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, March 27, 2016


     It is always amazing to see how God chooses to use all sorts of people for His glory.  Imagine a woman who had no musical abilities, could not even carry a tune, but had a special gift of poetic rhythm.  Such was the case with Carrie Elizabeth Ellis Breck (1855-1934) who God used to write more than 2,000 poems many of which were turned into hymns by gifted musicians. Brought up by God-fearing parents, she cannot remember when Bible reading and prayer were not her daily home custom. From the days of her youth Carrie E. Breck wrote verse and prose for religious and household publications.  A wife and mother to five daughters she was not particularly robust in health and had to take frequent rests while doing chores. According to Breck, "I penciled verses under all conditions; over a mending basket, with a baby on my arm, and sometimes even when sweeping or washing dishes," she recalled. "My mind moved in poetic meter."  It was in 1899 that she penned the lyrics of this week's hymn choice. The tune was composed by Grant Colfax Tullar (1869-1950). A Methodist minister and evangelistic song leader who had a successful music printing business. Mrs. Breck often sent her poems to Mr. Tullar so that he could provide music for them. Some of their most famous collaborations are the songs, "Shall I Crucify My Savior?" and "Face to face with Christ, my Savior".  This week's hymn choice is a hymn that emphasizes the fact that we can have forgiveness of sins because of what Jesus did at the cross.  Like most of Breck's poems, this one is simple, straightforward, and unpretentious. It's based on a passage from the epistle to the Colossians:  "He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13-14, NIV).  The hymn text is simple in the same way that the Gospel is simple. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so our sins are forgiven.  The first verse reminds us that all of our past sins can be forgiven.  The second verse shares that we no longer have any condemnation.  Verse three reminds us that our future can be filled with hope.  And the chorus continues to remind us of the importance of the fact that Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross for our sins.  Rejoice in this hymn and these simple but profound words during this Easter season.

1. There was One Who was willing to die in my stead,
That a soul so unworthy might live;
And the path to the cross He was willing to tread,
All the sins of my life to forgive.
They are nailed to the cross! They are nailed to the cross!
Oh, how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross,
But He carried my sins with Him there.

2. He is tender and loving and patient with me,
While He cleanses my heart of the dross;
But "there's no condemnation", I know I am free,
For my sins are all nailed to the cross.
They are nailed to the cross! They are nailed to the cross!
Oh, how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross,
But He carried my sins with Him there.

3. I will cling to my Savior and never depart,
I will joyfully journey each day,
With a song on my lips and a song in my heart,
That my sins have been taken away.
They are nailed to the cross! They are nailed to the cross!
Oh, how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross,
But He carried my sins with Him there.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, March 20, 2016


          As we all know, worship styles and traditions have changed greatly in recent decades.  Some of this is the result of changes in the way we live our lives today in this society.  When I was growing up we didn't have much access to daily entertainment like television nor were most people working more than one job.  Children didn't have all the activities which tie them down today most evenings.  Life was simpler and the church was the source of needed fellowship.  And so weekly prayer meetings were common and well attended.  In fact in my hometown school teachers were even encouraged not to give homework on Wednesday nights because of church programs.  So I grew up being in prayer meeting every Wednesday night and then later, for a few years, each Tuesday and Thursday night.  I enjoyed being there. Today in most churches prayer meetings are a thing of the past, partially because folks are too busy with other things.  But I miss hearing the weekly testimonies of how God is working in lives. I miss hearing how God has answered specific prayers.  And I really miss the impromptu singing of choruses.  During testimony time people would start choruses at random and these often spoke to my heart. One of those that I remember was the chorus to this week's choice, "I'll live for Him who died for me."  As I think back this was sung by dear saints of God who had very little in worldly possessions.  Many had come through the Depression and World War II.  And while the term happy might not have been the best word choice in "how happy then my life shall be", these folks knew real joy in serving and trusting the One who had died for them.  And their sincere testimony in singing this chorus almost every week left a deep impression upon this youngster who still remembers it decades later.  The author, Ralph Hudson (1842-1901) worked as a male nurse in a Union hospital, during the American Civil War. He went on to serve with the Methodists as an evangelist, and a singer and song writer, as well as a compiler and editor of sacred music. He established his own publishing company in Ohio.  This song was first published in 1882.  He also sometimes tinkered with great hymns of the past, giving them a new tune and a refrain. Quite possibly this song and the words are new to you.  Meditate upon these simple but actually profound truths this week and may you reach the same conclusion as the author, "I'll consecrate my life to Thee, My Savior and my God!"

1. My life, my love, I give to Thee,
Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
Oh, may I ever faithful be,
My Savior and my God!
I'll live for Him who died for me,
How happy then my life shall be!
I'll live for Him who died for me,
My Savior and my God!

2. I now believe Thou dost receive,
For Thou hast died that I might live;
And now henceforth I'll trust to Thee,
My Savior and my God!
I'll live for Him who died for me,
How happy then my life shall be!
I'll live for Him who died for me,
My Savior and my God!

3. Oh, Thou who died on Calvary,
To save my soul and make me free;
I'll consecrate my life to Thee,
My Savior and my God!
I'll live for Him who died for me,
How happy then my life shall be!
I'll live for Him who died for me,
My Savior and my God!

Because this song is so old and not sung often today, it has been very hard to find a video of it.  But I have found one duet which while it isn't the greatest, will allow you to hear it sung.  Listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, March 13, 2016


        "Come, let us bow down in worship."  Psalm 95:6.  Worship should be a daily part of the life of each believer.  However, when we talk about worship we generally think about the corporate worship which usually happens when believers meet on Sundays.  And, unfortunately, many folks today just think of the times of singing as worship.  And while singing is certainly an important part of true worship, the times of prayer and opening the Word of God by spirit filled pastors are essential elements.  But how do many folks approach the time of corporate worship?  Unfortunately I don't think there is much preparation.  We rush to get ourselves to church and into the sanctuary.  Many come in late.  We talk and do business during the prelude rather than pray and prepare our hearts.  And with our minds thinking about plans for the day, we often find it hard to concentrate and be fully involved.  Sometimes I think we just want to be entertained, but hopefully not for more than an hour.  What a difference it would make if we came prayerfully with our hearts prepared and open.  How often do we come with hearts prepared through prayer and with an expectation to meet with the Lord?  How often have we asked the Lord to fill the pastor with the words that we really need?  How often have we prayed for the needs of others who also will participate in worship?  In many of yesterday's churches leaders would actually gather while the pastor was preaching to pray for power and clarity in his words, and for responsive listeners and souls changed for eternity. Even a spiritually mature pastor can accomplish nothing of lasting worth without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit: "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost" (1 Thessalonians 1:5).  George Atkins (1793-1927), a Methodist pastor who served in Ohio and Tennessee, penned the words of this week's hymn in 1819. It is one of the oldest published American folk hymns. In his words Atkins expressed the need for believers to prepare for and participate in worship by bathing themselves and others in prayer, something that is often missing with believers today.  As God's Word is preached in purity and with spiritual power, we can expect His blessings. Atkins used manna, the miraculous provision of food for the Israelites in the wilderness, to symbolize God's answer to the church's prayers. How we long for such manna, this all-sustaining provision for every need, this solution to every problem in the ministry, and the fruit that is borne of our labors. This week may we examine how we approach our times of worship.  May we desire to see God's manna scattered all around.

1. Brethren, we have met to worship 
and adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power, 
while we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the 
Spirit of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna 
will be showered all around.

2. Brethren, see poor sinners round you 
slumb'ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, 
can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, 
and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna 
will be showered all around.

3. Sisters, will you join and help us? 
Moses' sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners 
who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior, 
tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna 
will be showered all around.

4. Is there here a trembling jailer, 
seeking grace, and filled with tears?
Is there here a weeping Mary, 
pouring forth a flood of tears?
Brethren, join your cries to help them; 
sisters, let your prayers abound;
Pray, oh, pray that holy manna 
may be scattered all around.

5. Let us love our God supremely, 
let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners, 
till our God makes all things new.
Then He'll call us home to Heaven, 
at His table we'll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and 
serve us with sweet manna all around.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, March 6, 2016


          Usually when I choose hymns for this blog the author of the hymn is known, although quite often little or nothing is known about the circumstances that surrounded its writing. However, the writer of this week's hymn is anonymous, although there is much speculation about not only who it was but also how it was used.  It appears that it first appeared in London about 1757 to commemorate Trinity Sunday.  Some believe the author was Charles Wesley because it was published on a leaflet bound into the 6th edition of George Whitfield's Collection of Hymns for Social Worship in 1757 along with another hymn by Wesley.  But there is no other record of his writing this and it does not follow the usual meter of his hymns.  Some think it was Whitfield himself, but there is little evidence to support this either.   About fifteen years earlier the British national hymn, "God Save Our Gracious King," first came into general use. Both of these hymn texts were sung to the same tune for a period of time.  Just for fun, try singing a verse of "Come, Thou Almighty King" to this slower, more somber melody.  It has been suggested by some that the text was actually written as an act of rebellion and as a substitute for the words of the royal hymn, and that, for this reason, the author wished to remain anonymous.  Now there are many interesting stories connected with this hymn which may back this theory. For example, during the American Revolution, while British troops were occupying New York City and appeared to be winning the war, a group of English soldiers entered a Long Island church one Sunday morning. This created a very tense atmosphere in the church. The soldiers demanded that the congregation sing "God Save The King" in honor of King George III. The organist was forced to begin playing the tune. But instead of singing "God Save the King," the congregation broke out in "Come, Thou Almighty King." It is said that the commander and his soldiers were so taken aback and so moved by such deep spirituality and by this earnest prayer to God and its devotion to Christ as King, that they marched out of the church without any further threats or intimidation.  The music for the hymn's use today was composed by Italian Felice de Giardinia and as a result has often been referred to as the "Italian Hymn."   The hymn is actually a Trinitarian prayer. The first verse is an invocation to God the Father to come and aid the congregation in worthily praising His name. It's also a prayer for Him to "come and reign over us." The second verse is addressed to the Incarnate Word, God the Son, and invokes His presence and blessing to give the prayer and the preached word success. The third stanza invokes the presence and sacred witness of God the Holy Spirit.  The final stanza finds a fitting climax in ascribing praises to the Triune God.  Meditate upon these words this week and make them your prayer and desire.

(1) Come, Thou Almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing,
Help us to praise:
Father, all-glorious,
O'er all victorious,
Come, and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.

(2) Come, Thou Incarnate Word,

Gird on Thy mighty sword,
Our prayer attend:
Come,and Thy people bless
And give Thy word success;
Spirit of holiness,
On us descend.

(3)  Come, Holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear.
In this glad hour,
Thou who almighty art,
Now rule in every heart,
never from us depart,

Spirit of power.

(4)  To Thee, great One in Three,
The highest praises be,
Hence evermore,
Thy sovereign majesty
May we in glory see,
And to eternity,
Love and adore.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN