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 17, 2018

HE'S LISTENING TO YOU


          "Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul."  (Psalm 142:2)  David appears to be in a cave, possibly the Cave of Adullam, when he makes this sad plea. He is most likely in a period of great stress and depression.  He is being chased by Saul and his men and his life is in great danger.  He apparently felt isolated, worthless, useless, and in deep despair. He had hit rock bottom. And at that time he felt that nobody really cared.  Have you ever felt the same?  Maybe you do right now.  But if you continue reading Psalm 142 you will notice that David then cries out, O Lord, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.  Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low."  And God did listen to His child and delivered Him.  We need to be reminded that even in times of great personal despair, God will listen to our pleas. He understands what our sad heart feels and He knows the heartbreaks that we may be going through.  Recently I heard a gospel song with that message that I probably hadn't heard in about four decades.  But I was frustrated when I searched for information about it.  Often I can't find information about why a song was written, but in this case I couldn't even find the words, the author, or anything at all about it.  But then I did discover one old recording (linked below) and I was able to copy the words shown below.  I have a feeling that the Lord wanted me to share this song because one of my readers really needs this assurance this week.  And if not one of my readers, then me.  The words remind us that indeed He is listening to us, no matter what we may be going through.  He wants us to express our needs to Him, even though He already knows them. He loves you and cares for you.  Be encouraged this week as you consider this song which you probably have never heard before.  And if you, like David, happen to be stuck in a cave of despair, just remember that our omnipotent Heavenly Father is listening to you.


1.    No one know what a smile can conceal
But God understands what a sad heart feels
Your problem is never too great or too small
For He sees the tiniest sparrow fall.
He's listening to you
He's listening to you
He knows every heartbreak that your going through
So tell him today that your lonely and blue
Cause He's listening, He's listening to you

2.     When you have pain and your courage is low
The future seems dark and there's nowhere to go
Remember that Jesus is touched with your woe
And He loves you, He  cares and He wants you to know that
He's listening to you
He's listening to you
He knows every heartbreak that your going through
So tell him today that your lonely and blue
Cause he's listening this moment , He's listening
Yes He's listening
He's listening this moment to you.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, June 10, 2018

THE MERCIES OF GOD


          "The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness;  His mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22,23)  What a joy to experience His mercies which are new every morning.  These mercies stirred Thomas Obediah Chisholm (1866-1960) to pen the words of this beautiful, but not well known hymn. His aim in writing was to incorporate as much of Scripture as possible and to avoid "sentimental" themes.  Al Smith's book, Hymn Histories, gives us interesting information about the writing of this hymn.  Smith wrote, "The old man (Thomas Chisholm) awoke to face another weary day. His wife had been seriously ill for a long time, and it was time to give her her medicine. But the bottle was empty, and he had no money for more. Thinking perhaps a little breakfast would lift her spirits, he returned to the kitchen. But the ice box was almost as empty as the pill bottle, and even buying groceries seemed beyond their means. Not only that, their rent was due that day.  A pretty bleak picture. But God knew the need even before they did. Nothing takes the Lord by surprise. He says, "I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done" (Isa. 46:9-10). And "known to God from eternity are all His works" (Acts 15:18).  That is why He is able to work through our circumstances, providing in advance for our needs to be met when the time comes. ... Romans 8:28, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose."  Tom certainly believed that. He and his wife had come through many difficult times, though on this day in 1935 things seemed worse than usual. But see how the Lord was working!  Two days before, two men were attending to some necessary record-keeping for the Gideons Bible distribution ministry. They were going over the membership list for New Jersey. The policy was to remove anyone who had been contacted twice, but failed to send in the registration fee - five dollars in those days.  But just as Mr. Stam was about to cross off T. O. Chisholm, his friend said, "Jake, don't you know who that man is? Why, he's the fellow that wrote Great Is Thy Faithfulness." Saying that was his favorite hymn, Stam responded, "That sure is worth five dollars – I'll pay the brother's dues." However that was not to be the end of it. That night Stam had trouble sleeping. Tom Chisholm kept coming to his mind. Believing there might be a need there, he decided to send him a gift in the morning. Then the ringing of the phone at six roused him. It was his friend from the evening before. He had had the same experience in the night. Seeing this as the leading of the Lord, both men wrote checks, mailing them off with a note.   The next day – the day the burden of the Chisholm's meager finances struck with full force, he got that letter. At first, his heart sank to see the return address on the envelope, Jacob Stam, Attorney at Law! He thought, "All the trouble I'm in, and now an attorney is after me!"   But when he tore open the envelope he read, "Dear Brother, we have never met you, but we love you in the Lord. Thank you so much for Great Is Thy Faithfulness. Enclosed is a little something the Lord told us to send you." Mr. Chisholm was astonished to see that the "little something" covered not only the month's rent, and the cost of his wife's medicine, but provided enough to restock the pantry. It was at the suggestion of his wife that the hymn writer penned The Mercies of God, in celebration of God's amazing provision. Truly, "Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord!" (Ps. 119:156)."  Using Chisholm's words this week, remember the gift of God's daily mercies to you and thank Him for His faithfulness.


1.     The mercies of God! What a theme for my song,
Oh! I never could number them o'er;
They're more than the stars in the heavenly dome,
Or the sands of the wave beaten shore.
For mercies so great, what return can I make
For mercies so constant and sure?
I'll love Him, I'll serve Him with all that I have
As long as my life shall endure.

2.     They greet me at morn when I waken from sleep 
And they gladden my heart at the noon 
They follow me on into shades of the night 
when the day with its labor is done 
For mercies so great, what return can I make
For mercies so constant and sure?
I'll love Him, I'll serve Him with all that I have
As long as my life shall endure.

3.      His angels of mercy encompass me 'round,
Wheresoever my pathway may lead;
Each turn of the road some new token reveals
Oh! For me life is blessed indeed.
For mercies so great, what return can I make
For mercies so constant and sure?
I'll love Him, I'll serve Him with all that I have
As long as my life shall endure.

Listen to this hymn here.    

Sunday, June 3, 2018

UNDER HIS WINGS (TH#19)


 TIMELESS HYMN #19 - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - UNDER HIS WINGS  - originally shared on January 11, 2009.

          The story is told of a fire in the Midwest that swept over dry fields destroying everything in its path.  When the fire was finally extinguished, someone noticed the body of a chicken that was burnt to a crisp.  However, when they heard some noise they pushed aside the body and under its wings found several small chicks alive.  They had been protected from the fire by the wings of their mother.  David shared a similar thought in Psalm 91:4, "He will cover you with his feathers,  and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." (NIV).  He mentions a similar thought in Psalm 63:7, " Because you are my help,  I sing in the shadow of your wings."  Have you found this to be true in your life?  Has he protected you "under His wings" from the storms of life?  Has He given you a song in the midst of the strife?   How often in my life I have found His protection, when nothing else could help.   Safe and secure, sheltered and protected, under His wings of care.  The words of this hymn were written by William Orcott Cushing (1823-1902) in 1896.  Cushing faced many trials in his life.  After the death of his wife he developed a physical problem which took his voice and as a result his position as a preacher.  But the Lord gave him the gift of writing and he went on to pen the words for many great hymns, such as this one.  This hymn may have even been his personal testimony.  The music was added by Ira Sankey (1840-1908) who shared this hymn in many evangelistic crusades.  The truth of this hymn has been a source of comfort for many over the years.  Rejoice in the truth of His protection and refuge as you face the challenges of your daily walk with Christ.  May your prayer be, Psalm 17:8, "Hide me under the shadow of your wings."


(1)  Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings, my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

(2)  Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to its rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings, my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

(3)   Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life's trials are over;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I'm safe evermore.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings, my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever. 

You can listen to the melody here.    LISTEN

Sunday, May 27, 2018

PRAISE YE THE TRIUNE GOD


         "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." ( 2 Corinthians 13:14)    The Christian church  recognizes the doctrine of the Trinity, the existence of the triune Godhead,  The doctrine has been called one of the mystic truths of the Scripture because of the difficulty in fathoming and explaining it.  Yet it cannot be denied that the Bible does teach that while God is one, He exists in three coequal Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Scripture ascribes each member and with attributes as eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and creator of the universe.  Although the word Trinity is not used, there are numerous passages in which all three Persons are expressly mentioned together, such as the blessing shared at the beginning of this blog.  The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:." is another example.   The best of human analogies for explaining the Trinity always fall short.  In the final analysis we must accept this truth by faith and offer our worship and praise to each member of the Godhead.  The hymn "Praise Ye The Triune God!" was written by Elizabeth Charles (1828-1896). It is said that she was one of England's most gifted women of her day - author, poet, translator of German texts, musician and painter. This hymn is one of the finest Godhead hymns ever written. It does not present any complicated arguments, it simply directs a child-like praise to each member of the trinity for loving care and concern for us. Mrs Charles wrote over fifty books, the majority of a semi-religious character, as well as writing and translating a number of hymns.  This Trinitarian hymn was published in 1858. It is interesting that, although the meter suits the tune, none of the lines rhyme in the usual way.   The hymn praises the loving kindness of the Father, the compassion of the Savior, and the comfort of the Spirit.  What an awesome God we serve! Take time this week to praise the three persons of the Trinity as they are active in our world and in our lives.  Praise ye the triune God!

1      Praise ye the Father for His loving-kindness,
tenderly caring for His erring children;
praise Him, ye angels; praise Him in the heavens;
praise ye Jehovah

2      Praise ye the Savior great is His compassion,
graciously cares He for His chosen people;
young men and maidens, ye old men and children,
praise ye the Savior!

3      Praise ye the Spirit, Comforter of Israel,
sent from the Father and the Son to bless us;
praise ye the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Praise to the triune God!

Listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, May 20, 2018

BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES


          If you've ever watched a movie about frontier life and there was a scene involving a church service, you probably heard the congregation singing "Bringing in the Sheaves".  For some reason this old hymn has taken hold of the popular imagination as the go-to cultural reference for American "old-time religion."  It also seems they were singing this hymn every time the Ingalls family went to church on Little House on the Prairie.  The hymn probably was very popular when a large portion of the population knew about farm life.  They knew that during the time of harvest farmers would bring in the sheaves, the stalks of cut or harvested grain which had been bound together after reaping.  The hymn was  based on Psalm 126:5-6 which says: "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."  The lyrics were written in 1874 by Knowles Shaw (1834-1878).   His early life was spent in Indiana where he first began to play the violin, furnishing the music for many a dance. While a rowdy dance party was going on he was converted, ceasing to play in the middle of the piece he was performing. Very soon thereafter he entered the ministry. Most of his time after that was spent in the West and South and, on account of his wonderful vocal powers, he was called the "singing evangelist." As a singer he was considered by some as being equal to Sankey and Bliss. The press often spoke of his singing as something wonderful. Soon after beginning to preach, he also began to compose and to write music.  Records kept at the time suggest that the Lord used him to bring nearly 20,000 people to Christ.  There is often hard work involved in our service for the Lord, with heavy burdens and sometimes even tears. But the end result is well worth it. This harvest of bringing in the sheaves can be souls saved through the planting seeds of the Gospel. But in a broader sense it is the result of all Christian endeavor.  As Paul states, "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."  Bringing in the sheaves is the result of a life lived fully for the Lord.  Are we being obedient so that the Lord may give us an abundant harvest? Today this famous hymn has been dropped from most hymnbooks The argument is that it's a throwback to our rural, agrarian past and just is not meaningful to very many in our more urban, technological society. Maybe, maybe not. But the acid test is not whether it is old or new but whether it is scriptural. And the thought of this song is taken directly from the Bible,. If we can appreciate what God's word says about sowing the seed and reaping the harvest in Psalm 126, then we should be able to understand the picture of this song and the importance of bringing In the sheaves."  May each of us be about the challenge of spreading the seed in all that we do and say. Remember Galatians 6:7-9: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up".


1.     Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves

2.     Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter's chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves

3.     Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weepings over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, May 13, 2018

TILL THE STORM PASSES BY


          My heart breaks when I hear of and see pictures of the devastation that so many folks suffer from storms - tornados, hurricanes, mud slides, floods, lightening strikes volcanos and so much more.  I just can't fully understand the tragedy they are going through.  Personally, I have been so very fortunate not to have gone through any of these, although we have had numerous tornados close to our home.  We have watched on television as the storms approach us and then thank the Lord as they pass by and miss us.  What a relief when the storm finally passes by.  But there are serious storms in life of other kinds that we all often must face.  Spiritual and emotional storms abound.  Illness, financial loss, family breakups, loss of jobs and so many other unexpected storms hit us so hard.  And I think those kinds of difficult storms may also be part of the focus of this week's choice, written by Mosie Lister in 1958.  He may have been inspired by the story of Jesus who was with His disciples  in a boat when a vicious storm hit them.  In Mark 4:39 we read, "And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still.  And the wind ceased and there was a great calm." The scared disciples were astonished and relieved when upon the command of Jesus, the storm passed by.  It is said that this hymn was actually written for Mahalia Jackson, but it never reached her. A friend asked Lister to write a song for Jackson who at that time was well known for her rendition of the song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands". Lister said that because he grew up among minority groups, he had an idea about the background of Jackson and wanted to write a song that would be a prayer for a person who has undergone struggles in life.  The song was never given to her but it was written and many other people have actually been blessed by it.  Lister's hymn also echoes the promise of God to Israel in Isaiah 43:2: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you". The best part of this promise is that God not only said they would make it through, but that He would go with them! There was no fear of loneliness!  And that is also His promise to us today for Jesus has said that He would never leave us or forsake us. And He hasn't.  And He won't.  He will go with you through your storm.  He will hold you fast and let you stand in the hollow of His hand.  And one day He will take His children to that place where the long night has ended and the storms come no more. And we will stand with Him on that bright peaceful shore.  May that promise and truth be your encouragement as you experience His presence and peace while your storm passes by.


1.     In the dark of the midnight
have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me,
and there's no hiding place
'Mid the crash of the thunder, P
recious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
Till the storm passes over,
till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

2.     Many times Satan whispered,
"There is no need to try
For there's no end of sorrow,
there's no hope by and by"
But I know Thou art with me,
and tomorrow I'll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies
Till the storm passes over,
till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

3.     When the long night has ended
and the storms come no more
Let me stand in Thy presence
on the bright peaceful shore
In that land where the tempest,
never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by
Till the storm passes over,
till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Words and Music by Mosie Lister
copyright 1958

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, May 6, 2018

BE STILL MY SOUL (TH#18)


TIMELESS HYMN #18 - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - BE STILL MY SOUL - originally shared on March 22, 2009.

          Have your days been stressful?  Do your days seem filled with pressures and obligations?  Are you burdened with problems which seem to have no solution?  Do you seem to have too many deadlines to meet?  Do you find that the days are just to short to get everything done that must be done?  I have had these stressful experiences and I imagine that most of you have as well.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the urgent issues of life that we get overwhelmed and fail to sense or acknowledge the presence of God's Spirit in our lives.  But He is always there to give us the guidance, strength, and peace that we need.  This hymn is one of my favorites and it reminds me that He is faithful and always there to help - I just need to be still and let Him handle the stress and pressures in my life.  "Be Still My Soul" was a popular revival hymn that was written by Katharine von Schlegel (1697 - 1768) and translated into English by Jane L. Borthwick (1813-1897). The music was composed by Jean Sibelius from his music 'Finlandia.'   It is said to have been a favorite of Eric Liddell, the athlete who became famous for refusing to run in the Olympics on the Sabbath.  He later became a missionary in China and was imprisoned during World War II.  He is said to have taught this hymn to others in prison where he eventually died of a brain tumor.  On a personal note, I am actually rewriting this Timeless Hymn this hymn in March.  My wife has a very important medical appointment scheduled for tomorrow with a specialist and they are now calling for a plowable snow.  I admit that I have been stressed about getting her there as well as how we will clear our driveway  since both of us have heart conditions and are not supposed to shovel.  And we can't find anybody to do it for us, even if we pay them. The stress of this has also created physical problems for me.  But as I've prepared this blog the words of this hymn have again spoken to me and my present need.  I know I need to give the problems to him and be still before Him.  It will be interesting when this is published in May to look back and see how He worked all of this out.  Scripture tells us in Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  So if you are also stressed today, take time to sing this hymn, reflect upon the words and recognize that God is closer than you think and He is ready to handle your stress.  Just be still and let Him do so.  P.S. - Incidentally, I took my own advice.  After writing this blog I was still before the Lord and left my concerns in His hands.  Later the specialist called and rescheduled my wife's appointment due to the predicted snow and then the major snowstorm never even hit our area.  So why do I worry and fret? 



1.    Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2.    Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3.     Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

4.     Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Listen to it here.     LISTEN

Sunday, April 29, 2018

COME AND DINE



        Many years ago when we first moved to our present home, we were surrounded by fields of corn grown by a neighboring farmer.  Quite early in the morning his wife would walk through the rows to check on the condition of the corn and as she walked she would sing hymns.  And because of the quietness of the morning hours we could often hear her.  And the hymn we heard the most often was "Come and Dine". Today the fields and the farmer and his wife are gone, replaced by a housing development.  And we do miss her and her frequent morning concerts.  But we often think about what appeared to be one of her favorite hymns.  Pastor Charles B. Widmeyer (1894-1974) wrote the words and music for this gospel song in 1906. He studied vocal music from age 12 and, at age 15 began teaching classes of his own. His first song was actually written at age 15.  He wrote more than 350 songs and edited or contributed to many songbooks. "Come and Dine" was written following the reading of John 21 and his meditation on the similarity between the tired, hungry disciples and people of his day who were both spiritually and physically hungry.  It is based on an incident described in John 21:1-14 in which Peter and half a dozen of the other disciples had fished all night and had nothing to show for it.  This was discouraging and they had probably worked up a big appetite. But Jesus was on the shore and had apparently not only caught fish, but prepared them, along with some breakfast toast. He called for them to make one more cast of their net "on the right side of the boat". The amazing result was a catch so great that they had trouble hauling the net into the boat. They found that they had caught 153 "large fish".  When they came ashore, the Lord invited them to "come and eat breakfast", or, in the KJV that Widmeyer was using, "Come and dine."  This was an example of the loving care and provision of the Lord.  He provided for them in a very practical way as He does for us today.  He had anticipated their need and was prepared in advance to meet it.  What a joy to be able to trust in God's provision, knowing that He already knows what we'll face tomorrow and stands by ready to help us. "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"  (Phil. 4:19).  And so, even today, the Lord knows our needs, often before we even know them, and He says "Come and dine" with me, at any time,  and trust me to provide and meet those needs.  Listen to His call today and rest at the table He has spread for you.  He will supply your every need.


1.     Jesus has a table spread
Where the saints of God are fed,
He invites His chosen people, "Come and dine";
With His manna He doth feed
And supplies our every need:
Oh, 'tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!
"Come and dine," the Master calleth, "Come and dine";
You may feast at Jesus' table all the time;
He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, "Come and dine."

2.    The disciples came to land,
Thus obeying Christ's command,
For the Master called unto them, "Come and dine";
There they found their heart's desire,
Bread and fish upon the fire;
Thus He satisfies the hungry every time
"Come and dine," the Master calleth, "Come and dine";
You may feast at Jesus' table all the time;
He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, "Come and dine."
.
3.     Soon the Lamb will take His bride
To be ever at His side,
All the host of heaven will assembled be;
Oh, 'twill be a glorious sight,
All the saints in spotless white;
And with Jesus they will feast eternally.
"Come and dine," the Master calleth, "Come and dine";
You may feast at Jesus' table all the time;
He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, "Come and dine."

Listen to it here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I



          Psalm 61: 1-5  "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.   I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.   For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name." 
            Erastus Johnson (1826 - 1909) was born in a logging camp in Maine.  He entered the Academy at Calais, Maine at the age of fifteen, spent two years there, taught school for the next six, and then entered Bangor Theological Seminary. His health failed, and, threatened with the loss of his sight, was compelled to give up preparation for the ministry.  On the advice of his physician he took a sea voyage, embargoing on the ship Gold Hunter en route from New York to California. The crew of the ship mutinied just before rounding Cape Horn and as Johnson was the only person on board who knew anything about navigation, other than the captive officers, he was pressed into service to take the ship on to its destination, San Francisco. And he did it. Later he worked as a rancher in California, a farmer in Washington state, in the oil business in Pennsylvania for some twenty years, and again as a farmer in Maine.  He was always interested in religious work especially in the Y.M.C.A. and that interest is what led him to pen this week's hymn choice.  Here is what he had to say about that. 
          "There was a convention of the Y.M.C.A. at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which I attended as a delegate, and John Wanamaker was president of the convention. About the second day there came a telegram from Philadelphia that the banking house of Jay Cook & Co. had failed, in which Mr. Wanamaker had $70,000 which to him at that time in life was a great amount to lose. Soon followed reports of other firms throughout the country, indicating a general panic. As a matter of course, it threw a pall of gloom over the convention, for nearly all its members were men of business. As an expression of the common feeling I wrote "The Rock That Is Higher Than I". Mr. Wm. Fisher of Philadelphia, the composer of many tunes for gospel hymns, was at the convention, and in conjunction with Brother William, led the singing. I gave the words to him and he set them to music, sang them, and they with the music immediately became popular in the convention, especially with Mr. Wanamaker, who several times called for it. And soon it found its way into many publications."
          While Johnson is said to have been a lifelong student of the Bible, a fluent speaker, and a musician of moderate attainment, he apparently published just one book of poems, most of which were apparently only of interest to members of his immediate family.  But the words that he penned that day at the convention have been a help and encouragement to many over the years.  We all face days that are filled with sorrows and our path is so rough and the day seems so long.  But as believers we can fly to the secure Rock, the Lord Jesus, for protection, guidance, strength, wisdom and peace.  He is always there.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us and He never will.  No matter what you may be facing today, fly to the Rock that is higher than you.
         
1.      O sometimes the shadows are deep,
And rough seems the path to the goal,
And sorrows, sometimes how they sweep
Like tempests down over the soul!
Chorus:
O then to the Rock let me fly,
To the Rock that is higher than I;
O then to the Rock let me fly
To the Rock that is higher than I!

2.      O sometimes how long seems the day,
And sometimes how weary my feet;
But toiling in life's dusty way,
The Rock's blessed shadow, how sweet!
O then to the Rock let me fly,
To the Rock that is higher than I;
O then to the Rock let me fly
To the Rock that is higher than I!

3.     O near to the Rock let me keep,
If blessings or sorrow prevail;
Or climbing the mountain way steep,
Or walking the shadowy vale. 
O then to the Rock let me fly,
To the Rock that is higher than I;
O then to the Rock let me fly
To the Rock that is higher than I!

Listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, April 15, 2018

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL


          Probably the most known story of the events behind the writing of a hymn is the story of Horatio Spafford and "It Is Well With My Soul".  He penned the words and it was composed by Philip Bliss in 1876.  Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family of five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.  On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre, was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. These included Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. About four days into the crossing the Atlantic the liner collided with a Scottish ship and suddenly all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her children to the deck and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will or make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the liner slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children. A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel. Nine days later she wired her husband a message which began, "Saved alone, what shall I do?"  Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.  According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote "It Is Well With My Soul" while on this journey.  In the centuries since then this hymn has been a great source of comfort and encouragement to millions who have faced sorrows, like sea billows, and have experienced the peace that only our great God can provide.  On a personal note, many years ago the mother of my future daughter-in-law testified in church that she had just learned that she needed a second heart valve replacement.   She had accepted the bad news with the words "But it is well with my soul!".  Shortly after that testimony the Lord suddenly took her home with a heart attack.  Those of us who heard her testimony have had a difficult time singing this hymn since then without  tears of remembrance.  But we thank the Lord that she had this peace and confidence.  What about you?  Do you know it is well with your soul?  Can you face the future with that confidence?  "And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts, your minds through Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:7.   Not all hymn books have included all the verses of this great hymn and some have modified some of the words. Verses four and five are seldom included.  But I've chosen to list all the verses of this great hymn as originally written, for your encouragement.


1.     When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

2.    Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

3.    My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

4.    For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

5.     But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

6.     And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul! 
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Listen to a unique and beautiful a cappella rendition here.   LISTEN1
Here is a second choice done by Selah  LISTEN2