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, August 29, 2021


          Redd Harper (11903-1992), often known as Mr. Texas, grew up primarily in Oklahoma where he had many influences, both religious and musical, that would shape his future. He grew up with two devoutly Christian friends who, over time, were partly the cause of him accepting the faith.  He was religious to a point in his early years, but inwardly mocked those who declared themselves to be followers of Christ.
          Harper was a natural guitar player and had an interest in traditional western country music, but also newer genres such as western jazz, leading him to learn to play the trumpet as well.  Harper was a part of a concert band that became more and more successful until they were invited to join an Oklahoma City radio station in 1924. From there, his career took off, and his music was in greater demand. In 1931 he joined a larger radio station in Des Moines, Iowa, found more success, and decided to head to Hollywood, California. However, he arrived at the end of the western jazz era and the start of the Great Depression, making it hard to find work. 
          When World War II started, he joined the Coast Guard for three years.  After the war, he found success again in Hollywood as he began working with other big name artists of the time from both radio and movies. During this time he also worked the movie industry and starred in several films.
           About that time the big news in the Hollywood community was that Stuart Hamblen had "got religion" at a Billy Graham rally. Harper was derisive. "I laughed and said to myself that the big phony was just putting that on." But shortly after he was invited to a Christian meeting where Hamblen gave his testimony. Redd was stunned, realizing this was a changed man from the one he used to drink with. Through continued contact with Christians, Redd Harper was eventually led to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
          Then came the idea of using music to express his faith. "God made a songwriter out of me!" he said.  In the 1950's Harper traveled extensively with the Billy Graham team, and starred in three gospel films. Then he launched out on his own evangelistic ministry in many countries of the world.  He also began to write music with a new theme. One of those was "Following Jesus", also known as "Each Step Of The Way".
          This song is really Harper's testimony.  He learned that life's pathway is narrow but Jesus leads His children safely on the way.  He learned of the Saviour's presence with him each hour of the day.  He learned that he was never alone and Harper's desire was to love Him and sing His praises forever as the Lord walked beside him.
          Is this your testimony?  Are you following Jesus, each step of the way?

1.   I'm following Jesus, 
One step at a time; 
I live for the moment, 
In His Love divine. 
Why think of tomorrow, 
Just live for today; 
I'm following Jesus, 
Each step of the way. 

For He is my Saviour,
My Lord and my King
Forever I'll love Him,
His praises Ill sing,
Till low in the valley,
My life shall grow dim,
My Lord walks beside me,
I'm depending on Him.

2.   The pathway is narrow, 
But He leads me on; 
I walk in His shadow, 
My fears are all gone. 
My spirit grows stronger, 
Each moment, each day, 
For Jesus is leading 
Each step of the way. 

3.   I walk with my Saviour 
Each hour of the day,
I walk in His Presence
For He leads the way,
He never has failed me,
And true I shall be,
I'm depending on Jesus,
He's depending on me.

4.   His Presence surrounds me
His love leads me on,
He's always beside me,
I'm never alone,
Until in His Glory, 
His Face I shall see
And even if I fail Him, 
He'll never failed me.

Listen to it here.    FOLLOWING

Sunday, August 22, 2021


          I have been blest to have many cousins who love and serve the Lord.  We share a common legacy of coming from generations of believers, including godly grandparents and parents, who taught us and modeled for us true Christian living.  We love eachother and pray for eachother.
          One of these cousins in particular is a great encourager to me.  Unfortunately, since she lives half way across the United States, we seldom can be with her and her husband.  But e-mail provides us a way of sharing what is happening in our lives.  She has a sensitive spirit and has a way of sharing special words whenever we need them.
          Recently, during the pandemic, her 101 year old father was taken home to glory. During these times we shared our thanks for the way God had given us special parents. Once I mentioned how much I still missed my parents who are also in heaven and at times I just wished that I could again pick up the phone and talk to my dad once again.  He was a man of wisdom.
          A few days later she replied and shared a very old hymn which she found in one of our grandmother's hymnbooks which dated back to about 1900.  My godly grandmother had experienced the death of her father when she was growing up and then the loss of her husband during the swine flu in 1917.  She knew much about heaven. Even though I can find very little about this hymn, I have decided to share the words with you this week.  Maybe you too will be encouraged by the words of "They're Waiting For You".
          I did find that the words are attributed to Johnson Oatman Jr. (1956-1922).  His father was an excellent singer, and it always delighted the son to sit by his side and hear him sing the songs of the church. Oatman was later ordained as a Methodist Episcopal minister, but his pastoral work was confined to local churches, as he worked full time in the retail and insurance industries. He wrote lyrics for 5,000 Gospel songs including "Count Your Blessings", "He Included Me", "Higher Ground", "Holy, Holy, Is What the Angels Sing",  and "No, Not One".
          The music was written by Hart Pease Danks (1834-1903), a musician who specialized in composing, singing and leading choral groups. It is said that he wrote over 1,000 songs.  He is best known for his 1873 composition, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" which sold over three million copies. Having later sold the rights to the song, he died penniless in a boarding house in Philadelphia. 
          Now I don't pretend to know what our loved ones in heaven are really thinking about.  Are they too busy with the glories of heaven to be thinking about us?  Do they even know what we are doing?  I have heard speakers who think they do remember and care about those still on earth.  But I don't really know.
         What I do know is that someday I will see Jesus and that is a thrilling thought.  And some day I will also see my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my uncles and aunts, and my many close friends who are now in glory.  What a thrill that will also be.  All of this has been promised by Jesus to those who have accepted Him as their personal Savior.  Have you done this?  Do you have this promise of a future life in heaven?
          I don't know if my friends in heaven are, as this song says, waiting for me, but I am encouraged by this possibility.  But I do know that I am waiting in anticipation of that reunion.

1.   How many dear friends have passed on from my sight,
To mansions over the foam;
Safe now in that city of love and of light,
They're waiting for me at home.

Waiting for me, Watching for me,
No matter how far I may roam.
Those loved ones in glory expect me to come,
They're waiting for me at home.

2.   My father and mother have reached that blest shore,
That country above yonder dome,
Their love is the same for tho gone on before,
They're waiting for me at home.

3.   The brother and sister that loved me so well,
No longer beside me here roam,
They've reached that fair land with their Saviour to dwell,
They're waiting for me at home.

4.   Those dear little rosebuds, the light of my eyes,
Heard Jesus say "Suffer them come"
They're safe in His bosom above the blue skies,
They're waiting for me at home.

5.   So heaven grows rich as the earth-land grows poor,
My treasurers are over the foam.
They're waiting to see if by grace I endure,
They're waiting for me at home.

         Now since I couldn't find any direct information about this song there also wasn't a video available.  So i have decided to include a copy of the sheet music.  If you can play the piano perhaps you can play and sing this song this week.  Be encouraged, Christ is coming soon!  Keep looking up!

Sunday, August 15, 2021


TIMELESS HYMN - A special feature where I highlight some of my favorite hymns that I have previously featured in this blog.  These entries are revised and expanded and shared again for your encouragement and challenge. This hymn was originally shared here on July 24, 2011.

         One of my favorite male vocalists for most of my life has been George Beverly Shea. Not only did he have a beautiful voice but he ministered so sincerely and lived a life which backed the Gospel message which he shared.
         For years he was the featured soloist with Billy Graham and many of his numbers are what I would call "classic" in the history of religious music. One of my very favorites is this week's choice, "I'd Rather Have Jesus".
         It is interesting that this poem, written by Rhea F. Miller in 1922, was left on a piano in the Shea home by Bev Shea who wanted her son to find it and change the course of his life. The words moved George and spoke to him about his own aims and ambitions in life. He sat down at the piano and began singing them with a tune that seemed to fit the words. Shea's mom heard him singing it and asked him to sing it at church the next day.
         George's life direction did change. He was offered a popular music career with NBC, but a few years later chose to become associated with evangelist Billy Graham and he sang this hymn around the world.
          I wonder how many of us can actually claim this message. Would we rather have Jesus than riches or great possessions? Would we prefer him over power and fame? I believe that should the Lord tarry, many believers, even in this country, will be forced to make that decision publicly. May each of us make that decision today and live lives that reflect it. May our hungering spirits find him to be all that we need.

1.     I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I'd rather be His than have riches untold;
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin's dread sway;
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

2.     I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause;
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I'd rather be true to His holy name
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin's dread sway;
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

3.     He's fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He's sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He's all that my hungering spirit needs;
I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin's dread sway;
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

Listen to it being sung here. LISTEN

Sunday, August 8, 2021


          Have you ever experienced the long night hours of pain or sickness?  Or even worse, have you ever sat with an ill child or a spouse wondering if daylight would ever come?  Those hours  seem to pass so slowly and you can feel so alone and helpless and at times even scared.   If you haven't ever had this experience you are fortunate.  I've been there many times.
          But night doesn't have to just be a period without light.  Financial problems, marital problems, family problems, employment problems, physical problems, Pandemic problems all can send us through times that seem dark as night with no help in sight.  And these times can also be very painful.  All believers go through these painful periods of "night" during our lifetime.
          But rejoice, the end of night, pain and tears is near.  A new morning is on the way!
          In Revelation 21: 3-5 we read,  "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new," Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 
          Inspired by this text, Walt Harrah wrote the music and lyrics to this week's song in 1983. A well-known Christian composer and singer, Harrah originally was planning to become a pastor, earning a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Seminary. However, as he explains, "God threw me one of those surprises, 'No Walt you're not going to be a Pastor, I want you to sing for a while.' And sure enough, a singing career opened for me."  And in this hymn he expressed the hope that all believers have - no more night, no more pain, no more tears, never crying again!
          All of us have experienced the death of loved ones and close friends who were believers.  About the time that I first heard this song three of my best friends, as well as my brother, and my father-in-law and my dad were taken home to glory.  So this song was an encouragement to me at that time.  I especially appreciate the words, "See over there, there's a mansion that's prepared just for me where I will live with my Savior eternally."  What a thrill to have this assurance and hope.
         Do you have this assurance?  Is your name written in the Book of Life?  If it is, you have nothing to dread.  If it isn't, please accept the Lord as your Savior today

The timeless theme, earth and heaven will pass away 
It's not a dream, God will make all things new that day 
Gone is the curse from which I stumbled and fell 
Evil is banished to eternal hell 

No more night 
No more pain 
No more tears 
Never crying again 
And praises to the great I Am 
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb 

See all around all the nations bow down to see 
The only sound is the praises to Christ the King 
Slowly the names from the book are read 
I know the King, so there's no need to dread 

No more night 
No more pain 
No more tears 
Never crying again 
And praises to the great I Am 
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb 

See over there, there's a mansion that's prepared just for me 
Where I will live with my Savior eternally 

And there will be no more night 
No more pain 
No more tears 
Never crying again 
And praises to the great I Am 
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb 

© Word Music 1983

You can listen to it here.   NIGHT

Sunday, August 1, 2021


         The pandemic resulted in times of loneliness, discouragement and depression for many.  The isolation, separation from friends and family, changes in normal routines and work and fear of covid often made life difficult to live with.  Times of encouragement often were infrequent or in some cases completely absent from our lives.  During those long months calls from our family often brightened our days.  And every once in awhile we would receive an e-mail or a note that surprised us and encouraged us.  These were special.
           We too tried to encourage others as well, using phone calls, birthday wishes and special notes and e-mails.  We tried to enlighten the lives of others who we missed seeing.   As we did this an old song that we used to sing when I was a child often came to my mind.  We need to brighten the '"corner" where folks are, not only during a pandemic but regularly.  We all need to be encouraged.
          Early in her life, Ina Duley Ogden (1872 - 1964) had hoped to preach on the Chautauqua circuit. However, her father's illness forced her to abandon her plans for an evangelistic career to care for him at home. She wrote: "My father went with my mother to her church after his marriage to her, so I was brought up in the church of the Disciples of Christ."   She wrote the encouraging words of this song showing how one can serve the Lord in many different ways and circumstances. In other words, make the best of where you find yourself.  She wrote over three thousand hymns, anthems, cantatas, and miscellaneous verse.  This song  was written in 1912 and published it in 1913.
          We are reminded by Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.   Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."  So we need to let our light shine to help and encourage others wherever they are or whatever their situation.  Don't let your light be hidden.
          While doing some research on this song I came upon an interesting poem on a similar theme, wriiten by  Helen Sterner Rice.

We cannot all be famous or be listed in "WHO'S WHO,"
But every person great or small has important work to do,
For seldom do we realize the importance of small deeds
Or to what degree of greatness unnoticed kindness leads
For it's not the big celebrity in a world of fame and praise,
But it's doing unpretentiously in undistinguished ways
The work that God assigned to us, unimportant as it seems,
That makes our task outstanding and brings reality to dreams
So do not sit and idly wish for wider, new dimensions
Where you can put in practice your many "GOOD INTENTIONS"
But at the spot God placed you begin at once to do
Little things to brighten up the lives surrounding you,
For if everybody brightened up the spot in which they're standing
By being more considerate and a little less demanding,
This dark old world would very soon eclipse the "Evening Star"

          The message of this song is simple, but biblically sound. Perhaps we all have grand dreams of spectacular things we could do for God. They may be practical, or they may not be. But the counsel of the song is do what you can do now, and the Lord may move you on to greater things in time to come. In the meantime, bloom where you're planted.  And do today what you can do to encourage others.  In doing that you too will be encouraged.

1.    Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

2.    Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

3.    Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!.

Listen to it here.    BRIGHTEN