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, January 28, 2024


       TIMELESS HYMNS - A regular feature in which I choose a previous hymn blog, revise it and post it again.  This one was first posted in 2014. 

          Mark 8:34 - "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."  
          Opportunities to follow and serve the Lord come to us in many ways.  Sometimes the Lord calls us to actually pick up and move, maybe to a foreign country, to serve him.  Sometimes He provides us with a new job opportunity that will allow us to share our testimony and faith in our community.  

          Sometimes He may call us to go visit and befriend a neighbor.  Sometimes the opportunity might be to visit one who is homebound and needs encouragement.  And sometimes we may be led to join a ministry in our church or in our community where we can serve him and others.  

          Unfortunately, often we are too busy or too tied to our present schedule to hear and/or respond to His leading.  And then we miss the blessing that He has in store for those who follow up.  It is one thing to say wherever you lead Lord, I will follow.  It is another thing to actually obey and follow Him and serve Him wherever He is leading.  Often it is our lack of faith that keeps us from responding when we see the obstacles and the changes that obeying would require us to make.  We are just not ready to surrender our all. 

          In January of 1936, the Southern Baptist songwriter B. B. McKinney was leading the music at the Alabama Sunday School Convention. The featured speaker was the Reverend R. S. Jones, McKinney's friend of many years. Because of ill health Jones had recently returned from missionary service in Brazil.  The two men were visiting over dinner one evening when Jones revealed to Dr. McKinney that his physicians would not allow him to return to South America.  

          When asked about his future plans, the missionary said, "I don't know, but wherever He leads I'll go."  The words stuck in Dr. McKinney's mind, and before the convention's evening session began, he had written both the words and music of this song.  At the close of Mr. Jones' message, Dr. McKinney related this story and sang "Wherever He Leads I'll Go" to the congregation.  

          Consider the words of this hymn of consecration this week and see if there are things standing in your way of responding to the Master who gave His life for you.  Maybe it is time to obey and follow Him, no matter what it may cost you, as you see the needs and opportunities that He reveals to you.



(1)    "Take up thy cross and follow Me,"

I heard my Master say;

"I gave My life to ransom thee,

Surrender your all today."

Wherever He leads I'll go,

Wherever He leads I'll go,

I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,

Wherever He leads I'll go.


(2)    He drew me closer to His side,

I sought His will to know;

And in that will I now abide,

Wherever He leads I'll go.

Wherever He leads I'll go,

Wherever He leads I'll go,

I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,

Wherever He leads I'll go.


(3)    It may be through the shadows dim

Or o'er the stormy sea:

I take my cross and follow Him,

Wherever He leadeth me.

Wherever He leads I'll go,

Wherever He leads I'll go,

I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,

Wherever He leads I'll go.


(4)    My heart, my life, my all I bring 

To Christ who loves me so;

He is my Master, Lord, and King,

Wherever He leads I'll go.

Wherever He leads I'll go,

Wherever He leads I'll go,

I'll follow my Christ who loves me so,

Wherever He leads I'll go.


You may listen to it here.    LISTEN

Sunday, January 21, 2024


          During the decades of my life one of my best memories are experiences singing with many excellent choirs.  I remember the performances of many classic hymns and stirring cantatas.

          But my best memories of these choir performances were the acapella presentations of "The Lord Bless You And Keep You".  Not only did the words always touch me, but the "Sevenfold Amen" was always a touching and memorable close.

          The author of this classic number was Peter Lutkin (1858-1931) who specialized in writing unaccompanied choral music, primarily for his own choir.  He wrote at least thirty hymn tunes, numerous songs for children, and sixty-five choral anthems.
          Lutkin was born in Wisconsin.  His parents emigrated to the U.S. from Denmark in 1844.  He attended Chicago public schools and was a chorister and organist at St. Peter and St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  At age thirteen he began formal music training, stu
dying organ and music theory.  From 1881–1884, Lutkin followed the practice of many serious composers and performers by studying in Europe. His years abroad took him to Berlin, Vienna, and Paris.

          The lyrics of this hymn are found in Numbers 6:24-36, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."
          The Dead Sea Scrolls were, until recently, the oldest copies of Biblical text.  But in 1979, Villanova professor, Judith Hadley, was assisting archaeologist Gabriel Barkay, in excavating a site in Jerusalem's Hinnom Valley.  In a burial cave, she saw something resembling the metal cap of a pencil.  It was a sensational find, a tiny silver scroll of great antiquity.  Another was found nearby.   These dated to seven centuries before Christ.  They were so small and fragile that it took years to clean and open them.
          When scientists finally unrolled them, they found the world's oldest extant copy of a biblical text.  And what was the text they found?  The words to Numbers 6:24-36.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord lift His countenance upon you.
And give you peace, and give you peace.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you.
And be gracious, and be gracious.
The Lord be gracious unto you.
Amen, amen, amen,
Amen, amen, amen

Listen to it here,  BLESS YOU.

Sunday, January 14, 2024


         Back in 1950, as a teenager, I was part of the formation of a new church plant.  We were joined by numerous families who had moved to our area from other parts of the region, seeking employment.  They brought various traditions with them.
           Several families came from the coal regions of Pennsylvania and they became wonderful friends and active members. But they did have a different style of music.  We soon learned to expect that at every fellowship and hymn sing somebody would request "Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad".
is a gospel song written by Charlie D. Tillman, M.E. Abbey, and J.R. Baxter. M.E. Abbey added the chorus while Tillman published its lyrics and composed the music. Sources state that Eliza R. Snow originally wrote the classic hymn in poem form in the 1890s. However, the copyright document did not credit Eliza Snow's contribution.
The gospel song describes the Christian life using railroad jargon. Its lyrics depict how life may be full of challenges and exhausting, just like a trip on a mountain railroad. It may operate through the mountains by following mountain valleys and tunneling beneath mountain passes, or it may climb a mountain to provide transport to and from the summit. However, the imagery also shows how a journey on the railroad requires courage and watchfulness to possible danger and not giving up, much like how we should approach life.
Members of Western Writers of America have chosen this song as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
          The song reminds us that our lives will face curves and tunnels along the way. There will be many obstructions.  We need to keep our eye upon the rail and our hand upon the throttle and let Christ be our conductor. Eventually we will roll into the Union Depot and meet our 
Superintendent, God the Father, God the Son, and hear the hearty, joyous plaudit,"Weary pilgrim, welcome home."
          The song concludes with a prayer. "Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us, till we reach the blissful shore, where the angels wait to join us, in Thy praise forevermore." This would be an excellent prayer to share each day.

1    Life is like a mountain railroad,
With an engineer that's brave;
We must make the run successful
From the cradle to the grave;
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels,
Never falter, never quail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail.
Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us,
Till we reach the blissful shore,
Where the angels wait to join us
In Thy praise forevermore.

2    You will roll up grades of trial,
You will cross the bridge of strife;
See that Christ is your conductor
On this lightning train of life;
Always mindful of obstruction,
Do your duty, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail. [Refrain]

3    You will often find obstructions,
Look for storms and wind and rain;
On a fill or curve or trestle,
They will almost ditch your train;
Put your trust alone in Jesus;
Never falter, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail. [Refrain]

4    As you roll across the trestle,
Spanning Jordan's swelling tide;
You behold the Union Depot
Into which your train will glide;
There you'll meet the Sup'rintendent,
God the Father, God the Son,
With the hearty, joyous plaudit,
"Weary pilgrim, welcome home." [Refrain]

Listen to it here.  RAILWAY

Sunday, January 7, 2024


          For many folks the new year is a time to make goals or resolutions for the coming year.  And many times these are quickly forgotten and not met.  I've never been one to do that, but I often do take the time to reflect upon the past year and recall how the Lord has directed my paths, often in so many unexpected ways.  
          In this week's hymn choice, the hymn writer, John Peterson, talks about these as "the winding paths of earth".  In my life I think about the winding paths that took me to college, that led me to my wonderful wife, that brought me into contact with so many godly friends, that took me to excellent jobs, that provided so many ministry opportunities, that led me to doctors that solved perplexing physical problems and even saved my son's life, and provided me with a special family and heritage.  
          As I recall my life, I can join John Peterson by testifying that Jesus did lead me all the way. Psalm 73:24 "Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."  And taking time to remember God's leading in the past, gives me the courage and confidence to face the unknown challenges of tomorrow that always come with advancing age and living in a world that appears to be falling apart. 
          Is this your testimony as well?  Has Jesus led you all the way?  Or are you struggling on your own?  Honestly, I don't know how people without the Lord face tomorrow with all that is happening in the world today.  It seems to me that one must be fearful and without hope if one doesn't know the Lord and have His leading in life. 
          This hymn has become one of my favorites and if I have a memorial service I would like to have it included as my testimony.
          As you begin a new year, why not let the Lord lead you daily as you depend upon Him?  What a day it will be when I can tell the saints and angels, as I lay my burden down, that Jesus led me all the way.  Think about these words during the coming week and year.
Some day life's journey will be o'er
And I shall reach that distant shore,
I'll sing while ent'ring Heaven's door
"Jesus led me all the way."
Jesus led me all the way,
Led me step by step each day;
I will tell the saints and angels
As I lay my burden down
"Jesus led me all the way.
If God should let me there review
The winding paths of earth I knew,
It would be proven clear and true
Jesus led me all the way.
Jesus led me all the way,
Led me step by step each day;
I will tell the saints and angels
As I lay my burden down
"Jesus led me all the way.
And hitherto my Lord has led,
Today He guides each step I tread,
And soon in Heav'n it will be said
Jesus led me all the way.
Jesus led me all the way,
Led me step by step each day;
I will tell the saints and angels
As I lay my burden down
"Jesus led me all the way.
You can listen to it here.  LEAD