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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

ARE YOU WASHED IN THE BLOOD



        "...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins", Hebrews 9:22.  The blood is necessary for man's salvation in God's eternal plan.  Before the death of Christ animals were sacrificed so that their blood would cover the sins of those making the sacrifice. "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God." (Hebrews 10:10–12)  This passage from Hebrews draws a contrast between the animal sacrifices and Christ's sacrifice. The former could never take away sins, but when Christ shed his own blood, it was a once and for all sacrifice that removes sins.  In 1878 Elisha Hoffman shared this truth by writing a hymn that asks the reader if they have been restored and redeemed by the love and power of Jesus. Its powerful lyrics inquire into the commitments of its audience to their savior, the Son of God.   Hoffman was born in Pennsylvania to German parents. His father served as a pastor for over 60 years, and this probably influenced Elisha's decision to enter ministry. After attending public schools in Philadelphia, Elisha went on to study classics at Union Seminary. He was ordained as a minister in 1868, and he pastored for many years at churches in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan. As a pastor, Elisha was committed to drawing his people into worship, and during his lifetime, he composed over 2,000 hymns such as "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms", "I Must Tell Jesus", "Down at the Cross and "Glory to His Name". He also helped to edit numerous music publications. The question Hoffman asks in this hymn is a critical question.  If you ask a person today if they are going to heaven, many will reply in the affirmative.  If you then ask them why, they might answer something like, "I've lived a good life and never been in trouble", "I've volunteered and helped the needy", "I've attended church regularly and even sung in the choir", or "I've lived by the Golden Rule".  But those answers are all examples of works and it is not by works that one is saved.  It is by God's grace and the provision of the blood of Christ to take away our sins that we are forgiven and redeemed. "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."(1 John 1:7). Unfortunately the power and necessity of the blood is seldom taught in many churches today.  Many think it is too old fashioned.  But the truth is that without the blood there is no forgiveness of our sins. Hoffman concludes this challenging song with an invitation to accept Jesus as your Savior.  Are you washed in the blood?


1.     Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow'r?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

2.     Are you walking daily by the Savior's side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

3.     When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

4.     Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There's a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
Oh, be washed in the blood of the Lamb!
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Listen to it here.   LAMB

Sunday, July 21, 2019

AM I A SOLDIER OF THE CROSS?


         The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV), "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people."  Isaac Watts, the father of hymn writing in the English language, understood the reality of spiritual warfare. His father was not a member of the state church in England and twice was thrown into jail for opposing it, so that when he was a baby his mother often carried him in her arms to visit his father in prison.   He became a minister in London. He was a little man, only about five feet tall. His health was very poor all his life, but his church took loving care of him, for he was greatly liked. Early in life he became wearied with the versified Psalms which the churches used and set out to compose hymns of his own. This was a new departure and met with persistent opposition, but his hymns soon became widely popular in nearly all the churches.  This particular hymn was written by Dr. Watts in 1709, to follow a sermon on 1 Corinthians 16:13, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."  The hymn remains a poignant reminder that while the Christian life has many blessings, the journey is not without its own battles along the way.  Watts asks some pointed questions in the short verses of this hymn. "Shall I fear to own His cause or blush to speak His name?"  "Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,  while others fought to win the prize and sailed thru bloody seas?"  He asks the Lord to increase his courage.  And then he ends with the promise, "I'll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by Thy word."  Yes, we face many battles during our journey here on earth and we must take a stand against the devil's many schemes.  But we have the full armor needed for these battles and we can live secure in the knowledge and assurance that with our Leader we are on the victory side.  So stand firm!  Are you a soldier of the cross?

(1)      Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause
or blush to speak His name?

(2)      Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize
And sailed thru bloody seas?

(3)      Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

(4)      Sure I must fight if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy word.

Listen to it here.         SOLDIER

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A PERFECT HEART



        Dony and Reba Rambo-McGuire were invited to vacation with their friends on a houseboat on a lake near Nashville.  They had determined to work diligently on their song writing during that time, and they did so. They prayed earnestly that the Lord would do something special through them that week. At the end of the week they had completed a number of songs and done some work on a musical. According to Reba, "On the very last morning we were to be on the boat, Dony got up very early to try to catch a catfish for breakfast ... I was so full of faith in his fishing ability that I proceeded to the kitchen and started to cook bacon and eggs ... The sun was peeking over the hills and a mist was rising from the water. It was a glorious morning. I looked out of a small porthole and caught a glimpse of Dony with a strange look on his face. ... I couldn't explain it, but I knew something good was about to happen. I turned off the burners where I was cooking and removed the food. I gathered our song writing materials and sat down to wait for him to come in ... When he came in a few minutes later, he sat down before a small electric piano and began to play. As he played what the Lord was giving to him, I began to write lyrics as they were being given to me. That kind of inspiration had only occurred a few times in our short song writing career together. It was as if God was saying, 'You've been faithful in your praying and studying for a week, now I'm going to give you something just because I have the power to do so.' I wrote as fast as I could write while Dony continued to play. We both completed the whole composition and have never changed a word or the musical setting ... It became our 'little lake song.' We used it for a time around our offices as a devotional song and sang it at a few small churches. One day Bill Gaither came by our offices and heard us singing it during one of our devotional periods. He asked where we got it. We told him it was our 'lake song.' He expressed such a keen interest in it that Dony made a tape of it for him. That started it on its way."   The result of their "little lake song" was a beautiful song of praise of the only One who can make a perfect heart.  For 25 years we had a family ministry and while we were setting up our equipment for a Sunday morning program I would often play a tape of this song.  It would calm my spirit and prepare my heart for worship and ministry.  It would also remind me that the One who we were representing is the only one who could change the hearts of those who would be in attendance that day.  May the Lord use this song to calm your spirit today as you are filled with love as He makes in you a new and perfect heart.


Morning song, the light of creation
Grassy fields, of velvet flow
Silver clouds are shimmering curtain
God has designed a perfect world

I am amazed at His talents
I stand in awe of One so great
And now my soul begins to sing out
To the source from which it came

Bless the Lord
Who reigns in beauty
Bless the Lord
Who reigns with wisdom and in power
Bless the Lord
Who reigns my life with so much love
He will make in me a new and perfect heart

Bless the Lord
Who reigns in beauty
Bless the Lord
Who reigns with wisdom and in power
Bless the Lord
Who reigns my life with so much love
He will make in me a new and perfect heart

God will make in me a new and perfect heart
A new, a perfect heart

Bless the Lord who reigns in beauty
Bless the Lord who reigns with wisdom and with power
Bless the Lord who reigns my life with so much love
He can make a perfect heart

Listen to it here (you may need to skip the ad if it appears).   PERFECT

Sunday, July 7, 2019

ABIDE WITH ME (TH)


TIMELESS HYMN - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - Abide With Me - originally shared on March 14, 2010.


          This hymn is one of those which I believe is being lost to present and future generations because it is seldom sung anymore. That is sad because it really is a special testimony hymn which I never fully appreciated myself until I did a brief study of its history. I often thought of this hymn at times when I was perplexed and challenged by all the changes around me. Then I would recall the words of the second verse, "Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou who changest not, abide with me." And that itself is a powerful prayer in the day in which we live. But the real impact of this hymn may come when you realize why it was written. The author, Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847), was known as a man frail in body but strong in faith and spirit. His health was continually threatened by asthma and tuberculosis. He is said to be the one who coined the phrase, "it is better to wear out than to rust out." Wherever he ministered it is said that he was greatly loved and admired by his people. For the last twenty-three years of his life he pastored a poor parish church among fishing people in England. His health became progressively worse so he was forced to seek a warmer climate in Italy. For his last sermon to his poor parishioners, in 1847, he nearly had to crawl to the pulpit and his message came from a dying man. He told his folks that it was his desire to "induce you to prepare for the solemn hour which must come to all by a timely appreciation and dependence on the death of Christ." It is said that he penned the words of this hymn just before his last Sunday in his church. On his trip to Italy he died in France, three weeks after writing this hymn. So this hymn is really the testimony of one who knew he would soon die. Remember this as you read these words.  Make this your prayer and testimony during the days that the Lord gives you before calling you home.

(1)   Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

(2)   Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
.
(3)   I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me
.
(4)   I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

(5)   Hold Thou Thy Word before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Listen to the hymn here. ABIDE