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, 2022

STANDING ON THE PROMISES (TH)

TIMELESS HYMNS -  A feature in which I choose a hymn that I have used before.  I edit and revise it and share it once again.  Thus hymn was first shared here on January 22, 2012.

          Russell Kelso Carter (1849-1928), a star athlete of a military academy and an excellent student academically, went on to be a successful teacher and coach. He then spent several years as an ordained Methodist minister, after which he went to medical school. He spent the last of his professional years as a medical doctor. 
         Carter was also a musician and songwriter. In 1886, he co-edited a hymnbook which included Carter's most famous hymn, Standing on the Promises, which was written while he was serving as a professor (of chemistry and mathematics) at the Pennsylvania Military Academy. The music, composed by Carter as well, has the kind of bright marching style that must have been familiar at the academy. 
         Although Carter was a professed Christian most of his life, it wasn't until a crisis with his natural heart that he began to understand the reality and power of Bible promises. At age 30, his health was in critical condition and the physicians could do no more for him. Carter turned to God for help and healing. He knelt and made a promise that healing or no, his life was finally and forever fully consecrated to the service of the Lord. It was from that moment that the written Word of God became alive to Carter.
          Over the course of the next several months his strength returned, and his heart was completely healed. Carter lived another healthy 49 years. 
         Life's storms may threaten to sweep us away at times, but when we choose to stand upon the promises of God we have found a place of safety, a place where the footing is forever firm. With confidence we can say, "The Word of our God stands forever" (Isa. 40:8). To believe it and obey it is to anchor our lives to the impregnable rock of God's truth. 
        What a great place - the only real, safe place - to stand as we face life in a world that is filled with despair and uncertainty.  All around there are temptations.  Persecution and uncertainty abound.  We need the truth to build our lives upon and the truth only comes through Christ and the promises of God.  Stand firm on those!

(1) Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
through eternal ages let his praises ring;
glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;
standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.

2. Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;
standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.

3. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
bound to him eternally by love's strong cord,
overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword,
standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;
standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.

4. Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
listening every moment to the Spirit's call,
resting in my Savior as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;
standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.

Listen to this week's hymn here.    STANDING


Sunday, March 20, 2022

SAVIOR MORE THAN LIFE TO ME

          A few hymns are written "backwards". That is the music is actually composed before the words are written.  That is how this beautiful hymn came to be.
         The tune (Every Day and Hour) was composed by William Howard Doane (1832-1915). In 1875 Doane sent the melody to Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) and requested that she provide some words on the theme "Every day and hour." The song first appeared later that year in Brightest and Best compiled by Doane and Robert Lowry.
          Crosby's response in the form of this hymn gave the blind hymn writer great comfort and filled her heart with joy.   She felt sure that God would bless this hymn to many hearts.  And she was right since over the years millions have been refreshed and strengthen as they have sung it.
          Personally, as I write this, it is my comfort prayer as I wait for the results of important medical tests.  His tender love to me does bind me closer to Him as I wait.  And I am sure that many could share the same testimony that they, too, have been encouraged by this hymn.
          The song tells us what Jesus should mean to us,  In the first verse she shares that Christ is more than life.  In the second verse Christ is the object of our trust. "Through this changing world below ... Trusting Thee ... I can never, never lose my way."  In verse three Jesus is the one who takes us home. "Till this fleeting, fleeting life is o'er ... in a brighter world above."  Then the refrain closes with the prayer "Every day, every hour ... Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee."
          So many things are vying for our time and attention today.  But may our life demonstrate the reality that our Savior is more than life to us.  May we cling to Him every day and every hour.

1.     Savior, more than life to me,
I am clinging, clinging close to Thee;
Let Thy precious blood applied,
Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.
Every day, every hour
Let me feel Thy cleansing power;
May Thy tender love to me
Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee

.2.     Through this changing world below,
Lead me gently, gently as I go.
Trusting Thee, I cannot stray
I can never, never lose my way.
Every day, every hour
Let me feel Thy cleansing power;
May Thy tender love to me
Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee

3.     Let me love Thee more an more,
Till this fleeting, fleeting life is o'er;
Till my soul is lost in love,
In a brighter, brighter world above.
Every day, every hour
Let me feel Thy cleansing power;
May Thy tender love to me
Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee

Listen to it here   SAVIOR


Sunday, March 13, 2022

GENTLE SHEPHERD

          "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 50:11
          A good shepherd cares for his flock. He feeds them, he guides them, he guards them, he heals them, he restores them.  And scripture often portrays us as sheep who need a shepherd.  "The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need."  Psalm 23:1 (NLT)
          Over the centuries many hymns and choruses have been written describing this relationship.  One of these was penned by Bill and Gloria Gather, two of the most prolific musicians and song writers of our times.
           When Gloria was a new mother, parenting without any experience, and evidently fairly aware that she and her husband might get some things wrong. Gloria says she and her husband needed a "Gentle Shepherd" to help them guide their young, in the same way an owner cares for each sheep. Admitting that one is na├»ve, without all the correct procedures and ultimate answers, was a lesson that Gloria sounds like she probably relearned as she and Bill dealt with each of their children. No two kids are the same, and so the gentle, light touch of the parent as an authority is so necessary for child-rearing..
          Gloria related how a trip to England with her daughter's family reminded her once again of how sheep and their caretakers behave. The sheep often stray, sometimes into dangerous territory. And, the shepherds are very cautious with those under their care, aware that the sheep are vulnerable, easily misled creatures. We, like the sheep, may be misguided, but at least in admitting our condition, we can run to and cling to a protector, a wise one we know is compassionately looking out for our  welfare. 
          And so in her chorus she relates our need to call upon our Shepherd for guidance and help.  And there is no other person that we can turn to for strength and protection that we need each day.
          Do you daily allow the Gentle Shepherd to guide you through the green meadows and beside peaceful steams as well as through the darkest valley and in the presence of your enemies?  Is your cup overflowing with blessings?
          Let the Gentle Shepherd lead you.          

Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
For we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
For we need your strength from day to day
There's no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day
Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
For we need to you to help us find our way

Listen to it here    SHEPHERD



Sunday, March 6, 2022

BE NOT AFRAID

          " The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1
          What is your heaviest fear or burden today?  "Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved."  Psalm 55:22
          Do you have fear that keeps you awake at night?  "I cried to the Lord with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill.  I lay down and slept; I awoke for the Lord sustained me.  Psalm 3:4,5
          Is fear nagging at your mind?  "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God I have put my trust; I will not fear."  Psalm 56;3, 4
          Fear Not" appears 92 times and "Be not afraid" appears 29 times in scripture. I think God knew that we humans would suffer with fear and that is why the scriptures talk so much about it. If we truly believe that God will be with us, the only fear we should have is the fear of the Lord; and that fear is reverential fear or awe.
          "Be Not Afraid" was written in 1975 by Robert J. Dufford. He was born in 1943 and was a Jesuit priest, part of a St. Louis Jesuit musical group, and a composer of Catholic liturgical music.  In his hymn Dufford encourages the faithful that God will always be with us. Directly inspired by scripture quotes, Dufford uses biblical examples of God's protection to illustrate His divine providence and love.
          The lyrics for this hymn are directly inspired by the Bible, specifically Isaiah 43:2-3 and Luke 6:20.  "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead." "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God".
          This song might be new to many of you, but I think its message is a source of strength and comfort for so many people during these days of challenges and change.  Study the words this week and put your trust in the One who cares and protects.
          "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."  Isaiah 41:10

You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety
though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands
and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters in the sea,
you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames,
you shall not be harmed.

If you stand before the pow'r of hell
and death is at your side,
know that I am with you through it all.

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.

Blessed are your poor,
for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn,
for one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked tongues insult and hate you
all because of me,
blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.

Listen to it here.  AFRAID