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, November 25, 2012


Some of the great hymns of praise were written many centuries ago.  This week's hymn was actually written in 1680 and has been sung by believers all of these years.  It was written by Joachim Neander whose father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfatrher - all Joachim Neanders - had been preachers of the gospel.  How about that for an amazing heritage!  It is said that Joachim, the hymn writer, was rather wild and rebellious growing up.  At the age of 20 he and a group of students entered a church to ridicule and scoff at the worshippers.  But instead he was convicted by the sermon and that led to his conversion.  And a few years later he actually became the assistant preacher of that very same church.  It is said that he enjoyed taking long walks near his home in Hochdal, Germany.  And on these walks he would worship and often would compose hymns which he sang to the Lord while he strolled.  He is known as the first hymn writer from the Calvinist branch of Protestantism.  Unfortunately he battled tuberculosis and died when he was only 30 years old.  But shortly before he died he penned the words of this week's hymn selection.  An interesting sidelight is the fact that one of his walking spots was a beautiful gorge a few miles from Dusseldorf.  He loved this spot so much and eventually it was actually named for him - Neander Valley.  Two hundred years later, in 1856, miners discovered caves in this valley that contained human bones.  Later these bones were thought to be proof of evolution's famous "missing link" and they were called the Neanderthal fossils.  It is sad that his name would become world famous for human evolution, a concept that he would have rejected.  Today praise choruses have replaced many of the great old hymns of the faith in our worship services.  But that doesn't replace the profound message of this hymn that He is the King of creation and He wondrously reigneth. He is our health and salvation and He shelters us under His wings.  And, appropriately, the last phrase should be our challenge this week - "Ponder anew what the Almighty can do if with His love He befriend you."

(1)    Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, 
the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

(2)     Praise to the Lord, who over all things 
so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

(3)   Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!

All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

(4)    Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work 

and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Listen to this hymn being sung here.   LISTEN

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Our beautiful maple tree - taken this week

For the beauty of the earth, 
for the glory of the skies, 
for the love which from our birth 
over and around us lies; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour 
of the day and of the night, 
hill and vale, and tree and flower, 
sun and moon, and stars of light; 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise.

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good"  Psalm 107:1

Thanks for visiting this blog.  Our weekly hymns will resume on Sunday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


It used to be that Thanksgiving Day would not be complete without the singing of this traditional Dutch Hymn.  In the United States, it was popularly associated with Thanksgiving Day and was often sung at family meals and at religious services on that day. It was sung as an expression of thanks to God as our defender and guide throughout the past year. However, "We Gather Together" must be understood and appreciated from its historical setting.The text was originally written by an anonymous author, at the end of the sixteenth century, to celebrate the Dutch freedom from the Spanish overlords, who had been driven from their land, and the freedom that was theirs, both politically from Spain and religiously from the Catholic Church.  A number of Dutch nationalistic songs developed as a result of this patriotic emphasis and this hymn is generally considered to be the finest of these musical expressions. "We Gather Together" resonated because under the Spanish King, Dutch Protestants were forbidden to gather for worship. You can readily see the references to these historical events throughout the hymn's text: "The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing," "so from the beginning the fight we were winning," as well as the concern, in the final stanza, that God will continue to defend – "and we pray that Thou still our defender will be." It was first published in 1626 and for the next two centuries the singing of this hymn was limited to the Dutch people. The English translation of this text was made in 1893 by Theodore Baker a highly respected music researcher. "We Gather Together's" first appearance in an American hymnal was in 1903. It had retained popularity among the Dutch, and when the Dutch Reformed Church in North America decided, in 1937, to abandon the policy that they had brought with them to the New World in the 17th century of singing only psalms and add hymns to the church service, "We Gather Together" was chosen as the first hymn in the first hymnal.  But while the Dutch have an historical reason for singing it, the words are still appropriate for us today.  Our religious liberties may be challenged, but we still have the freedom to gather and bring our petitions to the Lord who will continue to be our Defender.  Praise God that He will not abandon His children.  Sing praises to His Name.

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Listen to it here.  LISTEN

Sunday, November 11, 2012


One of the best know hymn writers in history was Fanny Crosby (1820 - 1915).  Despite her blindness she made a major impact on the worship of evangelicals through her music.  By the end of the 19th century, she was "a household name" and "one of the most prominent figures in American evangelical life". Crosby was "the premier hymnist of the gospel song period", and one of the most prolific hymnists in history, writing over 8,000, with over 100 million copies of her songs printed.  And you and I have sung many of these great hymns over and over for years.  However, one of her most profound  hymns is one that very few people have ever heard or sung.  And the hymn that I am speaking about is this week's choice, "Be Thou Exalted".  Part of the reason that this hymn is not well known might be the actual music which was composed by Alfred Smith.  It is a tricky rhythm with the verses in 9/8 time and the chorus in 12/8 time.  The theme may be based on Psalm 97:9, "For Thou, Lord, art high above all the earth.  Thou art exalted for above all gods." The three verses share the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, some of their attributes, and what each should mean to us.  So often in our daily lives we tend to exalt so many less important things, such as our jobs, our possessions, our successes, our ministries, and even our family.  We need instead to worship and exalt the triune God of eternity which alone is worthy of our praise.  And as you read the words this week may you join in singing "Thine be the glory forever Amen!".  Since I have not been able to locate a video of this being sung, I am linking to a great video of it being played by harps.  Hopefully you will be able to associate the words with the music as you worship this week.

(1)    Be Thou exalted, forever and ever,
God of eternity, Ancient of Days!
Wondrous in majesty, perfect in wisdom,
Glorious in holiness, and worthy of praise.
Be Thou exalted by seraphs and angels,
Be Thou exalted with harp and with song;
Saints in their anthems of rapture adore Thee,
Thine be the glory forever Amen!

(2)  Be Thou exalted, O Son of the Highest!
Gracious Redeemer, our Savior and King!
One with the Father, coequal in glory,
Here at Thy footstool our homage we bring.
Be Thou exalted by seraphs and angels,
Be Thou exalted with harp and with song;
Saints in their anthems of rapture adore Thee,
Thine be the glory forever Amen!

(3)  Be Thou exalted, O Spirit eternal!
Dwell in our hearts, keep us holy within;
Feed us each day with Thy Heavenly Manna
"Healer of wounded hearts" Thy praises we sing.
Be Thou exalted by seraphs and angels,
Be Thou exalted with harp and with song;
Saints in their anthems of rapture adore Thee,
Thine be the glory forever Amen!

Listen to it being sung here.   LISTEN 1
Listen to a beautiful rendition played by a harp choir.  LISTEN

Sunday, November 4, 2012


While preparing for last Friday's hymn sing at the Pinebrook Bible Conference I was searching for hymns about the name of Jesus.  The theme of the sing was "That Beautiful Name".  I was actually surprised at how many familiar hymns I found.  However one that I wanted to use was this week's choice and I was unable to find it in any of the hymnbooks that I have.  I know that my wife and I used to sing it as a duet, but I was surprised that it wasn't part of my books.  So maybe it is new to you.  Hopefully you will appreciate the words and the praise they give to Jesus.  The hymn writer was Oscar C. Eliason (1902 - 1985), a Swedish American clergyman, who served as a pastor and evangelist in the Assemblies of God. He was a prolific poet and composer who composed over 50 hymns and gospel songs.  Eliason and his brother Paul were diagnosed with tuberculosis which resulted in their hospitalization at a sanatorium in Minneapolis. After the death of Paul in 1929 and the collapse of Eliason's right lung, Oscar was "very depressed and discouraged". After reading accounts of healing in the Pentecostal Evangel, Eliason requested prayer and he credits his healing from tuberculosis to the prayers of a visiting Presbyterian minister in 1964.  He wrote this hymn in 1946 and it was purchased by Haldor Lillenas for $400. It was published in several Nazarene song books and hymnals. Cliff Barrows and the Billy Graham Crusade Choir sang it at a Billy Graham crusade in Minneapolis which was attended by Eliason. It was a thrill for him to hear his hymn sung by the huge choir.  The words speak for themselves and should be the testimony of each believer.  Or names are important to us and we all love to hear our names shared in a positive way.  Unfortunately, here on earth the name of Jesus is just a curse word to so many.  But when we have a personal encounter with Him, His name and work should stir our hearts like nothing else.  Can we say that no other name means so much to us.  Meditate on these words this week.  Are they your testimony?

(1)   I've learned to know a name I highly treasure.
O how it thrills my spirit thro' and thro'!
O precious name, beyond degree or measure,
My heart is stirred whene'er I think of You!
My heart is stirred whene'er I think of Jesus,
That blessed name which sets the captive free --
The only name thro' which I find salvation.
No name on earth has meant so much to me.

(2)   That name brings gladness to a soul in sorrow.
It makes life's shadows and its clouds depart --
Brings strength in weakness for today, tomorrow,
That name brings healing to an aching heart.
My heart is stirred whene'er I think of Jesus,
That blessed name which sets the captive free --
The only name thro' which I find salvation.
No name on earth has meant so much to me.

(3)   That name still lives and will live on forever,
While kings and kingdoms will forgotten be.
Thro' mist or rain, 'twill be beclouded never.
That name shall shine and shine eternally.
My heart is stirred whene'er I think of Jesus,
That blessed name which sets the captive free --
The only name thro' which I find salvation.
No name on earth has meant so much to me.

Listen to it being sung here.  LISTEN