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, October 15, 2017

THE CHURCH'S ONE FOUNDATION



        This week's hymn choice was written by the Rev. Samuel John Stone (1839-1900), a twenty-seven-year-old pastor, during a time of great doctrinal controversy in the Church of England.  A book had been written challenging the accuracy of the first five books of the Bible and Samuel Stone joined those who defended the trustworthiness of the Word of God.  Stone was well aware of the effectiveness of singing when he wrote and published "Lyra Fidelium" in 1866. As a curate in the small town of Windsor, England, he was aware of his parishioners' habit of using the Apostles' Creed in their private prayers. But he was concerned that many of them did not grasp the meaning of what they said. The prose felt too academic, disconnected from the average worshipper, and lacking of a devotional spirit.  It was in this context that he wrote "Lyra Fidelium" which consisted of twelve hymns, one for each article of the Apostles' Creed. With each hymn he included a short "summary of truths confessed" in that article, along with a list of the scripture passages supporting it. "The Church's One Foundation" was the hymn he wrote for article 9 of the Creed, which affirms belief in "the holy catholic church" and "the communion of saints." "The Church's One Foundation" is the best known of the twelve hymns in this collection. The now unused third and fourth verses focus particularly on this attempt to discredit the Bible, and thus harm the body of Christ.


The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

The word foundation is used a couple of times in the Epistles, in a theological sense. First, we are told, "no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:11). But then Paul writes that "the household of God [has been] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Eph. 2:20).  This is not a contradiction. It's simply an example of imagery being used in two different ways. The latter is a reference to the holy Scriptures, the Word of God, communicated to us by apostles and prophets inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:20-21). It is through the written Word of God that we learn of the saving work of the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that the two are inextricably linked.  The original seven verses of Stone's hymn have been changed in most of today's hymnbooks.  As noted above, the original third and fourth verses have been dropped and verses six and seven have been combined to form a new final verse.  It is typically set to the tune "Aurelia" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.  Meditate on this magnificent hymn this week and remember that the words of the Lord Jesus will not fail to be fulfilled: "I will build My church, and the gates of Hades [i.e. the power of death and the grave] shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).  Below are the four verses usually sung today.

1.     The Church's one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

2 Elect from every nation, 
yet one o'er all the earth;
her charter of salvation: one Lord, 
one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses, 
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses, 
with every grace endued.

'3.     Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

4.     Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
 O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, October 8, 2017

IN THE SECRET OF HIS PRESENCE


          "Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence." Psalm 31:20.  For the believer there is no better place to be than in the presence of the Savior.  It is the place to go when Satan comes to tempt us or when our soul is faint and thirsty.  There we can commune with Him and share our doubts, our griefs and our fears. No appointments needed.  No waiting to be seen.  No time limits on our meeting.  No restrictions on our topics. What an amazing privilege He grants to His children.  The words of this hymn were penned by Ellen Goreh, a high-caste native of India, in 1883. After her conversion to Christianity, it is said that she spent some years in the home of an English clergyman where she wrote the poem.  It made its appearance in a book of poems of which she also was the author. The hymn was first sung by George Stebbins as an offertory in one of the churches in Brooklyn, New York. Stebbins is credited with adding the music.  It was often repeated as an offertory, and on occasions was sung in evangelistic services. But it had its larger introduction to the public during the All-Winter Mission conducted by Moody and Sankey in London in the winter of 1883-84, when Sankey sang it frequently. So did Stebbins, who spent several months assisting in the mission. The hymn at once was appreciated and the deeply spiritual tone of the words brought blessing to many.  It soon found its way into all parts of the world.  Dr. Hudson Taylor, head of the great China Inland Mission, said that it was the favorite hymn of his missionaries.  It is also interesting to note that Mr. and Mrs. Stebbins later spent a summer in India. While visiting the city of Allahabad, the home of Miss Goreh,  Stebbins sought her out and made her acquaintance. He found her engaged in mission work among the women of India.  He found her to be a modest, devoted Christian, held in high esteem by missionaries of all denominations and by all who knew her. Thus the two singers, whose names had become associated in Christian song, met each other, one from the far East, and one from beyond far Western seas, but both inspired by the same Lord.   Are you stressed, worried or perplexed today?  Do you have burdens or concerns that you need to share?  Then spend some time today in the presence of the Lord where you can freely share with Him.  He is available at any time and in any place.  He welcomes you.


1.     In the secret of His presence
how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
which I learn at Jesus' side!
Earthly cares can never vex me,
neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me,
to the secret place I go,
To the secret place I go.

2.     When my soul is faint and thirsty,
'neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter,
and a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me,
as we hold communion sweet:
If I tried, I could not utter
what He says when thus we meet,
What He says when thus we meet.

3.     Only this I know: I tell Him all my doubts,
my griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens! and
my drooping soul He cheers:
Do you think He ne'er reproves me?
What a false Friend He would be,
If He never, never told me of the sins
which He must see,
Of the sins which He must see.

4.     Would you like to know the sweetness
of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow:
this shall then be your reward;
And whene'er you leave the silence
of that happy meeting place,
You must mind and bear the
image of the Master in your face,
Of the Master in your face.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, October 1, 2017

IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE - (TH#10)


          TIMELESS HYMNS - A special feature where I highlight some of the hymns that have been featured previously in this blog.  These entries are revised and expanded and shared again for your encouragement and challenge.  This hymn was first shared here on November 30, 2008.


         As a young believer I loved hymns, but I didn't really care too much for some of the older more formal hymns that were sung.  I  enjoyed hymns with pep and back-time, some four part harmony, and words that really ministered to my needs as a young man.  I admit that this week's hymn was not one of my favorites at that time.  But it is interesting that how, as we mature spiritually, the words and theology of hymns become more meaningful, interesting and important to us.  As I've grown older, truths like those expressed in this week's hymn have made a real impact on my life and faith. I've learned how important it is to be reminded of the great attributes of our loving, almighty God and to celebrate these vital truths. Babies thrive on milk; but as we mature, we need solid food.  I am thrilled and comforted to recognize that God indeed is all knowing, all powerful, and always present, no matter where I might be.  He is the ancient of days, glorious, victorious and alone deserves our praise.  He rules in might and with justice.  As believers we need to praise Him for these attributes in all of our prayer and worship.  And I am reminded how frail we really are - we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree and then wither and perish. But God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Now this hymn is one of my favorites.  It is a powerful hymn of worship that should make us fall at His feet in awe and reverence. He is not "the man upstairs" or "our buddy" as so many people refer to Him today.  People try to bring Him down to their level, but He alone is God, although He is also our friend!  He alone is awesome, yet He cares for us. The theme of this hymn is based on I Timothy 1:17, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever". This hymn was written by Walter Chalmers Smith, a pastor of the Free Church of Scotland, and published in 1867.  The original version had six verses.   May your heart be gripped with awe and amazement as you worship Him by singing these words today.

(1)     Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

(2)   Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

(3)   To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish - but naught changeth Thee.

(4)    Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render; O help us to see
'Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee,

Listen to it here.   LISTEN1
For those who like more "upbeat" versions, you might try this one.  LISTEN2

Sunday, September 24, 2017

SWEETLY RESTING


          Sometimes life can be very hard. Difficult trials and problems can hit us so suddenly.  Often they are physical challenges that come so unexpectedly.  Sometimes financial downturns and losses overwhelm us.  Relationship problems can be draining and so difficult to deal with.  Now in this age we can add the fear of terrorism which can strike almost anywhere and at any time. We live turbulent lives and there is little earthly protection from these storms and blasts.  Today people yearn for peace and rest.  But, there is only one true source of peace and that is in the true Rock, Christ Jesus. "These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace" (John 16.33). This week's hymn choice speaks of a longing for peace. Stanza one says that we can have safety.  Stanza two says that we can have rest. Stanza three says that we can have love, while stanza four says that we can have security. We can have all of these only by resting in the blessed Rock of Ages. These words were written in 1875 by Mary Dagworthy Yard James (1810-1883).  Born in Trenton, NJ, she joined the Methodist church at age 10, married in 1834, and had a son who became a minister. Back when she was 13 years old, James began teaching Sunday school in the Methodist Episcopal church. She became a prominent figure in the Wesleyan Holiness movement, often leading meetings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and elsewhere. She wrote about 50 hymns.   Now I have not been able to find out what led her to pen these particular words, but I would assume, like most of us, she faced some very difficult storms in her life.  Possibly this is her testimony of the peace that she received when she hid her life in the rifted rock, Christ Jesus.  Many other familiar hymns share this same theme ... He hideth my soul in the cleft of the Rock ... On Christ the solid Rock I stand ... Rock of Ages, cleft for me ... O safe to the Rock that is higher than I ... Jesus is the Rock of my salvation.  These are just a few that express the same picture of experiencing Christ's peace and safety.  There is no better foundation to build our lives upon. Hopefully the words of this hymn will encourage you as this week you face the challenges and storms of life.  Flee to the Rock for peace and protection.  In times of stress and difficulty we need to be reminded of the blessings that we can have when in the Rifted Rock we are "sweetly resting."


1.    In the rifted rock I'm resting,
Safely sheltered I abide;
There no foes nor storms molest me,
While within the cleft I hide.
Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

2.    Long pursued by sin and Satan,
Weary, sad, I longed for rest;
Then I found this heav'nly shelter
Opened in my Savior's breast.
Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

3.     Peace which passeth understanding,
Joy the world can never give,
Now in Jesus I am finding,
In His smiles of love I live.
Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.

4.    In the rifted rock I'll hide me,
Till the storms of life are past;
All secure in this blest refuge,
Heeding not the fiercest blast.
Now I'm resting, sweetly resting,
In the cleft once made for me;
Jesus, blessed Rock of Ages,
I will hide myself in Thee.


You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, September 17, 2017

DOWN IN THE VALLEY



        "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou are with me; Thy rod and They staff they comfort me."  (Psalm 23:4)   This very familiar verse is quite often read at funerals when the walk through the valley of death is fresh in our minds.  And, unless the Lord comes first, it is a valley that each of us will eventually travel.  But it isn't the only valley that we will experience in our lives.  Many of us will travel through valleys of pain, disappointment, declining health, economic stress, family problems, trials and persecution, anxiety and depression, rejection, loneliness, failure, loss and the many difficult challenges that are part of life.  At those times we need to claim the second part of Psalm 23:4, "...I will fear no evil; for Thou are with me; Thy rod and They staff they comfort me."  Knowing that we will all experience valley journeys, the words of this week's hymn choice remind us that we can go through them with our loving Savior who will guide us and protect us as we follow Him.  The words of this hymn were written by William Orcutt Cusing (1823-1902).  We have shared in this blog before about him since he is also the author of "Hiding In Thee," "When He Cometh,"  "Under His Wings," and  "The Name of Jesus".  After many successful years in the pastorate, he lost his power of speech. In this time of despair, he prayed, "Lord, give me something to do for Thee."  His prayer was answered, and it seemed as though God gave him the unusual gift of writing songs originally intended for Sunday School. He is said to have written over 300 songs.  Concerning this week's song, Cushing said  "I wrote this hymn in 1878. Longing to give up all for Christ who had given His life for me, I wanted to be willing to lay everything at His feet with no wish but to do His will, to live henceforth only for His glory. Out of this feeling came this hymn.  It was written with the prayer and the hope that some heart might by it be led to give up all for Christ. Much of the power and usefulness of the hymn, however, is due to Mr. Robert Lowry, who put it into song."  In this song Cushing reminds us in the first stanza that we must follow Him when times are good.  In stanza 2 he suggests that we must follow Him when times are bad.  Stanza 3 suggests that we must follow Him at all times, through the valleys as well as upon the mountains of life.  The chorus continues to emphasize the importance of following Jesus everywhere He leads us.  Are you presently traveling through one of those difficult valleys?  If you are, then claim the truth of this hymn.  With His hand to lead us safely in the path which He has trod, we can walk with the Savior and follow Him where ever He may lead.  What a comfort to experience that even in the darkest of valleys. Follow on!

1.     Down in the valley with my Savior I would go,
Where the flowers are blooming and the sweet waters flow;
Everywhere He leads me I would follow, follow on,
Walking in His footsteps till the crown be won.
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

2     Down in the valley with my Savior I would go,
Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;
With His hand to lead me I will never, never fear,
Dangers cannot fright me if my Lord is near.
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

3     Down in the valley, or upon the mountain steep,
Close beside my Savior would my heart ever keep;
He will lead me safely in the path that He has trod,
Up to where they gather in the rest of God.
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I WILL PRAISE HIM


          "With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord; and in the midst of many I will praise Him." Psalm 109:30 NASB.  It is easy for most of us to get excited about so many things - our favorite athletic teams, our children and grandchildren, our newest possessions, our achievements, our vacations.  And we generally enjoy sharing these things with anyone who will listen.  But shouldn't we get more excited about what the Lord has done for us?  Shouldn't His praise continually be part of our conversations?   Today few people remember Margaret Jenkins Harris (1865-1919).  No great biographies have been written about her.  Mrs. Harris and her husband John were both active in the American revival and camp meeting scene of their day. Both were able speakers, and both were musicians and song writers as well. Margaret Harris frequently played the organ to accompany herself and her husband as they sang duets in meetings. But millions of people have been impacted by a hymn she wrote in 1898.   In this hymn, "I Will Praise Him," she recalled the moment when she realized the presence of sin in her life. This truly was a horrible realization, but it drove her to seek God's forgiveness.  She wrote, "When I saw the cleansing fountain open wide for all my sin, I obeyed the Spirit's wooing, when He said, 'Wilt thou be clean?'"   She recognized that sin had burdened and bogged her down. "Though the way seems straight and narrow, all I claimed was swept away; my ambitions, plans and wishes, at my feet in ashes lay."   But God sent the fire of His Spirit to change her life. She described how "the altar of my heart was set aflame."   We can feel how she overflowed with gratitude: "I shall never cease to praise Him, glory, glory to His name! Blessed be the Name of Jesus! I'm so glad He took me in; He's forgiven my transgressions, He has cleansed my heart from sin."  The chorus of this hymn is a powerful call  and reminder to us to praise God: "I will praise Him! I will praise Him! Praise the Lamb for sinners slain; give Him glory, all ye people, for His blood can wash away each stain."  Her hymn originally had five stanzas, but many hymn books only use the first four. The original fifth stanza said:
In the crowning day soon coming,
May I see my glorious King;
Join the mighty swelling chorus,
Make His highest praises ring.
But early on this verse was replaced with a Trinitarian closing, perhaps by the author herself. This new verse seems to be a fitting conclusion to the song which refers to the Holy Spirit in verse one, to Christ in verse four, and perhaps to God the Father in verse three.   Today, there are many things that can occupy our time and conversation, but nothing is more important than praising God. If you have experienced the same life changing experience as Mrs. Harris, then do not be silent or take it for granted. Continually thank Him and praise Him for all that He has done for you.     "The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him" (Exodus. 15:2).

1.     When I saw the cleansing fountain
Open wide for all my sin,
I obeyed the Spirit's wooing,
When He said, "Wilt thou be clean?"
I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

2.     Though the way seems straight and narrow,
All I claimed was swept away;
My ambitions, plans and wishes,
At my feet in ashes lay.
I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

3.     Then God's fire upon the altar
Of my heart was set aflame;
I shall never cease to praise Him
Glory, glory to His Name!
I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

4.     Blessed be the Name of Jesus!
I'm so glad He took me in;
He's forgiven my transgressions,
He has cleansed my heart from sin.
I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

5.     Glory, glory to the Father!
Glory, glory to the Son!
Glory, glory to the Spirit!
Glory to the Three in One!
I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

Listen to a congregation singing it here.  LISTEN1
or to a Gaither group singing it.  LISTEN2

Sunday, September 3, 2017

IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL (TH#9)


          TIMELESS HYMNS - A special feature where I highlight some of my favorite hymns that have been featured previously in this blog.  These entries are revised and expanded and shared again for your encouragement and challenge.  This hymn was first shared on November 27, 2009.
          "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  (Galatians 5:22)   The Christian life should be one that experiences these attributes. And that is our Father's desire for us. However, as long as we are still on our journey through this foreign land, believers will continue to experience trials, heartaches, tears, separations, and disappointments which are a normal part of our pilgrim journey. And at times these experiences will be so very hard to face and bear. And often we find ourselves complaining and asking "why?". I think that question is probably the one most often asked by believers. And yet we know that God is always with His children and He knows all of our cares. And we know that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. And sometimes it takes us time to recognize and apply these truths and experience the supernatural peace that only He can give. Then the sun shines through the clouds once again. As my grandfather used to say, we just need to "keep looking up!".  There will be a time, hopefully very soon, when we shall understand fully. The encouraging prospect in the hymn is weighing the trials and troubles of today against the boundless and eternal blessings of eternity. Then we will testify, as Esther Kerr Rusthoi (1909-1962), the writer of this week's hymn, has, "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus". Rusthoi was an author, poet, composer, singer, and evangelist.  She suffered from ill health and died at the age of 53, so she probably knew well the trials of this life which were so  hard to bear.  So believer, if today you find yourself in one of those impossible situations of life, look to Jesus, knowing that He is with you and in control and one day soon your trials will seem so small when you are finally with Him.  Since this is a Timeless Hymn rewrite of my previous blog on this hymn, I should note that of all of the approximate 500 hymn blogs I have written, this one has received the most responses, by far, from my readers.  The words of this hymn certainly have had an impact on so many lives over the years.  Just remember that "one glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race, till we see Christ!"

(1)      Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God's eternal day.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

(2)      Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We're tossed and driven on , no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav'n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem - just go to Him in pray'r.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

(3)      Life's day will soon be o'er, all storms forever past,
We'll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last;
We'll share the joys of heav'n - a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we'll lay our burden down.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Listen to the words and music here. LISTEN

Sunday, August 27, 2017

OUR GREAT SAVIOR (JESUS WHAT A FRIEND TO SINNERS)


          "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable " (Psalm 145:3).  Unsearchable - beyond our ability to fully comprehend. And because of His greatness, He is surely deserving of great praise, thanksgiving, and worship.   This week's  hymn of adoration reminds us that He is a great and true friend to sinners. It also reminds us that He is our strength in our weakness.  "Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my strength, my vict'ry wins."  And He is our guide and keeper no matter how bad our storms of life may be. "Storms about me, night o'ertakes me, He, my pilot, hears my cry."  How precious is the truth that "I am His, and He is mine."  "Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end."  Hallelujah, what a Savior!   These words were penned in 1910 by J. Wilbur Chapman (1859 - 1918), a Presbyterian evangelist in the late 19th century.  Chapman took on several pastorates before shifting to the evangelistic circuit. He began preaching with D. L. Moody in 1893, as well as leading many evangelistic events of his own. Among Chapman's disciples on the evangelistic circuit was Billy Sunday.  In late 1895, he was appointed Corresponding Secretary of the Presbyterian General Assembly's Committee on Evangelism, overseeing the activities of 51 evangelists in 470 cities. In 1904, Chapman began work on an evangelistic campaign to maximize the efforts of his field evangelists and result in more converts. The testing ground for his theories was Pittsburgh, which he divided into nine zones in which simultaneous tent meetings would be occurring. Syracuse, New York was the second city in the campaign, meeting with a satisfactory level of success.  in 1907, he joined forces with popular gospel singer Charles McCallon Alexander to launch the "Chapman-Alexander Simultaneous Campaign."  The duo assembled an impressive team of evangelists and song leaders and took to the streets. Their first joint campaign was held in Philadelphia from March 12 to April 19, 1908. They partitioned the city into 42 sections covered by 21 evangelist-musicians teams. They spent three weeks on each half of the city, resulting in approximately 8,000 conversions. Chapman was also heavily involved in the promoting of religious summer conferences. He was at one point the director of the Winona Lake Bible Conference in Indiana and also helped to establish Bible conferences in Montreat, North Carolina and the Stony Brook Assembly summer conferences on Long Island.  It is said that he never spared himself, and he suffered at least thirteen serious breakdowns in his health from 1902 on. These sick spells and surgical operations laid him aside for extended periods during the latter years of his life. He died a few days after a gallstone operation, his third operation in the last two years of his life.  While I have been able to find considerable information about his life as a pastor and evangelist, I have found very little about his work writing hymns. In addition to this hymn he is also credited with writing "One Day" and "Tis Jesus".  But I have found nothing about what led him to write this hymn.  We can only assume that the words came from his personal experience and walk with the Lord. From this he could write that the Savior is our Friend who loves us, who provides His child with strength, protection, and comfort when we need it. He is also our Guide and Keeper in the storms of life.  Hopefully this, too, has been your experience.  If it isn't, then receive Jesus as your Savior today and you will find "more than all in Him".  And if He is your Savior. then rejoice and thank Him for "saving, helping, keeping, loving" and being with you to the end.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!


1    Jesus! what a friend for sinners!
Jesus! lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

2    Jesus! what a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my strength, my vict'ry wins. 
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end

3    Jesus! what a help in sorrow!
While the billows o'er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my comfort, helps my soul. 
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end

4    Jesus! what a guide and keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night o'ertakes me,
He, my pilot, hears my cry. 
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end

5    Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find,
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine. 
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN1

If you enjoy male groups, here is a great rendition by a high school male ensemble.   LISTEN2

Sunday, August 20, 2017

WHEN HE COMETH (JEWELS)


         William Orcutt Cushing (1823-1902), who signed his name to his hymns simply "W. O. Cushing," wrote a large number of songs that especially found wide popularity in Sunday schools. Born in Massachusetts, at the age of eighteen years he decided to prepare for the ministry, feeling that he had a call from God to that work.  For many years he did serve as a pastor in various churches.  But, after the death of his wife, creeping paralysis attacked him, and he was compelled to retire from the ministry.   After being incapacitated for active ministerial work, his prayer was, "Lord, still give me something to do for Thee!" In answer to this prayer he was permitted to write many of the world's best known gospel poems such as "Ring the Bells of Heaven", "Follow On," and "Hiding in Thee." These were set to music by some of the most distinguished composers of this country.  One of these poems was this week's hymn choice, often called the "Jewel Song".  It was written in 1856 and put to music by George F. Root in 1866. It was written by Pastor Cushing specifically for the children in his church's Sunday School. However, other than the first line of verse three, there's no particular focus on children. It's a hymn we all can sing and apply. The Lord Jesus called His disciples "little children" (John. 13:33).  The text is based on a couple of Old Testament passages. One is Malachi 3:16-17, which says, "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. 'They shall be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts, on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.'"  An interesting story is told about the spread of this hymn.  A minister, once returning from Europe on a British steamer, visited the steerage and proposed a song service there. The steerage was the lower deck of a ship, where the cargo was stored above the closed hold. In the late 19th and early 20th century, steamship steerage decks were used to provide the lowest cost and lowest class of travel. The minister started the song service with this "jewel song." There were hundreds  there from all parts of Europe.  Mr. Root's melody was at once caught up by the immigrants, and they soon learned the hymn, which was sung by these men and women of all nations during the rest of the voyage. When at Quebec they took their trains for their journeys to their new homes, the song burst from every car.  And as a result, Cushing's hymn was carried to and sung in locations far and near.  My experiences with this hymn have generally been in situations involving children, such as the dedication service of a child.  But if we are true believers, redeemed by the Savior, we are His precious jewels, no matter how young or old we may be.  We are His loved and His own.  And someday He will come back to gather us, His gems, for His kingdom.  What a precious hope.  Are you ready should that gathering be today?


1.     When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

2.    He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom;
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

3.     Little children, little children,
Who love their Redeemer,
Are the jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, August 13, 2017

THE GOD OF ABRAHAM PRAISE



        When you think of Biblical examples of faith and obedience to the will of God, you have to think of Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation of Israel, the "father of a multitude".  Many examples of His faith are recorded for us in the Bible, especially in Hebrews 11:8 - 12.  The faith of Abraham pleased God.  And yet Abraham was human.  The Bible also shares his impatience, fear, and a tendency to lie and deceive under pressure.  And yet the God of Abraham, the very same God who is ours centuries later, used Abraham despite his failures and weaknesses. God can and will also use us in spite of our weaknesses and failures. The Lord is greatly pleased by our faith and willingness to obey him.  The God of Abraham is the same yesterday, today and forever and should be the object of our praise.  The hymn "The God of Abraham Praise" is a Christian adaptation of the Jewish hymn "Yigdal", loosely translated and Christianized by the evangelist Thomas Olivers (1725-1799) after a visit to the Great Synagogue of London in 1770.    Olivers was one of the many people from the middle and lower classes that were converted through the evangelical ministry of George Whitfield. He was orphaned at only four years of age and became an apprentice to a shoemaker. Young Olivers was known for his truly appalling behavior.  One day Olivers heard Whitfield preach on the text, "Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?" from Zechariah 3:2. He was converted and his life changed dramatically. John Wesley recognized Olivers' talents and persuaded him to become one of his evangelists.  His hymn  was first published in 1772. and the title of the hymn was based on a verse in the Book of Exodus: "I am the God of thy Father, the God of Abraham". (Exodus 3:6)   The hymn was originally composed with thirteen verses although later reprints of the hymn omit a number of them with the majority of hymn books using just four verses.  As you review the words of this old hymn, use them to join in the praise of Abraham's God, the ancient days, who is the same God who deals with us today.  He is infinite, without beginning or ending in time.  He is omnipresent, always present in every place. He is holy, without a trace of evil or deception about Him.  He is a loving God.  He is powerful.  What a mighty God we serve!  Hail, Abraham's God and mine!  All might and majesty are Thine and endless praise!  Here are the verses normally found in hymn books today.

1.     The God of Abraham praise, who reigns enthroned above;
Ancient of everlasting days, and God of Love;
Jehovah, great I AM! by earth and Heav'n confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred Name forever blessed.

2.    The God of Abraham praise, at Whose supreme command
From earth I rise — and seek the joys at His right hand;
I all on earth forsake, its wisdom, fame, and power;
And Him my only Portion make, my Shield and Tower.

3.     He by Himself has sworn; I on His oath depend,
I shall, on eagle wings upborne, to Heav'n ascend.
I shall behold His face; I shall His power adore,
And sing the wonders of His grace forevermore.

4.     The whole triumphant host give thanks to God on high;
"Hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," they ever cry.
Hail, Abraham's God, and mine! (I join the heav'nly lays,)
All might and majesty are Thine, and endless praise.

Here are other verses that were originally part of this hymn.

The God of Abraham praise, whose all sufficient grace
Shall guide me all my happy days, in all my ways.
He calls a worm His friend, He calls Himself my God!
And He shall save me to the end, thro' Jesus' blood.

Tho' nature's strength decay, and earth and hell withstand,
To Canaan's bounds I urge my way, at His command.
The wat'ry deep I pass, with Jesus in my view;
And thro' the howling wilderness my way pursue.

The goodly land I see, with peace and plenty bless'd;
A land of sacred liberty, and endless rest.
There milk and honey flow, and oil and wine abound,
And trees of life forever grow with mercy crowned.

There dwells the Lord our King, the Lord our righteousness,
Triumphant o'er the world and sin, the Prince of peace;
On Sion's sacred height His kingdom still maintains,
And glorious with His saints in light forever reigns.

He keeps His own secure, He guards them by His side,
Arrays in garments, white and pure, His spotless bride:
With streams of sacred bliss, with groves of living joys—
With all the fruits of Paradise, He still supplies.

Before the great Three-One they all exulting stand;
And tell the wonders He hath done, through all their land:
The list'ning spheres attend, and swell the growing fame;
And sing, in songs which never end, the wondrous Name.

The God Who reigns on high the great archangels sing,
And "Holy, holy, holy!" cry, "Almighty King!
Who was, and is, the same, and evermore shall be:
Jehovah - Father - great I AM, we worship Thee!"

Before the Savior's face the ransomed nations bow;
O'erwhelmed at His almighty grace, forever new:
He shows His prints of love - they kindle to a flame!
And sound thro' all the worlds above the slaughtered Lamb.

You can listen to a beautiful version here.  LISTEN1
And here is a more formal congregational version for you.  LISTEN2