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, February 24, 2013


There are several great hymns of worship that have not only survived but have withstood the test of time.  This week's choice is one of those.  In poetic form it describes God's impact upon the lives of His children over the years.  The Ancient of Days is our Shield and Defender from all the attacks of Satan.  He is our Maker who cares for us with His bountiful care.  He is our Redeemer whose mercies are tender.  And this great King is also our Friend.  And we, who are the frail children of dust, feeble and frail, can put our faith in Him for He will not fail.  And with this knowledge and experience we should daily sing gratefully of His power and His love.  Charles Grant (1778-1838) was born in India but  moved back to England when he was seven years old. He became a lawyer at age 29, a member of Parliament at 48 and was elected Judge Advocate General at 54. At age 56 he was knighted and then appointed Governor of Bombay, India, where he died at the age of 60.  He was also a devout evangelical christian who took every opportunity to share the Good News. He was a financial supporter of missionaries, and was loved by the people of India, who established a medical college in his honor. Several of Grant's writings, prose and poetry, were published during his lifetime. After his death, his brother gathered 12 of Grant's poems into a book titled Sacred Poems. One of those poems, O Worship the King, was set to music by Johann Michael Hadyn and has appeared in church hymnals ever since.  I hope that as you review and sing the words of this profound hymn this week that you will be filled with awe, praise and thanksgiving as you worship the King.

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

You can listen to it here.  LISTEN

Sunday, February 17, 2013


This week I have chosen to go a different direction with this blog by choosing a rather contemporary song and making some very personal comments.  I trust that you will bear with me and I will return to the hymns next Sunday.  On Saturday my late brother, Terry, was part of the first class to be inducted into the Lancaster Lebanon League Hall of Fame for officials and administrators.  I actually had nominated him and am thrilled that he was chosen as part of the very first class.  He was an outstanding athlete, wrestling official, coach and athletic director and certainly deserved this honor.  Unfortunately he didn't receive it before he was called home to heaven almost four years ago after a 15 year battle with prostate cancer.  On Friday I was reminded of the months before his death when I heard, on the radio, this week's song.  It was one of Terry's favorites, especially in his last days, and it was sung at his funeral.  The song was written by Wayne Watson and it won the Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year for 1992.  During Terry's final months of battle he regularly sent out emails to many of his friends and prayer partners.  His words and attitude challenged us and he seldom showed signs of discouragement.  He knew, without a doubt, where he would be after his death.  And while his death came rather unexpectedly for most of us, we think he sensed that he would soon be home free. And we did stand in the corridors of the hospital that day praying for more heartbeats for him. But his healing was to be in heaven.  During the past few years we have watched many of our close friends pass on to heaven.  In fact, all the men in our wedding party are now with the Lord.  And while we prayed for their healing here, they experienced the ultimate healing in glory.  I don't know why the Lord calls good people home so early in their earthly lives, but thankfully we do have the hope and assurance that they are now healed and rejoicing in a much better place.  I don't know what situation you are facing today, but I pray that if you are living underneath the sea of grief that you will be able to say and mean, as my brother did, "Thy will be done".  Over the years, by his life, Terry taught me much about how to live the Christian life.  But in his last days he taught me much about how to die with hope.  And that is a lesson we all need to learn since one day each of us who are believers in Christ will also be home free.

I'm trying hard not to think You unkind
But Heavenly Father
If You know my heart
Surely You can read my mind
Good people underneath the sea of grief
Some get up and walk away
Some will find ultimate relief

Home free, eventually
At the ultimate healing
We will be home free
Home free, oh I've got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be home free

Out in the corridors, we pray for life
A mother for her baby
A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young
It's sad but true
And while we pray for one more heartbeat
The real comfort is with You

You know pain has little mercy
And suffering's no respecter of age
Of race or position
I know every prayer gets answered
But the hardest one to pray is slow to come
Oh Lord, not mine, but Thy will be done

Let it be
Home free, eventually
At the ultimate healing
We will be home free
Home free, oh I've got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be home free

Home free, eventually
At the ultimate healing
Gonna be home free
Home free, oh its more than a feeling
At the ultimate healing
Gonna be home free

Listen to the music here.    LISTEN

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I think all of us have had the thrill of watching a magnificent sunset and watching the beautiful colors change as the minutes passed by. Sunsets are one of God's most spectacular displays.  And as they signal the end of the day they should remind us of our lives.  For as we reach the sunset of our days here there is a more spectacular day coming when we will be at home with our Savior.  This week's hymn should remind us of that truth.  It was in the summer of 1936 that Horace Rodeheaver invited the faculty of the Rodeheaver School of Music to his home at Rainbow Point, Indiana. As the evening progressed, the sunset over the nearby Winona Lake was so incredible and it is said that the guests began to talk about its beauty. Eventually the talk died down and the group sat for a long time, silently soaking in the wonder. Horace Burr, who had been blind from birth, suddenly spoke out with excitement, saying that he had never seen such a beautiful sunset. One of the other guests asked how it was possible for him to see events of the sky.  Horace's answered " I see through other people's eyes, and I think I often see more. I see beyond the sunset." Among those attending were lyricist Virgil Brock and his wife, composer Blanch Brock. Upon returning home, Virgil was inspired to write a hymn based upon the events of the evening. His wife joined him from the piano and  Horace was there as well. When he heard the first three verses Horace reminded them of the storm clouds that had been hovering just above that evening's sunset, and suggested that be the theme of a fourth verse. Before the evening was over, Beyond the Sunset was ready for publication.  As you reflect upon the words this week, be reminded of that day which is approaching, a day of gladness, a day unending, a day when toiling is ended and we are home with our blessed Savior.  What a glorious hope.  May each spectacular sunset that you view remind you of this truth.

(1)   Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning,
When with our Savior heav'n is begun;
Earth's toiling ended, O glorious dawning -
Beyond the sunset when day is done.

(2)   Beyond the sunset no clouds will gather,
No storms will threaten, no fears annoy;
O day of gladness, O day unending -
Beyond the sunset, eternal joy!

(3)   Beyond the sunset a hand will guide me
To God the Father, whom I adore;
His glorious presence, His words of welcome,
Will be my portion on that fair shore.

(4)   Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion
With our dear loved ones who've gone before;
In that fair homeland we'll know no parting -
Beyond the sunset forevermore!

You can listen to this week's hymn here.   LISTEN

Sunday, February 3, 2013


The song writer Thomas Dorsey (1899-1993) has an honored title of 'The Father of Gospel Music'.  At a very early age, long before his music education at the Chicago College of Composition and Arranging, he was playing piano in a Vaudeville act.  After college, he frequented the jazz clubs, gaining quite a reputation as the very talented 'Georgia Tom'.  In 1921, at the age of 22, he gave his life to Jesus and left the jazz clubs and began writing Gospel music. Little by little his reputation grew, not only as a songwriter but as a church music director.   In 1932 while the now Reverend Dorsey was leading a church service, a man came on to the platform to hand him a telegram which said that his wife had just died in childbirth. Within 24 hours his newborn baby also died. Dorsey fell into deep despair, doubting the goodness of God and determining never to write another hymn.  A week later, sitting alone at a piano he suddenly felt a special peace such as he had never known before. He suddenly felt the urge to play the piano. His fingers found a familiar melody and the words to Precious Lord, Take My Hand began to well up from his heart.  God had given him a song that would not only lift him from despair, but would also change the course of his music career.  This hymn has been translated into more than 40 languages, has been sung by some of the biggest names in Gospel music, including Mahalia Jackson and Elvis Presley, and it was Dr. Martin Luther King's favorite hymn.  As I traced the story of Dorsey and this hymn, I was reminded of one of my favorite verses.  "I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, 'Fear not; I will help thee." (Isaiah 41:13).  I don't know what your situation or circumstances may be this week, but the Lord is there to take your hand and lead you through the dark valley and the storm.  As you recognize your weakness, may you experience the strength and great peace which He alone can give you.

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, Let me stand
I'm tired, I am weak I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear 
precious Lord linger near
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry, Hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When the darkness appears 
and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet,Hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, Let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home 

Listen to it here.    LISTEN