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, May 31, 2020

ALERT TO OUR READERS

ALERT - We have just been informed that the operators of our blog software plan to make significant changes to the software in June and August.  We don't know yet what these changes will involve nor if they will prevent us from continuing to post blogs using our computers.  About a year ago similar changes were made by our web supplier and we have no longer been able to reach or operate our web site.  We are warning you that this could happen to us again and we might then need to eliminate our blogs.  We are praying that this doesn't happen, but should the blogs no longer be updated each week you will know what has happened.  Continuing then might require us to invest in new and expensive hardware and that might be impossible since we are retired and living on a fixed income.  So we will just need to wait and see what happens.  Thanks for your visits and support over the years.  We just hope it can continue.

JESUS TOOK MY BURDEN - (TH/PEACE #10)

          Do you have any burdens?  Are there things that are troubling you today?  If your answer is "no", you might be unique.
          I think most people today are living with concerns about the unusual situations that we are facing today.  Will you or your loved ones catch Covid19?  If you do, will you survive it?  Will you keep your job?  Will you lose your savings?  Will life ever return to what we knew as normal?  
          Today we are all facing serious problems and concerns that we never even considered three months ago.  Now what can be done about these burdens?
          I recall my grandfather sharing this illustration in one of his sermons.  There was an elderly man walking slowly along a country road, carrying a very heavy package.  He was struggling from the weight of his burden. A man passing by in a horse drawn cart stopped and invited him to relieve himself of the burden by riding in his cart.  The old man accepted the invitation but continued to hold his package rather than placing it on the cart.  His burden was not relieved. 
          His reaction was the same as the way so many of us respond today with our burdens.  We all face many burdens including the heavy burden of sin.  "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23. But today many try to deny that burden or try unsuccessful ways to deal with it. "For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me."  Psalm 38:4.  This week's hymn shares the only way for mankind to get rid of this burden, " When I, a poor, lost sinner, before the Lord did fall, and in the name of Jesus for pardon loud did call; He heard my supplication, and soon the weak was strong, for Jesus took my burden and left me with a song."  
          But after we are relieved of the burden of sin through His love and grace, we continue to face various different burdens during our walk on this earth.  "Ofttimes the way is dreary,and rugged seems the road, Ofttimes i'm weak and weary, when bent beneath some load." "When I was crushed with sorrow I bowed in deep despair. My load of grief and heartache seemed more than I could bear."  Have you faced times like these?  I imagine that you have. I know that I have - it's part of  living in this world.  But I hope that your experience with these burdens was, "'Twas when I heard a whisper ... You to the lord belong. Then Jesus took my burden, and left me with a song."  
          These words were probably the experience of the one who wrote them, Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856 - 1922).  He served as a visiting preacher in many churches. He also worked in the mercantile trade, and then the insurance business. But the man is remembered today mainly for the many gospel songs he wrote - about five thousand of them. These include No Not One, Under His Wings, Higher Ground, and Count Your Blessings.  
           Oatman concludes this hymn with the testimony,  "I'll trust Him for the future, He knoweth all the way. For with His eye He'll guide me, along life's pilgrim way."  Psalm 55:22 also challenges us to "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."  Are you carrying a heavy burden today?  Don't be like the elderly man who held on to his package rather than letting the wagon carry the load.  Cast your heavy burden upon the Lord who cares for you.  He'll take your burden and leave you with a song.  

1     When I, a poor, lost sinner,
Before the Lord did fall,
And in the name of Jesus
For pardon loud did call;
He heard my supplication,
And soon the weak was strong,
For Jesus took my burden,
And left me with a song.
Chorus:
Yes, Jesus took my burden
I could no longer bear,
Yes, Jesus took my burden
In answer to my prayer;
My anxious fears subsided
My spirit was made strong,
For Jesus took my burden,
And let me with a song.

2      Ofttimes the way is dreary,
And rugged seems the road,
Ofttimes i'm weak and weary,
When bent beneath some load;
But when I cry in weakness, 
"How long, O Lord, how long?"
Then Jesus takes the burden,
And leaves we with a song.
Chorus:
Yes, Jesus took my burden
I could no longer bear,
Yes, Jesus took my burden
In answer to my prayer;
My anxious fears subsided
My spirit was made strong,
For Jesus took my burden,
And let me with a song.

3      When I was crushed with sorrow
I bowed in deep despair,
My load of grief and heartache
Seemed more than I could bear;
'Twas when I heard a whisper,
"You to the lord belong,"
Then Jesus took my burden,
And left me with a song. 
Chorus:
Yes, Jesus took my burden
I could no longer bear,
Yes, Jesus took my burden
In answer to my prayer;
My anxious fears subsided
My spirit was made strong,
For Jesus took my burden,
And let me with a song.

4      I'll trust Him for the future,
He knoweth all the way,
For with His eye He'll guide me
Along life's pilgrim way;
And I will tell in heaven,
While ages roll along, 
How Jesus took my burden,
And left me with a song. [
Chorus:
Yes, Jesus took my burden
I could no longer bear,
Yes, Jesus took my burden
In answer to my prayer;
My anxious fears subsided
My spirit was made strong,
For Jesus took my burden,
And let me with a song.

Listen to it here.  BURDENS

Sunday, May 24, 2020

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW (TH/PEACE #9)

          Unemployment, retirement fund loses, shelter in place, sudden deaths, social distancing, closure of schools and churches, shortages of toilet paper and food, economic disaster ... so many unexpected major problems in such a short time.
          It is not surprising that so many are worried, discouraged and troubled.  We've never seen anything like it and we wonder if anything will ever be back to normal once again.  Is there any hope left in this life?
          Looking out our kitchen window I often enjoy watching dozens of birds who daily come to feast at our bird feeders.  And I am often reminded how the Lord cares for these small members of his creation. "Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26).  "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29–31).  
          The birds are a daily reminder to me of my Father's care for me.  Often I need that reminder when facing the toils, discouragements and cares of daily living.  These scriptures were the inspiration for this week's song which has encouraged listeners for over a century.
          According to Civilla Martin, writer of the lyrics, "Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle - true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nearly twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. 
           One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."  The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience." 
          The next day she mailed the poem to Charles Gabriel, who supplied the music. Singer Ethel Waters helped make this song popular and she so loved this song that she used its name as the title for her autobiography.  
          Of course I don't know all that is going on in your life right now, but I am sure that you, too, often face times of frustration, challenge and discouragement.  In those times be reminded that, if you are a child of God, He will take care of you.  Your heart need not be troubled.  He is your constant friend and will put a song in your heart as you experience His care, comfort and leading - even during a pandemic.  If He can see and care for the sparrow, certainly He will see and care for you. 
           "For His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me!"  Be encouraged, God is in control!

(1)     Why should I feel discouraged, 
why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, 
and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? 
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, 
and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, 
and I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

(2)     "Let not your heart be troubled," 
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, 
I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, 
but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, 
and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, 
and I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

(3)     Whenever I am tempted, 
whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, 
when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, 
from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, 
and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, 
and I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Listen to it here.    SPARROW

Sunday, May 17, 2020

GOD HATH NOT PROMISED (TH/PEACE #8)


        So often when life seems to be filled with disappointments and despair we wonder why God would allow us to face such obstacles on our pathway through this world.  Why does this happen to me?  The question "Why?" is probably the question that most believers use the most often.  And often the answer comes years later or maybe not even until we reach heaven.
          But we can be assured of several things.  God understands and cares.  He allows us to face difficult things for our growth.  He never gives us more than we can handle.  He never leaves us alone.  He will walk with  us through the darkest valley.  He loves His children. 
          After the death of my father, I claimed several of his pictures. One was a picture of Jesus knocking at the door. That one had hung in our living room most of my life. Another was a picture of Jesus with little children. I gave that one to him after he had served for many years as Sunday School superintendent. 
         A third consisted of the words to this week's hymn choice. A note on the back of the picture explains that it had hung on the wall of the parsonage in Spring City about 1920, shortly after the poem was put to music in 1919.  That was just after the tragic death of my grandfather in the Spanish Flu in 1918.   I've hung this right next to my bed where I can see the words each morning and again at night. It is a great reminder that God has not promised us an easy path. We will be subject to the storms of life, whether it be with our health, our job, our finances, our family members, or even our ministry. But God has promised us strength for the day and grace for the trials of life. 
          This was the experience of the hymn writer, Annie Flint. She was adopted as a young girl and attended school in Trenton, New Jersey. She became a teacher but had to quit after only a few years when severe arthritis made her unable to walk. She was moved to the Clifton Springs Sanitarium and began writing poetry. Many of her verses were published on cards and in magazines. 
         William M. Runyan put this poem to music. As you read the words and listen to the music you can't help but realize that the words were the personal experience of the writer. 
         Have you found the same to be true in your life? Are you troubled today with a path that is so hard? Remember that God will provide strength, wisdom and peace as you trust Him. 

(1) God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
Refrain
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

(2) God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
Refrain
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

(3) God hath not promised smooth road and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.
Refrain
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Listen to it being sung. LISTEN

Sunday, May 10, 2020

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU (TH/PEACE #7)


        Are you feeling the pressure of the events and changes all around us?  Do you have anxiety about the future?  Are you worried about your health and that of your family and friends?  Do you wonder how you will get along if you are unemployed or if your retirement is wiped out with the hits the economy has taken?
          Well if you are, you are not alone. We are all facing days of difficulty and concern. These are days when many are worrying about our circumstances and our future and we feel all alone. Nobody seems to care about us. 
          It's at times like this when we need to be reminded that somebody does care and that God will take care of His children, no matter what may be the test or challenge or how hopeless things seem to be. He is the only one who knows our present and our tomorrows. He will never leave us even when those closest to us seem to.      
         This week's popular hymn of spiritual encouragement was written in 1904, by Rev. and Mrs. Stillman Martin. It was composed while the Martins were spending several weeks as guests at the Practical Bible Training School at Lestershire, New York.  Rev. Martin was involved in helping the president of the school, John A. Davis, prepare a songbook. 
          Martin, a well-known Baptist evangelist, was invited to preach at a church some distance from the Bible school. That Sunday morning, Mrs. Martin became suddenly ill, making it impossible for her to accompany her husband to his preaching engagement. Mr. Martin seriously considered canceling his speaking assignment, since he would need to be gone from her for a considerable time. Just then, however, their young son spoke up and said, "Father, don't you think that if God wants you to preach today, He will take care of mother while you are away?" Agreeing, Martin kept his preaching appointment  The service proved to be unusually blessed of God, with several people professing Christ as Savior as a result of the sermon. 
          Returning later that evening, Martin found his wife greatly improved in health. And, while he was gone, she had been busily engaged in preparing a new hymn text, inspired by the chance remark of their young son earlier that day. That same evening, Stillman Martin composed the music for his wife's words just as they are still sung today. 
         The next year, this hymn appeared in a collection, Songs of Redemption and Praise, compiled for the school by Martin and President John Davis. "God Will Take Care of You" soon became a favorite hymn of Christian people everywhere. 
          May this great hymn encourage you this week.  Remember there is no problem, even Covid 19,  that is too big for Him to handle.  There is nothing too new for Him to solve.  And He will be there to care for you and protect you even in the darkest hour.  Trust Him.

(1)   Be not dismayed whate'er betide,
God will take care of you;
beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

(2)   Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
when dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

(3)   All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

(4)   No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
lean, weary one, upon his breast,
God will take care of you
God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Listen to it here.    CARE

Sunday, May 3, 2020

I MUST TELL JESUS (TH/PEACE #6)


        Wouldn't it be nice if you had someone with whom to share your concerns and fears especially during the virus which the world is suffering.  It would even be better if your friend could comfort you and relieve your anxiety.  But any friends you might have are probably facing the same fears that you ae wrestling with.  And they can't do anything to solve your problems.
         I must admit that during times like this I wish that I could talk to my dad once again.  He was wise and his faith was strong.  But while he might have comforted  me, he couldn't really solve the problems we are all facing today.
          But there is one who is always available to listen.  He is there to comfort and guide us.  
He can give us peace and relieve our anxiety.  And if we desire guidance, peace and comfort, all we must do is share our concerns with him and trust him for the help that we need.
          Such was the experience of Elisha Hoffman, a pastor in Lebanon, PA.  He shared that there was a woman to whom God had permitted many experiences of sorrow and affliction. Coming to her home one day for a pastoral visit, he found her very much discouraged. She unburdened her heart, concluding with the question, "Brother Hoffman, what shall I do?" 
         According to Hoffman, "I quoted from the Word and then added, You cannot do better than to take all of your sorrows to Jesus. You must tell Jesus." For a moment she seemed lost in meditation. Then her eyes lighted as she exclaimed, "Yes, I must tell Jesus." 
         As Hoffman left her home he had a vision of that joy-illuminated face and he heard all along his pathway the echo, "I must tell Jesus. I must tell Jesus." After returning home, Hoffman wrote both the words and the music to this comforting hymn. It always amazes me how so many of the great hymns were written so quickly and often resulted from experiences of sorrow and pain. 
         Maybe today your burdens about the virus and your friends and family are very heavy and you don't know what to do. Let the words of this week's hymn tell you what you should do.

(1) I must tell Jesus all of my trials,
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me,
He ever loves and cares for His own.
Refrain:
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

(2) I must tell Jesus all of my troubles,
He is a kind, compassionate Friend;
If I but ask Him He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end.
Refrain:
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

(3) Tempted and tried I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus:
He all my cares and sorrows will share.
Refrain:
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

(4) What must I do when worldliness calls me?
What must I do when tempted to sin?
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
Over the world the vict'ry to win.
Refrain:
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Listen to it here.   TELL JESUS

Sunday, April 26, 2020

HE WILL HOLD ME FAST (TH/PEACE #5)



        Many believers go through times when their faith wavers and doubts begin to cloud their mind.  Circumstances often make one wonder if their faith is real and if the Lord really cares about them.   Will He really carry us through our days of uneasiness and turmoil?  But as we claim His promises to us we know that He will never leave us or forsake us.  He will hold us fast.  
          Many of us may have concerns now as we wrestle with this deadly virus.  Does anybody really care about us?  Where is God during these dangerous times?  Haven't many of us had these questions as we faced these terrible times and as our lives have been changed?
          Robert Harkness (1880–1961) was a gifted Australian pianist who traveled the world in his twenties with the evangelist R.A..Torrey.  He wrote over 2,000 hymns and Gospel songs in his lifetime.  One night, at an evangelistic rally in Canada, Harkness met a young man, recently converted, who feared he might not be able to "hold out." Harkness longed for the young man and countless others to have confidence deep in their souls that their finishing the race, and keeping the faith, did not fall finally to themselves. He wanted them to know that God finishes what he starts.  
          After the unsettling conversation with this convert, Harkness wondered how he might help other Christians celebrate the power of God's sustaining hand in our perseverance and have this sweet truth bore deep into our souls. The answer was obvious for a musician  - a song.  He mentioned the need in a letter to London hymn writer Ada Habershon (1861–1918).  He shared the need for songs to encourage "definite assurance of success in the Christian life."   Inspired, she wrote seven. One she called "When I Fear My Faith Will Fail."  Harkness then wrote the original tune. 
          A century later an American worship pastor in Washington, D.C., Matt Merker, took out Habershon's words, given to him by a member of the congregation, during a trying season. He found fresh comfort and hope in the lyrics, put new music to the old hymn, and added a third verse. He shared the song with his wife and then his senior pastor, Mark Dever, who thought the church should try singing it. "The church quickly owned the song and began singing it with joy (and really loud voices!)." 
          Word soon spread and churches far and wide now sing Habershon's old hymn with Merker's new tune. Says Merker, "It reinvigorates us to know that God is in control and He will preserve us to the end."   Not only will God keep his people, but He delights to do so. Not only does He hold us fast, but He does so with great joy. And there is no safer place to be in the universe than hidden with Jesus in the heart of God's delight. (Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:24; Hebrews 10:23).  
          If today you are wrestling with concerns about your faith and future, trust the Lord to keep His promises and be assured that He will hold you fast until our faith is turned to sight, when He comes again at last.

1.     When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life's fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.

2.     Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He'll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.

3.     For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
'Till our faith is turned to sight, When He comes at last!
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Listen to it here.   HOLD ME FAST 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

ALL YOUR ANXIETY (TH/PEACE #4)


        Are you burdened with anxiety?  Are you worried about all that is happening around you?  If you are, you are not alone.  All around the world people are stressed about the virus and the effects it is having on all of our lives.
          And I must admit that I am not a good one to give advice about stress and anxiety.  I, too, and concerned about the health of my family as well as my own health.  I wonder how the stock market will affect my retirement?  Will the businesses that my sons work for avoid bankruptcy?  Will they have jobs? Will we be able to get our needed medicine, some of which comes from China?  Will we run out of food?  Will my granddaughter be able to have her wedding in December?  There certainly are enough concerns to keep us worriers busy.
          Now if you are a believer you know that the answer to this problem is to fully trust the Lord.  Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you didn't even expect."   Proverbs 3:5, 6  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."  Now we may know these truths, but obeying them is not always easy.
          When I was in college I was stunned to hear that my pastor, Rev. Rudy Gehman, 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 now never forgotten it.  
          Years later it was in our new hymnbook at church, 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 a blog, and I have done that a few times over the years.  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 and are currently doing so today. 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 them with Him. There is never a friend like Jesus. 
          
(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!

Listen to it here.   ANXIETY

Sunday, April 12, 2020

THE OLD RUGGED CROSS (TH/PEACE #3)


        This year Easter will be different than any Easter we have ever celebrated due to the virus that has hit folks all around the world.  Nobody will be attending Easter or Good Friday services in a church.  Some will view them online.  
          Families will not be gathering together for a meal because of the travel restrictions.  Some may communicate by phone or by programs like Skype or Zoom.  There won't be Easter Egg hunts for the children.  There won't be baseball to watch on television. Many will be ill - isolated at home or in hospitals. Everything will be different and maybe life will never return to what we have grown to know as normal.
          But let's be sure that with all of these changes that we don't forget the true meaning of Easter.  Hopefully we will take time to celebrate the Resurrection.  Hopefully we will take time to thank God for all that He has provided for us - especially for salvation.  God has been so good!  Be still and know that He is God!  Rejoice and praise Him.  He is in control!
         One of the things I have always enjoyed about Easter are the great hymns about the cross and the Lord's death and resurrection.  Hopefully we will find a way to hear them and sing them this year.  On April 4, 2010, I shared the story of "The Old Rugged Cross" on this blog.  As part of my series on "Timeless Hymns" and my short series of "Hymns of Peace", I have chosen to share this story once again.
          The Reverend George Bennard (1873-1958) is the author of this classic hymn which has been one of the favorites of believers for many years.  On one occasion, as Bennard was thinking of Christ's crucifixion, an original melody ran through his mind. Although it was a complete melody, very few words came with it. He struggled to write some appropriate lyrics, but all that came at first was the phrase, "I'll cherish the old rugged cross." But slowly the song seemed to take shape in bits and pieces.
         He returned from several preaching engagements to his home in Michigan with a renewed meaning of the cross etched in his mind and heart. He took the song manuscript and placed it on the kitchen table. In a very short span of time, he was able to rewrite the stanzas with each word falling perfectly into place. He asked his wife to join him in the kitchen. She did so and he joyfully sang his prized new song. She was pleased, expressing that the song was great. 
         Charles H. Gabriel, a well-known gospel-song composer, helped Bennard with the harmonies. He made the final changes while staying in the parsonage of the Rev. and Mrs. Leroy O. Bostwick, who had asked for his help with a two-week revival at the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon, Michigan. There he sang the final completed version for the first time on June 7, 1913.  He had a choir of five, accompanied by a guitar, sing it from his penciled notes. 
         Published in 1915, the song was popularized during Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns by two members of his campaign staff, Homer Rodeheaver (who bought rights to the song for $500) and Virginia Asher, who most likely were the first to record it in 1921. 
          During this Easter season meditate upon these beautiful, meaningful words as we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What an amazing victory, hope, and peace were provided for those who accept what He did for us.  Despite the difficult conditions around us this year, rejoice in God's greatest gift to us.
          Have a blessed Easter and stay safe.

(1) On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

(2) O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

(3) In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

(4) To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Listen to it here.   RUGGED