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, May 22, 2016

HIGHER GROUND


          It is so sad to look back upon your life and realize that you've never reached your potential because you didn't fully apply yourself or set high enough goals for your life.  It is sad that many older people now live with this realization, but it is even more tragic when we see it happening to the younger generation, many of which have no goals and no motivation for living.  Similarly, it is disappointing to see a Christian fail to evidence spiritual growth of any kind. Scripture teaches that Christian maturity or Christlikeness is a process in which we advance from one level to the next, step by step. But the secret of such development is to have an intense desire to fulfill the purpose God has for our lives.  Unfortunately many believers never grow out of the infant stage. But this should not be the story for any true believer. This week's hymn choice expresses so well the desire for a deeper spiritual life, continuing on a higher plane of fellowship with God than we have ever before experienced. This hymn, penned by Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856-1922), has been a favorite with many Christians since it was first published in 1898. Born near Medford, New Jersey, Oatman became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church when he was nineteen years of age. His father was an excellent singer and it always delighted the son to sit by his side and hear him sing the songs of the church. Soon he was licensed to preach and was ordained by his denomination, although he never actually pastored a church. In his early life, he was actively involved in the family's mercantile business, and, upon his father's death, entered the insurance business. In 1892, he started writing gospel songs, and, from then till his death, in 1922, he wrote approximately 3,000 gospel hymn texts. It is reported that Oatman generally averaged four to five new texts each week, throughout this period of his life, receiving no more than $1.00 for each of his songs. His texts were always in great demand by the leading gospel musicians of his day. 'Higher Ground' has been a favorite with many Christians since it was first published. It expresses so well this universal desire for a deeper spiritual life, continuing on a higher plane of fellowship with God, than we have ever before experienced.  How are you growing spiritually?  Do you have a daily thirst for His Word and for Him?  Are you pressing on the upward way each day, or have you grown content with where you are?  If that is the case, this week ask the Lord to renew your passion for Him and for spiritual things.  Set your spiritual goals high and press on to higher ground.

(1) I'm pressing on the upward way,
New heights I'm gaining every day;
Still praying as I'm onward bound,
"Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."
      Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven's tableland,
A higher plane than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
      
(2) My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim is higher ground.
  Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven's tableland,
A higher plane than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
           
(3) I want to live above the world,
Though Satan's darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
  Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven's tableland,
A higher plane than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
     
(4) I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I'll pray, 'til heaven I've found
"Lord, lead me on to higher ground."
  Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven's tableland,
A higher plane than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
      
Listen to it being sung here.    LISTEN

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