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, December 31, 2023


TIMELESS HYMN - A special feature where I repeat and highlight some hymns that have been featured previously in this blog.  These entries are revised and expanded and shared again for our encouragement and challenge.  This hymn was first shared here in 2014
          For over four decades my wife and I had the privilege of ministering to children through a family ministry and through Awana. Whenever we did a series of meetings we always made it a point to teach a hymn, often using visuals produced by Bible Visuals.  At Christmas we often chose "Once in Royal David's City" because it so clearly shared the true Christmas story. It also was a Christmas carol not often traditionally sung by adults. 
          In doing some research for this blog, I was surprised to learn that the author, Cecil Alexander, loved children and wrote about four hundred hymns, most of them for children. Alexander (1818-1895), was born in Dublin, Ireland, and began writing in verse from an early age. She became so adept that by the age of 22, several of her hymn texts made it into the hymnbook of the Church of Ireland.   "Once in Royal David's City" first appeared in her collection, Hymns for Little Children (1848), with six stanzas.
           This particular text was included with others as a means to musically and poetically teach the catechism. It is based on the words of the Apostles' Creed, "Born of the Virgin Mary," and is in six stanzas of six lines each. Even though this text was included in the Christmas liturgical sections of most hymnals, the narrative painted by Alexander truly relates to the entire "youth" of Christ and not just his birth. 
          This is one of Alexander's most narrative and vivid texts, shattering perceptions of the picturesque Nativity with the realities of the lowly stable, and the weak and dependent baby.  Alexander is said to have had the ability to take major biblical themes and break them down into four or six easy to understand lines.  This hymn in particular tells us why we celebrate Christmas by telling us not only what happened on the first Christmas, but also why it happened and what it should mean to us today.  
          During the Christmas season, may this old Christmas carol remind you, in the midst of this hectic and often stressful season, what Jesus did for us.  He is the One who left all the glory and riches of heaven to experience birth in a lowly stable so that He could one day pay the debt for our sin.  He provided for you, and all mankind, the greatest gift that could ever be given.
1. Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.
2. He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.
3. And through all His wondrous childhood
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.
4. For he is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
5. And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
6. Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.
Listen to it here.   DAVID

Sunday, December 24, 2023


          It was 30 years ago.  It was the Christmas season.  Most of my family was gathered in our church with our congregation for the annual Christmas candlelight service which for many years I had directed.  Gathering together was a highlight of our holiday traditions.

          For our family it was an emotional night for just 18 days earlier my mother was killed when a teenager ran a traffic light and hit my parent's car broadside.  Mother instantly went to heaven.  Of course, it was a shock for all of us.

           The days before the holidays were tough, filled with memories and adjustments.  Dad had to adjust to losing mother after over 50 years of marriage. We spent our days sorting through her possessions and dealing with the memories these heirlooms had.  We had many laughs and many tears as we worked through these days.
          But that service hit us with more memories.  I was doing fine until a soloist sang Heirlooms.  Then my tears flowed.

          The first verse describes going through the possessions and memories of one who has passed away.  That does involves going through boxes and letters and photographs - family heirlooms. "My precious family is more than an heirloom to me."
           But then the second verse shares the precious birth of Jesus and how He came to bring us life.  His love pierced through us. And "My precious savior is more than an heirloom to me."
          I thank the Lord for the peace He gave me that night and since then.  I thank Him for my family and many wonderful memories, all heirlooms.  But I especially thank Him for the wonderful gift of salvation and His presence in my life.
          Make sure to take time this year to thank the Lord for your family, your memories, and your gift of salvation.


Up in the attic,

Down on my knees.
Lifetimes of boxes,
Timeless to me.

Letters and photographs,
Yellowed with years,
Some bringing laughter,
Some bringing tears.

Time never changes,
The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me,
All that I come from,
And all that I live for,

And all that I'm going to be.
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom to me.

Wisemen and shepherds,

Down on their knees,
Bringing their treasures
To lay at his feet.
Who was this wonder,

Baby yet king?
Living and dying;
He gave life to me.
Time never changes,

The memory, the moment
His love first pierced through me,
Telling all that I came from,
And all that I live for,

And all that I'm going to be.
My precious savior
Is more than an heirloom to me.
My precious Jesus

Is more than an heirloom to me.


Listen to it being sung here.  


Sunday, December 17, 2023


           Thomas Ken (1637–1711), was an Anglican minister, royal chaplain, and eventually bishop, who first penned verses for his students at Winchester College at Oxford University, to sing upon arising in the morning, and at bedtime each evening. Later he added a third hymn, to rehearse at midnight, were students to have trouble sleeping. Each hymn was a confession of faith, and an invocation of divine blessing, tailored to its particular moment of the day. 
          The first of these was:
Awake my Soul and with the Sun,
Thy daily Stage of duty run.
Shake off dull Sloath, and joyful rise,
To pay the Morning Sacrifice.

All praise to Thee, who safe has kept,
And hath refreshed me whilst slept.
Grant, Lord, when I from Death shall wake,
I may of endless Light partake.

          Maybe this would be a good verse for us to recite each morning as we awake.  His second hymn for his students was to be used as they ended their day and retired for the night.  Here is the evening hymn:

All praise to You, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the Light.
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings
Beneath the shelter of Your wings

Forgive me Lord, for this I pray
The wrong that I have done this day.
May peace with God and neighbor be,
Before I sleep restored to Thee.

Lord, may I be at rest in You
And sweetly sleep the whole night thro'
Refresh my strength, for Your own sake,
So I may serve You when I wake.

          This also would be a great verse for us to pray as we end our day and prepare to take our rest.

          But that isn't the end of this story, for Ken added a final verse to each song, the same 25-word doxological verse in praise of God, three in one. These 25 words, known to many around the world today as "The Doxology," comprise what is likely the single best-known verse of all Christian hymnology and poetry.  As simple and accessible as these four lines are, Christians have been singing them now for more than three centuries.
  And yet we find an enduring quality in "The Doxology" absent from many of our passing modern choruses. Substance hides in the brevity and singability.  
         The tune, which Ken did not write, but which much later began to accompany the song, called Old One-Hundredth, originally designed to accompany the singing of Psalm 134, and later Psalm 100.  It first appeared in the Geneva Psalter in 1551 and was written by Louis Bourgeois (1510–1561), who served as head of choirs and music, alongside famous pastor and theologian John Calvin.
          God is glorified in our heartfelt expression of praise. God made us for praise. He made us for doxology. He made the world that he might be praised. And these simple yet profound words serve that simple yet most profound human act of devotion — and all the more when we join our voices and sing together.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Listen to it here.      PRAISE

Sunday, December 10, 2023


          It's so easy to understand why so many people get discouraged and depressed as they look at our world and events all around us today. Liberal politics, war, sickness, inflation, and crime are difficult to deal with.
          But for the believer there is hope.  A new world is coming.  No more covid, sickness or death.  No more crime.  No more troubles or trials.  No more heartaches or pain.  And best of all we'll be able to sit down with Jesus and feel his matchless grace in a new home of love divine.
          And that is the exciting message shared in this week's hymn 
written by Cleavant Derricks.in 1934.  Derricks is reported to have written more than 300 songs and several songbooks. He spent a lifetime dedicated to the Lord's work, composing songs, directing choirs and ministering from the pulpit.   He was able to minister to the beleaguered with genuine love and empathy.  His songs acknowledged tough times and call on believers to lean not on their own understanding but to trust in God.
          Though an African American, he distinguished himself as a songwriter most notably in the singing conventions of the white churches throughout the American South.
          When Rev. Derricks first approached the Stamps Baxter Music Company with his songs, there was no discussions of royalty payments or negotiations for an advance.  In exchange for his destined classics, like this one, he received songbooks, assets to his congregation's worship experience, but hardly the just compensation he could have generated if he had shopped his songs today.  He was not even interested in money.  He was just a songwriter wanting to get his music published.
          In the many years since this hymn was published, an untold number have been excited to sing of heaven and that coming day when our toils and troubles will be done. We'll be reunited with friends who have already gone home, but more importantly, with Jesus who will provide peace and joy divine.
          Oh Lord, come quickly!

1.   Some of these days I'm going home
Where no sorrows ever come,
We'll soon be done with troubles and trials;
Safe from Heartaches, pain and care,
We shall all that glory share,
And I'm gonna sit down beside my Jesus,
Sit down and rest a little while.
We'll soon be done with troubles and trials,
Yes, in that home on the other side,
And I'm gonna shake glad hands with the elders,
Tell my kindred good morning,
Then I'm gonna sit down beside my Jesus,
Gonna sit down and rest a li'l while..

2.   Kindred and friends now wait for me,
Soon their faces I shall see,
We'll soon be done with troubles and trials;
'Tis a home of Life so fair
And we'll all be gathered there,
And I'm gonna' sit down beside my Jesus,
Sit down and rest a little while.

3.   I shall behold his blessed face,
I shall feel his matchless grace,
We'll soon be done with troubles and trials;
O what peace and joy sublime
In that home of love divine,
And I'm gonna' sit down beside my Jesus,
Sit down and rest a little while.

You can listen to it here.   HOME

Sunday, December 3, 2023


 For over 15 years I have written weekly hymn blogs.  But while I have shared information about them, I have seldom listed which were my personal favorites.  So I have begun a new feature in which once a month I share one of my favorites and why it has had an impact on my life.

         I guess when you are young you seldom think about the challenges of getting old. But most of us someday will experience the changes which we all face during our senior years.  I also doubt that few people ever think of the challenges one will face upon the loss of family members and close friends. At least I never thought about it until it happened.  
          Sometimes when the problems of life roll in, I long to be able to talk to my parents, or to my brother, or to my close friend Jim.  But alas, they are all now in heaven.  And, with the exception of my wife, I've reached the point where I no longer have that special person here on earth with whom I can share my burdens.  
          Recently when I was feeling the need to talk to someone about my needs, I turned on the radio and found that they were playing one of my favorite hymns.  It was a reminder of my friend, Jesus. He is always there and willing to listen.  He is never on vacation or too busy to listen.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  And He is faithful to keep all of His promises to us.  
          The original text of this hymn was written in German and was composed by Edmund Simon Lorenz (1854-1942). Lorenz was born in North Lawrence, a small village near Canton in Stark County, OH. He studied music at Otterbein University in Westerville, at Yale, and in Europe. The English translation was made by Jeremiah Eames Rankin, who is sometimes incorrectly listed as the author.  An interesting sidelight about Lorenz is that he served as president of Lebanon Valley College from 1886-1888.  I find that interesting since my four members of my family graduated from Lebanon Valley. Eventually, Lorenz settled in Dayton, where he founded the Lorenz Publishing Company. There he wrote several books and composed a number of sacred works.   
          Now I don't know the circumstances that brought him to compose this hymn but I can't help but believe that it must be his testimony of his life experiences.  
          Maybe today you are facing the difficult challenges of life and you may feel overwhelmed.  You are fortunate if you have a friend here on earth who can bare these challenges with you.  But please remember that the best place to take your challenges is straight to the Lord.  Are you weary, are you heavy laden, are the tears flowing, are you anxious about tomorrow, are you worried about dying?   Then take it to Jesus in prayer and do it now.  You've no other such a friend or brother.
(1)   Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that's well known.
You've no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.
(2)   Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Have you sins that to men's eyes are hidden?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that's well known.
You've no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.
(3)   Do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that's well known.
You've no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.
(4)   Are you troubled at the thought of dying?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
For Christ's coming kingdom are you sighing?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that's well known.
You've no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Sunday, November 26, 2023


          I believe that the two biggest exaggerations that are used by Christians are, "If I can do anything for you, just let me know" and "I'll be praying for you".  In the first case, if we really want to help out we would find out what the person needs and just do it.  In making that statement we generally expect, and maybe even want, what usually happens - nothing. 
          In the second situation, we probably mean well but soon forget the promise we have made. It is an easy way to sound pious in difficult times.  It seems to me that it is rare today to have a person who will regularly take you and your needs to the throne of grace. Few of us are really burdened in pray for the lost around us.  Few of us take the time to be genuine prayer warriors for the lost as well as for those around us who have needs, and that is so sad.
          It is rare to have a faithful, genuine prayer partner and, if you have one, then you are very blest.  I've had a few in my lifetime.  Most of them have been relatives.  But most of mine are now already home in glory and I miss them.  One of those was my grandfather, Pastor N. H. Wolf.  I knew he was praying for me and my needs every day.  We were involved in a family ministry for about 25 years and most Sundays we would be on the road very early in the morning traveling to a church to present a program.  Only once in all of those years did we get lost trying to find the church.  Days later it dawned upon me that the previous week Grandpa Wolf had been taken home to heaven and that on this Sunday morning, for the first time, he was not praying for me.  I was struck by how much his faithful prayers had touched my life over the years.  
          Prayer is powerful!  Being an intercessor for another is a special privilege that should be ours.  Now this hymn mainly focuses on praying for the lost, but I believe it can also be applied to remembering those around us who are struggling. I had forgotten about the hymn and It has been long since I have heard it and its powerful message.  
          The words were written by Samuel O. Cluff (1837-1910) and the music was added by Ira Sankey in 1874.  I don't know anything about the events behind its writing, but I must assume that it came from the heart of a man who had experienced the power of prayer and the privilege of being a faithful intercessor for others. He must have had a real burden for the lost around him. 
          My challenge to you this week is to meditate upon the words and then become a true prayer warrior for others. People need the Lord!  And for those you know with various needs, please don't say "I am praying for you" unless you really mean it.  We need to be more honest with what we promise to others, more broken about the needs of our lost friends, and more faithful in spending time on our knees bringing the needs of others before the Lord.
(1)    I have a Savior, He's pleading in glory,
A dear, loving Savior 
though earth friends be few;
And now He is watching 
in tenderness o'er me;
And oh, that my Savior 
were your Savior, too.
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I'm praying for you.
(2)    I have a Father; to me He has given
A hope for eternity, blessed and true;
And soon He will call me 
to meet Him in Heaven,
But, oh, that He'd let me
 bring you with me, too!
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I'm praying for you.
(3)    I have a robe; 'tis resplendent in whiteness,
Awaiting in glory my wondering view;
Oh, when I receive it 
all shining in brightness,
Dear friend, could I see 
you receiving one, too!
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I'm praying for you.
(4)    When Jesus has found you, 
tell others the story,
That my loving Savior is your Savior, too;
Then pray that your Savior 
may bring them to glory,
And prayer will be answered
 — 'twas answered for you!
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I'm praying for you.
(5)   Speak of that Savior, 
that Father in Heaven,
That harp, crown, and robe 
which are waiting for you—
That peace you possess, 
and that rest to be given,
Still praying that Jesus 
may save them with you.
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I'm praying for you.
It has been very hard to find a video of this hymn being sung.  Here is the only one that I could find.       LISTEN

Sunday, November 19, 2023


          Some hymns have unusual beginnings.  This one, released in 2019, is no exception.
         Credit for the writing goes to Ed Cash, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram, Brian Johnson, and Jenn Johnson. 
But it was really an experience by Johnson that started the process.
          Johnson was inspired by the process of adopting her fourth child.  She had been singing impromptu into her phone while driving on a long country road about the faithfulness and kindness of God. The song was then developed from the impromptu recording.
           The belief in the goodness of God is a cornerstone and foundation for knowing and trusting Him deeply. If His goodness is not our cornerstone, conflict will cause us to question or accuse God.  Have you found this to be your experience?
           Jesus told us we would face trouble, but He promised to walk with us through the fire and carry us. In the middle of a storm, we can have joy and peace as we anchor ourselves in the unchanging goodness of God.
          "I will sing of the goodness and lovingkindness of the LORD forever; With my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness from generation to generation."
          Are you finding that through all your life God has been faithful?  From the moment that you wake each day do you sense his goodness?  Is He close like no other?  Then join in singing of His goodness.  God is so good!
Verse 1
I love You Lord
Oh Your mercy never fails me
All my days
I've been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
I will sing of the goodness of God
All my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God
Verse 2
I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In darkest nights
You are close like no other
I've known You as a father
I've known You as a friend
I have lived in the goodness of God
Your goodness is running after, 
it's running after me
Your goodness is running after, 
it's running after me
With my life laid down, I'm surrendered now,
 I give You everything
Your goodness is running after, 
it's running after me

Listen to it here.   GOODNESS

Sunday, November 12, 2023


          The seasons of life that we encounter include disappointments, sickness, tribulation, failures and even persecution.  But these encounters are easier to face if you have one to go through them with you.
          And believers have found that they do have One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will stand by them and guide them through these challenging experiences.  This truth is what is shared by Charles Albert Tindley (1851-1933)  in his hymn "Stand By Me".
          Tindley's father was a slave, and his mother was free. His father died when he was very young. He was taken in my his mother's sister Caroline Miller Robbins in order to keep his freedom. It seems that he was expected to work to help the family. In his Book of Sermons (1932), he speaks of being "hired out" as a young boy, "wherever father could place me." He married Daisy Henry when he was seventeen. Together they had eight children, some of whom would later assist him with the publication of his hymns.
         Tindley was largely self-taught throughout his lifetime. After he and Daisy moved to Philadelphia in 1875, he took correspondence courses toward becoming a Methodist minister. He did this while working as a sexton for the East Bainbridge Street Church. Beginning in 1885 he was appointed by the local bishop to serve two or three-year terms at a series of churches, until coming full circle to become pastor at East Bainbridge in 1902. 
          Under his leadership, the church grew rapidly. They relocated in 1904 to the East Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church, then again in 1924 to the new Tindley Temple, where the membership roll blossomed to about ten thousand.
          Tindley was known for being a captivating preacher, and for also taking an active role in the betterment of the people in his community. His songs were an outgrowth of his preaching ministry, often introduced during his sermons. Tindley was able to draw people of multiple races to his church ministry; likewise, his songs have been adopted and proliferated by white and black churches alike. 
          Each of the verses of this hymn talk about one of the storms of life that we encounter and what Jesus can do to help us through them.  As I've grown older I especially like the fifth one. "
When I'm growing old and feeble, stand by me." "When my life becomes a burden, and I'm nearing chilly Jordan, O thou Lily of the Valley,
stand by me."
          Now our lives may take different paths but we all will grow older and probably more feeble and most likely a burden to some, sooner than we expect.  But Jesus will stand by us and bear us safely to our new home where we will no longer be feeble nor a burden to anyone.
          "Thou who knowest all about me, stand by me."
1    When the storms of life are raging,
stand by me; (stand by me)
when the storms of life are raging,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When the world is tossing me
like a ship upon the sea,
thou who rulest wind and water,
stand by me. (stand by me)
2    In the midst of tribulation,
stand by me; (stand by me)
in the midst of tribulation,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When the hosts of hell assail,
and my strength begins to fail,
thou who never lost a battle,
stand by me. (stand by me)
3.   In the midst of faults and failures,
stand by me; (stand by me)
in the midst of faults and failures,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When I've done the best I can,
and my friends misunderstand,
thou who knowest all about me,
stand by me. (stand by me)
4    In the midst of persecution,
stand by me; (stand by me)
in the midst of persecution,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When my foes in war array
undertake to stop my way,
thou who rescued Paul and Silas,
stand by me. (stand by me)
5   When I'm growing old and feeble,
stand by me; (stand by me)
when I'm growing old and feeble,
stand by me. (stand by me)
When my life becomes a burden,
and I'm nearing chilly Jordan,
O thou Lily of the Valley,
stand by me. (stand by me)
You can listen to it here.   STAND