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, June 25, 2017

THE PEACE THAT JESUS GIVES


         We've all been there and have experienced those times in life when we are discouraged, fearful, worried, perplexed and weighed down with care.  It is part of life. It might be due to the death of a loved one.  It might be because of a medical test result we are waiting for or have received.  It might be because our company is downsizing.  It might be due to bad choices our children have made.  It might be due to difficult decisions we are facing.  There are so many events in life which can overwhelm us.  As I am writing this I, too, am facing concerns over serious medical tests I am facing the next few days and the possible diagnosis.  But as I was working today, the Lord brought to my mind the words of this week's hymn choice.  It is a hymn which I haven't heard in years, but the Lord saw fit to bring it back to my mind today when I needed some encouragement.  Have you experienced this extra special peace from God, a peace that passeth all understanding, in your times of distress?  Years ago I received a telephone call that my parents were in an auto accident.  My mother was killed instantly and dad was hospitalized.  It was an overwhelming experience, but I vividly recall the special peace that God provided for my family during this very difficult time in our lives.  My mother's favorite verse was 1 Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."  We found that promise so true.  There are numerous promises of peace for God's children found in the scriptures.  Psalm 29:11, "The Lord will give strength to His people;The Lord will bless His people with peace."  I especially appreciate Philippians 4:7, "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  When I log on to my computer each day I see a picture of a mother bird covering her two babies with her wings.  The verse I've included with the picture is Psalm 91:4, "He will cover you with his feathers.  He will shelter you with His wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection."  The protection of a mother in a time of storm. The words to this song were penned by Haldor Lillenas (1885-1959).  He was born in Norway but emigrated to America as a child.  His family settled first in South Dakota and then moved to Oregon in 1889.  After attending college and becoming a pastor, he later founded the Lillenas Publishing Company.  He is said to have written some 4,000 hymns and supplied music for many evangelists.  Now I don't know what prompted the writing of this particular hymn, but I assume that he must have personally experienced the peace and calm which God alone can provide.  I don't know what your period of discouragement or fear might be today, but put your trust in the Lord and experience hope renewed and the peace which He will give in your time of challenge.  I know that I will do the same as I face the tests and unknown results in my life in the next few days.  May we experience that peace that passeth all understanding.

1.     Like the sunshine after rain,
Like a rest that follows pain,
Like a hope returned again,
Is the peace that Jesus gives.
Oh, the peace that Jesus gives
Never dies; it always lives.
Like the music of a psalm,
Like a glad, eternal calm,
Is the peace that Jesus gives,
Is the peace that Jesus gives.

2.     Like the soft, refreshing dew,
Like a rosy daybreak new,
Like a friendship tender, true,
Is the peace that Jesus gives.
Oh, the peace that Jesus gives
Never dies; it always lives.
Like the music of a psalm,
Like a glad, eternal calm,
Is the peace that Jesus gives,
Is the peace that Jesus gives.

3.     Like a river deep and long,
With its current ceaseless, strong,
Like the cadence of a song,
Is the peace that Jesus gives
Oh, the peace that Jesus gives
Never dies; it always lives.
Like the music of a psalm,
Like a glad, eternal calm,
Is the peace that Jesus gives,
Is the peace that Jesus gives.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, June 18, 2017

O FOR A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD


        Many of the great hymns of the faith have been penned when the authors faced a tragedy or suffered from great physical pain or emotional distress.  William Cowper (1731-1800), the author of this hymn, experienced a number of  tragic events in his life, beginning with the death of his mother when he was six years old. It is said that he suffered from depression all of his life.  The son of an Anglican clergyman, Cowper studied for the law, but was so intimidated at the prospect of the law exam that he attempted suicide. Cowper was institutionalized in a mental asylum for a time.  Upon his release, he went to church where he met the Reverend Morely Unwin and his wife, Mary.  The Unwins took Cowper under their wing, and Cowper lived with them for more than two decades.  When Rev. Unwin fell from a horse and was killed,  John Newton (author of the hymn, "Amazing Grace") came to the Unwin home to pay his respects.  He persuaded Cowper and Mrs. Unwin to move to Olney, where Newton served as the pastor of a church.  Behind her new home was a beautiful garden where Cowper and Newton met nearly every day to work on their hymns.  Then Mary Unwin became seriously ill, and it appeared that she would die.  Cowper began to experience severe depression again, because Mary had been a mother figure to him and his best friend.  That crisis, in 1772,  inspired him to write "O for a Closer Walk with God", words that comforted him in his distress.  The day after he penned these words he wrote: "She is the chief of blessings I have met with in my journey since the Lord was pleased to call me. ... Her illness has been a sharp trial to me.  Oh, that it may have a sanctified effect, that I may rejoice to surrender up to the Lord my dearest comforts, the moment He may require them.  ... I began to compose the verses yesterday morning, before daybreak, but fell asleep at the end of the first two lines:  When I awakened, the third and fourth were whispered to my heart in a way which I have often experienced."  Fortunately, Mary recovered from her illness.  Cowper, who had written poetry for most of his life, worked with Newton on a collection of hymns that they entitled Olney Hymns.  That collection included 280 of Newton's hymns and 68 of Cowper's hymns, including this one.  Through his trials and depression, Cowper's desire was to have a closer walk with God.  But, like most of us, at times he strayed and missed "the blessedness" and the peace which He experienced when He was walking with God.  To walk with God requires us to "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 6:16, 25) and be submissive to Him and dependent on Him.  And if sin raises a barrier between us or if there is an "idol" which stands in the way of our relationship, we need to confess it to restore the intimacy with Him that we once knew.  Is it your desire to have a closer walk with Him?  Are there things that are hindering you in that walk?  If there are, then confess them to Him today and ask Him to "tear" them away and restore the joy of your salvation.  May our daily prayer be, "O for a closer walk with God".

1.     O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

2.     Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

3.     What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

4.     The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

5.     So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

Listen to this hymn here.   LISTEN
(note - Cowper's words have been put to numerous melodies over the years.  The one chosen here is probably the most commonly used one in hymnbooks.)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

JESUS I THY CROSS HAVE TAKEN


     "Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me."  Matthew 16:24.  As a youngster Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847) and his family lived in severe poverty.  His father abandoned him and his mother. Later he was orphaned at 9 years old and left with no support. He was invited by  a Rev. Robert Burrows into his home, accepted as part of his family, and had his education paid for. He graduated from Trinity College in Dubland, Ireland.  He also suffered throughout his lifetime with a frail body that was always prone to tuberculosis. Shortly after his ordination to the Anglican Church ministry, He was asked to visit a fellow clergyman, an Abraham Swanne, who was dying.  During the visit both came to the realization that  neither had really ever had a personal relationship with Christ or a genuine conversion experience.  They began to study the scriptures together and both made a sincere commitment to God. Lyte said, "I was greatly affected by the whole matter, and brought to look at life and its issue with a different eye than before; and I began to study my Bible, and preach in another manner than I had previously done." It is said that Lyte became a skilled student of the Bible and a tireless preacher of the gospel.   Following his conversion he wrote some eighty hymn texts. His conversion experience stirred him to write this week's hymn choice in 1824.  It  reflects Lyte's own personal attitude toward the "cross" of his suffering and the fact that he found refuge in Christ alone in learning to accept and use suffering in a spiritual sense.  When Christ becomes everything, and all is sacrificed to one's life and service for Him, following the Lord Jesus makes a stark contrast to anything that came before. That is the sober message of this hymn. Faced with it, many would draw back in horror, and their lives would echo Paul's sad reference to a former traveling companion: "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world" (II Tim. 4:10).  Jesus declared, "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Lk. 14:33).  We are humbled when we see this kind of devotion played out in the lives of God's faithful saints. Yet there's no indication that it's to be exceptional and unusual. Each of us is only a steward of what God has given - time and talents, material things, and even relationships. And if we confess all to be truly His, then the Lord has a right to do as He pleases with His property.  It is thought that in addition to Lyte's physical afflictions, difficulty with some individuals in his church also weighed heavily upon him.  This might account for expressions from the second and third verses such as "human hearts and looks deceive me...", "foes may hate, and friends may shun me ...".  But he concludes the hymn with the joyous words, "hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise." The pain and loss suffered here is  small when compared to the blessings of eternity ahead. Mozart was thought to be a possible composer of the tune, but the connection has not been authenticated. Generally Rowland H. Prichard is credited with having written the music. The original hymn had six stanzas. Of these, one, two, four and six are commonly used today. Henry Lyte's publication of the hymn was headed by the words, "Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee" (Mk. 10:28, KJV).


1.     Jesus, I my cross have taken, 
all to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, 
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, 
all I've sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! 
God and Heaven are still mine own.

2.     Let the world despise and leave me, 
they have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; 
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
And while Thou shalt smile upon me, 
God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, 
show Thy face and all is bright.

*3.     Go, then, earthly fame and treasure! 
Come, disaster, scorn and pain!
In Thy service, pain is pleasure; 
with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, "Abba, Father"; 
I have set my heart on Thee:
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather, 
all must work for good to me.

4.     Man may trouble and distress me, '
twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me; 
heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, 'tis not in grief to harm me while 
Thy love is left to me;
Oh, 'twere not in joy to charm me, 
were that joy unmixed with Thee.

*5.   Take, my soul, thy full salvation; 
rise o'er sin, and fear, and care;
Joy to find in every station 
something still to do or bear:
Think what Spirit dwells within thee; 
what a Father's smile is thine;
What a Savior died to win thee, 
child of heaven, shouldst thou repine?

6.    Haste then on from grace to glory, 
armed by faith, and winged by prayer,
Heaven's eternal day's before thee, 
God's own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, 
swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition, 
faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, June 4, 2017

DAY BY DAY (TH#6)


TIMELESS HYMNS #6 - A special feature where every few weeks I choose a hymn that I have written about before, revise and update it, and share it once again because I think it has a powerful message that we need.  This one was shared previously on November 16, 2008.



          I am amazed at how many great hymns were written as a result of a tragedy.  This week's timeless choice is a good example of that.  It was written by Karolina Sandell-Berg (1832 - 1903) who is often called the Swedish Fanny Crosby.  Her many songs flowed from a broken heart after being with her father, a Swedish pastor, when he fell overboard as they were crossing a lake in Sweden. He drowned before he could be rescued. So she knew what it meant when she penned the words, "Day by day, and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here." and "Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, E'er to take, as from a father's hand, one by one, the days, the moments fleeting, Till I reach the promised land."  This hymn has been an encouragement to me so often in my life.  I vividly recall a time when I was unexpectedly facing a major change in my life. As I took my morning walk, my heart was very heavy. I walked and prayed and listened to the early morning music on one of our area Christian radio stations. Suddenly I heard this song being sung.  And, it ministered powerfully to my need at that exact moment - God's answer to my prayer.  Strength I find to meet my trials here ... I've no cause to worry or to fear ... a special mercy for each hour ... His protection ... His promises ... my Father's hand.  I've often sung this song when I was preparing for surgery or having difficult physical tests performed.  It has often calmed my spirit during MRI's.  Now I don't know what challenge you might be facing today.  It is so easy to worry and get discouraged.  But you can rest in the knowledge that, "Every day the Lord Himself is near me, with a special mercy for each hour;  All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me, He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r. The protection of His child and treasure Is a charge that on Himself He laid." I challenge you to meditate upon these powerful words today as you trust Christ to meet your need.

1.     Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

2.     Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

3.     Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

Listen to it being sung here.      LISTEN.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

I WOULD BE TRUE


          One of the very sad trends in Christian circles today is the exodus of many young people from the church.  Too many young men and women who have grown up in evangelical churches leave, often to go to college, and never return.  Today's society bombards them with world views that are contrary to what they have been taught and as a result many leave the faith.  This is especially hard for parents who have taught their children and then send them off to college and see their faith attacked and destroyed. Often all we can do is surround them with prayer, even before they leave.  As a parent and a grandparent, over the years I have spent many hours for them before the Lord.  And it is exciting when we see victories where young people actually grow in the Lord during those difficult years. It does happen!  I imagine this must have been the case for the parents of Howard A. Walter, who in his twenties, went to Japan in 1906 to spend a year teaching English at the Waseda University.  It was his desire to reassure his mother back home of his continuing faith so he wrote a statement of his philosophy of life. with the title "My Creed".  His mother was greatly impressed and pleased with her son's convictions and sent a copy to Harper's Magazine where it was published in the May, 1907 issue.  Walter also shared his poem with a Methodist lay-preacher, Joseph Yates Peek, who immediately began whistling a tune for the words.  Peek then shared this with a friend, Grant Colfax Tullar, an accomplished organist and songwriter who notated and harmonized the music in its present form.  Walter went on to serve the Lord in various ministries until his death in a severe influenza epidemic.  Incidentally, this was the same Spanish Flu epidemic that caused the death of my grandfather.  Now I must admit that this hymn was never one of my favorites, but after hearing the story behind its writing, I have become impressed.  Have you ever written your personal creed for living?  Maybe that would be a good exercise and Walter's might be a good model to start with.  I have never done this personally, although my wife and I did create a list of 12 goals that we used to raise our boys and it is posted in our living room.   Sometimes it is a good technique to take those ideas which you carry in your head and put them on paper where they can be seen, reviewed and remembered.  So what is your creed?


1.     I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

2.     I would be friend of all - the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift.
I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift.

3.     I would be faithful through each passing moment;
I would be constantly in touch with God;
I would be strong to follow where He leads me;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod.

The following three verses were added several years later by someone else and are not found in most hymnbooks.

Who is so low that I am not his brother?
Who is so high that I've no path to him?
Who is so poor, that I may not feel his hunger?
Who is so rich I may not pity him?
Who is so rich I may not pity him?

Who is so hurt I may not know his heartache?
Who sings for joy my heart may never share?
Who in God's heaven has passed beyond my vision?
Who to Hell's depths where I may never fare?
Who to Hell's depths where I may never fare?

May none, then, call on me for understanding,
May none, then, turn to me for help in pain,
And drain alone his bitter cup of sorrow,
Or find he knocks upon my heart in vain.
Or find he knocks upon my heart in vain.

You can listen to it here.     LISTEN

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