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 25, 2014


There are times in our life when we all need peace.  For some it comes when struggling with the burden and guilt of sin and there seems to be no hope.  But when God's free gift of salvation is accepted, one also experiences the supernatural gift of God's peace, a peace beyond all  understanding.  Through Christ on the cross, real peace was made possible.  And all believers need God's special gift of peace as we make our way through the difficult challenges and trials of life here on earth.  I recently went through a series of difficult medical tests and then major surgery.  I admit that I was very apprehensive.  But, as He graciously does, God gave me a special peace that carried me through.  And I am sure that if you are a believer that you can testify of many of the same experiences.  Philip Bilhorn, a gospel musician, had an interesting background. His original name was Pulhorn but it was officially changed by a judge named Abraham Lincoln, before the judge became president.  It is said that he had a marvelous singing voice, and entertained in the concert halls and beer gardens in the Chicago area. But when he came to Christ, he determined to use his gifts in the service of the Lord.  Bilhorn became a much traveled evangelist, also serving as a song leader in the early ministry of Billy Sunday. At the World's Christian Endeavour Convention in London's Crystal Palace, he conducted a choir of 4,000 voices. On the invitation of Queen Victoria, he sang several of his own songs in the chapel at Buckingham Palace.  Seeing the need for a small portable pump organ that could be used in street meetings and on the mission field, Peter Bilhorn designed and built one himself. The small but powerful organ folded down into a unit about the size of a large suitcase. The Bilhorn Brothers Organ Company grew from this, and they sold a variety of models worldwide. Peter Bilhorn wrote around 2,000 gospel songs and  sometimes provided the tune for many others.  One of them is this week's choice.  Here is what Bilhorn wrote about the writing of this hymn: "I had been invited to sing one afternoon in the Ocean Grove, New Jersey camp meeting. I sang one of my early songs, "I Will Sing the Wondrous Story." At the close of the service a friend said, "Mr. Bilhorn, I wish you would write a song to suit my voice as well as 'I Will Sing the Wondrous Story' seems to suit your voice." I asked, "What shall it be?"  She replied, "Oh, any sweet piece," which suggested the title and which I penciled in my notebook.  In the twilight hour, at the home of S.T. Gordon, while seated at the piano, the music came to me, but I had no words except the title.  The following winter, a call came from D. L. Moody, asking me to join Major Whittle in a meeting in Iowa.  When nearing Wheaton, the engine gave a shrill whistle of warning.  The train came to a sudden stop. We found, lying in a ditch, the mangled body of an old lady. They carried her across the street into a cottage, leaving a pool of blood where she had lain.  Major Whittle, placing one hand on my shoulder said, "Do you know that is all Jesus Christ left on this earth? His body rose for our justification, but His blood was left to atone for our sin!" I replied, "Yes, Major, and that is what gives me sweet peace, just to know for certain that His blood atones for my sins." When we had returned to the train, the thought of the song came to me again ... and the words were written."  Now maybe you have a need this week for God's sweet peace in your life.  Take your anxiety to Him and ask him to replace it with His sweet peace.  You will find that He will do that for you, no matter how difficult your challenge may be.   Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.

(1)    There comes to my heart one sweet strain,
A glad and a joyous refrain,
I sing it again and again,
Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.
Peace, peace, sweet peace,
Wonderful gift from above,
Oh, wonderful, wonderful peace,
Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.

(2)    Through Christ on the cross peace was made,
My debt by His death was all paid,
No other foundation is laid.
For peace, the gift of God's love.
Peace, peace, sweet peace,
Wonderful gift from above,
Oh, wonderful, wonderful peace,
Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.

(3)    When Jesus as Lord I had crowned,
My heart with this peace did abound,
In Him the rich blessing I found,
Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.
Peace, peace, sweet peace,
Wonderful gift from above,
Oh, wonderful, wonderful peace,
Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.

(4)    In Jesus for peace I abide,
And as I keep close to His side,
There's nothing but peace doth betide.
Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.
Peace, peace, sweet peace,
Wonderful gift from above,
Oh, wonderful, wonderful peace,
Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, May 18, 2014


It was 300 weeks ago on October 19, 2008, that I decided to try to write a brief blog each Sunday involving a great hymn of the faith.  That Sunday I began with my favorite hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  This venture began as a hobby which I hoped to share with a few of my close friends. I didn't know how long I would really continue this blogging.  And never did I ever think that this blog would eventually have well over 107,000 visits with about 800 visiting each week.  Never did I anticipate that I would receive scores of comments from all over the world thanking me for sharing words that were touching the hearts of my readers.  I am still overwhelmed with this fact.  I am not a historian nor have I been trained in music.  I just love to sing and love the many Gospel songs and hymns that have touched my life over the years.  And that first hymn that I shared is so true.  Great is God's faithfulness and He has been so faithful to me throughout seven decades and especially in the 300 weeks that I have tried to find words to share with you.
I've thought long and hard about what to share on this special week and I've decided to briefly comment on probably the most famous hymn known throughout the world today, Amazing Grace.  It is the personal testimony of its author, John  Newton, a slave trader before coming to Christ.  It was God's amazing grace (God's Riches At Christ's Expense) that drew him from a life of sin to become a child of the King.  Today this hymn is sung at so many public events, especially funerals and memorial services.  And every time I hear it I wonder what people must be thinking when they sing it. What does grace mean to them?  For I am sure that many of them have never experienced the amazing grace that can save a wretched, sinful person. The Bible reminds us that all have sinned.  But in their blind state they sing and play this wonderful message.  It is so sad to hear and see this happen. If only their hearts would be open to the truth and power of this grace.
          Chris Tomlin has popularized a modern version of this hymn which I also like.  His key addition has been the following.
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace
Maybe it is sad that folks today don't include this addition for it clearly explains what the sinner experiences when the amazing grace of Jesus floods the soul and sets the sinner free.  It is my prayer that you, too, have experienced this amazing grace of Jesus.
          Now the one thing I don't like about his new modern version is that my favorite verse is not included.  The older I get, the more meaningful the last verse becomes to me.  When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun.  Actually this verse was not penned by Newton but by an R. Winchell.  And I'm so glad it was added. What a hope and anticipation the truth of this verse brings to us.  Someday we will have an eternity with Him to sing of His amazing grace.
          And so that is hymn #300.  Thank you for visiting and adding your find comments over the years.  If the Lord allows, maybe in six years we can celebrate together #600.  And if not, maybe we can join together in the first ten thousand years singing praises to God in our new home.  I'd love to meet you there as we worship together.

(1)    Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

(2)    'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

(3)    Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

(4)    The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

(5)    Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

(6)    The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

(7)    When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.

You can listen here to a stirring rendition here if you can just wait until the ad is done.     LISTEN

Sunday, May 11, 2014


In Matthew 7, Jesus gives the illustration of the wise man who built his house on the rock, a sure foundation, and when the storms came the house on the rock  stood firm.  But the foolish man built his house upon the shifting sands and when the storm came it collapsed. Today we live in a society where many deny that there are any absolutes in life.  People just do what they think is right in their own eyes and they build their lives on the shifting sand.  And when the storms arise they have no hope for today or tomorrow. Too many reject the firm foundation of the absolutes and truth revealed to us in the Bible.  This week's hymn reminds us of the only true, solid foundation for our lives.  For over two centuries this hymn has been a favorite and solid reminder for many.  It was General Robert E. Lee's favorite hymn and was included in his funeral service as it was in the funerals of American presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.  President Andrew Jackson called for it to be sung on his deathbed. On Christmas Eve 1898, American units involved in the Spanish-American War joined together to sing the hymn. The units were from the North and the South.  But as popular as it has been, its authorship is unknown.  It was  first published in 1787 in Dr. John Rippon's Selection of Hymns and for many years people thought he had written it.  But Rippon attributed the authorship simply to "K--."  Later some studies showed that this may have meant R. Keene who was once a song leader in Dr. Rippon's church.  But nobody knows for sure.  However, no matter who wrote it, the words have been an inspiration to many.  They remind us of the need to make the truth of the Scriptures our firm foundation of the Christian life.  The verses reflect the application of Scripture to our lives.  In verse two we are reminded of His presence and His promise to strengthen us and uphold us.  It echoes Isaiah 41:10.  Verse three reminds us of His presence when we walk through the deep waters which will come our way.  Verse four reminds us of the fiery trials in which He will protect us and refine us.  These verses reflect Isaiah 43:2.  The final verse is a commitment to rest upon the Lord despite all the critics who will try to convince us otherwise and take away our victory.  May the teachings and truth and absolutes of the Bible, God's guidebook to us, be the firm foundation that we built our lives upon.  Matthew 7:25, ":And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."

Here are the five verses that are generally included in hymnbooks and sung today.

(1)    How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

(2)   Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

(3)   When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

(4)    When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

(5)   The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake.

Apparently there were two other verses written and sometimes included.  I especially like the second one since as I am getting older is a great reminder that God is still there as our foundation and that he will continue to care and protect us in the storms that seniors in particular face.

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

Listen to it here.  LISTEN

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Pardon - a verb which means to forgive or to excuse a person, error, or offense.  To release an offender from the legal consequences of an offense or conviction.  All of us need a pardon from God for our sin.  The scriptures remind us that all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  We would be condemned to eternal separation from God, but God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  And while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.  This pardon from sin and its consequences is ours if we just accept it.  Such grace, so rich and so free!  And that is the message of this week's hymn choice.  It is an old one not found in many hymnals in the last few decades, but its message is powerful and relevant for lives today.  The author of this hymn text, Samuel Davies, was an American Presbyterian minister who was appointed president of Princeton University in 1759, succeeding the well-known evangelist, Jonathan Edwards. My how times have changed in the college scene. Dr. Davies was highly influential in the fields of religion and education and he wrote a number of hymns that had a wide acceptance in the 18th century, especially in England.  We don't know the events behind the writing of this text, but it was published posthumously by Thomas Gibbons in 1769.  I'm not sure how many verses were actually penned by Davies, for it appears that numerous additions and revisions may have been made over the centuries.  The three verses marked below are the ones most commonly found in later hymnbooks but I am also including two others which appeared in many older texts and books.  The question posed by this hymn is an important one in today's society where many feel that there are numerous ways to God.  But there is only one who can pardon and forgive our sins.  And so this hymn bodly proclaims to God "Who is a pardoning God like Thee".  And the answer is obvious - there is none except Him.  Oh how amazing is His grace to us and it is freely given.  There is nothing we can do to earn it. Let us be thankful that the price has been paid for our pardon.  May we fill the whole world with grateful praise as we share this truth to all.  It is the only hope for mankind.

*1.     Great God of wonders! All Thy ways
Are matchless, Godlike and divine;
But the fair glories of Thy grace
More Godlike and unrivaled shine,
More Godlike and unrivaled shine.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

2.     Crimes of such horror to forgive,
Such guilty, daring worms to spare;
This is Thy grand prerogative,
And none shall in the honor share,
And none shall in the honor share

3.    Angels and men, resign your claim
To pity, mercy, love and grace:
These glories crown Jehovah's Name
With an incomparable glaze
With an incomparable glaze.

+4.    In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
We take the pardon of our God:
Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
A pardon bought with Jesus' blood,
A pardon bought with Jesus' blood.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

+5.     O may this strange, this matchless grace,
This Godlike miracle of love,
Fill the whole earth with grateful praise,
And all th'angelic choirs above,
And all th'angelic choirs above.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

I had a very difficult time finding a video of this hymn because it is such an old one.  But I did find one that is a little hard to understand at times and I also think some of the words may be different.  But I love the moving bass part in the chorus and that is the same and can be easily understood. So make sure that you listen to the chorus and enjoy the music and the words.     LISTEN