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 28, 2008


When we stop to really think about the Christmas story, it is quite incredible.  Jesus left His perfect throne in heaven to come to earth as a baby to ultimately save us from death and eternal separation from God.  He left His kingly throne for me and for you.  And then he wasn't even born in a palace or even a modest home.  He was born in a barn or a cave and in a manger, a trough!  Talk about humility.  God took on a human form, becoming a man.  He was made lower than the angels.  And later he obeyed God even to the point of death.  What amazing love shown to each of us.  In 1864, Elizabeth Steele Elliott tried to express this sacrifice and humility in one of over 140 hymns which she wrote.  "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne" expressed the Christmas story with a refrain after each verse that should be our response.  As we leave the Christmas season, meditate on this message and the responses, and may it challenge your life throughout the coming year.
(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.

(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.

(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.

(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 21, 2008


One of my most vivid childhood memories are the trips to Bethlehem, PA, on Christmas Eve. I was in elementary school when my grandfather pastored a large church there.  Christmas was always spent with all of their family in the parsonage.  We would travel there the night before and as kids we would always look to see who could first spot the lighted PP&L building in Allentown.  That was the sign that we were almost there.  When we would arrive we would always find Grandma Wolf preparing hot chocolate and barbecue for the young people of the church who were out caroling.  They would gather afterwards in the parsonage basement to play ping pong and enjoy Grandma's food.  And so I have special memories of Bethlehem at Christmas.  But the events at Bethlehem centuries before are more memorable to everyone.  After a trip to Bethlehem in 1868, Rector Phillips Brooks was inspired by the view of the town from the hills of Palestine and he penned the words of that famous carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem".  The words remind us of that life changing event that happened that Christmas Eve.  And the miracle continues today ... "where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in."
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel  

Listen to the music here.      LISTEN

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Few things hurt me as much as hearing the name of the Lord taken in vain.  Unfortunately to more and more folks today the name of our Lord is nothing more than a curse word.  To most of us our name is one of our most precious possessions.  Our name often seems to define us and our reputation.  We are hurt when folks make fun of it or use it in a derogatory way - something many experience, especially as children.  And so it hurts when our Saviour's name is used in swearing or in a mocking way.  It is a beautiful name, full of deep, significant meaning.  It is a wonderful name that brings salvation.  It is a matchless name and none can compare.  That name is Jesus.  Years ago my sister, sister-in-law, and wife sang as a women's trio.  They were excellent and their voices blended so well. I miss their singing.  One of my favorite songs which they sang was "Cherish That Name".    Each Christmas season I think about that song and its powerful message.

An angel from long ago
Bent down to earth below,
And to Mary whispered low,
"Call His name Jesus."
Cherish that beautiful name.
Cherish that wonderful name.
Cherish that matchless name.
That name is Jesus.

"Fear not the words I say.
God has favored you today.
You shall bring forth a Son
And call His name Jesus."
Cherish that beautiful name.
Cherish that wonderful name.
Cherish that matchless name.
That name is Jesus.

King of kings and Lord of lords.
He shall reign forevermore.
Come before Him and adore
That lovely name of Jesus.
Cherish that beautiful name.
Cherish that wonderful name.
Cherish that matchless name.
That name is Jesus.

You can listen to it here.       LISTEN

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I love the carols of Christmas.  I enjoy December when many of the radio stations feature this great music.  And, I do have some special favorites.  One of those is a recently written carol which asks questions about what Mary really knew about her special Son.  I've heard many folks react to this question, but I'm still not sure.  Did she really comprehend that the child that she was carrying would provide salvation to this world?  Did she know that He would be her Savior?  It is interesting to contemplate what she knew.  But no matter what, Her son was the Son of God who would change the world.  Contemplate the impact of the Son and thank God the Father as you sing this hymn.

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy
Would someday walk on water?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy 
Will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy 
Has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered
Will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know
That your baby boy 
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy 
Will calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy 
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You've kissed the face of God.
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary did you know
That your baby boy 
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy 
Will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy 
Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding
Is the Great I Am 

Listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, November 30, 2008


It is difficult to choose my very favorite hymn, but "Like A River Glorious" certainly ranks as one of my top favorites.  I especially love to hear it sung by a congregation or an ensemble without any instruments.  It does have great harmony, but more importantly, the words always speak to my heart.  In a world filled with turmoil, our only hope is to live lives that are stayed upon Jehovah.  Now, I admit that I struggle with the words of the second verse ... not a surge of worry ... for I am a worrier.  But when we really understand that "EVERY joy or trial falleth from above" and that they are "traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love", then we know that we can trust him fully.  And we do find perfect peace and rest.  When Frances Havergal was vacationing in the south of Wales, 1876, she caught a severe cold, accompanied by inflammation of the lungs. Hearing how ill she was, and that she might die, she replied, "If I am really going, it is too good to be true." Her friends were amazed at how peacefully she received this information. She did survive that illness, and later that year she wrote this beautiful hymn.  Meditate on these powerful words as you sing along.

(1)   Like a river glorious, is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

(2)   Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.    Refrain

(3)   Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
Listen to it here.     LISTEN

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Choosing a hymn for this week isn't too difficult.  With Thanksgiving just a few days away it is certainly appropriate to choose one which reminds us to have a thankful spirit.  In an age when it is more common to be bitter, complaining, and self-absorbed, sometimes we  are so guilty of living thankless lives.  Maybe we need a special holiday to remind us that our hearts should be flowing with thanks - not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of our lives.  I had to remind out Awana clubbers the other night that it is appropriate to say "thank you" when they receive their awards.  Unfortunately, the lesson was not learned since the next week not a single clubber responded with a "thank you".  Manners and thankfulness are not often taught or modeled today.  But are we really any different?  How often do we forget to be thankful - to friends, family members or especially the Lord?  The scripture says "in everything give thanks".  Sometimes, like with some events that we've personally faced in recent weeks, it is hard. It is easier to fret and complain.  But when we stop and think about what God has done for us, our hearts should be filled with thanksgiving.  Here is an old hymn - often just the chorus has been sung - that should challenge us to be more thankful.  The words and music were written by Seth and Bessie Sykes.
(1)   Some thank the Lord for friends and home,
For mercies sure and sweet;
But I would praise Him for His grace
In prayer I would repeat:

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

(2)   Some thank Him for the flow'rs that grow,
Some for the stars that shine;
My heart is filled with joy and praise,
Because I know He's mine.     Chorus

(3)    I trust in Him from day to day,
I prove His saving grace;
I'll sing this song of praise to Him
Until I see His face.     Chorus

You can listen to it here      LISTEN

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I vividly recall one early morning when I was taking my morning walk before going to school.  My heart was very heavy that day.  While I walked, I prayed and listened to the early morning music on one of our Christian music stations.  Suddenly I heard one of my favorite hymns, "Day By Day", being sung.  And, it ministered powerfully to my need at that exact moment - God's answer to my prayer.  Strength I find to meet my trials here ... I've no cause to worry or to fear ... a special mercy for each hour ... His protection ... His promises ... my Father's hand.  My wife and I have often sung this as a duet and it remains one of my very favorites because of its message.  It was written by Karolina Sandell-Berg who is often called the Sweedish Fanny Crosby.  Her many songs flowed from a broken heart after having seen her father fall overboard and drown when their boat gave a sudden lurch. This is another example of a great hymn born out of a time of tragedy.  So often God has met a special need and as a result that person has penned words that later help thousands in their times of need.  Meditate upon these powerful words today as you trust Christ to meet your need.

     1.     Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

     2.     Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

     3.     Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

Listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Election disappointments, sickness, recession, rising prices, unemployment, IRA's, problems of aging, terror threats, and fears of all types. It is so easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed by the problems of life that we face.  And as we keep our thoughts and eyes on them we often sink deeper.  My grandfather who was a pastor for many years used to encourage his congregation with the admonition, "Keep Looking Up".   And that is such good advice because that is where our relief and help comes from, both now, day by day, and then one of these days when Christ comes back to take us away from the problems of this world.  That was probably the hope and experience that led Helen H. Lemmel, in 1922, to pen the words of this inspirational hymn.  Read and sing the words carefully and let them challenge you today to turn your eyes to Jesus.  He alone is the answer for our needs.

(1)    O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

(2)    Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

(3)    His Word shall not fail you — He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Monday, November 3, 2008


Many of us are very alarmed about what appears to be a radically different direction for our country following this election.  We are concerned about our probable ultra-liberal future which will increase abortion, nontraditional marriages, a liberal justice system, and new limits on our freedom to worship and express Biblical morality.  And as we face this uncertain future, I am reminded of the scripture that spoke so clearly to Martin Luther when he faced uncertain times and attempts to limit his freedom to speak the truth many centuries ago. "God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble." Psalm 46:1.  In 1529 he published his famous hymn which has encouraged saints throughout the centuries.  So if you too are concerned today, meditate on these words.  Hopefully you will be reminded and encouraged that God is still in control and is our Refuge and Strength.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Listen to it here.       LISTEN

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Thursday will bring back many sad memories.  It will be 15 years ago that the Lord took my mother home to be with Him as a result of a fatal automobile accident.  Wednesday is her birthday and we are thankful that we all spent time with her that day, not knowing that it would be the last time that we would be with her on this earth. The years have eased the pain and sorrow, but we still miss her deeply.  She was a special godly mother.  Her favorite hymn was "In The Garden".  This hymn was written by C. Austin Miles after his having read the scripture passage of Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus in the garden of Joseph.  What a joy to know that we can live and walk in the presence of the One who loves us enough to die for us.  I often wonder if today mother is walking with her Lord as she is in His presence.  That was her desire.

(1)  I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain:  And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

(2)  He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.      Refrain

(3)   I'd stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.     Refrain
You can listen to it here      LISTEN 

Sunday, October 26, 2008


"I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by." Exodus 33:22.  Years ago we visited Stone Mountain, in Georgia, and there we saw the great carving in the mountain that took many years to complete.  We heard how it was so large that when storms suddenly developed, the workers would just walk into the eyes or other parts of the carving for protection.  There was safety for them in the "cleft of the rock".  The great blind hymn writer, Fany Crosby, never saw this rock that gave the men protection from the storms, but she knew of the real Rock, Jesus Christ, who protected her.  Exodus 33:22 and her life experiences helped her pen one of my favorite hymns which has for many years comforted many of us during the storms of life.  I hope that it will be a comfort to you today if you are facing a personal storm.

(1)  A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me; He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, Where rivers of pleasure I see.
Refrain: He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry, thirsty land; He hideth my life with the depths of His love, And covers me there with His hand, And covers me there with His hand.

(2)  A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, He taketh my burden away; He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved, He giveth me strength as my day.  Refrain

(3)   With numberless blessings each moment He crowns, And filled with His fullness divine, I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God For such a Redeemer as mine!   Refrain

(4)   When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise To meet Him in clouds of the sky, His perfect salvation, His wonderful love I'll shout with the millions on high.   Refrain
(Words by Fanny Crosby, Music by William J. Kirkpatrick)
Listen to it here.  LISTEN