Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


TIMELESS HYMNS - A special feature where I highlight some of the hymns that have been featured previously in this blog.  These entries are revised and expanded and shared again for your encouragement and challenge.  This hymn was first shared here on November 3, 2008.

          This Tuesday marks the 500th anniversary of one of the major turning points in Protestantism.  In 1517 Martin Luther, with his growing belief that salvation is by faith alone, presented his concerns to Church officials in the form of ninety-five theses, a series of statements that presented a logical argument against the sale of indulgences. Tradition has it that these were nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. Many will celebrate the 500th anniversary of this event on Tuesday for In doing this he started the Reformation. Luther broke with Rome in 1521, refusing to retract his writings before the Diet of Worms. Subsequently, he was recognized as the leader of the German Reformation.  In addition to skills as a writer, translator and preacher, Luther was an amateur musician. His thirty-seven hymns stand alongside his theological writings and his translation of the Bible into German as testaments of his creativity and intellectual ability.  No hymn is identified with the Protestant Reformation more than his "A Mighty Fortress." Luther (1483-1546) left a body of congregational songs that both defined the Lutheran confessional tradition and became truly ecumenical in influence.  This week's hymn has been called the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation" for the effect it had in increasing the support for the Reformers' cause.  Based on Psalm 46, the hymn is a celebration of the sovereign power of God over all earthly and spiritual forces, and of the sure hope we have in Him because of Christ. After its publication, it gained immense popularity throughout Reformed Europe.  Today the truths of the Bible are again under attack by politicians, organizations and the liberal media.  Many pastors and religious leaders twist and change the scriptures to defend and advance their anti-Biblical agendas.  Those who defend the truth of the Bible are attacked, criticized and marked as being intolerant.  "For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,on earth is not his equal." "And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure."  As believers we do face difficult times, but we know how it all will end.  Take heart my friend, with God we are on the victory side.  I am reminded of the scripture that spoke so clearly to Luther when he faced uncertain times and took a stand for the truth many centuries ago. "God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble." Psalm 46:1.  As this week the stand that Luther took 500 years ago is celebrated, take time to review the words of his great hymn and then be encouraged as you claim them and place your trust in God, our Mighty Fortress.

1.     A mighty fortress is our God, 
a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, 
armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

2.     Did we in our own strength confide, 
our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, t
he Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

3.     And though this world, with devils filled, 
hould threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth 
to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, 
his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

4.     That word above all earthly powers, 
no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him 
Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: 
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Listen to it here.       LISTEN

Sunday, October 22, 2017


        "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.  For centuries these familiar verses have been an inspiration and challenge to many.  They may also have been the inspiration for the writing of this week's hymn choice.  Horatius Bonar (1808 - 1889) entered the ministry as the pastor of the North Parish in the rural town of Kelso in Scotland.  He spent 20 years there pastoring, writing, and engaging in evangelism. In Bonar's day the Scottish church had no substantial library of hymns since they sang metrical Psalms almost exclusively. Bonar had begun to write hymns before his ordination when he was serving as superintendent of a Sunday school. He found that the youth had little love for either the words or the tunes they were singing, so he set out to write a few hymns with simpler lyrics and already familiar tunes. These hymns were well received. Perhaps his love of children came from the fact that he and his wife lost five of their own in rapid succession, yet he had hundreds in his Sunday Schools.  In later life, his widowed daughter and her five children had to move in with him. Bonar rejoiced for to him it was as if God had given him five children to replace those he had lost. In any case, while many of his hymns were originally written for children, they were so full of sound teaching that adults loved to sing them as well.  The four stanzas of "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say"  present several of our Lord's pointed, personal invitations to mankind and the promises attached to them. In the second pair of lines in each stanza, the individual's acceptance of the invitation, and the spiritual results promised, are described.  Stanza One:    "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)   Stanza Two:    "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. " (John 4:14) Stanza Three:  "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."  (John 8:12)   Stanza Four:   "In my Father's house are many mansions . . .  I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2).     Meditate this week upon the words of Dr. Bonar's hymn and consider how you've responded to each of the invitations of Jesus which are shared in the words.

1.     I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.

2.     I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

3.     I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I'll walk,
Till trav'ling days are done.

4.     I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"My Father's house above
Has many mansions; I've a place
Prepared for you in love."
I trust in Jesus - in that house,
According to His word,
Redeemed by grace, my soul shall live
Forever with the Lord.

The words of this hymn have been sung to m,any different tunes.  Here are several for you to listen to.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, October 8, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, October 1, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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