have challenged people for decades. Maybe they will be an encouragement during your times of challenge this week.
(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.
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.
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.
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.

You can listen to it being sung here. LISTEN

You can read more about the author's life here. FLINT