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, December 30, 2018

WHAT A WONDERFUL SAVIOR


          As we come to the end of another year, many of us will take time to review the past year and make plans or resolutions for the coming year.  Much of that review will probably involve looking at our finances, especially as we begin to prepare for completing our annual income tax forms. Often we will then make adjustments in our investments, our budget, and our plans to pay off bills.  But sometimes reviews will include other things such as our health, our relationships, our work and our dreams.  And out of these reviews will often come resolutions for the following year. Annual reviews can be very helpful.  But, unfortunately these annual reviews often miss an evaluation of our spiritual growth and of our many spiritual blessings.   Let me encourage you to include a spiritual evaluation of your life this year.  And maybe Elisha Hoffman's (1939-1929) great hymn, "What a Wonderful Savior", might provide a good starting point.  Hoffman was a pastor and a prolific hymn writer with more than 2,000 hymns credited to him.  Some of his more familiar hymns include,  "I Must Tell Jesus," "Is Thy Heart Right With God?", "Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?", "Glory To His Name," and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."  In this week's hymn choice, written in 1891, he highlights several of the spiritual blessings that we have through Christ, our wonderful Savior.  Stanza 1 refers to His redemption, stanza 2 to His cleansing blood, stanza 3 to His reign, stanza 4 to His guidance, stanza 5 to His power and stanza 6 to His influence.  What a great beginning outline this could be in our review of what He has done for us, not only in the past, but also what He has promised to do for us in our present and future.  And as we begin a new year let's remember to thank our wonderful Savior and praise Him daily.  Remember that "He walks beside me in the way" and "keeps me faithful day by day." "He gives me overcoming power", and "triumph in each trying hour."  May our testimony be, "To Him I've given all my heart ... the world shall never share a part". Let's resolve in the coming year to daily live more thankful lives as we recall all that He has done for us.  "What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!  What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!"


1     Christ has for sin atonement made -
What a wonderful Savior!
We are redeemed, the price is paid -
What a wonderful Savior!
Refrain
What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!
What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!

2     I praise Him for the cleansing blood -
What a wonderful Savior!
That reconciled my soul to God -
What a wonderful Savior! [Refrain]

3     He cleansed my heart from all its sin -
What a wonderful Savior!
And now He reigns and rules therein -
What a wonderful Savior! [Refrain]

4     He walks beside me in the way:
What a wonderful Savior!
And keeps me faithful day by day;
What a wonderful Savior!

5     He gives me overcoming pow'r -
What a wonderful Savior!
And triumph in each trying hour -
What a wonderful Savior! [Refrain]

6.     To Him I've given all my heart:
What a wonderful Savior!
The world shall never share a part:
What a wonderful Savior!

Listen to it here.  WONDERFUL

Sunday, December 23, 2018

O HOLY NIGHT



        To me it really isn't Christmas until I hear a good soloist sing the traditional Christmas carol "O Holy Night".   For decades we had a Christmas Eve service and "O Holy Night" was the last special number sung by a soloist before we closed singing Silent Night while lighting the candles.  That is a tradition that I really miss.  The hymn reminds us of how this world was in sin and error until Christ came and a new and glorious morn broke for mankind.  It shares how the King of Kings lay in a lowly manger, born to be our Fiend and Savior.  It reminds us of how He taught us to love one another.  Truly His law is love and His gospel is peace.  It is an old carol. The words and lyrics of the old carol were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. Cappeau was a wine seller by trade but was asked by the parish priest to write a poem for Christmas,  even though he had never showed any interest in religion  He obliged and wrote the beautiful words of the hymn. He then realized that it should have music to accompany the words and he approached his friend Adolphe Charles Adams (1803-1856) who agreed and the music for the poem was composed by Adams. The carol was later translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893), giving us this powerful carol which has been sung for years.  And so at this Christmas season may we claim the closing words of the final verse, "Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, with all our hearts we praise His holy name.  Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,  His power and glory ever more proclaim!   His power and glory ever more proclaim! 

1.     O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, 
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth. 
Long lay the world in sin and error pining. 
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth. 
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! 
O night divine, the night when Christ was born; 
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine! 
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine! 

2.     Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, 
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. 
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming, 
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land. 
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger; 
In all our trials born to be our friends. 
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger, 
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! 
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! 

3.     Truly He taught us to love one another, 
His law is love and His gospel is peace. 
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. 
And in his name all oppression shall cease. 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 
With all our hearts we praise His holy name. 
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, 
His power and glory ever more proclaim! 
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Listen to it here.  HOLY NIGHT

Sunday, December 16, 2018

THOU DIDST LEAVE THY THRONE (TH #25)


TIMELESS HYMN #25 - A special feature in which I highlight some of my favorite hymns that I have featured previously in this blog.  These entries are revised and expanded and shared again for your encouragement and challenge. This hymn was first shared on December 28, 2008.         

I love the month of December for many reasons.  I especially enjoy once again hearing the beautiful Christmas music which is played and sung throughout the month.  Sadly the music usually ends on December 26, and is gone for another year  One of my favorites is "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne", written by Emily E. Elliott in 1864, for the children and the choir in her father's parish, St. Mark's in Brighton, England.   Elliott wrote her hymn to clarify for children the meaning of Advent and Nativity.  The text takes its theme from Luke 2:7, "but there was no room for them in the inn." The first four stanzas of Elliot's hymn employ the technique of antithesis, placing the poverty of Jesus's birth in contrast to the splendor of heaven. Elliott achieves this contrast by beginning in heaven with the first two lines of each stanza, and then by using "but," contrasts Christ's lowly estate during his life on earth. In heaven Christ had a "kingly crown," but on earth "no room" in stanza one. While the "angels sang" in heaven, Christ was born in "great humility" in stanza two.   While the animals all had homes, Christ wandered the "deserts of Galilee" in stanza three. In stanza four, Christ came as the "living word" but was offered "mocking scorn" and a "crown of thorn" instead. The fifth stanza calls us to look to heaven where Christ will say, "There is room at my side for thee."  The brief refrain includes a clever play on words. While there was no room for the Holy Family at the inn, the refrain invites Christ into the heart of the singer.  What a beautiful and meaningful message this hymn shares of the real and incredible meaning of Christmas. This Christmas season may we  remember that we have an eternal home because, in amazing grace, Jesus was willing to leave his home, then have no home, so that He could pay the penalty for our sin and provide for us an indescribable eternal home.



(1)   Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

(2)   Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

(3)   The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

(4)   Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

(5)   When the heav'ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying "Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee."
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, December 9, 2018

IN TENDERNESS HE SOUGHT ME



         W. Spencer Walton (1850-1906) was a missionary and evangelist who worked with the South Africa General Mission in the latter part of the nineteenth century. About 1889 Walton founded The Sailor's Rest, in the city of Durban, Natal and ministered to the spiritual needs of seaman there. During the Boer War he distributed Bibles to the English soldiers. Walton's missionary work is known mainly through the books and pamphlets he wrote. He is also credited with writing one hymn, "In Tenderness He Sought Me", published in 1894.  Although Walton grew up in the church, at the age of 22 he marked February 17 as his "new birthday." The change is easily seen in his journal where he expressed his regret of 22 years of a "hypocritical and wasted life" of hoping works would save him. Walton wrote, "Conversion without consecration is a death blow to progress. Consecration without faith is destitute of power." The beauty of the gospel he portrayed in his hymn led him to a life dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus to the world. He knew that we were sought by Christ's love and bought by his blood in order to share God's love with others.  While on vacation with his family, Walton's health plummeted in a span of just a few days. He did not realize he was dying, so his wife felt he must be told of the seriousness of his illness. She recounts his response in her diary. "Well, darling, He knows I'm ready. I've been ready for 34 years. Bless His Name!" He spent his remaining days blessing his children and having messages written to his friends and the missionaries he was leaving. He died at the age of 56.  Concerning his beautiful hymn, the first stanza draws upon a parable the Lord Jesus told about a shepherd seeking his lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7). The second stanza echoes the loving actions of the good Samaritan in another parable (Luke. 10:30-37). Walton applied both of these images to Christ and our own personal redemption by Christ. Walton also wrote "He whispered to assure me I've found thee, thou art mine".  Doesn't it feel good to have someone important to you say nice things to you  - to tell you that you are special?  Christ has sought us and bought us, and then in His gentle, loving way, He tells us that we are His.  What amazing truth!  Finally, I appreciate the truth of the words that Walton has expressed in his chorus, "O the love that sought me!  O the blood that bought me! O the grace that brought me to the fold, wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!" That sums up the astonishing story of the Gospel. May these truths be a reminder and an encouragement to you this week.


1      In tenderness He sought me,
Weary and sick with sin,
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang
Until the courts of heaven rang.
O the love that sought me!
O the blood that bought me!
O the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!

2      He washed the bleeding sin-wounds
And poured in oil and wine;
He whispered to assure me,
"I've found thee, thou art Mine;"
I never heard a sweeter voice;
It made my aching heart rejoice! 
O the love that sought me!
O the blood that bought me!
O the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!


3      He pointed to the nail prints,
For me His blood was shed,
A mocking crown so thorny
Was placed upon His head:
I wondered what He saw in me
To suffer such deep agony. O the love that sought me!
O the blood that bought me!
O the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!
O the love that sought me!
O the blood that bought me!
O the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!

4      I'm sitting in His presence,
The sunshine of His face,
While with adoring wonder
His blessings I retrace:
It seems as if eternal days
Are far too short to sound His praise
O the love that sought me!
O the blood that bought me!
O the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!

5      So while the hours are passing,
All now is perfect rest;
I'm waiting for the morning,
The brightest and the best,
When He will call us to His side,
To be with Him, His spotless bride. 
O the love that sought me!
O the blood that bought me!
O the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!

Listen to it here;   TENDERNESS#1

Sunday, December 2, 2018

MY LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS



        My oldest grandson had just learned to walk and one Sunday he came home from church with us.  As we were walking along the front walk to our house, I suddenly heard him say, "Pop, Pop".  When I looked down I realized that he was facing what for him was a major obstacle - our rain gutter which was across our sidewalk.  He couldn't step over it. While the gutter was not a problem at all for me, it was an impossible challenge for him.  But when I took him by the hand he was able to step over it and hold my hand while we went safely into our house.  A few days later in my devotions, I came to Isaiah 41:13, :"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."  I have never since forgotten this experience with my grandson and I have so often felt the hand of God on my life as I faced obstacles, both small and large. He says "fear not" and while I admit that often my faith is weak, He has always held my hand and helped me when I needed it. When you place your life in the hands of God, no problem that you are facing can ever be too big or too heavy for God that He can't carry it. When your life is in the hands of God it will never get to a point that God gets too tired or weary of carrying you. The hand of God is the safest place to be. John 10:29 says "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand". It probably was such experiences which led Kirk Franklin to write this week's song choice, "My Life is in Your Hands". Christianity is not all brightness and laughter. James encourages us to "count it all joy" when we face trials of various kinds.   The doctrine of God's providence affords the believer the opportunity to rest in the awareness that our times are in His hands.  As Franklin wrote in the chorus, "With Jesus I can take it, With Him I know I can stand, No matter what may come my way, My life is in your hands."  Rest in this truth this week.


1.     You don't have to worry
And don't you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don't last always
For there's a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands
With Jesus I can take it
With Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

2.     So when your tests and trials
They seem to get you down
And all your friends and loved ones
Are nowhere to be found
Remember there's a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh  I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands
With Jesus I can take it
With Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands.


Listen to it here.    HANDS