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.