Do you have a true personal friend, one who you can trust and confide in ... one who really cares and accepts you as you are ... one who is always there when you need someone ... one who will support you with prayer and understanding when you need it? If you do, then you are very fortunate. True friends are hard to find. Personally, I have learned the truth of this since during the past five years most of my closest friends have graduated to heaven and I do miss them. However, I thank the Lord for my wife who has been my closest and dearest friend here on earth over the years. But thankfully, I have another friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is always there when I need Him and He has never let me down and He never will. Some Gospel songs share the experience of a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ in a language that is simple and down to earth. Will L. Thompson (1847-1909) does this in a gospel song that reflects a childlike faith and trust in Jesus, the truest friend of all. In this week's hymn, written in 1904, he shares what is possibly his own personal testimony, "Jesus Is All The World To Me". Note the following phrases - "my life, my joy, my all," "no other one can cheer me so," "when I am sad, He makes me glad." "my Friend in trials sore", "He watches o'er me day and night", "He's my Friend!" It is possible that earthly friends or lovers might try to describe their relationship in such words, but the context here makes it clear that Jesus is the only friend who offers a relationship of this kind. Thompson was a talented musician who studied music in Boston and Germany. He tried to sell his music to major publishers but was turned down, so he established his own music publishing company. He turned out to have considerable business sense, probably due to his father's influence and his undergraduate business degree. He marketed his music, in part, by sending copies to various minstrel shows which were popular at the time. He may have even paid some of them to sing his music. He quickly became successful, and was known as the millionaire "Bard of Ohio." He wrote one of his most popular songs, "Gathering Sea Shells on the Sea Shore" in ten minutes and it sold 246,000 copies. But he admitted later that he still felt there was something missing from his life. He said, "One day God spoke to my heart through meeting D. L. Moody. He told me, 'Will, they are good songs you wrote, but why not write some songs that will bless people's hearts and lives, and bring them to Christ.'" Said Thompson, "From that day on I have written only sacred songs, and it's a decision I have never regretted." I hope that this week's choice is your personal testimony and that you can sing it in all honesty. It is special to have a personal friend here on earth, but no such earthly relationship can ever begin to compare to the relationship we can have with Jesus who has promised never to leave us or forsake us. "Eternal life, eternal joy, He's my Friend".
(1) Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go, no other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad, He's my Friend.
(2) Jesus is all the world to me, my Friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and He gives them over and o'er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvest's golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, He's my Friend.
(3) Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I'll be;
O how could I this Friend deny, when He's so true to me?
Following Him I know I'm right, He watches o'er me day and night;
Following Him by day and night, He's my Friend.
(4) Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better Friend;
I trust Him now, I'll trust Him when life's fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a Friend, beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy, He's my Friend.
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