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, July 30, 2017

I'LL FLY AWAY


          One of the things that I have always appreciated about the older hymns is that very often the final verse was devoted to the topic of our future home in heaven. Personally, I wish more of today's Christian music would be devoted to that theme.  I guess heaven is a theme that we appreciate more the older we become.  For the believer it is our final destination and hope and the closer we come to experiencing it, the more meaningful it becomes.  This week's choice, written by Albert Brumley (1905-1977), shares the believers hope and future experience, using an upbeat melody. Brumley was born into a family of impoverished tenant farmers, and spent his early years picking cotton. He quit school after the tenth grade, envisioning little future beyond being a sharecropper like his father. Then, when he was sixteen, Brumley attended a singing class and discovered he had a gift for making music. Soon he was composing songs. A few years later, he briefly enrolled in a music school, but dropped out and returned to picking cotton. Brumley says that one day as he worked he was "humming the old ballad that went like this: 'If I had the wings of an angel, over these prison walls I would fly,' and suddenly it dawned on me that I could use this plot for a gospel-type song." The song Brumley was humming appears to be "The Prisoner's Song". But it was an additional three years later until Brumley worked out the rest of the song, paraphrasing one line from the secular ballad to read, "Like a bird from prison bars has flown", using prison as an analogy for earthly life.  Brumley has stated, "When I wrote it, I had no idea that it would become so universally popular." It was written in 1929 and published in 1932 by the Hartford Music company in a collection titled Wonderful Message.  And it did become an instant favorite across depression-ravaged America. It is still a standard song at bluegrass jam sessions and is often performed at funerals. Brumley wrote over 600 published songs, including "Turn Your Radio On", "I'll Meet You in the Morning", and "This World Is Not My Home". Brumley's song not only has a message of hope for the believer, but it is fun to sing because of its rousing melody that is easily harmonized. What a day that will be, when Christians take flight into the presence of the glorified Christ, and "we shall always be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4:17)..  What a blessed hope we have as we continue to live in this world which is  filled with despair and evil.  We are just pilgrims here knowing that a perfect home is being prepared for us.  And one day, possibly soon, we'll fly away to God's celestial shore.  Hallelujah!  Rejoice in this truth this week.

1.     Some bright morning when this life is over, I'll fly away
To a land on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away
I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away

2.    When the shadows of this life have gone, I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I'll fly, I'll fly away
I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away

3.    Oh how glad and happy when we meet, I'll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet, I'll fly away
I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away

4.     Just a few more weary days and then, I'll fly away
To a land where joy will never end, I'll fly away
I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away

You can listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, July 23, 2017

STILL, STILL WITH THEE


          Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) is primarily known for her novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which she wrote and first appeared in The National Era in 1852.  She was intensely interested in the abolition of slavery and this led her to write this well known book which brought her national attention. It is considered by many to be one of the factors that ultimately led to the Civil War.  The Stowe's home in Cincinnati was a station on the Underground Railroad.  However, it wasn't her novel that is the reason that we feature her this week, but what happened as a result of one of her daily habits.  Every morning she would rise at 4:30 am and take a walk in the silence before the rush of the day.  During that time she would enjoy hearing the birds sing and seeing the dawn break.  But more importantly, she would commune with Jesus.  If you are a morning person you may be able to relate yo the beauty of such moments.  Personally, I used to walk early every morning and spend time with the Lord in those quiet moments. It was a very special time. Unfortunately, I had several unexpected close encounters with skunks in the dark - none of which sprayed me - but that was enough to make me change my habit. In the summer of 1853, when Stowe was visiting at the home of a friend, the results of her experiences of meditation while walking in the early morning hours led her to pen the words of this week's featured song, "Still, Still With Thee".  This is the only hymn by Harriet Beecher Stowe to survive in common use. However, many hymnologists believe that for sheer poetic beauty, there is probably not a single American hymn that can excel it. As we are drawn into the silence of the dawn where we can be alone with the Lord, it is as if we are telling Him that there is no greater blessing in this life than being "Still, Still With Thee." "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!….When I awake, I am still with Thee"  (Ps. 139.17-18).  The words of her poem were put to music by Felix Mendelssohn, but many different tunes have since been used by various musicians.  Now maybe you aren't a morning person and haven't experienced this morning, quiet meeting with the Lord.  But, hopefully, you regularly share another intimate time with him throughout your day.  If you do, then you should be able to appreciate and relate to the sweetness of this meeting which Stowe describes. What a thrill to know that we can meet with Him at anytime and in any place.  And even more amazing is the fact that He is always there and ready to meet with us.


1.     Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

2.     Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

3.     As in the dawning o'er the waveless ocean
The image of the morning star doth rest,
So in the stillness Thou beholdest only
Thine image in the waters of my breast.

4.     Still, still with Thee, as to each newborn morning,
A fresh and solemn splendor still is given,
So does this bless├Ęd consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto Thee and Heaven.

5.     When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eye looks up to Thee in prayer;
Sweet the repose beneath the wings o'ershading,
But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there.

6.     So shall it be at last, in that bright morning,
When the soul waketh and life's shadows flee;
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee.

Listen to it here.  LISTEN1

Sunday, July 16, 2017

IN HIS TIME


          I admit it.  I get upset when I must wait.  I am bothered when folks are late for a meeting and we must wait for them.  I get upset when a doctor's office asks me to arrive at least 15 minutes before my appointment and then I must wait an additional 30 minutes to  actually be seen.  I don't like waiting in lines when I am driving.  In fact, I have been known to go many miles out of my way just to avoid waiting in a slow line.  I don't like to wait for the bill in a restaurant.  So you see, I have a problem with waiting. When I was a youngster in CEF camp I can recall being taught that God answers our prayers in three ways ... yes, no, or ...wait.  The yes is wonderful.  The no can be disappointing, but He is always right.  But the wait ... well it can be difficult, unless we put our entire faith in the Lord.  He will always answer ... in His time, not necessarily our time.  There is something in particular that I have been praying for now for a few years and the answer still appears to be ... wait.  But along the way I have seen evidences that the Lord has not forgotten my prayer and He will answer, in His time.  Many Bible characters have waited for God's answer.  Abraham waited a quarter of a century before God allowed he and Sarah to conceive, keeping His promise. Genesis 21:1-2, "The Lord kept His word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised.  She became pregnant and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age.  This happened at just the time God had said it would." It was Diane Ball, a camp director of a conference center in California and a mother of four children, who penned the words of this song.  It is said that she was on her way to speak at a meeting and was running late.  While driving many miles she heard not only the melody but also the words to this week's choice.  And while it is very short, it is a great reminder of our need to trust God and His timing.  For us waiting can often seem like an eternity.  But we grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord as we learn to wait with anticipation rather than worry.  We know that God keeps His promises so we shouldn't get concerned when He requires us to wait.  So if today you are waiting for an answer, as I am, be assured that He hasn't forgotten you and that He makes all things beautiful  ... in His time.

1.     In His time, In His time,
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord please show me every day
As You're teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say 
In Your time.

2.   In Your time, in Your time,
You make all things beautiful in Your time.
Lord my life to You I bring 
May each song I have to sing
Be to you a lovely thing 
In Your time.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Here is another rendition, a longer but beautiful one.   LISTEN2

Sunday, July 9, 2017

WHATEVER IT TAKES


          What would you be willing to do to draw closer to God? Would you be willing to go through the darkest valley you have ever faced in order to know Him more than you do today? Would you be willing to give up your most prized possession in efforts to have a closer walk with God? What about "giving up" your dreams?  Are you really willing to do whatever it takes to become more like Him?  If you are like me, so often we sings songs without really thinking about the words we are singing.  This is especially true of songs of consecration, such as this week's choice by Lanny Wolfe.  But it is a very serious thing to tell the Lord, even through our singing, that we are willing to bear whatever He feels we need to draw closer to Him and to be like Him.  Years ago I had a good friend who battled the habit of smoking.  He tried everything he could to break the habit but he wasn't able to do so.  Then one day after much frustration he told the Lord that he couldn't do it himself and that the Lord should  do whatever He needed to do to take this habit from him.  He desparately desired to be free from this habit which was hindering his walk with the Lord.  A few hours later he had a major heart attack.  The Lord spared his life and he never smoked again.  I believe Gid heard his cry and answered.  I've often heard about fox-hole conversions during war and I've often wondered what happened to these promises after the war was over.  We all should have the desire to draw closer to the Lord and to walk with Him.  But sometimes that means enduring persecution and sickness and a variety of challenges.  In 2 Timothy we are told that we are soldiers in the middle of a spiritual battle.  And what do good soldiers do?  They endure hardness for a specific purpose and they trust and follow their leader.  The beauty of this is that our leader, the Lord Jesus Christ, will never leave us in the fiercest of battles. He will be there with us. We can trust Him fully for He knows all of our ways.  And we can safely say "whatever it takes to draw closer, Lord, that's what I'll be willing to do."  May that be our desire.  Lord, change us, mould us and make us into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.  May we lose all desire for our will, but give us your desires and your will.  We place our whole life in your hands.


1.     There's a voice calling me 
from an old rugged tree,
And it whispers "Draw closer to Me.
Leave your world far behind
There are new heights to climb,
And a new life in Me you will find.
For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord
That's what I'll be willing to do.
And whatever it takes to be more like You,
That's what I'll be willing to do.

2.     Take the dearest things to me
If that's how it must be
To draw me closer to thee
Let the disappointments come
Lonely days without the sun
If through sorrow more like you I become
For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord
That's what I'll be willing to do
And whatever it takes to be more like You
That's what I'll be willing to do

3.     Take my houses and lands,
Take my dreams and my plans.
I place my whole life in Your hands.
And if You call me someday,
To a land far away,
Lord, I'll go and Your will obey
For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord
That's what I'll be willing to do
And whatever it takes to be more like You
That's what I'll be willing to do

bridge

I'll trade sunshine for rain, comfort for pain
That's what I'll be willing to do
For whatever it takes for my will to break
That's what I'll be willing to do
And whatever it takes to be more like You
That's what I'll be willing to do

Listen to it here, sung by a girl's trio.  LISTEN

Sunday, July 2, 2017

TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS (TH#7)


TIMELESS HYMN #7 - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS - originally shared on November 9, 2008

          Terrorism, political upheaval, the cost of living, higher taxes, political correctness, fake news, attacks on Biblical values, cancer, weather and fears of all types are problems which we face today.  It is easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed by the problems of life which we encounter.  How easy it becomes, even for those of us who profess to be faithful followers of Christ, to get caught up in the "things of earth," so that our heavenly vision and values become blurred and dull. This can even happen when we are active in our Christian ministries.  We can become so involved in merely doing things for God that we miss the real blessing of enjoying the personal fellowship of Christ Himself in our daily lives. My grandfather who was a pastor for many years used to encourage his congregation with the admonition, "Keep Looking Up".   And that is such good advice because that is where our relief and help comes from, today, day by day, and then one of these days when Christ comes back to take us away from the problems of this world.  We need to turn our eyes upon Jesus and keep our focus on Him, with eternity's values in view.  The author and composer of this hymn, Helen H. Lemmel (1863-1961), relates that one day in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled "Focused." The pamphlet contained these words: "So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness."  These words made a deep impression upon Mrs. Lemmel. She could not dismiss them from her mind. She recalls this experience following the reading of that tract:  "Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit." The hymn was first published in 1918 in the form of a pamphlet in London, England. Four years later, it was included in a collection titled, "Glad Songs", a book containing sixty-seven songs by Mrs. Lemmel. This hymn became especially popular that same year at the Keswick Bible Conference in northern England, where it was first introduced.  Have you lost your focus?  Has your spiritual vision become blurred?  "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus." Hebrews 12:2.  "Turn your eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."


(1)    O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

(2)    Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace

(3)    His Word shall not fail you — He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace

Listen to it here.   LISTEN