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 21, 2017

HIS WAY WITH THEE


          Cyrus Nusbaum was born in 1861 in Indiana. He came out of Amish country to be ordained a Methodist minister.  During his life he became a successful pastor, evangelist, college official, Army captain, and WW I American Red Cross inspector.  And he wrote the words and music for a number of hymns.  Nusbaum was only 25 years old at the time of his first pastoral assignment. It was one of the poorest circuits in the district. Their income was barely enough to live on as he and his young wife struggled hard to take care of seven congregations in rural Kansas. At the end of the first year they attended the annual conference hoping and praying that they would be given a better charge. However, on the last night of conference the bishop read the appointments and the Nusbaums had to go back to the same old poor circuit.  With heavy hearts they returned to their conference lodging. Mrs. Nusbaum went to bed early but Cyrus stayed up and wrestled with his thoughts. His unhappiness brought on a spirit of rebellion. But around midnight he finally knelt in prayer and told the Lord that he would be willing to serve regardless of the cost. With that surrender a peace came over him. That feeling of surrender later became the inspiration for this week's hymn which he wrote and was published in 1899.  That commitment to God to direct and control our days is reflected by Pastor Nusbaum's hymn. For a meaningful life that pleases God, and for fruitful service that will endure for eternity, the hymn writer's counsel is "Let Him have His way with thee." In other words, submit yourself to God.  But that isn't always easy.  So many different things call for our time and attention today.  Somebody has said that the theme chorus of Hell is, "I' Did It My Way". That seems to be a prevailing attitude today. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6)  "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him [as Lord of your life], and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil" (Prov. 3:5-7).  In Nusbaum's song, verse one reminds us that letting Him have His way with us will make us pure and good.  Verse two teaches us that letting Him have His way with us will make us free from sin.  In verse three we are told that letting Him have His way with us will make us citizens of His kingdom  And the chorus reemphasizes the blessings of submitting to the Lord's will.  So whose way are you following today?  Are you being attracted to the ways of this world which lead to eternal destruction?  Remember, "His power can make you what you ought to be; His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free; His love can fill your soul."   And as you yield to Him and His way you will see that it was best to let Him have His way with you.



1     Would you live for Jesus, and be always pure and good?
Would you walk with Him within the narrow road?
Would you have Him bear your burden, carry all your load?
Let Him have His way with thee.
His power can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
'Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.

2.     Would you have Him make you free, and follow at His call?
Would you know the peace that comes by giving all?
Would you have Him save you, so that you can never fall?
Let Him have His way with thee.
His power can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
'Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.

3.     Would you in His kingdom find a place of constant rest?
Would you prove Him true in providential test?
Would you in His service labor always at your best?
Let Him have His way with thee.
His power can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
'Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.

Listen to it being sung here.    LISTEN

Sunday, May 14, 2017

GOD UNDERSTANDS


          Over the years we have featured many of the great hymns that were written by  Dr. Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986).  It is said that he wrote more than 1,200 hymns, many of which have been a great comfort and encouragement to believers over the years.  Often we don't know the reason a hymn was penned, but this time we do.  This week's hymn was written around 1935 to minister to one person. Dr. Smith's youngest sister Ruth, and her husband Clifford were freshman missionaries serving in Peru. They were preparing to come home to Canada on their first furlough. But shortly before they left, Clifford was killed in a car accident. Ruth returned home with their two small boys, a grieving widow at the age of 26. Oswald Smith dedicated God Understands to his sister, and says it was a great comfort to her.  Over the years this hymn has comforted many people.  Many have used it at funeral services.  Dr. Smith reported that on one occasion it was even used of God to save a radio executive from suicide. Maybe it was also written to comfort you thus week.  "God understands your sorrow, he sees the falling tear, and whispers, "'I am with thee;' then falter not, nor fear."  The Lord not only knows the struggles of our inmost hearts, but He understands why we are going through these things, and what to do about them.  So often when we go through deep waters we feel all alone and think nobody really cares.  But there is one who knows and understands.  "He understands your longing, your deepest grief He shares. Then let Him bear your burden, He understands, and cares." "You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth." (Ps. 86:15). "Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." (Lam. 3:22-23). "He who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him." (Ps. 32:10).   Incidentally, despite losing their father,  I am told that Ruth's two boys grew up to become ministers of the gospel.  Are you facing deep waters?  Do you feel that nobody understands or cares?  Then meditate on these words this week and rest in the knowledge that He cares, He understands and He wants to bear your burden.


1.     God understands your sorrow,
He sees the falling tear,
And whispers, "I am with thee;"
then falter not, nor fear.
He understands your longing,
Your deepest grief He shares;
Then let Him bear your burden,
He understands, and cares.

2.    God understands your heartache,
He knows the bitter pain;
O, trust Him in the darkness,
you cannot trust in vain.
He understands your longing,
Your deepest grief He shares;
Then let Him bear your burden,
He understands, and cares

3.     God understands your weakness,
He knows the tempter's power;
And He will walk beside you
however dark the hour.
He understands your longing,
Your deepest grief He shares;
Then let Him bear your burden,
He understands, and cares

I was very surprised that I had so much difficulty finding a video of this hymn.  But I did find one to share with you.  Actually it is a medly but I hope the words will speak to you this week.   LISTEN

Sunday, May 7, 2017

LIKE A RIVER GLORIOUS (TH5)


          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 30, 2008.

           In the midst of challenging,difficult and frustrating life circumstances, Frances Ridley Havergal (1836 - 18790) experienced peace that only God can give, that peace that passeth all understanding.  The English poet and hymn writer was vacationing in the south of Wales in 1876 and caught a severe cold.  It was accompanied by inflammation of the lungs. Hearing how ill she was, and that she might die, she replied, "If I am really going, it is too good to be true." Her friends were amazed at how peacefully she received this information. She did survive that illness, and later that year she wrote this beautiful hymn, "Like a River Glorious is God's Perfect Peace".  And the words that she penned have encouraged believers ever since.  Frances was very frail in health and went home to be with the Lord at the age of 42. Her dying words were "Come, Lord Jesus, come and fetch me." She had that peace that truly "passeth all understanding".  This hymn definitely ranks as one of my very favorites.  I especially love to hear it sung by a congregation or an ensemble without any instruments, because it has such beautiful four-part harmony.  But much more importantly, the words always speak to my heart.  In a world filled with turmoil, our only hope and peace is to live lives that are stayed upon Jehovah. And if you are in Christ, you are safe. "Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand, never foe can follow, never traitor stand." There are foes; there are traitors, but they cannot stand up against His grace and His power.  And we are protected in the hollow of His hand. Now, that doesn't mean they won't ever make our life challenging, but Christ is always with us and His Spirit guides us.  Now, I admit that at times I do struggle with the words "not a surge of worry", for sadly I often struggle with worry and anxiety.  But when we really understand that "EVERY joy or trial falleth from above" and that they are "traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love", then we know that we can trust him fully.  And we do find perfect peace and rest. That celebrates the sovereignty of God who is the blessed controller of all things. Isaiah 26:3, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you"  "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest  Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest."

(1)   Like a river glorious, is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.
Refrain
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

(2)   Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. 
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

(3)   Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Listen to it here.     LISTEN

Sunday, April 30, 2017

ONLY TRUST HIM



        Many stirring invitation hymns were products of great revivals such as those led by Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and Ira Sankey (1840-1908).   Such hymns were an essential part of these services.  They were used following powerful sermons by the evangelist to encourage people to come forward.  These hymns were simple and spoke directly to the heart with an invitation to respond to the gospel message.  This week's hymn which was used for invitations was written by John H. Stockton in 1869.  According to Ira Sankey, Moody's music director, " While on the way to England with Mr. Moody in 1873, one day in mid-ocean, as I was looking over a list of hymns in my scrapbook, I noticed one commencing, Come every soul by sin oppressed.  Believing that these words had been so often sung that they were hackneyed, I decided to change them and tell how to come to Jesus by substituting the words, only trust Him.  In this form it was first published in London.  While holding meetings in Her Majesty's Theater in Pall Mall, London, and singing this hymn, I thought I would change the chorus again, and asked the people to sing, I will trust Him. Then as we sang I decided to change it once more and asked them to sing I do trust Him.  God blessed this rendering of the hymn to eight persons present who testified afterward that  by the change they were all led to accept salvation."  Stockton, the original author, was raised as a Presbyterian and converted to Methodism in a camp at the age of 21.  He became a licensed minister in 1857, but his ministry was cut short by illness in 1874 and his death in 1877.  Of the many hymns which he said to have written, this is the only one that has continued in use today.  The original refrain of his 1874 song of invitation was apparently:

Come to Jesus, come to Jesus,
Come to Jesus now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.
Sankey's changes in the refrain to what we have now makes the only thing needed for salvation plain - faith in Christ.  There was also a fifth stanza that appears in early publications. Though it expresses a personal reception of the gospel, it has been dropped in modern hymn books.
(5)   O Jesus, blessed Jesus, dear,
I'm coming now to Thee;
Since Thou hast made the way so clear
And full salvation free.
When it was first published, Matthew 11:29 appeared on the page with the hymn. "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  While this hymn was written for revival services which seldom are held today, its message is still clear and relevant today.  The Lord still calls those by sin oppressed and with His mercy He will save.  Today He is the only one with the power to do this.  Yes He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now.  Have you answered His call?.

1     Come, every soul by sin oppressed;
There's mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

2.     For Jesus shed His precious blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

3.     Yes, Jesus is the truth, the way,
That leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay
And you are fully blessed.
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

4.     Come, then, and join this holy band,
And on to glory go
To dwell in that celestial land
Where joys immortal flow.
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

Listen to it being sung here.   LISTEN

Sunday, April 23, 2017

WHY?


          Sometimes I think that the most frequently asked question by believers is "Why?".  Usually it is asked about things that happen to us or our friends?  Why do I or a family member have this physical problem?  Why did the Lord take my loved one home?  Why did I lose my job or not get promoted?  Why did my children rebel against both me and the Lord?  Why?  Why? Why?  And many times we will not find the answers to these questions while we are here on earth.  But when we consider our salvation and God's acts of grace and mercy, many "why" questions should also come to our minds.  Some questions like this were asked by John M. Moore in a hymn which he penned.  Why did they nail Him to Calvary's tree?  Why was He there? Why should He love me, a sinner undone?  Why should He care?  Why should I linger afar from His love?  Why should I fear?  These are good questions that we, too, should ponder.  Unfortunately it was very hard to find much about Moore or what led him to write this hymn.  And it was also difficult to find any videos of this hymn.  I did learn that He was born in Scotland and served as Assistant Superintendent at the Seamen's Chapel in Glasgow, Scotland.  He was also pastor and Superintendent at Tent Hall, an evangelistic center in Glasgow for nine years, pastor of the Inverness Baptist Church for five years, and pastor of the Willowdale Baptist Church, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada. He wrote over 150 hymns, some of which were translated into other languages.  I can only assume that He was overwhelmed when thinking about the sacrifice of Christ for Him.  Maybe He too, like me, marveled at the truth of Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  We are so unworthy of this, but Christ left all the glory and riches of heaven, to come to this earth to purchase our salvation at the cost of His life?  Why did He do it?  We may never fully comprehend the love and mercy that made this possible, but He did it ... for us.  May we be eternally thankful and may the words of Moore's hymn fill our hearts as we meditate upon them this week.

1. Why did they nail him to Calvary´s tree;
Why, tell me why was he there?
Jesus the helper, the healer, the friend,
Why, tell me why was he there?
CHORUS:
All my iniquities on him were laid;
He nailed them all to the tree.
Jesus, the debt of my sin fully paid,
He paid the ransom for me.

2. Why should he love me a sinner undone;
Why, tell me why should he care?
I do not merit the love he has shown.
Why, tell me why should he care?
All my iniquities on him were laid;
He nailed them all to the tree.
Jesus, the debt of my sin fully paid,
He paid the ransom for me.

3. Why should I linger afar from his love;
Why, tell me why should I fear?
Somehow I know I must venture and prove;
Why, tell me why should I fear?
All my iniquities on him were laid;
He nailed them all to the tree.
Jesus, the debt of my sin fully paid,
He paid the ransom for me.

Listen to the words here.  LISTEN1

I also found a second video featuring a family singing and playing this song. (I am especially partial to trombones so I just had to include this one.)    LISTEN2

Sunday, April 16, 2017

TWAS A GLAD DAY



        Most of us have significant events that have happened in our lifetime and we recall exactly where we were when they happened.  For me it is the assassination of President Kennedy, man's first step on the moon, and the events of 9-11.  But there are personal events which also are significant in our lives - our graduations, our wedding and the weddings of our children, the births of our children and grandchildren, and deaths of loved ones.  For me these events also include meeting President Reagan on the White House Lawn.  But for every believer the most important event was the time that we placed our personal faith in the work of Jesus Christ and we became transformed and forgiven, a new creation.  A new life began that day.  "You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:23).  We went from being under condemnation, to being delivered from condemnation. "There is … no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).   And this was recognized by pastor and hymn writer Albert Simpson Reitz (1879-1966) in 1918 when he penned the words of this gospel song.  It was one of over 100 Gospel songs that he wrote in his lifetime.  This song celebrates the changes that occurred on that glorious day and the joy that resulted from becoming a member of God's family.  It notes that He buried our sins in the deepest sea and He filled our soul with joy and victory.  And the song also includes celebrating the joy that we will experience that day when we meet in glory and through endless ages tell the story of our Savior's redeeming love.  What a great day that will be.  Hopefully, you, too, have experienced this transformation and the joy of that reality.  Hopefully, you, too, can testify that it was a glad day!  And, if you have experienced this, then you, too, can look forward to that grand day when we shall meet around His throne.  There you will join me in shouting a glad hosanna when we see Him upon His throne.

(1)     I was lost in sin when Jesus found me,
But He rescued me, all glory to His name!
And the cords of worldly pleasure bound me,
Till He saved me from sin and shame.
Refrain
'Twas a glad day when Jesus found me,
When His strong arms were thrown around me;
When my sins He buried in the deepest sea,
And my soul He filled with joy and victory.
'Twas a glad day, O hallelujah!
'Twas a glad day He claimed His own.
I will shout a glad hosanna in glory
When I see Him upon His throne.

(2)     O the bells of Heaven now are ringing,
For I hear their tones within my ransomed soul;
And my heart is filled with joyful singing
Since the Savior has made me whole.
'Twas a glad day when Jesus found me,
When His strong arms were thrown around me;
When my sins He buried in the deepest sea,
And my soul He filled with joy and victory.
'Twas a glad day, O hallelujah!
'Twas a glad day He claimed His own.
I will shout a glad hosanna in glory
When I see Him upon His throne.

(3)     O the joy when we shall meet in glory,
In the mansions of my Father's home above;
And through endless ages tell the story
Of the Savior's redeeming love.
'Twas a glad day when Jesus found me,
When His strong arms were thrown around me;
When my sins He buried in the deepest sea,
And my soul He filled with joy and victory.
'Twas a glad day, O hallelujah!
'Twas a glad day He claimed His own.
I will shout a glad hosanna in glory
When I see Him upon His throne.

I could not find a vocal video of this song, but here is a piano rendition for you to listen to.    LISTEN

Sunday, April 9, 2017

WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD


          On Monday, Jews around the world will begin their annual celebration of the Passover.   "It is the LORD'S Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt" (Exodus. 12:10-13).  When I consider various events recorded in the Bible I often wonder what it would have been like to be present and see them in real time.  But this is one event that I am glad that I did not witness personally.  It was the tenth and final plague and involved the death of the firstborn child as well as the animals in every household in Egypt.  I can't image the wailing and anguish that would have filled Egypt that morning. It must have been horrendous.  But, in His grace, the Lord provided a way to escape the plague. A lamb  "without blemish, a male of the first year," (Exodus 12:5) was to be chosen. At twilight, before the night of the coming judgment, the lamb was to be slain, and its blood applied to the doorposts and lintel of the home (Exodus. 12:6-7).  And those homes were spared the tragic death of the firstborn.  The same is true for us centuries later.  When we put our faith in Christ as Saviour, it is as though His blood is applied to us and, covered by the blood of the Lamb, we are safe from eternal judgment.  There is no other way to escape this judgment.  "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission [no forgiveness of sins]" (Hebrews 9:22).  And it was this event that led to the writing of this week's hymn choice.  There are many questions about the authorship of this hymn.  Some say it was written by John G. Foote.  Others say it was by Foote and E.A.H.  Many believe that E.A.H. was Elisha A. Hoffman (1839-1929) who is credited with writing over 2,000 gospel songs.  But  no matter who actually wrote it, the hymn shares that by His grace Jesus will save even the chiefest of sinners.  When judgment comes, He has promised through his great power, compassion and love to save those whose lives have been transformed by the power of His blood.  Yes, He will pass, He will pass over them.  And for all others, as in Egypt many years ago, they will face eternal punishment and separation from God. And that will be a far worse fate than was suffered by those in Egypt who did not have the blood on their doorpost.  So what will your fate be?  Today you can still choose.  Now I have found that there has been some recent editing of the original words of this hymn and while I personally prefer the original, I will try to share both versions below.  The original will be in bold face type.


(1)    1 Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due;
Sprinkle your soul with the blood of the Lamb,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due.
All who receive Him need never fear,
Yes, He will pass, will pass over you.)

(2)     Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save;
As He has promised, that He will do;
Wash in the fountain opened for sin,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save;
As He has promised, so He will do;
Oh, sinner, hear Him, trust in His Word,
Then He will pass, will pass over you.)

(3)     Judgment is coming, all will be there,
Each one receiving justly his due;
Hide in the saving sin-cleasing blood,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(Judgment is coming, all will be there.
Who have rejected, who have refused?
Oh, sinner, hasten, let Jesus in,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.)

(4)     O great compassion! O boundless love!
O loving kindness, faithful and true!
Find peace and shelter under the blood,
And I will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

(O great compassion! O boundless love!
Jesus hath power, Jesus is true;
All who believe are safe from the storm,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.)

Listen to it sung here.    LISTEN

Sunday, April 2, 2017

CALVARY COVERS IT ALL (TH#4)


 TIMELESS HYMN #4 - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great timeless hymns of the faith.

          As we approach the Easter season I have decided to choose for this month's Timeless Hymn one of my favorite hymns, Calvary Covers It All.  This was first shared in this blog on April 5, 2009.  This hymn reminds me of what Christ has done for me at Calvary.  There He suffered for me, carrying upon Him all my past, all my sin and guilt and despair.  Calvary does cover it all.  And because of that great sacrifice, I am forgiven and one day I "shall be His in the glory on high; Where with gladness and song, I'll be one of the throng."  Now I could not find much about the author, Ethel Taylor, who passed away in 1950. This song was apparently written by her in 1934.  However, since my original blog in 2009, I have come across a story about how it was written.  Following are parts of that story from Al Smith's Hymn Histories (pages 125-127).
          "The song relates to a dancer named Walter "Happy Mac" MacDonald, whom comedian Eddie Cantor said had the fastest feet in the world. Mac was talented, but he was also in bondage to sin, and addicted to alcohol. One night in the early 1930's he stumbled into a meeting in the Pacific Garden Mission, in Chicago. When an invitation was given  ... Mac did not respond. But, as he returned, night after night, workers gradually came to know more about him.   Directing the mission in those days (1918-1936) were Walter Grand Taylor and his wife Ethel affectionately known as Pa and Ma Taylor. Ethel Taylor watched Mac, and her heart went out to him. She prayed, "Dear Lord, please help us say and do the right things, so that we may win Mac to Thee." Finally, MacDonald did seek counseling, and Ma Taylor listened as he struggled with his past. "You don't understand," he prayed. "You don't know how bad I am, Lord. Really I'm the worst man in the world. You can't save me; I'm too bad."   Mrs. Taylor recalled a message she had heard weeks before. Evangelist Percy Crawford had been a rebel in his youth ...  The theme of Crawford's testimony was, "Calvary covers it all," and Ethel Taylor shared those words with MacDonald.   He asked her to repeat them, and suddenly the light dawned. "Oh! Mrs. Taylor, I'm so glad it's true, and you told me. Calvary does cover it all! My whole past of sin and shame." The former entertainer trusted in the Saviour that night in 1934, and lived to become an outstanding servant of Christ.   A few days later, Ethel Taylor went into the mission chapel, sat down at the piano, and created the words and music of a gospel song."
 

          Truly, as many have found over the years, Calvary does cover all of our dark past and sinfulness.  Every stain is washed away.  Every mark of shame is erased through the blood of Jesus Christ. We are forgiven. Have you accepted this wonderful gift that Christ has provided for you?  There is nothing about your past that isn't covered by what Christ did for you at Calvary.  Don't put off this life-changing decision any longer.


(1)  Far dearer than all that the world can impart
Was the message that came to my heart.
How that Jesus alone for my sin did atone,
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

(2)  The stripes that He bore and the thorns that He wore
Told His mercy and love ever more
And my heart bowed in shame as I called on His name,
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

(3)  How matchless the grace, when I looked in the face
Of this Jesus, my crucified Lord;
My redemption complete I then found at His feet,
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

(4)  How blessed the thought, that my soul by Him bought,
Shall be His in the glory on high;
Where with gladness and song, I'll be one of the throng
And Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

Here are two choices to listen to this hymn.
LISTEN 1 - A male quartet
LISTEN 2 - Soloist Dave Boyer

Sunday, March 26, 2017

KNEEL AT THE CROSS


          During my college and graduate studies at Susquehanna University and Bucknell University, I enjoyed singing with a male quartet, The Gospel Four, from an area church.  We did a live 15 minute radio program at 9 am every Sunday morning on WKOK AM in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.  We really weren't very good, but we had quite a following and the men faithfully sang each Sunday morning for several decades.  We sang a variety of gospel songs including some southern gospel music.  One of my favorite of these was "Kneel At The Cross", written by Charles Ernest Moody (1891-1977) in 1948.  Moody was a Georgia composer and musician who played the fiddle, banjo and harmonica.  He played with a secular string band, the Georgia Yellowhammers, and wrote numerous secular songs and about a hundred gospel songs.  Many of his songs, such as "Drifting Too Far from Shore", became standards of southern gospel music.  Now while I enjoyed singing this week's choice, I think Moody could have added more depth to his lyrics.  Some reviewers have been very hard on him for his "shallow theology" in this song.  But I do think there is enough truth included to share it in this blog.  It is true that Christ will meet the need of sinners because of his death on Calvary.  And as one yields to Him and accepts Him he will be forgiven and receive a new life - we are a new creation.  Then we can leave our cares and sins with Him because He cares for and takes care of His children whom He loved enough to die for.  We come to the Cross as hell-bound sinners who have offended a holy God. Then we "kneel" at the cross to confess our helplessness and seek cleansing and forgiveness from Him. That includes, but is much more than just "giving up our idols".  It is because of His death and resurrection that we receive eternal salvation when we acknowledge who He is, what He has done for us and our need for Him. And then we do "begin life anew".  I also wish that Moody had expanded on the lines "harm can ne'er befall those who are anchored there." Christians are faced with harm through persecution and the cares of life on this earth.  But when we walk with the Lord, He provides the strength and wisdom and courage to face these challenges in His power.  The scripture tells us that nothing can separate His children from our Father.  He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. We are anchored in Him.  So the premise of this song is good - because of the Cross of Calvary, we can come to Christ and experience salvation, a new life, and His presence. He does wait for us and will meet us there.  Hopefully this has been your experience.  If you haven't come to Calvary and confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, today is the day to do that. "Jesus will meet you there." Today is the day of salvation.  And if you've already done that, then join me this week in thanking the Lord for His grace, His mercy, His plan, His salvation and for meeting us when we "knelt" before Him at the Cross.


1      Kneel at the cross, 
Christ will meet you there,
Come while he waits for you;
List' to His voice,
Leave with Him your care,
And start your life anew.
Chorus:
Kneel at the cross,
Leave every care,
Kneel at the cross,
Jesus will meet you there.

2      Kneel at the cross,
There is room for all
Who would His glory share;
Bliss there awaits,
Harm can ne'er befall
Those who are anchored there.
Kneel at the cross,
Leave every care,
Kneel at the cross,
Jesus will meet you there.

3      Kneel at the cross,
Give your idols up,
Look unto realms above;
Turn not away
To life's sparkling cup,
Trust only in His love.
Kneel at the cross,
Leave every care,
Kneel at the cross,
Jesus will meet you there.

Here are some choices for you to listen to:
LISTEN 1    (Quartet)
LISTEN 2   (Trio)
LISTEN 3   (Country)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

JOY IN SERVING JESUS



        I recently read that 70% of workers don't like their jobs.  Another source said two out of three dislike what they are doing. One survey showed that only 13% actually enjoyed their work.  I guess I am surprised since I was blessed to enjoy my job for 39 years and I found it difficult when it was time to retire. However, I worked with many folks who did not enjoy their job and found no joy in what they were doing, except maybe for their paycheck.  I can't help but wonder what the percentages might be for Christian employees.  We are reminded in Colossians 3:23 that whatever we do should be done with our whole heart to please the Lord, not just others.   But there is another area of life that should bring joy for all believers and that is in our service for the Lord.  What a privilege we have to serve the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, our Savior.  He could have chosen other ways to share the amazing gospel - He could have written it in the clouds or had the wind ring out the good news or use another aspect of His creation - but He chose us, His children, to carry the message and minister for Him.  Now serving the Lord can carry challenges and is not always easy, but He is there to guide us and strengthen us and encourage us and walk with us.  He understands and has experienced challenges - "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross" (Hebrews. 12:2).  What a joy it should be to serve Him.  Preacher, author, and missionary statesman, Dr. Oswald J. Smith was for many years the pastor of the People's Church, in Toronto.  He is the one who penned the words of this week's hymn.  In a sense it began as the personal testimony of Dr. Smith. He says, "In this hymn I express the joy that I have experienced in serving the Lord Jesus Christ." But that is a joy that every servant of God can share. The Apostle Paul desired to "finish [his] race [his life and served for Christ] with joy" (Acts 20:24) In spite of burdens and heartaches, in spite of challenges and difficulties, it should be our great delight to serve the King of kings. We are to "serve the Lord with gladness [joy, pleasure]" (Ps. 100:2)."  And Dr. Smith did serve the Lord with joy until he was taken home at the age of 97.  During the period of 1930 to 1958, he collaborated with B. D. Ackley in the writing of nearly a hundred gospel songs. It was a happy and productive pairing. And the very first song they created together was this one, Joy in Serving Jesus. When it was published, in 1931, Mr. Ackley predicted, in a letter to Pastor Smith, "I know it is a winner. A writer usually has a hunch when he writes something that he knows positively will go over." He was right. The song was enthusiastically embraced by the Christian community.  Ackley himself composed more than 3000 tunes. As the one who penned these words, Dr. Smith, found the secret that finding what Jesus would have you do lifts your own burdens and brings great joy.  He writes about that secret in the fourth verse.  He knew, too, that the joy that Jesus gives never fades.  The last line of the chorus says, "There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart." Dr. Smith had a real experience.  He was not writing about doctrine he'd picked up somewhere.  "Joy that throbs within my heart" doesn't come from what he knew, it comes from what he lived.  Joy is not a product of looking at my circumstances. Joy is the product of my relationship with Jesus Christ. And that might be the reason for lack of joy today - focusing more time and energy upon our circumstances than upon our relationship. Are you experiencing joy in your relationship and walk with the Lord?  Do you rejoice in the fact that the Lord has chosen you to represent Him here on earth?  If that joy appears to be missing, meditate upon these words this week, and then pray,  "Lord, restore to me the joy of ministry; the joy of serving You. Restore to me the joy of sharing Your love and Your Word with others!"  And He will answer.

(1)     There is joy in serving Jesus
As I journey on my way
Joy that fills my heart with praises
Every hour and every day
Chorus:
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

(2)     There is joy in serving Jesus
Joy; that triumphs over pain
Fills my heart with heaven's music
Till I join the glad refrain
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

(3)     There is joy in serving Jesus
As I walk alone with God
'Tis the joy of Christ my Savior
Who the path of suffering trod
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

(4)     There is joy in serving Jesus
Joy amid the darkest night
For I've learned the wondrous secret
And I'm walking in the light
There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus 
Joy that throbs within my heart
Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart

Listen to it here.   LISTEN