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, June 26, 2016


          Henry Lake Gilmour went to sea at the age of 16 to learn navigation. When the ship reached Philadelphia, he decided to seek his fortune in America. He became a house painter, and served during the Civil War with the 1st New Jersey Cavalry. During a battle, he was captured, and spent months in a Confederate prison. After the war, Gilmour trained as a dentist, an occupation he had for many years.   In 1869 he moved to Wenonah, New Jersey, where a Methodist church was organized with a first meeting in his home. He served the church for years as a Sunday School superintendent and choir director. However, Gilmour is best remembered as a gospel musician.  He was in great demand as a song leader in the camp meetings of the day. For four decades, he directed the choir at the Pitman Grove Camp Meeting, and worked at camp meetings and revivals in Maryland, and in Pennsylvania. In addition, he was a frequent visitor to the Ocean Grove Camp in New Jersey, and through these activities gained personal acquaintance with many writers and composers of gospel hymns. Gilmour himself wrote many gospel songs and published more than 16 song compilations.  The most familiar song of Henry Gilmour's today is The Haven of Rest. In it he pictures the sinner seeking a safe harbor, and he presents the Lord Jesus Himself as that harbor.   "The Haven of Rest" was likely produced in 1889. The tune (Haven of Rest) was composed by George D. Moore. Though it cannot be verified, since Henry had spent weeks on the open sea, and the campground was on the ocean, the nautical metaphor makes sense.  In the first verse of this hymn Gilmour pictures the soul as being in exile on life's sea.  Many people we know are in that condition today, burdened and distressed with the load of sin, needing the safe haven.  And so were we until we yielded to Jesus and entered the haven.  In the second verse the soul is pictured as yielding to the Lord.  The third verse shows the yielded soul giving praise to the Lord, as we who are saved should be doing today.   In the fourth verse the soul is at rest and secure with the Lord while in the fifth we see the resting soul calling to others.  If your soul has never entered the haven of rest, now is the time to do so.  The Savior patiently waits and will save by His power divine.  "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."  Hebrews 6:19. "I've anchored my soul in the "Haven of Rest," I'll sail the wide seas no more; The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep. In Jesus I'm safe evermore." 

1     My soul in sad exile was out on life's sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying, "Make Me your choice";
And I entered the "Haven of Rest"!
I've anchored my soul in the "Haven of Rest,"
I'll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I'm safe evermore. 

2     I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The "Haven of Rest" is my Lord. 
I've anchored my soul in the "Haven of Rest,"
I'll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I'm safe evermore. 

3     The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who'll save whosoever will have
A home in the "Haven of Rest." 
I've anchored my soul in the "Haven of Rest,"
I'll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I'm safe evermore. 

4     How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John, the beloved so blest,
On Jesus' strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the "Haven of Rest." 
I've anchored my soul in the "Haven of Rest,"
I'll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I'm safe evermore. 

5     Oh, come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the "Haven of Rest,"
And say, "My Beloved is mine." 
I've anchored my soul in the "Haven of Rest,"
I'll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I'm safe evermore. 

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, June 19, 2016


          Father's Day and Mother's Day are two special days set aside to honor our parents.  But in reality, our parents should be honored every day.  Several times we read in the Bible that we are to honor our parents. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."  (Ephesians 6:1-3)   If you have grown up in a home where God was really first, you are blessed and you should continually be thankful for this.  Mothers and Fathers who are obedient to the Lord and who build a Christian home are special.  There is a little known hymn, "A Christian Home" that is a prayer for homes built upon the Saviour. It has generally been forgotten in churches today but should be brought back as a challenge and reminder. The words were written by Barbara B. Hart in 1965.  I have been unable to find anything about her except that she was born in 1916.  The music score was originally composed by the Finish composer Jean Sibelius.   "Children are a heritage from the LORD" (Psalm 127:3). And the home is to provide an atmosphere of loving acceptance and care, where parents diligently "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6).   This hymn is a prayer for Christian husbands and wives to express the kind of commitment Joshua did, long ago, when he said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).  The Bible warns, "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalm 127:1).  There is really nothing that I could add to the words of this hymn. They are self explanatory.  This should be the desire of every parent.  If you have grown up in such a home, thank the Lord for it.  If you are a parent, make this the prayer and goal for your home.  If this has not been the goal for your home, then start today to honor the Lord, even if your children are already grown and out of your home. It is never too late to start. And, by the way, if your parents are still alive, give them a call today and show your love and honor for them.  And meditate upon the words of this prayer this week.

O give us homes built firm upon the Saviour,
Where Christ is Head, and Counselor and Guide;
Where ev'ry child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the crucified:
How sweet to know that tho' his footsteps waver
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in Him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, tho' days be dark and grim.

O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master,
The Bible read, the precious hymns still sung;
Where prayer comes first in peace or in disaster,
And praise is natural speech to ev'ry tongue;
Where mountains move before a faith that's vaster,
And Christ sufficient is for old and young.

O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever!
We trust to Thee their problems, toil, and care;
Their bonds of love no enemy can sever
If Thou art always Lord and Master there:
Be Thou the center of our least endeavor:
Be Thou our Guest, our hearts and homes to share.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Sunday, June 12, 2016


          I always knew that as we approached the latter days that Christianity would be challenged and believers would be mocked and persecuted for their beliefs.  But I guess that I never thought it would happen this soon, especially in the United States of America.  But today the culture is challenging all that we believe and believers are being mocked and even persecuted for standing for Biblical truths.  Satan is alive and well and is on the attack.  The truth of Ephesians 6:13 becomes more vital each day.  "Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground."  And yet so many believers just sit back hoping that this will pass and nothing will change for them.   But centuries ago Charles Wesley (1707 - 1788) tried to wake up believers and challenge them to put on the full armor of God to stand against Satan.  In 1747 he wrote "Soldiers of Christ, Arise", originally calling it "The Whole Armor of God, Ephesians VI.". At the time, Charles and his brother John had become leaders of the movement known as Methodism. The Church of England did not approve of the Methodists, however, and those associated with Methodism were persecuted. Their houses were vandalized. And even worse, Methodists were sometimes threatened, stoned, mauled, and dragged through the streets. Given the threatening environment that most Methodists faced, Wesley no doubt thought of very real battles as he wrote "Soldiers of Christ, Arise." Yet the hymn refers to more than just physical warfare, its more important theme refers to the spiritual warfare that all Christians face. As followers of Christ, we must put on the full armor of God and always be ready to battle Satan's forces. The original lengthy hymn contained sixteen verses, each with eight lines. In John Wesley's Collection of Hymns for the People Called Methodists, published in 1780, only twelve stanzas appeared, divided into three separate parts. Various arrangements of these twelve stanzas are used in churches today. The three-stanza version commonly used today dates from 1847.  This hymn also became known as "The Christian's bugle blast" because of the military references and the apparent call to arms. Charles Wesley has often been called the "Bard of Methodism." His prominence in hymn writing may be judged from the fact that in the "Wesleyan Hymn Book," 623 of the 770 hymns were written by him. He also published more than thirty poetical works, written either by himself alone, or in conjunction with his brother. The number of his separate hymns is said to be at least five thousand.  But this particular hymn of his, even though written centuries ago, is a powerful reminder to those of us living today that we need to equip ourselves with God's armor and face the attacks of Satan in the strength which God supplies.  As the battle gets more intense, we have the assurance that victory over Satan and today's culture is assured.  Believers, it is time to wake up, arise and put your armor on.  The battle is at hand.

1.    Soldiers of Christ arise, 
And put your armor on, 
Strong in the strength which God supplies 
Thru his eternal Son; 
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, 
And in his mighty power, 
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts 
Is more than conqueror. 

2.    Stand then in his great might, 
With all his strength endued, 
But take to arm you for the fight 
The panoply of God; 
From strength to strength go on, 
Wrestle and fight and pray, 
Tread all the powers of darkness down 
And win the well-fought day. 

3.     Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul.
Take every virtue, every grace
And fortify the whole.
That having all things done, 
And all your conflicts passed, 
Ye may o'ercome thru Christ alone 
And stand complete at last. 

You can listen to this hymn here.  LISTEN

Sunday, June 5, 2016


        This is the season for graduations.  Two of my grandsons will graduate this year, one from college and one from high school.  Ceremonies will be held with guest speakers who will give the graduates all sorts of advice that, unfortunately, will soon be forgotten.  As a graduate and a former school teacher I have sat through over 40 such ceremonies and yet I can't recall anything significant from any of the speeches that I have heard.  Seldom is anything said that will be remembered by the graduates years later.  But there was at least one graduation where that probably wasn't the case.  It was 1887 and Ernest Shurtleff (1862-1917) was about to graduate from Andover Seminary.  His classmates recognized his poetic ability shortly before graduation and approached Shurtleff with this request. "Ernest, why don't you write our class poem.  After all, you have already published two volumes of poetry. What's the use of having a distinguished author in the class if he cannot rise to the occasion and do his class the honor of writing a good poem just for them?"  Shurtleff answered "Let's make it a hymn that we can all sing. We've been spending days of preparation here at seminary. Now the day of march has come and we must go out to follow the leadership of the King of kings, to conquer the world under His banner." Although the metaphors and expressions in this hymn were intended to challenge the graduating class of 1887 at Andover Seminary, the truths of this hymn have challenged the world in the many decades following that graduation.  This hymn is really a prayer, a prayer for God's guidance.  It speaks of marching and "fields of conquest" and "battle song", not because it celebrates war, but because it acknowledges the daily struggle in which God's people must engage against evil. We are in a spiritual battle that is growing more intense.  Our victory will come only as we follow the lead of our King.   We look forward to the celebration of victory, not with clashing swords and stirring drums, but as we demonstrate and share His love, show mercy to others, and follow His leading, equipped with our spiritual armor.  The hymn acknowledges the reality of the cross and celebrates the reality of the crown, the reward for those who are faithful.  And it closes, "Lead on, O God of might!"  May we be faithful to Him in these difficult days as we follow the the leading of our King, our God of might.

(1)     Lead on, O King eternal,
The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong;
And now, O King eternal,
We lift our battle song.

(2)     Lead on, O King eternal,
Till sin's fierce war shall cease,
And holiness shall whisper
The sweet amen of peace.
For not with swords' loud clashing,
Nor roll of stirring drums;
With deeds of love and mercy
The heavenly kingdom comes.

(3)     Lead on, O King eternal,
We follow, not with fears,
For gladness breaks like morning
Where'er Thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted over us,
We journey in its light;
The crown awaits the conquest;
Lead on, O God of might.

Listen to it here.  LISTEN 1
Here is another rendition by a group of young people.   LISTEN 2