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, September 16, 2018

ARE YE ABLE SAYS THE MASTER


           Marlatt (1892 - 19767) was a professor of religion at the Boston University Theological Seminary School of Religious Education when he was asked in 1925 to write an original hymn for a consecration service.  The text he wrote was based on Christ's pointed question to His disciples.  Just before Jesus went to the cross, the mother of James and John came to Him to ask if her sons could be given a prominent place in His coming kingdom. In response, the Lord asked them, "Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?",  a reference to His suffering and death. And the men answered, "We are able" (Matt. 20:22).  Knowing now what was about to happen to them in coming days, we can see their self confidence as somewhat naive. In truth, when the time of testing came, "all the disciples forsook Him and fled" (Matt. 26:56). But we also know that in later years, strengthened by the Spirit of God, one after another faced persecution and even death with holy boldness.  And it is only in the strength of the Spirit that we today are able to put on the whole armor of God and stand with the Master in difficult times. The hymn was originally titled "Challenge."  It is said to have inspired many young people to Christian service in the early to mid 20th century. A Bishop Hardt confirms this, "Mere words cannot begin to recapture the power and abiding love which the familiar words 'Are Ye Able' brought to generations of Methodist young people. Perhaps young persons in generations yet to come may again find the eternal spirit of Christ speaking to them through these inspiring words."  Being a Child of God has many special blessings, such as peace, love, guidance, hope, companionship, strength, joy and His presence.  But we are also involved in a spiritual war.  And while we are on the victory side, we must learn to rely on our Master and His strength.  May our prayer be, ""Lord, we are able, our spirits are Thine, Remold them, make us like Thee, divine. Thy guiding radiance above us shall be a beacon to God, to love and loyalty."


1      "Are ye able," said the Master,
"To be crucified with me?"
"Yea," the sturdy dreamers answered,
"To the death we follow Thee."
Refrain:
Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
a beacon to God, to love, and loyalty.

2      Are ye able to remember,
When a thief lifts up his eyes,
That his pardoned soul is worthy
Of a place in paradise? [Refrain]

3      Are ye able when the shadows
Close around you with the sod,
To believe that spirit triumphs,
To commend your soul to God? [Refrain]

4      Are ye able? Still the Master
Whispers down eternity,
And heroic spirits answer,
Now as then in Galilee. [Refrain]

Listen to it here.  ARE YE ABLE

Sunday, September 9, 2018

WHEN LOVE SHINES IN


          After days of gloomy weather and storms, there is something very exciting that happens when you wake up to beams of beautiful sunlight streaming through your windows. What a change this can make in your spirit and attitude.  It gives you fresh motivation and enthusiasm to get up and go out to face the day.  But there is even a greater and more important impact to our lives when the love of Christ breaks through and floods your soul.  Then we gain a new appreciation for His love and what He has done for us.  Our hearts come alive with praise and thanksgiving and we gain a new perspective about our challenges and concerns.  Things appear so different to us in the light of His love and presence. We also gain an attitude of love and concern for our fellowmen.  How important it is to allow God's love to shine into our lives which will never remain the same once we experience His love and learn to share God's love in word and deed each day. Believers are not known simply because they do good deeds. They do good works because they have experienced the supernatural love of Christ.  Carrie Breck (1855-1934) conveyed these truths in this week's hymn which she wrote in 1874.  The mother of five children, Mrs. Breck was a homemaker who wrote poetry in her spare moments. She was not at all musical, but she had a clear sense of rhythm and is believed to have written about 375 hymns.  She said "It was a great joy to me, and, as opportunity offered, I penciled verse under all sorts of conditions - over a mending basket, with a baby in arms, and sometimes even when sweeping or washing dishes, my mind moved to meter",  This week's song provides a joyful testimony to the transforming power of the love of God. When we turn to the Word of God, we find God's love - both in us and through us - to be a subject that is referred to again and again.  Meditate on these words this week and thank God for what He did to you when His love shone in and filled your soul.


1      Jesus comes with pow'r to gladden,
When love shines in,
Every life that woe can sadden,
When love shines in.
Love will teach us how to pray,
Love will drive the gloom away,
Turn our darkness into day--
When love shines in. 
Chorus:
When love shines in,
When love shines in,
How the heart is tuned to singing,
When love shines in,
When love shines in,
Joy and peace to others bringing--
When love shines in! 

2      How the world will grow with beauty,
When love shines in,
And the heart rejoice in duty,
When love shines in.
Trials may be sanctified,
And the soul in peace abide,
Life will all be glorified--
When love shines in.  Chorus


3      Darkest sorrow will grow brighter,
When love shines in,
And the heaviest burden lighter,
When love shines in.
'Tis the glory that will throw
Light to show us where to go;
O the heart shall blessing know--
When love shines in.
When love shines in,
When love shines in,
How the heart is tuned to singing,
When love shines in,
When love shines in,
Joy and peace to others bringing--
When love shines in!

4      We may have unfading splendor,
When love shines in,
And a friendship true and tender,
When love shines in.
When earth's vict'ries shall be won,
And our life in heav'n begun,
There will be no need of sun--
When love shines in.  Chorus

Listen to it here.  LISTEN

Sunday, September 2, 2018

ALL YOUR ANXIETY (TH #22)


TIMELESS HYMN #22- Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - ALL YOUR ANXIETY - originally shared on February 8, 2008.

          When I was in college I was stunned to hear that my pastor had died of a sudden heart attack while preparing for a VBS closing program  Although that was over 50 years ago, I still vividly remember his funeral service.  One of the things that has remained in my mind is the hymn sung by the Pastor's Quartet  - "All Your Anxiety".  I had never heard this hymn before and I have never since forgotten it.  Years later it was in our new hymnbook, but I don't recall that we sang it very often.  However, over the years the words have often come back to me and have been a comfort to me in times of stress and anxiety.  Recently we were listening to some of our old 33 rpm records - do you remember these?.  One of the albums was by my favorite trombone player, Bill Pierce, and one of the numbers that he played and sang was this hymn.  I immediately thought that I had to include it in my blog.  Hopefully the words will be a help and comfort to many of you.  The hymn was written in 1920 by Edward H. Joy (1871 - 1949) who had a long career serving in the Salvation Army.  He was inspired to pen the words of this hymn by the words from Philippians, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."  And also by the words from 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."  Joy described the challenges that we all face at different times - sorrows, cares, burdens and anxieties.  We all encounter these at various times in life.  They often cause us emotional stress, and too often even serious physical problems.  But there is a solution.  It is that we bring our anxieties to the Lord in prayer. For this, the hymn writer uses the imagery of coming to the cross, and of coming to the mercy seat.  How much better our lives would be if only we could claim and apply the words of this hymn and leave all of our anxiety with the Lord. I admit that this is a lesson that I must often still learn. But there is never a burden that He can't bear. And He asks us to leave ALL of this with Him. There is never a friend like Jesus. 
          P.S. - When I originally wrote this blog in 2008, little did I realize that in a few days my father would suddenly be taken home to be with the Lord.  Then three months later the Lord would take my brother home.  And two months earlier He had taken my father-in-law home.  There is no question that we faced anxiety during those times and we found these words so true and timely. The Lord's timing is always amazing and always right.  Hopefully this song will also be a comfort and encouragement to you.



(1)   Is there a heart o'erbound by sorrow?
Is there a life weighed down by care?
Come to the cross, each burden bearing—
All your anxiety, leave it there.
All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus!

(2)   No other friend so keen to help you,
No other friend so quick to hear;
No other place to leave your burden,
No other one to hear your prayer.
All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus!

(3)    Come then at once, delay no longer!
Heed His entreaty kind and sweet;
You need not fear a disappointment,
You shall find peace at the mercy seat.
All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus!

You can listen to the music here.      LISTEN

Sunday, August 26, 2018

JESUS LOVES ME


          The very first Christian song that most children learn is "Jesus Loves Me."  If one were to conduct a poll of preschoolers about their favorite Christian songs, this very simple, but precious song would still probably be near the top of their favorites. Yet few people know that this song began life not as a song but as a part of one of 1860's best-selling novels.  Anna Warner (1827–1915) was well aware of the coming of the war between the states. She lived near the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Every Sunday Anna taught Bible classes to the cadets. She fully comprehended the importance of leading each of them to Jesus. With an urgency brought about by a nation on the brink of dividing, sharing Christ's love became her mission in life. With her sister Susan she also wrote several novels, using the pseudonym Amy Lothrop. In 1860 the sisters' Say and Seal' became one of the country's best-selling work of fiction.  But the book quickly passed from the public's fancy.  However, thanks to one very special scene on but a single page, the essence of the book and of Anna's faith would live for decades after 'Say and Seal' and Anna herself would be forgotten. In one chapter a child lay dying. Nothing could be done to ease his pain or give him a second chance at life. As his ultimate fate grew nearer, the novel's focal character, Mr. Linden, attempted to comfort the small boy.  Looking into the child's eyes, he slowly recited a poem that began, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  It is said that these simple lines also moved thousands of readers to tears. It quickly became one of the most beloved poems of the era.  One of the scores of readers who memorized the poem was William Bradbury, a teacher of voice and organ. A lover of children's voices, as well as a proponent of music education in both school and church, Bradbury allowed the child in his own heart to spring forth when writing the simple musical notes for "Jesus Loves Me." Then, to fully complete the work, he added the now familiar refrain.   Later David Rutherford McGuire added stanzas two and three. Today few know of the writings of Anna Warner or recognize the name of William Bradbury, but almost everyone knows this song. Children and adults of all races and even millions outside the Christian faith can sing "Jesus Loves Me." It  is the foundation on which many children come to know the love and sacrifice of the Lord who inspired it. And this message is often what keeps them singing the gospel throughout their lives.  The song  claims Christ's devotion to me, but how can that be true? As a sinner, wouldn't the holy God despise me? Thankfully, the song is not hopeful delusion but rather sound, biblical theology. While God hated my sin, His love for me compelled Him to give up His beloved Son.  Jesus, God the Son, loved us so much that He died a terrible death to pay the just penalty for our sins (John 3:16).  Meditate on this amazing truth this week and be reminded of the simple but powerful truth that Jesus Loves You.


1.     Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

2.    Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, 'Let them come to Me.'
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

3.   Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

4.    Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

5.    Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, August 19, 2018

WHEN I CAN READ MY TITLE CLEAR


         How well I remember the excitement when after years of renting, we were finally able to purchase our own home.  But for many years it really wasn't our own because the bank held the mortgage.  And monthly we paid back part of that debt until the day that the title to our home was finally ours.  Of course the bills went on for things like taxes, repairs, electricity, water, sewage, heat and all of that which  is part of home ownership.  My father-in-law used to say that you never own the home, the home owns you.  And I think he was right.  But I have received a title, free and clear, to another home, a perfect one which needs no upkeep.  I didn't have to earn it or purchase it, I received it as a gift the day I accepted Christ as my Savior.  The entire price was paid by Jesus when He died on the Cross of Calvary for my sins.  And I don't have to make any payments to maintain it, and even it  I wanted to, I couldn't.  It is all part of my heavenly inheritance.  And that is a much more valuable title than I could ever have or hope to have.  The great hymn writer, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), in 1707 captured this idea when he penned the words to this old hymn.   He called the hymn "The Hope of Heaven Our Support Under Trials on Earth." That reassures us that the opening line was not intended to cast doubt on the destiny of the child of God. It's not as though Watts was saying that he hasn't been able to "read his title clear" yet. Rather, it's in effect, "Because I'm able to read my title clear in God's Word, day by day."   In his first verse Watts shares about that mansion in the sky and how someday he would say farewell to every fear on earth and wipe his weeping eyes as he entered his eternal home.  In the second verse he shares about the fiery darts of Satan and how those who have the assurance of God's love can smile at Satan's rage, knowing that we can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).  The third verse refers to the cares and sorrows of this life which can come like a wild deluge against us. However, those who have assurance from God receive the living hope through Christ of an inheritance in heaven (1 Pet. 1.3-5).  And finally, verse four refers to the rest that will be part of our life in heaven even though through this life our souls often become weary (Galatians 6:9).  What a marvelous title and inheritance we have.  Whatever God has planned for His people in heaven, I am sure that we will spend rejoicing in it for all eternity "When I Can Read My Title Clear."


1    When I can read my title clear
to mansions in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to every fear,
and wipe my weeping eyes;
and wipe my weeping eyes,
and wipe my weeping eyes,
I'll bid farewell to every fear,
and wipe my weeping eyes.

2     Should earth against my soul engage,
and fiery darts be hurled,
then I can smile at Satan's rage,
and face a frowning world;
and face a frowning world,
and face a frowning world,
then I can smile at Satan's rage,
and face a frowning world.

3    Let cares, like a wild deluge come,
and storms of sorrow fall!
May I but safely reach my home,
my God, my heaven, my all;
my God, my heaven, my all,
my God, my heaven, my all,
may I but safely reach my home,
my God, my heaven, my all.

4    There I shall bathe my weary soul
in seas of heavenly rest,
and not a wave of trouble roll
across my peaceful breast;
across my peaceful breast,
across my peaceful breast,
and not a wave of trouble roll
across my peaceful breast.

You can listen to a special a capella version produced by one singer here.  LISTEN

Sunday, August 12, 2018

IN THE GARDEN OF MY HEART


          On several of our trips to Wisconsin, we were able to enjoy visits to Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. Here there are 16 acres of all types of beautiful gardens.  Not only are these well maintained gardens very beautiful, but they are peaceful and relaxing.  I often wish that I could spend more time there walking, reflecting and talking to the Lord. Hymn writers have often used pictures, including gardens, to represent the spiritual lessons they want to share.  Some examples of that which I have shared in my blogs include "In The Garden", "The Beautiful Garden of Prayer" and "Thy Word is Like A Garden Lord". Haldor Lilenas (1885-1949), who wrote over 4,000 hymns, also chose a garden to picture our time of fellowship with the Lord.  He talks about times of sacred communion  with the Lord in the garden of our heart.  It can be a place and time of comfort and rest, shut away from the earth's strife.  But there is a problem with gardens.  At our house we have trouble with weeds that so easily grow in the midst of our flowers and if we don't work to eliminate and control them, the beauty of our gardens is lost.  And if we don't get enough rain or if we don't water them, they often shrivel and die.  It takes work to maintain beautiful gardens.  And the very same can be said about the garden of our heart. We need to work to avoid  and eliminate the "weeds".  And we need to spend time there in fellowship with the Lord.  We need to share with Him and listen to Him.  Do we forget to spend time in the Word?  Do we forget to take time with God and allow the garden of our heart to wither. Do we let negativity linger, allowing it to take root in our heart? Do we dwell on the rejection from a friend?  Are we allowing something to take root in this precious garden?  Think about this during the coming week.  May the garden of your heart be a place of sweet communion with the Lord.


1. There's a sacred and hallowed retreat,
Where my soul finds a fellowship sweet,
Where the Lord of my life I may meet,
In the garden of my heart.
In the cool of the day He walks with me,
In the rose bordered way He talks with me;
In love's holy union,
And sacred communion,
In the garden of my heart.

2. There is naught can disturb or molest,
There my spirit finds comfort and rest,
And my soul is no longer distressed
In the garden of my heart. 
In the cool of the day He walks with me,
In the rose bordered way He talks with me;
In love's holy union,
And sacred communion,
In the garden of my heart

3. Shut away from earth's strife and its din,
And protected from soul staining sin,
For my Savior is dwelling within,
In the garden of my heart. 
In the cool of the day He walks with me,
In the rose bordered way He talks with me;
In love's holy union,
And sacred communion,
In the garden of my heart

4. There the dove of sweet peace always sings,
And my faith ever trustingly clings;
And the chime of sweet happiness rings
In the garden of my heart.
In the cool of the day He walks with me,
In the rose bordered way He talks with me;
In love's holy union,
And sacred communion,
In the garden of my heart

Because this is not a very familiar hymn and because it is seldom sung today, it has been very hard to find a video of it. But  at least here is one that you can listen to.  LISTEN




Sunday, August 5, 2018

HEARTACHES (TH#21)


 TIMELESS HYMN #21 - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - HEARTACHES  - originally shared on January 25, 2009
.
         During my college days I had the opportunity to sing with a gospel quartet called "The Gospel Four".  We sang each Sunday morning on the radio for 15 minutes, each Sunday night before the evening message, and once in awhile at other churches and programs.  Two of the members were a generation older than I was and the third was about ten years older.  It was a special experience with great memories.  However, four of us younger fellows formed a second group.  We loved to sing but didn't get the opportunity very often to sing in public.  We just enjoyed being together and blending our voices in harmony.  One of the songs that we loved to sing was "Heartaches".  I guess that during those years we all thought that we had heartaches and we probably did.  But as young men we rarely thought about the heavy heartaches that we would probably all face later in life.  But as I've  personally faced many during recent years, the Lord has often brought back the words of this song and I often find myself singing them to myself.  Now I am the only one of the four men still living but I if I think about it, I can still hear the others harmonizing as we sang these comforting words.  But heartaches are a part of our lives and they were what brought about the writing of these words by A. H. Ackley (1887-1960).  Ackley was not only a Presbyterian pastor in the United States, but a skilled musician, master of the cello, and a hymn writer with about 1,500 songs to his credit.  In the early 1930's Ackley dealt with a family in which, to the continual grief of his parents, their son lived a wild and wicked life. Crimes he committed eventually landed him in prison for many years. The heartaches he caused possibly led to the early death of his mother. Unfortunately, there was no happy ending for him ... no repentance and rest in the Lord.   "Kick him into the street!",  advised a neighbor, when the young man was still living at home. "I can't," said his father. "He's my son, and I love him."  Together, Ackley and the father prayed earnestly for the salvation of the prodigal. One evening after the sorrowing father left him, Ackley wrote this song called simply Heartaches.  And over the years many have been touched by the words that he penned that night.  Maybe his words will help comfort you as you experience the heartaches that are part of our life here on this earth.


(1)   When your heart is aching, turn to Jesus,

He's the dearest Friend that you can know;
You will find Him standing close beside you,
Waiting peace and comfort to bestow.
Heartaches, take them all to Jesus,
Go to Him today,
Do it now without delay.
Heartaches, take them all to Jesus,
He will take your heartaches all away.

(2)   There is joy for every troubled sorrow,
Sweet relief for every bitter pain,
Jesus Christ is still the great Physician,
No one ever sought His help in vain.
Heartaches, take them all to Jesus,
Go to Him today,
Do it now without delay.
Heartaches, take them all to Jesus,
He will take your heartaches all away.

(3)   Jesus understands, whate'er the trouble,
And He waits to heal your wounded soul.
Will you trust His love so strong and tender?
He alone can make your spirit whole.
Heartaches, take them all to Jesus,
Go to Him today,
Do it now without delay.
Heartaches, take them all to Jesus,
He will take your heartaches all away.

Listen to it here     LISTEN

Sunday, July 29, 2018

JESUS MESSIAH


          I normally choose the older hymns to share in this blog, but sometimes some of the newer ones are just too meaningful and powerful not to use.  This week's choice is one of those that speaks to my heart every time I hear it.  Hopefully you will feel the same. Truly Jesus Messiah is a name above all names.  Philippians 2:10 reminds us, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth."  Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel, Rescue for Sinners, the Ransom from Heaven, Jesus Messiah, Lord of all.  What a powerful statement.  He alone deserves our worship.  This song was written by Chris Tomlin, one of the best known worship leaders and writers of this age. When he was 11, Tomlin contracted infectious mononucleosis and was briefly bedridden. His father, Connie, brought him a guitar during this time, and Tomlin said that he learned to play it by listening to Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Alabama records: "That was my early early childhood music. I loved it. That's what my dad listened to, I just loved it. And so my first song I learned to play on guitar I think was 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,' or 'On the Road Again,' those kind of songs."  Since that time the Lord has led him to write many powerful worship songs that have touched many lives.  Concerning this song, Tomlin said: "The initial melody and lyric of this song came from my guitar player, Daniel Carson. He is constantly writing and recording ideas, and from time to time I wander over to his world and listen. Among several demos, was this melody and lyric idea for a chorus that jumped out at me. At the same time, I was looking to use the name 'Messiah' in a song. The two ideas seemed to fit perfectly. Messiah is such a strong name for Jesus. For when you use that name, you are truly saying that He is the name above all names – that He is the Christ, the Son of God, the Chosen One, the Savior of the world. That's why you will notice that every lyric in this song amplifies this idea of Jesus being the Messiah."  Why not use Tomlin's song as part of your worship this week?  And as you do, hopefully you too will say and mean, "All I hope is in you, all I hope is in you, all the glory to you, God, the light of the world."


1.     He became sin, who knew no sin
That we might become his righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing, love so amazing
Jesus Messiah, name above all names
Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, the ransom from heaven
Jesus Messiah, lord of all

2.     His body the bread, his blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled, and the veil was torn
Love so amazing, how can it be? Your love's so amazing, yeah
Jesus Messiah, name above all names
Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, the ransom from heaven
Jesus messiah, lord of all

All I hope is in you, all I hope is in you
All the glory to you, God, the light of the world

Here are two chances for you to listen to Tomlin's song.
First, by the Gaither's    LISTEN1
Second, from the Brooklyn Tabernacle    LISTEN2

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I WANT TO BE LIKE JESUS



        In his book "A Life Beyond Amazing", Dr. David Jeremiah shares a story in his chapter on "A Life of Integrity" that I have never forgotten.  A group of salesman were rushing to catch their plane home from Chicago.  They accidentally bumped into a stand where baskets of beautiful apples were being sold.  The apples tumbled all over the area but the salesmen kept on running toward their boarding gate.  But when they reached the gate, one of them told the others to get on the plane and he would catch a later flight home.  He then went back and saw a young lad trying to gather up all of the apples.  Many were bruised and some of the baskets were broken.  He got down on his hands and knees and helped the young lad retrieve his produce.  Then he pulled three large bills from his wallet and gave them to the lad with an apology.  The money more than covered the damages.   The boy nodded his thanks through his tears, and the salesman turned back to the lobby to arrange for a new flight home.  He hadn't walked far before the boy called out, "Mister …"  As he paused and turned around, the boy said, "Are you Jesus?"  Has anyone ever asked that about us?  Do our actions reflect what Jesus would do?  Today's hymn shares what should be our daily prayer, "I would be like Jesus". Thomas Obediah Chisholm (1866-1960) was born in Kentucky, and educated in a country schoolhouse where he himself became the teacher at the age of 16. For awhile, he worked as a reporter and the associate editor of a newspaper in Louisville. Then, after becoming a Christian, Chisholm became a pastor.  But ill health soon forced his resignation. For most of his adult life he worked as an insurance salesman. But he also wrote poetry and is said to have written over 1,200 sacred poems.  Some of these were turned into hymns, including "Bring Christ Your Broken Life", "Living For Jesus", "O, To Be Like Thee", "Only In Thee" and perhaps the hymn for which he is best known, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."  Chisholm explained his approach to hymn writing in the following statement, "I have sought to be true to the Word, and to avoid flippant and catchy titles and treatment. I have greatly desired that each hymn or poem might have some definite message to the hearts for whom it was written".  Well this week's hymn does have a definite message for our hearts and it presents a challenge and goal for our daily living.  Can we say with Chisholm,  "O perfect life of Christ, my Lord! I want to be like Jesus. My recompense and my reward, That I may be like Jesus. His Spirit fill my hungering soul, His power all my life control; My deepest prayer, my highest goal, That I may be like Jesus."  May this be our daily desire and prayer.


1.     I have one deep, supreme desire, 
that I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire, 
that I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His throne to be 
so that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me. 
I want to be like Jesus.

2.     He spent His life in doing good; 
I want to be like Jesus.
In lowly paths of service trod; 
I want to be like Jesus.
He sympathized with hearts distressed, 
He spoke the words that cheered and blessed;
He welcomed sinners to His breast. 
I want to be like Jesus.

3.     A holy, harmless life He led; 
I want to be like Jesus.
The Father's will, His drink and bread, 
I want to be like Jesus.
And when at last He comes to die, 
"Forgive them, Father" Hear Him cry
For those who taunt and crucify.
I want to be like Jesus.

4.     O perfect life of Christ, my Lord! 
I want to be like Jesus.
My recompense and my reward, 
That I may be like Jesus.
His Spirit fill my hungering soul, 
His power all my life control;
My deepest prayer, my highest goal, 
That I may be like Jesus.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

SWEET WILL OF GOD



        It should be the desire of each believer to know and follow God's will in our lives.  Ephesians 1:12  gives the fundamental idea: "that we should be to the praise of His glory." To that end, it's God's will that we "be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). Whatever choices and decisions we make, whatever we do and say, our goal should be to honour the Lord, and become more and more like Christ.  Now some of the details of His will may differ from person to person, according to the gifts and opportunities the Lord gives to each one.  And for some His will may even include going through, with God's help and presence, some very difficult situations.  The author of this hymn, Lelia Naylor Morris (1862-1929), experienced such difficult times.  After years of active ministry in churches and camp meetings, she became blind at the age of 52.  But she continued to write hymns on a 28-foot long blackboard that her family built for her.  She is said to have written 1000 texts and tunes including "Sweeter as the Years Go By" and "Sweet Will of God."  These have helped and encouraged many over the years, and that was part of God's will for her life. She learned the joy of following God's will by claiming the grace, provision and peace that He alone gives.  It's the desire of the Lord that we do His will, that His will and purpose be accomplished through us. Missionary and author Elisabeth Elliott said, "I have only one thing to do today: the will of God."  Is that our desire and experience as well?  The last  line of this hymn sums it up so beautifully. "The centre of God's will my home."   And what a "sweet" experience that really is.



1    My stubborn will at last hath yielded;
I would be Thine, and Thine alone,
And this the prayer my lips are bringing,
"Lord, let in me Thy will be done."
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee;
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
 Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

2     I'm tired of sin, footsore and weary,
The darksome path hath dreary grown,
But now a light has ris'n to cheer me;
I find in Thee my Star, my Sun.
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee;
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

3     Thy precious will, O conqu'ring Savior,
Doth now embrace and compass me;
All discords hushed, my peace a river,
My soul a prisoned bird set free.
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee;
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

4     Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever,
My wayward feet no more to roam;
What pow'r from Thee my soul can sever?
The center of God's will my home.
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee;
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN