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 23, 2014


Do you have a true personal friend, one who you can trust and confide in ...  one who really cares and accepts you as you are ...  one who is always there when you need someone ... one who will support you with prayer and understanding when you need it?  If you do, then you are very fortunate.  True friends are hard to find.  Personally, I have learned the truth of this since during the past five years most of my closest friends have graduated to heaven and I do miss them.  However, I thank the Lord for my wife who has been my closest and dearest friend here on earth over the years.  But thankfully, I have another friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is always there when I need Him and He has never let me down and He never will.   Some Gospel songs share the experience of a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ in a language that is simple and down to earth. Will L. Thompson (1847-1909) does this in a gospel song that reflects a childlike faith and trust in Jesus, the truest friend of all.   In this week's hymn, written in 1904, he shares what is possibly his own personal testimony, "Jesus Is All The World To Me".   Note the following phrases - "my life, my joy, my all," "no other one can cheer me so," "when I am sad, He makes me glad." "my Friend in trials sore", "He watches o'er me day and night", "He's my Friend!"   It is possible that earthly friends or lovers might try to describe their relationship in such words, but the context here makes it clear that Jesus is the only friend who offers a relationship of this kind.  Thompson was a talented musician who studied music in Boston and Germany. He tried to sell his music to major publishers but was turned down, so he established his own music publishing company.  He turned out to have considerable business sense, probably due to his father's influence and his undergraduate business degree.  He marketed his music, in part, by sending copies to various minstrel shows which were popular at the time. He may have even paid some of them to sing his music.  He quickly became successful, and was known as the millionaire "Bard of Ohio."  He wrote one of his most popular songs, "Gathering Sea Shells on the Sea Shore" in ten minutes and it sold 246,000 copies. But he admitted later that he still felt there was something missing from his life. He said, "One day God spoke to my heart through meeting D. L. Moody. He told me, 'Will, they are good songs you wrote, but why not write some songs that will bless people's hearts and lives, and bring them to Christ.'"  Said Thompson, "From that day on I have written only sacred songs, and it's a decision I have never regretted."   I hope that this week's choice is your personal testimony and that you can sing it in all honesty.  It is special to have a personal friend here on earth, but no such earthly relationship can ever begin to compare to the relationship we can have with Jesus who has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  "Eternal life, eternal joy, He's my Friend".

(1)     Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go, no other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad, He's my Friend.

(2)    Jesus is all the world to me, my Friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and He gives them over and o'er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvest's golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, He's my Friend.

(3)    Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I'll be;
O how could I this Friend deny, when He's so true to me?
Following Him I know I'm right, He watches o'er me day and night;
Following Him by day and night, He's my Friend.

(4)    Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better Friend;
I trust Him now, I'll trust Him when life's fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a Friend, beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy, He's my Friend.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, February 16, 2014


This past Friday many nations around the world celebrated Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine.  This special day is said to have begun as a celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The most popular story associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.  The special day has evolved into an occasion in which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, buying candy, and sending greeting cards, called valentines.  But the love that is celebrated on this day falls far short of the agape love which Christ showed for each of us when He willingly gave His life for those of us who are so undeserving of this love.  Romans 5:8 reminds us "that God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  And that love is the theme behind this week's hymn choice which was written by the London merchant Samuel Trevor Francis (1834–1925).  Francis had a major spiritual turning point in his late teens while contemplating suicide one night on a bridge over the River Thames. The love of God overwhelmed his soul at that critical point in his life. Experiencing a renewal of faith, he went on to author many poems and hymns in the next 72 years. He was also a preacher in addition to his merchant career. The song compares Jesus' love to the ocean in scope, emphasizing the limitless, unchanging, and sacrificial nature of God's affections for each of us.  Look at some of the words and expressions he used - rolling as a mighty ocean, underneath me, the current of Thy Love, from shore to shore, an ocean full of blessing, a haven giving rest.   Possibly these word pictures were inspired by his experience that night on the bridge.  May we marvel this week at the deep, deep love of Jesus, unmeasured, boundless, free!  May this reflection lift us up to glory and up to the One who showed that love for each of us.

(1)   O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, 
is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward 
to Thy glorious rest above!

(2)   O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o'er His loved ones, 
died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, 
watcheth o'er them from the throne!

(3)   O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
love of every love the best!
'Tis an ocean full of blessing, 
'tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
'tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Isaac Watts was a prolific hymn writer who is credited with writing over 600 hymns during his lifetime.  Many of them are still used today to worship and praise the same Savior Watts loved and served. Born on July 27, 1674 at Southampton, England, he was the eldest of nine children. His father was a Dissenter from the Anglican Church and on at least one occasion was thrown in jail for not following the Church of England. Isaac followed his father's strongly biblical faith. He was a very intelligent child who loved books and learned to read early. He began learning Latin at age four and went on to learn Greek, Hebrew, and French as well.  His hymn that we feature this week was written in 1719 and is said to be his paraphrase of Psalm 72.  Once again, I have found no background on the actual writing of the hymn.  However, "Jesus Shall Reign Where're the Sun" is considered by many to be the first great missionary hymn.  It was written at a time when the church was doing little missionary work. Watts envisioned a day when Jesus would reign throughout the world - wherever the sun shines - from shore to shore. His original verses envisioned a time when all people - princes, savage tribes, people of all languages, even infants - would praise Jesus' name.  Current hymnals have modernized the language somewhat and generally reduced the original 14 verses to five.  Since the days of Watts, the Gospel has spread throughout the world and believers can be found almost everywhere, despite the fact that many must worship in secret for fear of persecution or even death.  But there still are tribes and people groups who need to be reached with the good news.  May we be active in spreading this message to all, whether it be by actually going ourselves or by supporting, with our money and prayers, those who are going.  May we do our part to help see "the prisoner leap to lose his chains and the weary find eternal rest", as we have hopefully experienced ourselves.  And there will be a time when people from every nation gather to worship, praise and bring honor to our King.  Now I must conclude this blog with an interesting story about Isaac Watts.  It is said that he was not much to look at.  He was frail and often sickly. His head seemed too large for his short five foot body. His small, piercing eyes and hooked nose did not enhance his appearance. A lady once fell in love with Isaac by reading his poetry and a correspondence between them followed. When she met him face to face, however, she was very disillusioned, even though he fell in love with her. He asked her to marry him, but her reply was, "Mr. Watts, I only wish I could admire the casket (jewelry box) as much as I admire the jewel."  Watts never married, though the two remained good friends for over 30 years.

(1)     Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

(2)    To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

(3)    People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.

(4)    Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.

(5)   Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

You can listen to this hymn here.   LISTEN

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Some hymns, such as this one, are great hymns of testimony which share a believer's experience and hope.  This one is based on the great scripture passage proclaimed by Paul, in II Timothy 1:12 , "…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."   This hymn was written by Major Daniel Webster Whittle and was originally published in 1883, one of about two hundred hymns composed by Major Whittle.  At the age of twenty-one, Whittle joined the 72nd Illinois Infantry, enlisting in Company B as a Second Lieutenant. Later he rose to the rank of Major on General O.O. Howard's staff. He was with General Sherman on his march to the sea and was later wounded at the battle of Vicksburg. While leading a charge, he was wounded in his sword arm which led to the amputation of his arm and a stay in a prisoner of war camp. It was while he was in this POW camp that out of boredom he began to search for something to read. He found in his personal effects a little New Testament that his Mother had placed there. He read through the New Testament in a matter of days and started through it again.  This led to a rededication of his life to the Lord.  Upon his recovery and return home, he met the noted evangelist, D.L. Moody and that changed the course of Whittle's life. After a rather brief time in business with the Elgin Watch Company, he was persuaded by Moody to enter full-time evangelistic work. Soon he became known as one of the leading evangelists of his day.  Whittle always worked with a gospel singer and song leader.  His first such associate was Philip P. Bliss, whose tragic death in a train wreck in 1876 ended a most happy relationship. James McGranahan succeeded Bliss as Major Whittle's singing companion. The greater number of Whittle's more than two hundred hymn texts were set to music by McGranahan.  While I could find nothing about the actual writing of this hymn, it must have been a result of his personal experience and conviction.  And in the decades since its writing it has become a favorite of believers around the world.  Hopefully this is your testimony.  May your personal experience enable you to sing these words with conviction throughout this week.

(1)    I know not why God's wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

(2)     I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

(3)     I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

(4)    I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

(5)     I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

Listen to it being sung here.   LISTEN