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 25, 2016

WHAT CHILD IS THIS?


          Whenever I read the Christmas story from the book of Luke to my family , I usually ponder what it might have been like to have been in Bethlehem on that first Christmas Day. I imagine that most of the visitors and residents didn't even know that a baby was born.  They missed it all.  There were probably others, like the inn keeper, who knew of the birth of a baby but had no idea of who the baby really was.  Perhaps some might have asked "What Child is this?", but I doubt that they really found the answer.  They, too, missed the meaning of this birth, one of the most significant events in the history of the world.  But for the shepherds who were summoned by the angels, they knew for the angels had proclaimed that to them.  And for believers through the centuries it is now a rhetorical question for we, too, know the answer.  He is Christ the King!  The question expresses awe and wonder about something we know to be true, but find almost too good to be true.  The lyrics of this carol are taken from a poem written by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898), in 1865, called "The Manger Throne".  At the time of composing the carol, Dix worked as an insurance company manager and had been struck by a severe illness. While recovering, he underwent a spiritual renewal and his heart was filled with the poetry of worship. That led him to write several hymns, including lyrics to this carol that was subsequently set to the tune of "Greensleeves", a traditional English folk song. Although it was written in England, the carol is probably more popular in the United States than in its country of origin today.   Dix wrote over 40 hymns, including many songs for Christmas and Easter. Another of his carols that has endured is "As With Gladness, Men Of Old", set to a melody by Konrad Kocher. The hymns he wrote include "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus" and "To You Oh Lord Our Hearts We Raise."  The context of his carol centers around the adoration of the shepherds, who visited Jesus during his nativity. The questions posed in the lyrics reflect what the shepherds were possibly pondering to themselves when they encountered Him. The rest of the carol provides a response to their questions.  The second verse contains another question that is answered, while the final verse is a universal appeal to everyone urging them "to accept Christ"  May we never tire of the Christmas story that shares how the Son of God willingly left all the riches and glory of heaven and came to this earth to be born in a lowly stable.  He did that so He could eventually give His life for us on the Cross so we could become part of his family.  Hopefully that truth still stirs and thrills your soul today.  Pause often during this busy Christmas season to thank Him for what He has done.  And remember that the response to the question "What child is this?" is "This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing."  An amazing truth!  Most hymnbooks list the following three verses as those written by Dix.

1   What child is this
Who lay to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary

2    Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary

3 * So bring him incense, gold and myrrh
Come peasant king to own him
The King of Kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary

Incidentally, some sources on the internet also include various combinations of the following verses.  I could not find where they come from.  If you happen to know, please reply below with a comment.

O raise, raise a song on high
His mother sings a lullaby
Joy, oh joy for Christ is born
The Babe, the son of Mary

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here,
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail, the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

O raise, raise a song on high
His mother sings a lullaby
Joy, oh joy for Christ is born
The Babe, the son of Mary

Thank you for faithfully visiting this blog during the past months.  May you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a Christ centered New Year.

Listen to this week's choice here.   LISTEN
I've also included a nice violin rendition for your enjoyment.  VIOLIN

Sunday, December 18, 2016

JESUS I AM RESTING, RESTING



        This beautiful hymn has always been one of my favorites, not only because of the tune and harmonies, but because of the powerful, meaningful words of testimony.  The words were penned in 1876 by Jean S. Pigott (1845-1882) and the music, Tranquility, was provided by James Mountain (1844-1933).  Little is known about Pigott except that she was born in Ireland and was one of eight children.  She is known to have written only two hymns, this one and Lord Jesus, Thou Didst Keep Thy Child.  While her second hymn is not well known, here are a few words from that one.

Lord Jesus, Thou dost keep Thy child
Through sunshine or through tempests wild;
Jesus, I trust in Thee:
Thine is such wondrous pow'r to save;
Thine is the mighty love that gave
Its all on Calvary.
One of the interesting things about this week's hymn choice is the impact that it had on the life of the famous missionary to China, Hudson Taylor.  It is said that it was his favorite hymn.  Whenever work permitted, Mr. Taylor was in the habit of turning to a little harmonium for refreshment, playing and singing many a favorite hymn, but always coming back to?  "Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart."  An evangelist, George Nichol, was with Taylor on one occasion when he received news of serious rioting in two of the older stations of the Mission. Thinking that Taylor might wish to be alone, the younger man was about to withdraw when, to his surprise, Taylor began to whistle. It was the soft refrain of the same well-loved hymn, "Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art . . . "  Turning back, Mr. Nichol could not help asking, "How can you whistle, when our friends are in so much danger!"  "Would you have me anxious and troubled?" was the quiet reply. "That would not help them, and would certainly incapacitate me for my work. I have just to roll the burden on the Lord."   Day and night this was his secret, "just to roll the burden on the Lord." Frequently those who were awake in the little house at Chinkiang might hear at two or three in the morning, the soft refrain of Mr. Taylor's favorite hymn. He had learned that for him only one life was possible, that blessed life of resting and rejoicing in the Lord under all circumstances.  An interesting part of this story is that Pigott's own brother, Thomas, was also a missionary to China.  On July 9, 1901 he was executed at the age of fifty-three, along with seventy-six other Christian missionaries, in the Boxer Rebellion at the Sheo Yang Mission uprising. It is said that his sister's beautiful hymn was a special comfort to Hudson Taylor during that difficult time.  Some form of the word "rest" is found over 500 times in our English Bibles. Bible teacher J. P. Vold wrote, "[To rest] is to stop one's own work because of satisfaction with God's work …. It is that joyous acceptance of what God has done which causes us to stop trying to achieve by our own works [i.e. trying to earn acceptance with God by our own efforts]."   As you consider the words of Pigott's hymn, notice three qualities which are shared - trusting fully in the Lord, experiencing peace and tranquility in Him, enjoying contentment and satisfaction with Him.  The final words of verse four are a great daily prayer for each of us. "Keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with Thy grace."   May that be your desire as you rest in the provision of the Savior this week.

1.     Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

2.     O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belov├Ęd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

3.     Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

4.     Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father?s glory,
Sunshine of my Father?s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, December 11, 2016

YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN



        The term "born again" is a key term that true believers not only understand but have experienced.  However, it is probably foreign and strange to those in today's culture who have no Bible background or experience in evangelical circles.  That was true of a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, who met with Jesus at night.  He was puzzled when Jesus said,  "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).  Thinking of a physical birth, Nicodemus rightly said it was impossible (vs. 4). But of course, Jesus was referring to spiritual birth, being born into the family of God by a work of the Holy Spirit, a birth that comes when the individual puts his or her faith in Christ . In order to have spiritual life and enter God's eternal kingdom, it's necessary to be born again (Titus 3:5).  As for Nicodemus, many believe that he may have come to faith and become a follower of Christ. We know he protested the plot against Jesus (John 7:50-51), and after the crucifixion he helped Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus (John 19:38-42). I understand that some historical information outside the Bible suggests that the once wealthy Nicodemus was ostracized and became destitute, likely because of his stand for Christ.  The story of Nicodemus and his encounter with Jesus was the inspiration for William T. Sleeper (1819-1904) to pen the words of this week's hymn choice in 1877.  The music was added by George C. Stebbins.   Stebbins was helping Dr. George Pentecost in evangelistic meetings in Worcester, Massachusetts and  Dr. Pentecost was preaching on the new birth. He shared the story of Nicodemus. Stebbins felt the phrase "Ye must be born again" could be combined with the phrase "verily, verily I say unto you" and with a musical setting could be a setting for a chorus of a hymn.  He approached Sleeper and asked him to write some verses to go with this chorus. Sleeper took the challenge.  Before the meetings closed, Stebbins added the musical setting to the words that Sleeper provided and the new hymn was completed.  And over the years this hymn has been used to convey the message of the Gospel to those who have heard it.  And while this hymn may not be very familiar today, its clear message remains.  The only way to heaven is to be born again through the work of Jesus who makes salvation possible to those who believe.  Have you experienced this free gift of salvation?  Are you born again?

1.     A ruler once came to Jesus by night
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
"Ye must be born again.
Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again;
I verily, verily say unto thee,
Ye must be born again."

2.     Ye children of men, attend to the word
So solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord;
And let not this message to you be in vain,
"Ye must be born again.
Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again;
I verily, verily say unto thee,
Ye must be born again."

3.     O ye who would enter that glorious rest,
And sing with the ransomed the song of the blest,
The life everlasting if ye would obtain,
"Ye must be born again.
Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again;
I verily, verily say unto thee,
Ye must be born again."

4.     A dear one in heaven thy heart yearns to see,
At the beautiful gate may be watching for thee,
Then list to the note of this solemn refrain,
"Ye must be born again.
Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again;
I verily, verily say unto thee,
Ye must be born again."

You can listen to it here.  LISTEN

Sunday, December 4, 2016

WE'LL TALK IT OVER


          I believe that one of the toughest and most common questions that Christians ponder is "Why?".   Why did you take my loved one home?  Why did I get this disease?  Why did I lose my job?  Why are my children in so much trouble?  Why can't we make ends met financially?  Why is our country in so much trouble?  And on and on.  Christians are not promised an easy path in life.  There are many trials and disappointments and at times we become frustrated and discouraged.  And often there are no easy answers to those questions.  But a true believer must place his faith in the Lord who directs our paths and knows all that we are going through.  We rest in the promise that "all things work together for good" for those in the Lord's family.  And as the shadows deepen and our heart bleeds we must rest in the hands of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Father.  And we hope that some day He will reveal the reasons to us and we will understand His ways.  Now I don't know what particular trials Ira Stanphill (1914-1993) had gone through, but I am sure, like each of us, he had his share.  And it may have been his questions that inspired him to write this week's hymn choice.  I have mentioned Stanphill in previous blogs for he is said to have written more than 500 gospel songs.  At the age of 10 he was already a fluent musician, having learned to play the piano, organ, ukulele and accordion.  He later learned to play the xylophone, guitar, saxophone and clarinet.  A the age of 17 he was composing and performing his own music for church services, revival campaigns and prayer meetings.  As a singer evangelist he traveled around the world and preached and performed in 40 countries.  Later, as a pastor, he is said to have often opened his Sunday evening services at the piano playing and singing a new song which he had just written.  The simple words of his many songs touch the hearts of many for they echo the thoughts of most believers. "I trust His leading, He'll never fail ... Tho' only one step ahead I see." "I'll hide my heartache behind a smile ... I know I'll find that all my burdens are silver lined."  What a comforting thought to know that someday we will be with our Savior who has all the answers to our present troubling questions. Presently those questions may bog us down.  However, I can't help but wonder, when we finally get to heaven and see out Savior and our loved ones, if these questions will still be of importance to us.  Or, will they be forgotten in the rapture of being there and participating in the eternal worship that will take place.  Maybe they will no longer bother us as we see how His path has led us to eternity.  Who really knows.  But we do know that we will be with our Father who knows all things and controls all things.  And all of our present trials and heartbreaks will then be gone forever.  What a day, glorious day that will be!

1 -  Tho' shadows deepen, and my heart bleeds,
I will not question the way He leads;
This side of Heaven we know in part,
I will not question a broken heart.
We'll talk it over in the bye and bye.
We'll talk it over, my Lord and I.
I'll ask the reasons - He'll tell me why,
When we talk it over in the bye and bye.

2 -  I'll trust His leading, He'll never fail,
Thru darkest tunnels or misty vales.
Obey his bidding and faithful be,
Tho' only one step ahead I see.
We'll talk it over in the bye and bye.
We'll talk it over, my Lord and I.
I'll ask the reasons - He'll tell me why,
When we talk it over in the bye and bye.

3 -   I'll hide my heartache behind a smile
And wait for reasons 'til after while.
And tho' He try me, I know I'll find
That all my burdens are silver lined.
We'll talk it over in the bye and bye.
We'll talk it over, my Lord and I.
I'll ask the reasons - He'll tell me why,
When we talk it over in the bye and bye.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, November 27, 2016

SUBMISSION


          Submission - the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person. I think submission has almost become a dirty word in today's society.  Folks don't want to submit to anyone - spouses, parents, pastors, elders, bosses, government officials and even the police.  Folks don't want to take orders.  Everyone has their own rights and wants to be able to do their own thing.  But for the believer, submission to the Lord and His will are essential to experience the abundant life which Christ came to give us. After all, who else knows all about us and has a plan for our life?  Why would we even think about going our own direction without His guidance?  But so often we do.  In Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul writes.  "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."   This week's hymn raises a key question in the chorus, "For who am I that I should choose my way?"   And the author quickly provides the proper response "The Lord shall choose for me,  'Tis better far, I know,  So let him bid me go, or stay."  What a powerful testimony and truth for each of us. The author, Charles Austin Miles (1868-1946), was an American writer of gospel songs who penned at least 398 songs as well as the music for several others. Miles studied at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a pharmacist until 1892. He then worked as editor and manager at Hall-Mack Publishers for 37 years.  Actually his best known song is probably "In the Garden" which was published in 1912.  He said, "It is as a writer of gospel songs I am proud to be known, for in that way I may be of the most use to my Master, whom I serve willingly although not as efficiently as is my desire".  We don't know what inspired him to write this week's hymn choice, but after looking at what we know about his life, it was probably his personal experience and testimony.  He probably had learned that full submission to Christ was the only way to fully experience the joy of the abundant life promised by Christ.  He shared how his path has brought him nearer God.  He had learned that he must bear the cross if he was to someday wear a crown and he would gladly take that cross, unafraid, and for the Master's sake.  And he knew that he would conquer only when he yielded to the Lord.  Powerful, profound words.  Is submission a lesson which you are daily learning?  Let this be our prayer and our challenge in the days ahead.  May we be willing to surrender our will to him.

1.     The path that I have trod,
Has brought me nearer God,
Though oft it led through sorrow's gates .
Though not the way I choose,
In my way I might lose
The joy that yet for me awaits
Not what I wish to be,
Nor where I wish to go,
For who am I that I should choose my way?
The Lord shall choose for me,
'Tis better far, I know,
So let him bid me go, or stay

2.     The cross that I must bear,
If I a crown would wear,
Is not the cross that I should take;
But since on me 'tis laid,
I'll take it unafraid,
And bear it for the Master's sake.  
Not what I wish to be,
Nor where I wish to go,
For who am I that I should choose my way?
The Lord shall choose for me,
'Tis better far, I know,
So let him bid me go, or stay

3.    Submission to the will
Of him who guides me still
Is surety of His love revealed;
My soul shall rise above
This world in which I move,
I conquer only when I yield.
Not what I wish to be,
Nor where I wish to go,
For who am I that I should choose my way?
The Lord shall choose for me,
'Tis better far, I know,
So let him bid me go, or stay

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, November 20, 2016

HE'S A WONDERFUL SAVIOR TO ME


           "His Name shall be called Wonderful."  (Isaiah 9:6)  Those of us who have experienced the joy of sins forgiven certainly can join in singing the words of this week's hymn choice, "For He's a wonderful Savior to me, He's a wonderful Savior to me. I was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in, He's a wonderful Savior to me."  And truly He is a wonderful Savior.  These words were penned by Virgil Prentiss Brock (1887- 1978) in 1918.  It was one of the first songs which he wrote.  I haven't been able to find many of the details about why he wrote it, although one source says it was inspired by the witness of a traveling salesman who distributed Gideon Bibles.  The music was written by his wife, Blanche K. Brock, who added all the music for his hymns. For 42 years Blanche accompanied Virgil with his work as a general evangelist . She was a talented pianist and singer, having studied voice at the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music and at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, IL.  Over 500 gospel songs were written through their collaboration. Virgil knew nothing about music theory, so he depended on Blanche to write the melodies for his lyrics. She would then harmonize and arrange these melodies.  Virgil pastored several Quaker churches in the early years of his ministry, but most of his life's ministry was given to evangelistic endeavor.  Blanche Brock died in 1958 and in 1959, he married Martha Anderson. They continued in church work until her death in 1969. Virgil resided at Winona Lake, Indiana, for many years, and was closely associated with Homer Rodeheaver.  Most of his hymns were published by the Rodeheaver Company. He is buried in a Warsaw-Winona Lake Cemetery, and engraved on his large memorial monument are the words and music of his most well known hymn, "Beyond the Sunset."  This week's upbeat hymn choice reminds us of at least four reasons why Jesus is such a wonderful Savior. Stanza one says that He came to rescue us that we might be free from sin  In stanza two Brock says that Jesus is a friend who is kind and patient.  Stanza three says that He is always near to comfort us and dry our tears.  And in stanza four we are told that His love grows dearer every day as we journey through this life. In all these things Jesus has shown beyond doubt that His aim is to save to the uttermost those who come to Him (Hebrews 7.25).  What a powerful testimony for those of us who are children of God and have been found, rescued and set free.  Is that your testimony?  If so, meditate on these words this week and sing them from the bottom of your heart. "For He's a wonderful Savior to me, He's a wonderful Savior to me;  I was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in, He's a wonderful Savior to me."


1.     I was lost in sin, but Jesus rescued me,
He's a wonderful Savior to me;
I was bound by fear, but Jesus set me free,
He's a wonderful Savior to me.
For He's a wonderful Savior to me,
He's a wonderful Savior to me;
I was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in:
He's a wonderful Savior to me.

2.    He's a Friend so true, so patient and so kind,
He's a wonderful Savior to me;
Everything I need in Him I always find,
He's a wonderful Savior to me.
For He's a wonderful Savior to me,
He's a wonderful Savior to me;
I was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in:
He's a wonderful Savior to me.

3.     He is always near to comfort and to cheer,
He's a wonderful Savior to me;
He forgives my sins, He dries my every tear,
He's a wonderful Savior to me.
For He's a wonderful Savior to me,
He's a wonderful Savior to me;
I was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in:
He's a wonderful Savior to me.

4.    Dearer grows the love of Jesus day by day,
He's a wonderful Savior to me.
Sweeter is His grace while pressing on my way,
He's a wonderful Savior to me.
For He's a wonderful Savior to me,
He's a wonderful Savior to me;
I was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in:
He's a wonderful Savior to me.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Thursday, November 17, 2016

SPECIAL NOTE

Cliff Barrows who worked with for decades Billy Graham in his crusades went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, November 15, at the age of 93.  He is pictured with Billy Graham and Percy Crawford on a picture from Pinebrook Bible Conference on my blog for November 13.  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

COMPLETE IN THEE


               On Tuesday evangelist Dr. Billy Graham was 98.  In my estimation he has been one of the most influential evangelists the world has ever seen.  I personally have great memories of watching his crusades on television and even attending one in Times Square many years ago.  Hymns were always an important part of his crusades.  I've always loved the beautiful, powerful voice of George Beverly Shea, one of my favorite soloists who was part of the crusade team.  Graham was often asked what his favorite hymns were.  Those mentioned by him were "What a Friend We Have in Jesus", "I'd Rather Have Jesus", "Just As I Am", and his most favorite, "And Can It Be".  Each of these hymns have been featured in this blog at different times over the years.  But there is one that he loved that we have never mentioned because it is no longer well known. That is "Complete in Thee" which was often sung by Shea in the early years of their ministry together.  Graham has said how powerful of a message that is for all of us, meaning "we are complete when we're in Christ."  Verse 1 begins by contemplating how believers are declared righteous in Christ because of his cross work. Verse 2 remembers that our Savior is the source of our every good. Verse 3 celebrates that Christ's grace is more powerful than the draw of sin in our lives. And the final verse looks forward to the day when we will appear in God's presence at the judgment, and Christ will be our reason for confidence and standing in that great day. The chorus rehearses the glorious benefits of salvation, from justification, and sanctification, to glorification.  I personally am stirred by the power and truth of the chorus. "Yea, justified! O blessed thought!  And sanctified! Salvation wrought!  Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,  and glorified, I too,shall be!"  The words of the verses were written by Aaron Roberts Wolfe (1821-1902) in 1851.  Wolfe wrote this hymn just before graduating from Union Seminary.   The chorus was added by James Martin Gray (1851-1935). The music was added by Talmadge J. Bittkofer.  But then in 2003, Ben Nyce the rewrote the melody "to be more singable and memorable."  Personally I preferred the original melody as I heard it sung so often by Shea.   I chose this hymn this week in honor of Dr. Graham and I thought that it was especially appropriate with all that is happening in our world today.  While events all around us can be rather frightening and discouraging, we need to be reminded of the spiritual blessings that we have through Christ that can never be taken from us ... salvation sanctification ... glorification.  What a blessed thought and truth.  So let us rejoice this week that as believers, we are complete in Him.  Praise God!
1.   Complete in Thee! no work of mine
May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And I am now complete in Thee.
Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!

2     Complete in Thee, each want supplied,
And no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.
Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
 And glorified, I too, shall be!

3     Complete in Thee, no more shall sin,
Thy grace hath conquered, reign within;
Thy voice shall bid the tempter flee,
And I shall stand complete in Thee.
Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
 And glorified, I too, shall be!

4     Dear Savior! when before Thy bar
All tribes and tongues assembled are,
Among Thy chosen will I be,
At Thy right hand, complete in Thee
Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
 And glorified, I too, shall be!

You can listen to it here.    LISTEN

Monday, November 7, 2016

I APOLOGIZE

          On October 30 I unexpectedly ended up in the hospital.  Because of this I failed to post the prepared hymn for that week and some of you noticed that.  I didn't realize it until this past Saturday and when I realized it I went ahead and posted it, even though it was a week late.  Some of my faithful readers might not realize it was posted late and you might want to go back and read it.  This was the first week that I missed in 428 weeks of posting hymns.  I apologize for not getting this done on time.  Thank you for your faithful visits to this blog.  You encourage me.  I pray that you may be helped by my feeble attempts to share with you each week.  And I will also appreciate your prayers for my complete recovery.  God is good, all the time!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

WHERE HE LEADS I'LL FOLLOW


          We live in a sad age when increasingly more and more members of our society, including believers, are becoming followers of all sorts of folks and philosophies.  The internet in particular has allowed people through blogs and social media to regularly follow politicians, entertainment stars, athletes, religious speakers and all sorts of organizations.  And, in so many cases, people just accept what they read without even questioning it. We need discernment like never before.  As Abraham Lincoln said, "If you read it on the internet it must be true."  But there is only one person who has the truth.  Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life."  And the Apostle Peter states that Christ has left us an example, "that you should follow in His steps" (I Peter 2:21). There is no need to be in the dark if we will accompany the One who declared, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12). Nineteen times the Gospel writers record the words of the Lord Jesus, "Follow Me" (for example Matthew 4:19).  And that is the theme of this week's hymn that should remind each believer of the need to follow Christ daily in all that we do.  William A. Ogden (1841-1897) is said to have been a musical prodigy.  He began studying music at the age of eight and could read church music by ten.  He could write a melody by hearing it sung or played and when he was 18 he became a choir director in his church.  Through his adult life he enjoyed working with children and teaching them music.  With the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in the 30th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.  During the war years he organized a male choir which became known throughout the Army of the Cumberland.  After the war he resumed his study of music under some of the most prominent musicians of the day.  In 1870, Mr. Ogden published his first song book, called Silver Songs.  The book became very popular, and sold five hundred thousand copies in England alone.   Over the years, William Ogden taught music, not only in the United States, but in Canada as well, and he wrote and published many gospel songs.  Now I don't know what led him to write this hymn, but he penned the words and added the tune in 1885.  The hymn reminds us of why we should follow Christ.  Stanza one says that we should because of His message which is sweet, kind, dear and pure - the great example and pattern for us.  Stanza two says we should follow Him because of His love.  In stanza three we are reminded that we should follow Him because of the rest that He gives. "Weary, heavy-laden, there is sweet rest for thee." "Lean upon the Savior and thy soul is secure."  The chorus reminds us of the need to follow Jesus everywhere and at every time. "Where He leads I'll follow, Follow all the way; Where He leads I'll follow, Follow Jesus every day."  Jesus not only died for our sins and rose again to declare His divine Sonship, but He lived a perfect life as an example of how God wants His children to live.  Therefore, it should be our determination, throughout our entire life on earth that, "Where He Leads, I'll Follow."  Is that your desire and prayer?


1     Sweet are the promises, Kind is the word,
Dearer far than any message man ever heard;
Pure was the mind of Christ, Sinless I see;
He the great example is, and pattern for me.
Where He leads I'll follow,
Follow all the way.
Where He leads I'll follow,
Follow Jesus ev'ry day.

2     Sweet is the tender love Jesus hath shown,
Sweeter far than any love that mortals have known;
Kind to the erring one, Faithful is He;
He the great example is, and pattern for me. 
Where He leads I'll follow,
Follow all the way.
Where He leads I'll follow,
Follow Jesus ev'ry day.

3     List' to His loving words, "Come unto Me;"
Weary, heavy-laden, there is sweet rest for thee;
Trust in His promises, Faithful and sure;
Lean upon the Savior, and thy soul is secure. 
Where He leads I'll follow,
Follow all the way.
Where He leads I'll follow,
Follow Jesus ev'ry day.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, October 30, 2016

MAY THE MIND OF CHRIST


          "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus", Philippians 2:5.  Most likely it was this very familiar verse that inspired Kate B. Wilkinson (1859-1928) to write this hymn in 1925.  Not much is known about the author's life except that she was born in England and was a member of the Church of England.  It is also believed that she was involved in a ministry for girls and young women in West London.  There is some speculation that because the hymn was written three years before her death, that it may have been written to convey to the young women with whom she worked what it means to lead a godly life. If this is the case, what a beautiful legacy to leave. The tune was written by Arthur C. Barham-Gould specifically for this hymn. The simple but profound words remind us that to have the mind of Christ is to have His love "controlling all I do and say".  And, people seeing me, will realize that I "triumph only through His power" and not in my own works.  Mrs. Wilkinson also used some inspiration from Hebrews 12:1-2 in her hymn with the words "May I run the race before me ... looking unto Jesus".  The hymn is usually sung as a prayer expressing our desire to be more like Christ.  In the first four stanzas we ask that the "mind of Christ", the "word of God", the "peace of God" and the "love of Jesus" may live in our hearts throughout each day.  The final verse is a beautiful summary of this prayer. "May His beauty rest upon me, as I seek the lost to win. And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him."  What a tremendous desire and goal for each believer.   This hymn has always been a challenge to me and my Christian walk.  With the pressures of daily living it is often easy to stray from the principles shared by Mrs. Wilkinson.  And her words often have helped me refocus on the goal of Godly living.  May the Lord give each of us the desire and wisdom to be submissive to Christ's lordship in "all we do and say," just as He was submissive to God the Father.  Make this your prayer this week.


1.     May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

2.     May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

3.     May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

4.     May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

5.      May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

6.      May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, October 23, 2016

TIS THE BLESSED HOUR OF PRAYER



         In 1984 I had the special honor of meeting President Reagan on the White House Lawn.  I had a chance to talk to him briefly and even take his picture.  It was an exciting moment talking to probably the most powerful man in the world at that time.  It was a once in a lifetime experience that I shall never forget.  But each of us has an even more awesome opportunity.  We can talk to the God of the universe at any time. We are always able to come into His presence without any appointments. He is always there.  And our conversations don't need to be brief.  And yet we so often fail to do this.  Many changes have been made in church programs during the past decades.  In my opinion, some have been good, some not so good.   In the latter category  would be an apparent de-emplasis on corporate prayer.  Many churches have dropped prayer meetings.  Others have continued them, but attendances are generally very small and usually are made up of mostly seniors.  Today believers are just to busy to gather together to pray.  Many have gone to processes like prayer chains and small groups and these can be very important and powerful, if the participants take them seriously.  I have had the privilege of having some relatives who were great prayer warriors. They knew how to spend time with God and were faithful in doing that.  But as they have passed on to glory I have the feeling that few have replaced them.  It is a special privilege and responsibility to be an intercessor. There are so many needs to be shared with the Lord.  Prayer is an expression of our faith. It should also be a special time of fellowship with the Lord and a time of worship of Him, as well as a time of confession, thanksgiving and prayer.  What an amazing truth that we can freely commune with the Creator of the universe, God almighty.  I am sure that Fanny Crosby experienced the power of prayer that led her to pen these words in 1880. Her song shares several aspects of prayer and its importance to us.  Stanza one reminds us that prayer is an expression of faith.  Stanza two shares that prayer is a communion with the Savior.  Stanza three emphasizes that prayer is a haven in the time of temptation and trial.  And verse four explains that prayer is a result of our complete confidence in God.  Regarding prayer, Alexander MacLaren has said,"What Christ needed, we cannot afford to neglect."  Indeed, Christ spent much time during his earthly ministry talking to God, His Father.  Why then should we not do likewise?   Hopefully this hymn will remind you this week of the importance and power of prayer in your life.  Plan to spend more time in His presence in this secret service of prayer.  What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!

1. 'Tis the blessed hour of prayer, when our hearts lowly bend,
And we gather to Jesus, our Savior and friend;
If we come to Him in faith, His protection to share,
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!
Blessed hour of prayer, blessed hour of prayer,
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!

2. 'Tis the blessed hour of prayer, when the Savior draws near,
With a tender compassion His children to hear;
When He tells us we may cast at His feet every care,
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!
Blessed hour of prayer, blessed hour of prayer,
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!

3. 'Tis the blessed hour of prayer, when the tempted and tried
To the Savior who loves them their sorrow confide;
With a sympathizing heart He removes every care;
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!
Blessed hour of prayer, blessed hour of prayer,
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!

4. At the blessed hour of prayer, trusting Him, we believe
That the blessing we're needing we'll surely receive;
In the fullness of the trust we shall lose every care;
What a balm for the weary, oh, how sweet to be there!

Listen to it here.   LISTEN